“H-Hello?” I repeated. “Chris? Are you there? Chris?”
“There’s no… where… clouds…” the woman’s voice continued in the background.
“Chris? Hello?” I went on, still receiving no answer from the speaker of the phone.
And then, suddenly, the television clicked off, as did the light from the lamp behind me, and a number more appliances made the same sound from the kitchen nearby.
I brought my iPhone away from my head one more time and saw that its screen was black, not even turning back to illumination when I held the power button again.
Immediately after that, then, Bud began barking.
I turned myself into his direction and saw that he saw sitting in front of the front screen door, staring up at the drastically darkening sky.
I hurriedly stepped up to his side and glanced up at it myself.
There were clouds covering the sky that were so dark they made it seem like it was nighttime below them, and they could be seen in every angle except for the far right, which was still a bright green color. I then looked toward the yard in front of the blue house directly across the street from us and saw the father of the home’s family cautiously step out of his front door. He tilted his head back, glanced up at the sky for a long moment, and then rushed back inside his house.
I started to hear a loud, but far-off, choppy sound, similar to that of which would come from a nearby helicopter. I gazed back up at the cloudy sky and saw no aircraft around, though, and, at around the same time, two clicks ticked from behind me, making me spin back around in place.
I noticed that the light in the lamp was flickering wildly, and then I made my way back into the living room to see the television screen flipping in between a handful of colors in the same way. After a short time, though, a black picture with a red bar across the bottom came into focus for a split second, and the words ‘Strange worldwide meteor shower phenomena’ were written inside of it.
Right after I managed to read the headline, the phone still in my hand began to vibrate. I glanced down at its screen and saw that a text message was abruptly displayed on it, from an unknown number, reading ‘There has been a severe thunderstorm warning issued for Terrance Co. and surrounding areas. Take shelter in a safe area until storm passes.’
As soon as my eyes hit the end of the statement, though, I swiped the screen and proceeded to open my recent call history. I tapped the name ‘Chris’ once I had spotted it, and then tossed the iPhone up by the side of my face once again.
“Please,” I whispered. “Oh, God, please…”
And then I heard a short-lived beep, followed my a telephone’s ringing noise.
“Yes, yes!” I shouted, now grabbing at the phone with both of my shaking hands.
Another ring rang out.
“Pick up, pick up!” I yelled.
“Please…” I went on.
“No, no,” I muttered. “Pick up…”
I bit my lip.
And then a fuzzy voice spoke back to me.
I let out a gasp and responded snappily.
“Y-Yeah,” I said. “Chris?”
“Hello?” His voice continued. “Amber?”
“Chris!” I shouted back. “It’s me! Chris?”
He went on to say something that was compromised with phone static so much that I couldn’t even understand it.
“K… ee… ur…”
“Chris!” I yelled. “Where are you? Chris!”
And then his voice fell silent, a pulsing robotic beep replacing it.
“No!” I shrieked, pulling the phone down to my chest.
“Everyone… remain… and… but… don’t…” the anchorwoman on the television’s voice piped back up.
Just then, another text message popped up on my iPhone screen.
‘R u ok?’
It was from Chris.
I tapped the message and began to type a rushed response, ‘yes’. I hit send, and then typed another message, this one a bit longer, ‘where are you’.
And then the woman’s voice on the T.V. came in clearly for a quick moment.
“Do not go near these asteroids; they are unlike the average meteor and their chemical makeup is still unknown.”
I looked up at the big flat screen and saw the picture of her clearly once more, noticing that she was now beginning to run along a gravel road, the cameraman appearing to run backward in front of her at the same time.
My phone vibrated again, and I glanced down to read another text message.
‘St rd 5’.
As soon as I scanned it, another one appeared.
‘My car stopped’.
And then another one.
‘Near marathon and chopsticks’.
Before I could intercept another text, I tapped the screen and started a response, ‘im comi’, but, before I could finish it, the screen turned black, as did the lamp behind me and the T.V. in front of me.
“Ugh!” I shouted, now throwing my hands down to my sides.
I glanced up, squinted my eyes at the darkness that now surrounded me, and listened to the silence that filled the air as well.
After a good moment or two, though, I felt something gently brush my ankle.
I jerked myself to the side and glanced down to the floor, but quickly noticed that two familiar brown eyes were staring up at me from about my knee height.
“Oh, Bud,” I started, kneeling down and reaching out to rub his chin with my free hand.
I petted him quietly for a second, and then continued to speak.
“Well… I finally called him.”
I pushed a short-lived smile, and then brought myself back up to my feet. I slid my phone into my back pocket once more and turned to look at the dark street on the other side of the front door.
“Okay, Bud,” I went on. “Come on…”
I whipped myself around and stepped my way through the kitchen, toward the hallway. Once there, I felt for the left wall, ran my hand over the smooth electrical breaker box, and then stopped myself in front of the garage door.
I heard Bud’s paws scratch against the hardwood floor beside me as I grabbed the door handle and creaked it forward. After that, I paused, turned around, and rushed into the laundry room across the corridor.
I looked around it for a moment, and then lunged toward the opposite wall, where a heap of shoes sat on the floor. I swiped a pair of light purple sneakers from the top of it, threw them to the floor beside my feet, swiftly slipped them on, twisted back to the door, snatched a white zip-up hoodie from the top of the dryer, and threw my arms into its sleeves as I pushed myself back to the hallway.
I re-approached the doorway to the garage, took a step down to the concrete floor on the other side, and then glanced around at the dark piles of boxes that sat all over the area.
“Okay,” I whispered while Bud jumped into the room behind me. I then twisted back around, shut the door, and proceeded to walk over to the right wall, past a lawn mower and a mound of totes.
I continued to step toward the front of the garage, along the wall, until I reached the area where a tall, blue bicycle sat. I seized its handlebars, and then made my way up to the large, closed panel door ahead. I stopped in front of it, then, knelt down, grabbed the bottom edge of it, and raised the heavy metal frame up to my waist level. I ducked my head under it, stepped outside, and then pulled the blue bike up to my side.
Once the drastically cooled air from the other side hit my face, though, I glanced up at the sky and stopped.
“Oh… God…” I muttered under my breath.
The pitch black clouds covered every inch of the atmosphere, and a number of purple sparks were constantly lighting them up in sporadic areas. Along with that, there were a few streaks of silvery blue light flashing through the sky below everything else.
I turned back to the garage door, watched Bud trot out from underneath it, and then proceeded to push it back toward the ground.
“Okay,” I mouthed to myself as I stepped over to the side of where my red car sat, pulling the blue bicycle alongside me at the same time.
I glanced up at the sky once more and physically shuddered when I heard a clasp of thunder.
I paused, took a deep breath, and then threw one leg over the bike. I hoisted myself onto the seat, looked at my dog from over my shoulder, made a clicking noise with my tongue, and, after that, pushed my grounded foot off of the pavement underneath me.
I guided the pedals under my shoes as I rode out of the driveway and turned my handlebars gently to the right.
A chill ran down my back when I heard another roar of thunder. I continued to ride down the middle of the empty street, though, past a number of shadowed houses with blackened windows, until I reached the place where the road curved left and intercepted with another one. After that, I pedaled onto the next wide, two-way street, and guided both myself and Bud past a handful of stopped, abandoned cars strewn about it. It wasn’t too long after that, then, that the street paved its way through a partially deforested woods, where no other vehicles sat.
As I rode, I glanced up at the sky ahead, noticing that the charcoal black colors were beginning to transform to the exact opposite: pure white. At the same time, flashes of bright blue reflected down to the gravel in front of me.
I continued in my route a little while longer, Bud chasing me close behind, until I caught a glimpse of a small, mostly vacant gas station across the way from a familiar, tiny Chinese restaurant called ‘Chopsticks, Etc.’
“Okay,” I mumbled, now turning left to enter the edge of the gas station parking lot.
After only a second, I spotted the back end of a recognizably deep blue Jeep Wrangler stopped on the other side of the gas pumps ahead.
“Oh my God,” I sputtered, now spotting the backside of a tall boy hunched over the open driver-side door.
I immediately threw down my handle bars and leapt from my bike’s seat.
“Chris!” I shouted.