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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
Inspired by Matt Bellamy's amazing a capella song 'Drones' from the album of the same name.
WARNING: Some people may find parts of this story distressing.

Submitted: May 28, 2016

A A A | A A A

Submitted: May 28, 2016





Come on, Simon. Please take us to the park!” Anthea and her friend Helen looked up at him hopefully. “You know by the time Mum has finished what she's doing it will be too late and it's such a nice day.”


The last thing Simon wanted to do was spend an afternoon in the park with two six-year-old girls. What teenage boy would choose to spend the last day of his half-term holiday like that? But then it was the last day of the girl's holiday too. He could ring Barry, arrange to meet up in the evening.....


Okay,” Simon said. “But,” he warned, “you'll have to check with your Mum first, Helen.”


Thanks, Simon. You're the best brother in the world!” Anthea dashed off with her best friend. She turned and shouted, “We'll be back in a minute so don't go away.”


While he waited for the girls to return he sent a text to Barry saying he'd be round later.


Simon carefully saw the girls across the road to the park entrance then let them run off a little way ahead of him. As long as they were in his sight he didn't have to worry.


It was a nice day to end the holiday, warm and bright but not too hot. The park was busy. There were a lot of parents in the playground with very young children, screaming and running around excitedly. There were groups of older children too, and Simon waved to several girls he knew from school.


Anthea and Helen kept running towards the river but stopped when they reached its banks. As Simon approached he saw Helen reach into her pocket to retrieve a bag of toast crusts. She turned and smiled at him.


Food for the ducks!” she said. “Do you want to give them some?”


Simon was in two minds about it. He wanted to feed the ducks with his sister and her friend, but at the same time he was conscious of the fact that there were people around who knew him from school. He didn't fancy making himself a bit of a joke. He casually looked over his shoulder. The girls he'd greeted earlier were busy in conversation with each other.


Okay,” he said quickly to Helen before he changed his mind. “Just a little bit, though.”


The three of them quickly found themselves surrounded by ducks. Used to being fed in the park, they were semi-tame and were quite happy to be fed by hand.


After the initial feeding frenzy the ducks started to wander away, quacking amongst themselves. Anthea and Helen started looking for something else to focus their attention on.


Look up there, Simon. Are they more birds coming? We don't have any more bread left for them.”


They're not birds, silly,” said Helen. “They are little planes. Lots and lots of little planes.”


Simon looked up in the direction that Anthea had pointed to and sure enough, there were about twenty-five small planes, drones maybe, flying in a rough formation in the direction of the town. On the path they were following they would pass straight over the park so he would be able to get a good look at them.


It must be a club flight or something. Simon made a mental note to check it out because he was half thinking of getting one once he'd saved up enough money.


That was until he heard the soft popping noise. And then the first scream.




For a moment after that first scream, there was silence. It was almost like the world had stopped to hold its breath. Then there came a cacophony of sound, magnified even more by the silence that had preceded it.


There was a constant rattle of missiles being fired from the drones. There were the impact noises; glass shattering, concrete breaking up, and screaming. So much screaming coming from every direction.


Simon didn't know if he was joining in with it, but he could clearly hear the terrified noises the two girls were making. What should he do? They couldn't just stand there and wait to be mown down in a hail of bullets.


There was so much noise: there was so much chaos. Simon tried to get his mind to work but it was like a mental paralysis. He tried to look to see what other people were doing but his brain refused to function.


His eyes wanted to stay focused on the bodies writhing around him in the park.


There were some bushes a way behind them. Perhaps he should pull the girls towards them. They might provide shelter until the craziness had stopped. But even as the thought was forming, Simon noticed the legs sticking out from among the branches. There was no shelter to be found there then.


The river! That was the only place Simon could think of where they might be able to stay concealed. If the drones were picking up on body heat the cold water might just provide them with a chance of staying hidden.


Simon took one of the girls hands in each of his and he ran back towards the river. They were smaller than him, couldn't keep up, but Simon did not dare to slow his pace. He felt as though he was dragging them, pulling them along by their arms, but he had to keep them moving.


Missiles flew through the air to the side of his head. Simon could hear himself make a noise somewhere between a scream and a roar. It would frighten the girls but it didn't matter. They would already be petrified.


They would not be able to maintain their straight course, not with one of the drones in pursuit. He ran to the left, quickly veered to the right. He was really having to put a lot of effort in to pulling the girls along now.


Just when he thought that they would never make it the bank of the river loomed in front of him. He didn't pause but just kept running.


As soon as we're in the water, duck down as far as you can.” Simon shouted in the hope that the girls would pick out his voice from all the other sounds that were bombarding them. “Don't move around and don't splash.”


The next thing he knew he was neck deep in water.




If the water was so deep on him, Simon suddenly realised that it must be covering the girls completely. He went to pull them towards him, to lift them so that they could breathe. It was only at that moment that he realised that the hand that had been gripping his left one was no longer there.


He used both hands to lift the remaining girl from the river. Helen!

It was Helen. So where was his sister? Where was Anthea?


There was no movement coming from the girl he held against him. He did not know if she was unconscious or if she was dead but he would not let go of her for anything. He tried to get his eyes to focus, to scan the ground that they had just run across.


There! There was a heap on the ground: the heap on the ground was wearing Anthea's clothes. The heap on the ground was not moving, was still, and even from so far away Simon could see the blood.


He swallowed back the sobs that tried to make their way from his mouth but he could do nothing about the tears that he found were pouring from his eyes.


And still it went on. The drones flew this way and that, continuing to spit out death all around them. Glass was still shattering, but now there were the sounds of explosions too as parked vehicles erupted in to flames.


Not so much screaming now, Simon thought. He wouldn't let his mind register the fact that so many people were now either severely injured or dead and were no longer capable of making any Sound at all.




Some of the survivors were starting to fight back. Simon watched from the river as someone grounded one of the lethal machines. Even struck to the ground, unable to fly, it kept shooting off missiles that were now hitting the legs and feet of anyone within its range.


More missiles passed within inches of Simon's head. He ducked back down and tried to flatten himself and the girl against the bank of the river.


His arms were struggling to keep their hold on Helen. He looked down at her and noticed for the first time the small round hole that had been made in the side of her head.


Helen was dead. Simon knew that, but he could not bring himself to let her go. If he stopped holding on to her it would be as though he was at least in part responsible for her death.


He didn't have to worry about the tears any more. He was cried out, too shocked to feel anything any longer. Simon just stood there staring, seeing nothing, hearing nothing.


He didn't even notice when the drones reformed and disappeared back the way they had come.




Did Simon hear the sirens as police cars, fire trucks and ambulances started to arrive from the centre of the town? He didn't respond when he was pulled from the water. He didn't respond when Helen's body was removed gently from his arms. And he watched mutely as Anthea's body was placed into a body bag and carried away.


Simon was not the only survivor that day. Fifteen other people, five of which were children, were also rescued. Simon was one of only six to not sustain any physical injuries. None of the survivors escaped the mental trauma though; a trauma that would remain with them for the rest of their lives.


It had been such a lovely day that the park had been packed. One hundred and two people lost their lives that sunny afternoon when they had decided to take the opportunity to have some fun outside in the sun.


And nobody knew where the drones came from. Nobody knew who was responsible and nobody came forward to claim that they had been behind the attack. The drones had seemingly arrived from nowhere and had returned there just as suddenly.











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