Chapter 3: Purple Lights

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Science Fiction

Reads: 141

Armageddon. Most people envision an asteroid, or an earthquake, or Yellowstone erupting. When people think of an alien invasion, they imagine the Independence Day movie and laugh.

ARE YOU LAUGHING NOW LOSERS?

It started with what NASA called a meteorite. We all knew they were lying.

School had been canceled since the incident, so Zach and I were watching the news, something we never expected we would do together. I mean, who watches the news for fun?

“A meteorite has crashed in northern China,” the news reporter was saying. “Scientists are keeping all pictures and information disclosed.”

“That’s a load of garbage,” Zach said with a mouthful of ice cream, waving his dripping spoon for emphasis. “I just looked it up and found an entire essay on the meteorite. With pictures. The pictures were really fuzzy, but it looked like a weird spaceship. They said it probably has something to do with the Euphoria. But hey, anything that happens in China is not my problem,” he finished by stuffing another spoonful of ice cream into his mouth.

“I am so tired of this space crap,” I whined.

“Shouldn’t have moved to Houston,” Zach said.

He made a valid point. Not that I had a choice, but it was valid nonetheless.

“Your girlfriend also works for NASA,” Zach added.

“Can it,” I said jokingly.

Suddenly, the ground shook violently, but for a split second only.

“What is going on?” Zach yelled, barely catching a lamp tipping over.

The news reporters appeared confused as well.

“Keep the cameras rolling,” one of them was saying with a strange look on his face. He then turned towards a camera, “We have just received word that China is not the only one being bombarded. Three more of these meteorites have been reported. One east of Rodrigues island, near Madagascar. One in Zhigalova, Russia. And one in Tidjikja, Mauritania.”

Now if there’s one thing you need to know about Zach, it’s that he loves to travel. He would drop out of school and go millions of dollars in debt if it meant he could travel the globe. Offer him the biggest castle on the planet-filled to the teeth with gold, or a private Jet, he would choose the latter. But because he hasn’t got the money to do it, he spends a lot of time on virtual Earths and maps, exploring the entire globe from his chair. Of course, he would rather be there in person-smell it, feel it, see it with his own eyes-but Google Earth would do for now. He had spent so much time on it, he had basically memorized the location of every country, state, city, and the roads in that city. If you ever needed directions, you could count on Zach, but I digress.

I looked over to him to see a puzzled look on his face.

“What is going on?” I echoed to him.

He answered by leaving the room and entering the kitchen. I heard drawers opening and closing, and Zach’s triumphant “Ah-ha!” He came out, bright red marker in hand, grabbed a globe from his shelf and started marking points on it.

“Tidjikja?” He asked me.

“What?” I said, having no idea what he was doing.

“The reporter,” he said, “Did he say one of the places was Tidjikja, Mauritania?”

“I think so,” I said, still confused.

He marked another point and showed me the globe. “Look at this,” he said, spinning the globe. “Notice anything weird?”

I, being a mere mortal with weak eyes, did not see anything out of the ordinary on the globe. I said, “No, nothing.”

Zach was about to say something but was interrupted by the news reporter talking again.

“This is incredible!” he said, “And not in a good way! Two more meteorites have landed, we’re awaiting their official landing locations.”

Zach had a goofy grin on his face despite the dark situation. “Watch,” he said. “I predict that one of them is going to be somewhere in Vanuatu.”

There was a long and awkward silence as the news reporters sat and listened to something from their earpieces. Finally, a female reporter stood up.

“The landing location of the first meteorite is Tafea, Vanuatu, we are still unsure of the last one, but we will be sure to tell you when we get it.”

“How did you know that?” I asked incredulously.  

“Look,” Zach held up a globe and pointed to one of the five points on the globe. “All of the crash sites are almost exactly the same distance away from each other, not including the antipodes, the ones directly across from each other, which, might I add, are directly across from each other, straight through the center of the earth. I predicted it would be Vanuatu because that is Mauritania’s antipode,” he then spun the globe to display America. “If this pattern still sticks, the last location will be…”

I finished for him. “Texas.”

 

It was all over the local news channels: “UFO crashes in Houston.”

Not just that, news articles were being published, conspiracy theories on NASA being attacked by aliens.

I never believed in aliens, I still convince myself that I don’t sometimes, but the evidence was right in front of me. I stood in front of the crash site, which was completely surrounded by police cars and government agencies. It was most certainly not a meteorite. It was shaped like an egg, and it had tinted windows on each side. A faint line which appeared to be some sort of door was on one side, and a pulsing red light was on another.

I could hear in the distance the quick beating of a helicopter. It quickly came into view, and I could make out the details. It was the Marine One! The president of the United States was coming to Texas.

An officer turned to me and Zach, “Get lost kids, this is official property of the government.”

I was eager to leave. Zach was not.

“But the president is here!” Zach whined.

“All the more reason to get your sorry butts outta here. I won’t say it again. Get. Lost. You’re trespassing on government property.”

Zach gave up. It was no use arguing.

We walked a good distance away before turning to watch the events unfold. The Marine One touched down and the blades slowly came to a stop. The doors opened, and sure enough, the president appeared in the doorway, flanked by several bodyguards. Actually, several was an understatement. There were dozens of people in suits, and more military personnel than I could count.

“This is getting really freaky,” I said to Zach.

“This is getting freaky awesome,” Zach responded with a weird laugh.

I chose to ignore him.

Then, with no warning, there was an incredibly bright flash, blinding me and Zach from fifty yards away.

When we regained our sight, all hell had broken loose.

The doorway I had seen had completely vanished, and a stream of people came out.

“Holy crud!” Zach screamed.

The people were covered head-to-toe in black armor, and they wielded some sort of futuristic gun. I figured out that they fired bolts of red lightning when they shot the president, who instantly collapsed. Immediately, the military and police opened fire on the soldiers from the meteorites. The bullets did no damage whatsoever, and the military was quickly outnumbered.

“We need to get out of here,” I said to Zach.

“You don’t have to tell me twice,” he said, “Let’s get in my car and get as far away as possible.”

We sprinted back to the car, which was parked next to an old dry cleaner. We hopped in and Zach quickly started the engine. It was an older car, so it took a bit, but it finally gave in.

“Your house?” Zach asked.

“You read my mind. I’m gonna call my parents.”

I fished my phone out of my pocket and called my mom. She answered right away.

“What is going on?” She asked. “Are you alright?”

“Mom, I’m fine right now. You need to get as far away as possible. Please don’t ask questions, just take Alya and Dad and go. I love you, bye!” I hung up before she could say anything else. I knew my mom, and I was confident she would trust me. I then called Halley.

I tapped my foot nervously as I waited for her to pick up.

Five seconds. Ten. Thirty.

“Hi! This is Halley, I’m probably busy building spaceships, so leave a message and I might call you back if I’m still not busy. Haha!”

Zach must’ve noticed the look on my face because he asked, “Didn’t answer?”

I nodded and muttered some colorful words.

We pulled onto Main street to see the biggest traffic jam in history. I looked in both directions and saw nothing but cars.

Zach echoed the previously stated words. “What now?”

“Pull off and take the backroads!” I said.

Zach hooked a thumb over his shoulder. “There’s no way to turn around or pull off anywhere. Everything’s packed and at a standstill.”

I thought for a moment. “Drive on the sidewalk,” I said.

Zach looked at me like I had just said the earth was flat. “Tanner, I thought I was supposed to be the crazy one.”

“It’s Armageddon!” I retorted, “There are no laws.”

Zach threw his hands in the air. “Who says it’s Armageddon? This could just a terrible government experiment.”

“Failed government experiment? Yeah right,” I unbuckled my seatbelt. “Get out,” I said. “I’ll drive.”

Zach gave me another incredulous look but got out and back into the passenger seat.

“Chicken,” I said to him.

Then, I buckled my seatbelt. If I was going to do something dangerous, might as well try to stay as safe as possible.

I didn’t even wait for Zach to buckle before I swerved out of traffic and onto the sidewalk.

Zach quickly finished buckling and glued his eyes shut, pressing himself against the seat. I was sure he was praying in that strange head of his.

I used the sidewalk to turn around and drive directly through an unfenced backyard onto a much less crowded street. I received myriad bewildered looks from drivers and passerby. I posed for someone who was taking a picture.

I returned to the road and scanned my surroundings, quickly figuring out where I was and where I needed to go.

“Are you done?” Zach said, clearly shaken from the experience.

“I think I’m going to do it again,” I said.

“No!” Zach yelped, “Once is enough!”

I laughed. I could only imagine the look on my face was one of pure evil.

I rounded the corner onto our street and caught the eye of my family pulling out of our driveway when I was blinded by a flash like the one at the crash site. I floored the brake pedal and waited for something bad to happen.

When my eyesight returned to full I saw a horrifying sight: the car my family was driving was on its side, in flames, and my family was being dragged out of it by the black armor-clad soldiers.

“No!” I screamed. I jumped out of the car and ran to my family. Zach followed behind me.

The soldiers noticed me earlier than I would have hoped. “Stop!” one said in a strange voice. It was as if it was spoken through a microphone and filtered to sound deeper; staticky and muffled. “Don’t move another step or I will shoot her!” he (possibly she) pressed the muzzle to Alya’s head.

I stopped dead in my tracks.

I could tell the soldier was smiling underneath his helmet. “That’s a good boy,” he sneered, “now get back in your…” he stuttered for a second. “... vehicle and leave.” He kept his eye on me as he walked towards a strange looking vehicle with a flatbed jutting out of it, similar to a truck. There was a pulsing light on the floor of the bed, that when the soldiers made contact with it, they vanished in a flash of purple light with my family. The last soldier got into the truck and drove away.

I didn’t even think before I ran back to the car.

Zach fell into pace with me. “I’m assuming we’re following that truck?”

“Absolutely,” I said.

We got in the car and sped away. The truck was traveling at an abnormally quick speed, so I had to push Zach’s car past ninety, approaching one hundred, in order to keep up.

“What the heck is that?” Zach said. “It’s so weird looking and so fast!”

“I don’t care, I just want to find out where it’s going.”

We got within a few yards from the truck, and Zach rolled down his window.

“Hey, weird truck dude!” He shouted above the wind. “What did you do with them?”

The driver poked his head out the window, then pulled out a gun-the same type the other soldier had threatened my sister with.

I swerved in anticipation of a shot. The soldier fired and missed. He ducked back into his truck.

“Coward!” Zach yelled.

Then, in spite of Zach, the soldiers reappeared on the bed of the truck in the same manner they disappeared in: a flash of purple light. This time they were carrying what looked like miniguns.

“Holy crap!” I yelled, “Get down!” I ducked behind the wheel as the windshield shattered. My ears were assaulted by a high pitched noise, and I clamped my hands over them, pressing shards of glass into my hands and head. Letting go of the wheel caused us to swerve of the road and crash into another car parked on the side of the road. The airbags deployed, and I’m pretty sure my nose broke from the impact.

The next moments were a blur. I couldn’t hear or feel anything except ringing in my ears and pain.

I vaguely recall being dragged out of the wreckage and to the truck, where I remember a strange tingling sensation and a flash of light, then I passed out.

END ENTRY ONE

 

Halley sprinted down the hall with several NASA employees in tow. She’d even managed to nab a couple bystanders from the lobby before the attack started. She came to a heavily armed door with a passcode and a fingerprint scanner. She punched in the numbers and scanned all five fingers. She tapped her foot impatiently as the door slowly hissed open. The second the opening was wide enough to squeeze through, she dragged everyone in and closed the door behind her.

“Everyone, go down the stairs, there will be another door there, the code is zero-four-seven-eight,” she shooed everyone down and started tapping and swiping furiously at a tablet connected to the door. Eventually, green letters appeared on the screen reading “ACTIVATED,” and a countdown from three hundred blinked on and off underneath it.

She sprinted down the stairs to find the door open and everyone inside. She closed the door behind them. She felt around in the darkness for the battery-powered lamps.

She turned one on to see everyone huddled on the cots. Two non-employees were fiercely hugging and sobbing into each other’s shoulders.

Another bystander spoke in a hushed tone, “What’s going on?”

Halley set the lamp down and sat on a cot, “It’s the day people have predicted for hundreds of years,” she said, “It’s officially Armageddon.”

“You mean, the end of the world?” someone said.

A NASA employee, David, spoke up, “Yes, it’s the end of the world. But we’re safe down here. In about three minutes the entire building, besides this bunker, is going to explode, leaving us trapped under the rubble and the invaders thinking we’re dead. Hopefully, if all goes to plan, they’ll never know we’re here.”

And so the wait began. No one spoke the entire three minutes. They were left to their thoughts.

Halley’s thoughts drifted to Tanner. She had no idea if he had been taken. He could have been killed, and she never said goodbye. She felt a tear slide down her face.

BOOM!

Everyone screamed and clung to something.

BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

Halley had to watch her breathing so she wouldn’t hyperventilate Everything was going to be fine.

BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

The room was starting to shake, causing a lamp to fall off a table.

BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

The shaking stopped.

After several minutes, David spoke again, “Are we ready?” he whispered to Halley.

She tried in vain to find words. She nodded instead.

David pulled a walkie-talkie from his pocket, “ready the Ark,” he said, “On my mark, send as many agents out as possible to search for survivors. Do you copy?”

A tinny voice answered. “I copy. How many people do you have?”

David quickly counted everyone, “We’ve got fourteen, six of which are not employees. You?”

“Eleven. Three bystanders. I’ll run everything over with Sam. Over and out.”

David put the walkie-talkie away.

“What’s the Ark?” Someone said.

Halley managed to speak. “Our last hope.”

 


Submitted: January 23, 2019

© Copyright 2021 Ethan Crandall. All rights reserved.

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