The Day the Lights Went Out

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
a short story about almost all technology not working.

Submitted: March 26, 2008

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Submitted: March 26, 2008



The Day the Lights Went Out

I woke up. I realized that my digital clock-radio hadn't gone off, and it must be around 9 or 10 in the morning. I glanced over at the clock, but it seemed to be dead, so I tried the radio, but nothing came through. I got up, looked for my pre-digital watch, and the time said that it was 10:30. Since I was off today, it wasn't that big of a deal, but it was disconcerting to say the least. I got dressed and went into the kitchen, and that was when I noticed that it was eerily quiet. I heard no buzzing of electricity, the refrigerator wasn't running, and my computer, which is usually on standby, was silent. Finding my cell phone, I realized that it too wasn't working, it was dead. I still had a land line, so I tried that; nothing but silence. Just to make sure I wasn't dreaming, I went to the sink and washed my face, at least the water was still working. I don't think the water pipes in my house are all that technologically advanced. I wonder what the outside world looks like?

Stepping outside, the only noises I hear are from the various dogs barking and the neighbors who are all outside wondering what to do. It was then that I looked up at the sky.... it was a weird shade of reddish-blue. I thought I'd try to start my car, since it was at least 15 years old and had only had a little bit of electronics in it, but I realized the starter was probably an electronic piece and the car probably wouldn't start. My next door neighbor, Dave, came over while I was mulling on what to do next. I asked him what he thought was going on, and he said, "I'm not sure. Somebody told me they saw a weird flash in the sky a little after 4 am, and then that's when everything electronic quit working. I had a 1964 Mustang, and it works fine, but my current car won't start at all. Do you think NASA or the government has anything to do with this?"

"I haven't the slightest idea," I responded, "we're only about 20 miles from Lackland Air Force Base, maybe we should go over there and find out."

"We can take my car, but it has only half a tank of gas in it. As far as I know, there are no manual gas pumps in this city any longer, so we'll have to be careful on where we go." responded Dave.

We walked to his car, when I saw a few teenagers sitting on the sidewalk, acting like the world had come to an end. I guess in their view it would have, they couldn't play their video games, couldn't text message on their cells, couldn't listen to music on their music players, I guess some of them will just have to learn to talk to each other in person. We got into Dave's car, he started it up, and we were about to leave the driveway, when a few of the neighbors began approaching, prompting Dave to floor the accelerator and peel out onto the street and drive off. I looked back and saw really angry neighbors shouting and shaking their fists at us, I'm just glad Dave had the sense to get out of there quickly.

On our way to Lackland, we saw a few antique cars on the road, a few bicyclists, and some people just walking, all towards the military base. I wasn't sure what we would find, but I was thinking it may not be good. Did China attack us without warning? Did an EM weapon accidently explode and take out all the electronics? I wasn't sure, but we were about to find out. Fifteen minutes after we left our neighborhood, we arrived at the gates of Lackland Air Force Base, but something wasn't right, and I just couldn't figure out what it was. However, at the gate, an airman was trying to keep back about a dozen people who were arguing with him.

I calmly went up to the airman and asked, "What happened for our electronics to not be working?"

"Sir, as I've been trying to tell these people, I don't know. I know about as much as you, nobody in command has seen fit to tell me, and with the radio not working, I can't get any information. You'll just have to wait here until an officer decides to come out here."

I was about to protest, but, an explosion rocked the base. A huge fireball appeared and seemed to come from the center of the base. I heard gunfire, apparently our weapons that had no electronics worked, and the gunfire sounded like it was coming closer. The other civilians around me started running away, the airman checked his rifle and made sure it was loaded. Dave and I decided to stay and find out what happens next. More explosions rocked the base, and I noticed that the other military installations around Lackland sounded like a war was going on, even though it was in the background and some miles away, I could still hear it. I saw some Air Force personnel running our way, they were all geared up for a battle it appeared. An officer stopped and told the airman who was the guard to fall back, I managed to get the officers' attention.

"Sir, what's happening here? Why did our electronics quit working?" I asked.

"A war is what is happening, and they," the officer pointed in the distance, "are the ones who made our electronics quit working. You need to go with us if you want to live."

I was going to question who "they" were, when something came screaming out of the sky, hit near us, causing a massive explosion. I never did find out who "they" were.

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