Short Story: Lights Out Part 4

When the suns finally fell beyond the horizon, Saint Paul was dark except for the emergency lights of the buildings and the lights of cars gridlocked on the streets.  In the Feldex Building, Janice McMurray and Frank James stared down into the deepening gloom below the building, trying to ignore the fights and recriminations that were happening behind them in the office.

“It’s looking crazy down there, did you see the crash along there?” Frank rubbed his head against the warm glass and stared down the streets.  The dull glow that would normally accompany an evening was an inky blackness punctuated by the twinkling lights of he emergency lights and cars; it was chaos in the streets though.  He could see fires and panic below.

Janice stood up and walked out of the offices, past the scuffles in the common area and walked out onto the balcony area looking down into the city.  Standing in the winds; she could smell the smoke and fires out in the city, she could hear the honking and crashing and sonic violence of a city in panic.  There were sirens and bullhorns bleating all around her; but over it all, there were screams and moans.

In the streets below, in the lights of the cars; Janice could see what looked like a battle; the writhing and scattering bodies of people clashing and flashing into each other in between the cars.  There were, what looked like, wolf packs of figures cutting through the cars, hauling people from them and killing them on the roofs of the idling vehicles.  She turned away from it and ran back inside to Frank.

“Frank, there are people being killed down there!  It’s like the whole city has gone crazy at street level”

The office was in chaos, people had split into factions.  Some were gearing up to leave, intending to take the stairs down and leave via the emergency exits and most were trying to convince them to stay.  Janice screamed at the top of her lungs: “SHUT THE FUCK UP AND LOOK DOWN AT THE GOD DAMNED STREET; IT’S FUCKING CHAOS DOWN THERE! GET A GRIP AND LOOK DOWN!”  She pointed down at the streets as flowers of fire bloomed from below the lines of the windows.  It was clear that cars were blowing up in the crowded avenues below.

The Pa chirped loudly and the murmuring, yelling  and crying halted in the office.

“LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!   THIS IS THE CHIEF OF BUILDING SECURITY!  THIS IS AN IMPORTANT NOTICE, PLEASE STOP WHATEVER YOU ARE DOING AND LISTEN!  We are sealing the ground level and first 4 floors of the building.  There are a number of events going on outside and in order to ensure your security we are locking the building down.  Close and lock all office doors; do not open them until you receive an all clear over the PA system or when a security officer appears in person to lead you out of the building.  Under no circumstances is the 25th floor to be visited.  There is an ongoing police presence on that floor along with building security personnel.  Building residents on the 25th floor are asked to make their presence known via a call to the security desk.  We thank you for your patience.”

The PA chirped again and the announcement was repeated, the PA then hissed and went silent.

Jance fell back into her chair next to Frank and tried to get her cell phone to work.   Frank watched her; waiting for her to talk again.

“It’s a mess down there Frank, it’s like a war is going on in the street”

“I can see cars blowing up down there, Janice.  It’s so dark out but there is so much light down there now from the fires.  Do you want to hole up in one of the exec offices with a couch and try to get some sleep?”

“No, I’m going to stay here and watch the street.  If one of the buildings around us catches on fire, I want to be ready to go it it gets to us.”

“This building is like a fortress, the fire would have to start inside the building to get us and the way the fire-prevention system is set up, it would be confined to one floor.  It’d take one of these buildings collapsing into us to make a real impact.   I’m gonna go and try and sleep somewhere.”

Frank got up and wandered into the gloomy areas of the office, over to the executive offices.  Janice kicked off her shoes and curled into her chair, staring out into the dark and fire lit streets, unsure what to do.

The office had fallen to silence, with people barricading the doors into the halls and recriminations turning into sorrow and fellow-feeling; former adversaries turning to each other for comfort against an increasingly frightening unknown.

“OH GOD JESUS, FUUUCK SAVE ME CHIEF…SQUARKSSSSsssssss”  the PA had burst to life for a moment then hissed into silence again.  The effect was electric, with wails and yells going up around the office.  No one in the office knew the voice, but the fear and confusion was obvious.  “OH GOD, CHIEF!  THEY ARE EVERYWHERE ON 25, LOCK DOWN THE FLOOR, LOCK IT D…” a warm wet squelch cut off the last word and the PA went silent again.

Janice ran to the doors and began to help with the barricading; certain now that whatever was going on was so much worse than she had even considered.