Tag Archives: Lights Out

Short Story: Lights Out Part 9

The building shaddered in time with the sounds that woke the sleeping people huddled throughout the Feldex building.  Thumping and bass-rich blows pounded the whole structure.  When the people in the shaken offices looked outside, they could see buildings collapsing around them.  Skyscrapers that had dominated the skyline were falling all around the Feldex building, scorched buildings gave up their skeletons and fell upon the streets.  Dust and debris flowed through the streets now like angry crowds, blanketing them in brown, choking demise.

Janice had found Frank overnight; he was curled up in an empty office and had slept through the horrifying night.  The corpses on the balcony had given up slamming themselves into the windows and doors and simply dived off of the edge of the building into the waiting streets.

The office was quiet now save for the noise of the Office buildings of Saint Paul dying as surely has the people that had occupied them had.

Security Chief Mike Pendegras came on to the PA:

“Ladies and Gentlemen; this is the security Chief.  Our building is in no danger of falling.  We have not suffered the damage that the fallen buildings have.  We are intact and remain secure.  We caution you again to remain in your offices and to report any activity that seems threatening or dangerous.”

After he clicked off the PA, Mike Pendegrass exhaled and tried to slump into his chair.  His teams had swepth the building for any more “Zombies” and locked the main staircase tight.  Nothing from the 25th floor or above was going to come down that way again; no one would be going up again either.

Chief Pendegras had received a call from his dead father overnight; he had thought it was a dream at first; but some of his team had received calls from their relatives too.  Chief Pendegras wasn’t one to accept the supernatural; but his faith in the solidity of his convictions had been sorely tempted.

“Chief!, Chief!  There is an APC outside of the building!” it was one of the new kids up on 13.  “Chief, do you get me?”

“I get ya kid, where is it? Over”

“Chief, it’s right outside the front entrance, it’s got a scoop up front like a bulldozer, it pushed through like a snow plow!  Chief, there is a sign painted on the top: 555-573-7878”

The Chief recognized a cell-phone number when he heard one; “OKay kid.  Keep an eye on it. Chief out”

Chief Pendegrass picked up his cell phone and dialed the number:

“Hello, Disaster recovery.  Were are you calling from?”

“This is Security Chief Mike Pendegras.  Before I tell you where I am; tell me who you are.”

“Sir, I am a coordinator from a former Fema Unit stationed in Saint Paul.  I am tasked with coordinating the APCs we have on hand to retrieve survivors and send them back through to Earth”

“So, the scientist on the phones was real?”

“Yes sir.  Where are you?”

“I’m not sure about all of this; some strange shit is going down here Ma’am.  Can you have the APC’s around the city flash some kind of friendly si..”

Outside the building, Mike Pendegras heard the thunder of a belt-fed machine gun firing.

“Chief! The soldiers in the APC, they are shooting at people in the street!  Holy Shit!  The people, they are getting back up and running at the APC!  FUCK!  The soldier on the tank blew their heads off.”

“OKay Kid, I got you.  Over”

“Listen Fema Lady.  What is going on here?”

“I thought that the communication last night was clear.  We are on an extrasolar planet and we are sending people home as fast as we can.”

“My phone was OFF when that call came in”

“Sir, If I may be frank. If you don’t think we have the technology to turn phones on remotely, you haven’t been watching enough movies.  Let me be clear, a scientist teleported a  massive section of Saint Paul to another planet, turning on cell phones remotely is within our scope”

“Fair enough Ma’am.  How, precisely do we decide who goes back in that APC outside?”

“You have an APC nearby?  Excellent!  What number is it”

“Kid, 13.  What number is on that APC?”

“NG-101, sir”

“Ma’am, the APC outside is labelled NG-101”

“Thank-you Mr. Pendegrass, please send out 10 people to meet the APC and be transported to our holding facility.  We will send a bus out for the rest as soon as we have up-armored enough of them for the trip.  Send only the people who could defend themselves in a fight sir, they may need to leave the APC and proceed on foot.”

“I’ll send some people out in 30 minutes”

“Thank-you Mr. Pendegrass.  Wil you be joining them?”

“No Ma’am, I’ll ride security until we have this building empty.”

“Alright Sir, please keep in mind that we are not sure how long we can keep sending people home”

Mike Pendegrass thought about this for a while before responding.

“You keep the door open; we’ll get people home and I’ll get home in time to complain to your superior about your flippant attitude during a crisis”

Chief Pendegras could feel the woman on the end of the line smile.

“It’s a date sir”

Chief Pendegrass flipped his phone closed and turned on the PA.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, I need 10 volunteers who have either combat experience or combat training.  Make your presence known to the security team on your floor and we will escort your to the main lobby.  Thank-you for your cooperation”

Almost instantaneously, his radio lit up “Chief, what the fuck? Are we recruiting deputies?”

“Guys, this is the chief.  We are recruiting some people to run Pony Express, escort people to the main lobby and then return to your posts.  We’re going to round up ten people to make a run to the Fema center and head for home; if they make it, we’ll send more.  The rest WILL be deputized.”

A chorus of, ‘okay chief, got it’ sounded back.  Chief Pendegrass was left to think about the voice on his phone and the prospect of leaving on the APC outside.

Lights Out | The Long Night

The office shuddered with the impacts of  sodden arms and bodies.  Fleshy demons slammed against the glassy doors and windows that led to the balcony.  Men and women franticly piled as much office furniture and cube building material against as they could, attempting to blockade the office against the bloody fiends outside.   Panic and fear cemented into determination and bravery.

“Folks; as long as we keep watch and fortify the windows and doors, those things aren’t getting in!” in the gloom, no one knew for sure who was speaking.  “We keep them out there until morning and then, when we can see, we figure out how to deal with them, alright?”

Mutters of agreement came from the people near the window.  Deeper in the gloom of the office people were milling around each other, unsure what to do next.

All through the night, the thudding continued, slowly becoming more urgent and frightening as the ghouls wore away the flesh from their bones, slamming themselves into goo on the windows, smearing their humanity into nothing.  For hours they fell upon the glassy facade of the office, never ceasing, never taking a break.

The people in the office alternated between hugging each other for comfort and steely resolve against the unknown terrors outside.

In offices around the building, fires had broken out and more of the monsters that were thrashing themselves upon the Fledex building could be seen roaming the offices and streets in the smoky gloom below.  The people who now huddled in the Feldex building looked out into an alien world with a small chunk of Minnesota slammed into it waiting for an alien sky to light the dawn.

At approximately 3 am some of the phones in the building began to light up and ring; as if by magic.

Janice’s phone rang with the familiar tone for her mother; “Janice! Janice!  My God! I can’t believe that you are alright!  Where have you been?  I’ve been calling for hours!”

“Mom?  Oh my God.  Mom,  Don’t hang up!”

The celebrations inside of the office whipped the ghouls on the balcony into a frenzy, they surged as one at the window bone slamming glass and metal as one mass, a crack began to form in the glass of one of the doors.  The hideous tattoo of bone on glass was finally moving the glass.

“Mom, please.  Just tell me what is going on in Saint. Paul?”

“Janice, they are saying that there was some kind of explosion or something, it turned some of Saint Paul into dirt and sand!  Janice, where are you?”

“Mom,  I’m at work.  All of us are.  We’re not in Saint Paul anymore.   We don’t know where we are.  It’s night and we’re scared.  The phones stopped working hours ago and now they are working again.  If I get cut off again, I want to tell you that I love you mom, tell Dad that I love him too, okay?”  Janice sniffed, she could hear the same sort of affirmations going on all around her, people whispering and yelling their love to people at the other end of what was an infinite gulf. “Mom, I love you.”

IF YOU CAN HEAR ME, SAY YES” a voice boomed from every cell phone in the office.  “PLEASE, IF YOU CAN HEAR ME, SAY YES

A scattered few yelled yes into their phones.

“I HEARD YOUR REPLY, THANK YOU.  I AM BROADCASTING USING THIS CELL TOWER THAT  I HAVE HOOKED UP AND POWERED UP.  MY NAME IS NOT IMPORTANT.  PLEASE DON’T TRY TO SPEAK OVER ME, IT MAKES IT DIFFICULT FOR ME TO TELL YOU THIS IMPORTANT INFORMATION.  WE ARE NOT ON EARTH, WE ARE ON A PLANET SOMEWHERE REMOVED FROM EARTH.  OUR BEST UNDERSTANDING OF THE STARS THAT ARE VISIBLE PUTS US SOMEWHERE BEYOND THE MILKY WAY AS WE CAN OBSERVE THE MILKY WAY IN ITS ENTIRETY THE SOUTHERN SKY.  WE HAVE OPENED LINES OF COMMUNICATION WITH THE EARTH VIA THE SAME TECHNOLOGY THAT HAS TAKEN A PORTION OF SAINT PAUL TO THIS PLANET.  AS LONG AS WE HAVE THE MEANS TO POWER IT, WE CAN SPEAK WITH PEOPLE ON EARTH.  THE GATE REMAINS OPEN.  WE WILL BE SENDING PEOPLE IN SMALL GROUPS BACK THROUGH THE GATE FOR AS LONG AS WE CAN ALONG WITH AN UPLOAD OF ALL OUR NOTES AND RESEARCH SUCH THAT PERSONS ON EARTH COULD ATTEMPT TO REPRODUCE OUR EXPERIMENT AND RETURN SAINT PAUL.   PLEASE DON’T INTERRUPT!  I AM NOT FINISHED.  NO WE CANNOT RETRIEVE ITEMS FROM EARTH, WE CANNOT DETERMINE WHY ENERGY IS ABLE TO CROSS IN BOTH DIRECTIONS BUT NOT MATTER.  ATTEMPTS TO CROSS THE GATE FROM EARTH HAVE BEEN MET WITH FAILURE AND NO FURTHER ATTEMPTS WILL BE MADE.  PLEASE APPOINT A SPOKESPERSON FROM EACH GROUP AND COMMUNICATE THEIR NAME AND CELL NUMBER VIA TEXT MESSAGE TO THIS NUMBER 444-231-8899.  WE HAVE AN ARMORED VEHICLE AS WELL AS SECURITY PERSONNEL WAITING TO  RETRIEVE YOU.  DO NOT LEAVE ANY SECURED AREA AS THE REVENANTS OUTSIDE WILL ATTEMPT TO DEVOUR OR KILL YOU.  THERE ALSO APPEAR TO BE NATIVES MASSING AT THE EDGE OF THE TRANSPORT ZONE WE DO NOT KNOW THEIR INTENT AND WOULD RECOMMEND THAT ANY CONTACT BE AVOIDED.  WE WILL AWAIT COMMUNICATION FROM YOU.  THAT IS ALL”

“Janice… Janice, are you there?”  Janice’s mother was there again.

“Mom, I think we were caught in some sort of experiment gone wrong, from the sounds of things it was a military thing.”

“Janice, what are you talking about?”

“Mom, there was a voice, it told us to sit tight and that we would be picked up by an armored vehicle”

“Janice, you’re in Hell”

“Mom, what?”

“Hell Janice.  You’re being punished for your wicked ways.  You lost your virginity and now God wants you dead Janice.”

“Mom, what are you saying?” Janice sobbed, “why are you doing this?”

“Wake up and smell the roses Janice.  You’re damned for all eternity!”

The phone went dead again and Janie slumped against a wall and slid down, crying into the crook of her arm.  People all over the office were wailing and screaming at the phones.

All of the phones in the office leapt to life at once, ringing with the same tone.  People tossed them away as if they were on fire.

The pounding and cracking noises from the balcony filled the darkness as the phones died again.

“What just happened?”  someone asked into the dark, “did everyone just have the same phone call?  Did your boyfriends just tell you that you were going to hell?”

“Yeah, my Dad just called me a slut and told me that I was gonna burn forever” a voice near the door replied.

“Fuck me, my Grandma just called me a sinner and told me that the devil was going to eat my eyes, I’ve just realized, she’s been dead for 15 years!”

Janice stood up and turned her phone back on.  It had been off the whole time.

It was 6AM.

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.