Posted by : Kai | April 12, 2014
This is a serial fiction, so please check out the previous parts :). It will eventually be collected, expanded upon and posted, free in eBook format, but for now, enjoy and let me know what you think!
The dissolution of the display was almost like water collapsing back on itself. Pixels hung on, like water drops, but then too soon faded. Something else rose in it’s place – a barely realised fear. Outside, the lights were gone, the deepening twilight breathtaking and disturbing. People started leaving their houses, to gaze at the sky. And the roar dipped, then redoubled as it passed overhead. The plane that I’d seen before everything had failed was leaving again. I was in shorts and a small t-shirt. I shrugged into a pair of jeans and tried my smart watch. No signal to the outside world, though internally, Bluetooth and other smart tagging was working. The watch vibrated through every once smart, now dumb door I passed through. My pets scattered before me, as I sped up going down the stairs, before my oldest, Kitsune jumped on the rail above my head and chattered at me. “Not now sweet, stay,” I said absently. I ran passed the first floor, where our studies were, and on down through the living room. I decided to go out through the kitchen – instinctively, I knew people would be outside both sides, but I also knew that our police officer neighbour lived out the back of my house, and his car was there – I’d seen it while gazing around, shocked. If anyone knew how to find out what was going on, it’d be Aaron. Aaron’s wife, Marnie Bettany, was rounding up the children in the street between our houses, and I briefly stopped to help. She shot me a harried smile, and as my eyes met her face, she mouthed, ‘Some of their parents aren’t home yet’. I nodded, stroking the hair of the five year old girl clinging to my leg. Her face was tear-stained, and I could hear the kids around her asking various questions about where the lights were, why their games had stopped working… “Miss Carrie?” she asked. I looked down, “mo…momma’s coming home, right?” “Yeah sweetie, or you can come stay with me and the kits,” She smiled again, but the tears kept rolling.
“Do you wanna bring them over to the games room?” Marnie asked. I nodded. “I think they’re big enough that they’ll be ok with the kids. I’ll get the guys rounded up first with you though.” “Thanks,” she said with a soft smile. “Aaron’s gone a couple of streets over to see if it’s a localised issue, like last year, when they cut the hard line,” “Good thinking,” I said, and then leaned in and whispered, “Do you need me to go get my weapon?” She dipped her head, slowly, once. We rounded the kids into the sheltered area, and down into the school room in their basement. Aaron had obviously hit the breaker to kick up the emergency generator on the way out of the door, because the lights flickered on, revealing bean bags, cots and desks in the centre of the room. An abundance of games, food, water and everything they’d need to stay down here for a night…or more. I didn’t want to think about it. There were some disappointed cries, but Anja, the small girl still clinging said “Miss Carrie’s bringing the Fennec…. Kits and the others, aren’t you Miss Carrie?” I keep a small, specifically a Fennec. I love him dearly, and I’m the bane of the street parents at the street parties, because Kitzune, my oldest boy, perches on my shoulder and lets the kids pet him until one or the other is dragged away. Usually him. And two deerhounds, Minsk, and Piers. Piers is the youngest, but Minsk and Piers were a pair, having had their first litter six months ago. But… I had the feeling they should be somewhere safe, and given Minsk and Piers had recently seen their children off to new homes, there was only the three of them, and no pups to worry about, it wouldn’t be too bad. Anyway, the pair of them liked rounding up the neighbourhood kids. “Yup. Kits is coming over, as is Piers and Min,” I said with a smile and there was a cheer. “But y’know, Kits will only come talk to you if you’re sitting nice and quiet…” I said. All of the children instantly darted for the desks and chairs around them, even the older teens. “Do you need help, Miss Carrie?” one of the older boys, Justin, asked me and I nodded. He was Aaron’s son from his first marriage and a solid boy of around 14. We climbed back up the stairs into the deepening gloom, grabbing a flash light each as we went. The feeling I’d barely considered was settling on me now, that fear redoubling. We were on the brink of something, and I couldn’t tell what. I’d feel better with my dogs next to me.