01 Feb Have you ever heard of a Chrome Sunset?
Your entire life can change in a day. That’s a scary thought isn’t it? And yet we never really expect change. We get up, go to work, come home, and expect the constant flow of normality to maintain its predictable pace. We feel like we are in control of our lives, navigating through its many channels, guiding our minds and bodies through the jungle gym of working society. We set our alarms, we lock our doors, we buy our food. We establish these pillars of control, these thought out decisions that give us the illusion of dominating our destiny.
But what if the power goes out and the alarm never goes off? What if someone breaks into your house? What if your food goes bad?
What if something else is ultimately in control of your life?
What if we are merely pawns in a much grander plan?
What would you do if your entire life changed for the worse?
I don’t tell you these things to scare you, I tell you these things to prepare you. Don’t try to outsmart the cosmic forces that hover all around us. Don’t try to get ahead of the disaster. Don’t bother locking your door. Don’t worry about setting your alarm.
Because in the end, none of that is going to matter. We’re all going to die and it’s coming sooner then you think. It may come tomorrow, it may come a year from now, but every second you’re alive, death takes another step closer.
And there’s nothing you can do about it.
I’ve come to realize these morbid lessons, I’ve been show the brutal blade of unpredictability. I was like you once, going through life, expecting every day to mirror the last. I didn’t plan for…what happened…but in my defense…how could I?
And that’s what I’m trying to tell you. There will be random events of horror that happen in your life that you cannot prepare for. There are evils and darkness creeping closer to you that you cannot stop. So instead of blinding yourself to their existence with false security, open your mind up and expect the worst. Expect a loved one to die, count on your wife leaving you, expect misery and sadness. Because if you do, when life decides to stab you in the heart, at least you’ll be wearing some armor. It will still hurt, you might still bleed, but it won’t kill you…it won’t kill you…
Now, you might be reading this and thinking my outlook on life is a little grim. You might think I’m overreacting to the possibility of tragedy. Well…let me tell you…if you’ve been through what I’ve been through, you’d be saying the same thing.
But you haven’t and so you’re going to blow my warning off.
You’re not going to take this seriously.
You’re not going to be ready.
And that’s because you haven’t seen a Chrome Sunset.
I wiped sweat from my forehead and scanned my brother’s farmland. The golden sun crawled down the sky leaving streaks of twilight color that oozed across the land like melting rainbows. Purples and pinks splashed into each other amidst brilliant orange and the cloudless sky sighed with a warm breeze.
I looked across the fields, stabbing my pitchfork into the soft earth, towards the house. I could see Pete and Ashley scampering up to the porch where they were met by their father, my brother, Charlie. I smiled, content and happy with the days work. I found myself unexpectedly pleased with my decision to come help out my brother after my divorce. His own wife had died three years back and mine had just left me. We were lonely men with few things in common, most of which were bad luck and heartbreak. He was a gentle man, my brother, and it had taken him a long time to recover from his wife’s death. The kids had adapted as well as could be expected, Pete doing his best to comfort his younger sister through those hard times.
They were good people. Charlie was a year younger than me, always the quiet one. My heart broke along with his when his wife had died. He didn’t deserve such sadness. He had always done the right thing, his whole life. He was my constant voice of reason, my moral compass at life’s crossroads. When my wife left me, he opened up his home to me until I recovered from the anger and despair that had rocked my state of mind. That’s just the kind of person he is.
His two kids, Pete and Ashley, mirrored their father’s moral integrity. Pete was ten now, a strong young farm boy with an ever present spark in his blue eyes. He took care of his little sister, who was six, and I knew their bond would last for years to come. It was good to see them all bond together, support one another through the hard times they had undergone.
Sighing, I checked my watch and saw that it was a little after seven. My stomach grumbled and I started walking back towards the house. The barn to my right reflected the sun’s brilliance off its new coat of red paint. Last week I had helped Charlie redo the whole thing and I was pleased to see how well our efforts had turned out.
To my left were the corn fields, stretching out for acres in rows of rolling green. They caught the sun in their swaying stalks and reached out for more, gentling cracking in the warm wind. I walked between the barn and corn, along the strip of crispy grass that rolled to the front door like a red carpet. My feet crunched over it and I breathed in the silent country air. I never knew I liked isolation until I moved out here, away from the city, away from everything.
I finally made it to the porch and climbed the stairs, the dying sun hot on my back. I went inside and saw Charlie pouring lemonade. He looked up at me and smiled, holding out a glass that clinked with ice and sweet lemon. I accepted it gratefully and took a sip, the cold liquid washing down the dryness in my mouth.
With a satisfied sigh, I asked him if he wanted me to make dinner tonight, but he waved my offer away. He said he was going to grill some steaks out back for us while Ashley prepared some vegetables. She might have been only six, but that little girl had a knack for cooking. She got it from her mother, rest her soul.
The kids ran into the kitchen and Charlie poured them lemonade. He asked Ashley if she would get the broccoli out of the fridge and then asked Peter if he would feed the horses in the barn before dinner. Groaning, Peter complied and as he walked towards the door, I ruffled his hair and told him not to tell the horses we were having steak.
I asked Charlie if he needed help with anything, but he pointed to the front door and told me to sit out on the porch and take it easy. I raised my glass to him as a sign of thanks and took my tired body outside.
Exhaling heavily, I plopped myself down in a rocking chair and kicked my feet out in front of me. I I took another sip of lemonade as I watched Pete walk to the barn. I smiled. All this hard work and sunshine was going to do him good in his later years, he just didn’t know it yet. It’s one of those things you don’t realize as a kid, the benefits of chores your parents make you do. They slowly turn into good habits that get stuck in your mind, forming you into a better person. But when you’re a kid, it’s just annoying work.
I watched as the sun dipped under the horizon, a half circle of burning light that watched me from beyond the distant hills. The breeze picked up and rustled through the cornfields to my right, stirring them from the earth. It was a pleasant sound and I let it wash over me in waves of contentment.
I heard Ashley in the kitchen preparing the side dishes, quietly singing to herself. I grinned, her little voice carrying through the screen door towards me. What a character she was.
I drained my lemonade and set the glass down. Everything just felt so…right.
And that’s when I noticed something in the sky.
I blinked in the fading light, bringing a hand up to shade my eyes so I could see it better. It was distant, scraping the roof of the sky almost like a cloud.
But it wasn’t a cloud.
It looked like a small circle of paint being gently swirled, its chrome color shining in the evening air, almost like the sky had opened up to reveal something behind it. From this distance, it was the size of a dime, but as I continued to watch, it gradually grew bigger and began extending down like a funnel.
I felt unease tickle my stomach. It was climbing down the sky, its eerie liquid texture reaching for the earth like a long wet finger. Immediately, I thought it was a tornado, except it was brilliant silver and I didn’t notice a change in the wind. In fact, the weather didn’t change at all. The sun fell behind the horizon, its beautiful color lighting the sky like colored ink.
The chrome funnel continued its descent, widening and expanding. My heart began to race as I watched the odd surface of the liquid funnel drip closer to the earth. It didn’t bend in the middle, like a twister might, but instead remained perfectly straight like a pillar.
I felt the need to call Charlie, but I was held captive by the bizarre spectacle. I heard him inside, gathering the steaks to grill out back and giving instruction to Ashley, but I didn’t move. The funnel had almost reached the ground.
I held my breathe, waiting.
The tip of the chrome pillar dipped to the earth, and as it made contact, I felt a soft rumble beneath my feet.
I gripped the arms of the rocking chair, the shining tower of liquid two hundred yards directly in front of me, two hundred yards of grass separating us. I waited for another tremor, but none came. I looked up towards the top and realized that I couldn’t see it, the stretch of silver extending beyond my eyesight.
“What the hell,” I muttered.
I was about to call Charlie when the air rippled with deafening sound.
I covered my ears as a deep bellow echoed from the pillar. The air seemed to shimmer around me and my head howled in pain. It sounded like a boat horn, like a freighter coming into harbor, its low cry chilling me to the bone. My vision swam and I blinked away dancing color.
I heard Ashley drop something in the kitchen and Charlie burst through the back door to see what was going on.
My mouth went dry, a feeling of dread creeping up my throat.
Something began to emerge from the chrome tower.
I stood up, heart hammering against my ribs as I watched.
It was human in shape and size, made from the same shimmering silver liquid. It looked like a person, but it had no hands or feet, just rounded nubs. Its head widened up from the chin to reveal an open top with smoke pouring from it like a smoke stack.
It didn’t move as it morphed out of the liquid, but instead glided into the open air like it was on an invisible conveyor belt. It was hundreds of feet up, but I could see its strange funnel shaped head billowing silver smoke.
Suddenly, Charlie burst through the screen door, mouth open in confusion as to what was happening. He stopped dead in his tracks when he saw the soaring tower of chrome liquid. He turned to look at me, eyes wide, and I could offer him no explanation. The human shaped creature that had emerged from the column was slowly floating towards the ground, still immobile.
From behind the screen door, I heard Ashley gasp. Questions flowed from her mouth, but Charlie and I remained silent, the scene before us robbing our minds of reason.
The strange chrome figure had almost reached the ground. I felt Charlie tense up next to me and I couldn’t help but feel a sickening anxiety. What was happening? What was this eerie phenomenon? I calmed my racing heart, licking my lips and flexing my fingers.
The silver figure’s rounded nubs touched earth.
And it came to life.
I gasped as it moved, taking a slow step in our direction, its body leaning forward as if it was fighting against a strong wind. Smoke poured from its open head, thick silver cotton that swirled up in the gentle wind. It was a couple hundred yards away, but the distant didn’t make me feel any safer. This thing was coming for us. I didn’t know what it was or what its intentions were and that filled me with uneasy fear.
I heard Charlie speaking urgently to Ashley, but I barely heard him. Something was happening again with the chrome cylindrical tower. The air seemed to hum and move around it, distorting like it was emitting intense heat. The smooth surface rippled slightly and I felt my breath die in my lungs.
More of the strange figures were morphing out of the column, all frozen in the air like they were products on a moving belt. That strange smoke poured from their heads, a wispy heartbeat of unknown meaning.
They began to descend, all gently gliding towards the earth like wet statues. I swallowed hard as I counted twelve of them in total, including the one slowly making its way towards us. They looked like mannequins, but with thicker appendages and no visible joints or features. Their fingerless rounded arms and legs ended in smooth nubs that reminded me of giant pinballs.
Blinking back shock, I realized that Ashley was yelling at Charlie and I. I hadn’t even realized Charlie was still next to me. I snapped out of my trance and turned to Ashley, gripping Charlie’s arm and shaking him slightly. He looked at me with complete disbelief and I saw panic pooling in his eyes.
I turned to Ashley, asking her what it was she was trying to tell us. She pushed the screen door open and told us to follow her, quickly. Charlie and I did, the two of us moving like shell shocked zombies. We clambered through the house, following Ashley through the kitchen and out the back door.
As we pushed through the door, I froze and felt the cold fist of fear slam into my stomach.
Another chrome funnel was extending from the sky behind the house.
Suddenly, Charlie was shaking me, his eyes wide and his breath stinking with panic.
“Oh my god, Peter’s in the barn! We need to get him, now!”
I felt my guts sink, kicking myself for not realizing it sooner. The spectacle had held me captive, erasing all sense from my mind. I ran into the house, not waiting for Charlie. I crashed through the front door and skid to a stop. The shimmering creatures had all landed and were now slowly walking towards the house, their bodies bend forward like they were walking uphill.
And then I saw Pete step out of the barn, not fifty yards from the leading figure. From where I stood, I could hear his cry of shocked fear. Immediately, the forms turned to look at him, alerted by his fearful outburst.
They turned and started walking towards the barn. I cupped my hands to my mouth and shouted for Peter to get back inside, to hide and stay put until I could get to him. They were going to get there before I could, and then…and then who knows what they’d do.
Charlie almost knocked me over as he charged onto the porch and I grabbed him before he reached the steps. I spun him around and pointed to Ashley who was behind us. Big tears rolled down her cheeks and she reached up for her father, fear engulfing her. I told Charlie I’d go get Peter, that he needed to keep his daughter safe and to lock up the back door. I could see he was torn, indecision cementing him where he stood, and so I pushed him towards Ashley. He scooped her up in his arms and she cried into his shoulder.
“Where’s the shotgun?” I asked, knowing he had one.
He jerked his head, “Follow me, and hurry!”
We rushed back inside and he placed Ashley on the kitchen counter. He took a quick glance out the back door before slamming it shut and locking it. Before he did, I could see figures gliding to the earth. Charlie rushed to the pantry and tore the door open. He reached up behind the door frame and pulled down his shotgun. He tossed it to me and I checked the feed.
“It’s loaded,” He said, going to Ashley and picking her up again. “No go, hurry, please!”
Wordlessly, I charged out the front door, the barrel of the gun cold in my hands. The light had almost faded from the sky, the last remnants of dark purple bleeding into black. But I could see the shining figures, the rising moon illuminating their silver bodies.
They were almost to the barn and I saw that Peter had gone back inside and had closed the big door. The figures were gathering before it, their odd arms prodding the wood, examining the strange red barrier.
I quickly took stock of my options, the barn before me, and then ran down the steps and off to the left, planning to circle around to the far end of the barn. I kept my distance, praying to make it before the figures got inside. I kept them in constant eyesight, watching as they ran their smooth arms across the door. I was about twenty yards behind them, their smoking heads creating a thick smog as they all clustered together. My feet quietly swung me around towards the side of the barn, holding my breath as I passed parallel to the creatures on my right. They didn’t seem to notice me and I breathed a sigh of relief as they became obscured from view by the side of the barn.
I raced to the small door at the far end, going at full sprint now that I was out of their line of vision. The full moon glowed overhead, its light reflected by the strange towering column. I felt relieved that more figures weren’t morphing out of its liquid walls.
Breathless, I reached the door and pulled it open. The familiar smell of straw and animals filled my nose as I quickly stepped inside, closed the door, and let my eyes adjust to the darkness.
“Pete!” I hissed urgently. I heard movement to my left and I swung the shotgun up and found myself staring at Peter’s terrified face. I lowered the gun and embraced him in a hug, telling him I was glad he was ok. He asked what was going on, what was happening, and I admitted I had no clue. He was scared, but not hysterical. I admired him for that.
I took his hand and pulled him towards the door. I opened it and let out a scream, stumbling backwards.
One of the creatures stood before me, its shining chrome body a solid foot taller than myself. It must have seen me and followed me back here!
I pushed Peter behind me and brought the shotgun up. Without pause, I pulled the trigger and the gun bucked in my hands, the report deafening in the enclosed space. The buckshot rocketed into the figure, tearing half of its spout-like head in half. Thick smoke bled from the open wound as silver substance splattered onto the ground in wet chunks. The creature let out a loud cry from its gaping hole and sunk to its knees, that familiar boat horn sound slamming into my ears.
I took a step back as its body crashed to the earth where it remained motionless. Slowly, its body began to seep into the dirt and hay, evaporating where it lay.
“They rest must have heard that,” I said, breathless, “Come on Pete, we need to move, now!”
We exited the barn, the night humming with the echo of night bugs. I peeked around the corner of the barn and my throat tightened with fear. The creatures were walking towards us, following the noise of the gunshot.
I grabbed Pete’s arm and pulled him after me, racing around the opposite side of the barn, back towards the house. I looked over my shoulder at the looming chrome tower and slowed my pace, unable to help myself.
It was pulsing with white color like a lighthouse. Its glow illuminated the night in brief flashes of blinding brilliance, and I suddenly felt the ground tremble beneath my feet. About a hundred feet up, I saw the surface of the liquid tower begin to shimmer.
“Oh no…” I muttered, a trickle of sweat running down my spine. Pete was frozen next to me, his breath horse in the wind.
Another of the figures emerged, gliding out from the surface as if breaking the calm of a still pond.
“Its regenerating,” I said, shaking my head.
Suddenly, I heard Ashley scream from the inside of the house and I snapped out of my trance. I grabbed Peter again and dragged him along behind me. As we raced towards the house, I could see the second tower glaring over the roof at us.
God what is happening, I thought, mind ragged.
We ran up the porch steps and charged through the front door. I had the shotgun raised, ready to blast away anything that wasn’t my family. Charlie was dragging the kitchen table over to the back door, sweat standing out on his forehead. Something on the other side was pounding against it, the wood groaning from the force. Ashley let out another scream as we entered the house, but relief calmed her features and she ran into her brothers arms.
I closed and locked the front door and ran to help Charlie, placing the shotgun on the kitchen counter.
“There has to be another twelve of them out there!” He cried as we barricaded the back door. “What are we supposed to do?!”
I winced as the figures pounded on the blocked door, “I don’t think we can kill them. I shot one of them and it melted. But a couple seconds later it morphed back out of that weird tower!”
Peter called to us from the front window, Ashley tangled in his arms. We rushed to them both and I looked out to where Peter was pointing. I felt my stomach sink. The figures from the first tower were walking towards the house, their bodies leaning forward as if it took considerable effort.
I looked at Charlie and his eyes met mine. Neither of us had a plan.
Suddenly, we all jumped as something crashed upstairs. It sounded like something falling from the ceiling, an eruption of wood and splinter.
“Oh no,” I whispered, feeling my skin go cold. I ran to counter and picked up the shotgun, chambering a round. I instructed Charlie and the kids to go into the living room as we heard heavy feet thump across the ceiling towards the stairs. The figures had climbed the roof and smashed their way in.
As Charlie herded the children into the other room, I flinched, a large silver arm crashing through the back door. I turned the shotgun towards the hole and pulled the trigger as a large smoking head peered inside. I was rewarded by a long howling horn, a sure sign I had seriously hurt it.
I swung around, a sudden noise catching my attention.
Two of the creatures were at the top of the stairs, silver fumes leaking from their heads and drifting along the ceiling towards me.
I raised my gun and blasted one of them in the knees. Immediately, the volume of smoke increased drastically and it fell, tumbling down the stairs. I tried to jump out of the way, but its wide head thumped into my legs and I went sprawling. My face bounced against the hard floor and I saw stars.
I could hear the thing squirming and moaning behind me and I grit my teeth.
Get up, get up!
I heaved myself to my feet, vision swimming, and heard the front door begin to shake with heavy blows.
We’re never getting out of here, I thought.
And then another part of me ignited, a defiance to the impossible situation I was in, a fire in my chest that spread and boiled my blood.
This would not be our end.
Something swung into my legs again and I caught myself on the counter, breaking my fall. The figure with the blown out knees was swinging its silver nubs at me. I coughed and felt my eyes water as the kitchen filled with smoke. I scrambled, looking for the shotgun, knowing I had seconds before the second one was on me.
The creature swatted at my legs again, but I jumped aside, grabbing onto a kitchen chair.
Enough was enough.
I grabbed the chair and hoisted it over my head, screaming, and brought it crashing down into the chrome being. Wood exploded across the floor as the chair shattered and I grabbed a fragmented leg. Howling, eyes wild, I drove it down into the things face.
My ears creaked as a dying howl erupted from the figure and smoke immediately ceased pouring from its head.
Without stopping, I snapped my eyes up and saw that the second one had reached the foot of the stairs. Its sudden appearance startled me and I stumbled back, falling on my ass. I felt something hard against my hand I saw that it was the shotgun, shoved along the side of the counter.
I snatched it up and pointed it at the advancing silver statue.
I blew the bastard to hell and back again, the roar of the shotgun cracking in the thick air. As it fell, I watched as the bodies slowly evaporated, disappearing back into whatever substance they were birthed from.
Charlie was screaming from the living room. I swung around and saw him and Pete shoving the couch against the front door as the figures beat against it from outside. It wasn’t going to hold out much longer. A noise behind me drew my attention and I swung the barrel of the shotgun towards the back door just as it gave way. The kitchen table was pushed aside as the silver skinned monsters crowded the doorway, all pushing to get in.
I emptied the shotgun into them, yelling for Charlie, and when the gun clicked dry, I flipped it around and began to beat them with the stock. Three went down, blasted apart by the shells, and another two staggered back against my onslaught. I was sweating, screaming, my muscles tight as I brought the gun around and smashed it into one of their smoking heads. It fell to the side, crashing into the door frame before sliding to its knees. I swung the gun like a baseball bat, crushing its featureless face.
The howling horn of death followed.
Charlie was at my side gripping a leg from the broken chair. He battered the beings as they continued to pour into the house, a desperate energy igniting us. He stabbed one in the face, like I had earlier, and it fell back leaving a splash of wet silver on the sharp wood.
Ashley was screaming behind us and I heard the front door start to give. My heart hammered in my chest as I listened to the wood splinter. I shot a look over my shoulder and Peter was standing on the couch, pressing against the door, trying to slow their progress.
I heard heavy footsteps from upstairs.
More were coming.
“Charlie, I need more shells!” I screamed, swinging the gun around and crushing another one in the face. It stumbled backwards into another two and fell, stunned.
“They’re upstairs in my bedroom!” Charlie yelled, running behind him to help Peter. Ashley was in the corner, crying and clutching her knees to her chest, wet tears flowing down her distraught face.
No good, I thought, They’ll be all over me.
I whipped around, ready to help Peter at the door, and froze as two more came walking down the stairs in front of me. Smoke filled the air and they turned away from me, towards Ashley.
Screaming, I charged them. One of them spun, bringing its arm up and swung at me. Surprised, I tried to duck but the blow caught me across the nose. It was like getting hit with cold iron and my nose erupted in a fountain of blood as I fell back, dazed. They turned away from me and kept walking towards Ashley.
I blinked back darkness, gritting my teeth.
Not the kids, I thought, hauling myself up.
I charged again and slammed into one of them, tackling it to the ground with a heavy crash. Its body was ice cold under me as I rolled up on top of it. I laced my fingers together to form a giant fist and brought it down into the things face. As I made contact, I heard Charlie rocket into the second one, smashing it against the wall, screaming for Ashley to get away.
The creature under me swung at me, clearly slowed by my blow, and I grunted as its silver nub plowed into my ribs. I thought I heard something crack and the wind was robbed from my lungs.
I didn’t stop beating it though, bringing my now bleeding fists into its face over and over again. I took another shot to the ribs, but I managed to twist away in time so that my shoulder took the brunt.
Suddenly, Peter was looming over us and I jumped back as he brought a lamp down into the things face. It howled and I rolled away as he did it again, silencing the monster. Without stopping, I scrambled to my feet and went to help Charlie who was pinned under the creature and taking a beating. His face was bloody, but I saw fire in his eyes.
I took a giant step and punted the thing under its face, cracking its head up and tumbling it off of Charlie. I pulled him to his feet and then stood over the stunned creature.
Panting, roaring, I stomped on its face until the horn of death sounded.
The front door exploded inward.
Six of the creatures pushed their way inside, turning to face us.
Footsteps thundered above us as more piled in from upstairs.
My ribs hurt and blood ran down my face. I was gasping, holding my side, exhausted. I looked at Charlie and we looked behind us at the kids.
We charged the figures, roaring.
I wrapped my arms around the front two as I plowed into them, bringing them down with me. Charlie soared over me, slamming his body into the other four like a human cannon ball.
Sucking in hungry lungfuls of smoky air, I hammered my fists into anything that glowed silver. I winced as something thudded into my back, but I kept focused on the one beneath me. My knuckles were bloody lumps of mangled bone and flesh, but I never stopped beating on them.
Suddenly, something crashed into me, sending me airborne. I thudded into the far wall, air forced from my body in an agonized exhale of blood and sweat. I slid to the floor and fought a black out. My head ached, my back screamed, and red dripped into my eyes.
I blinked, vision swimming, and looked up.
Two of the figures tore Charlie in half at the waist.
My body hitched in disbelief as blood pooled onto the floor and my brother’s guts spilled around his ripped body.
Please God, no.
The two creatures dropped the halves of my brother and advanced on Ashley.
Peter crashed into them, screaming, tears running down his face.
I tried standing, darkness filling my vision.
The two creatures battered Peter away and then stood over him.
“YOU LEAVE HIM ALONE YOU GODLESS FUCKS!” I screamed, spitting out a mouthful of blood, crawling to them. My hands left bloody prints on the floor as I inched my way towards them.
The two creatures looked at me and then at each other. For the first time, they seemed to communicate with one another, exchanging sound and smoke in short bursts of what I could only assume was their language.
Then they knelt in front of Peter, pinning him to the ground.
“DON’T YOU FUCKING TOUCH HIM!” I howled, hacking up a mouthful of blood. I couldn’t move, my body giving up. My mutilated hands shook as I begged them to pull me closer, but I was completely expended.
The two creatures placed their nubs over Peter’s splayed out body. In unison, they emitted a new sound, a low ping that deafened me. I squeezed my eyes shut as the sound continued, blasting through my skull like sharp knives hammered in through my ears.
I coughed as smoke crawled down my throat, felt my eyes water, and blood drip from my chin. I blinked through the haze, trying to see what they were doing.
What I saw brought a scream blasting up my throat.
Peter was covered in their silver liquid, his body cocooned in the chrome substance. But it was sliding off of him, pulling itself up his body from his feet, like a curtain being raised.
And what it left behind ripped horror from my chest.
Peter was slowly being turned into a tangled mass of working machinery.
As the silver substance rose up his legs, it left behind coiled wires and humming steel. His legs were not legs anymore, but instead, one long block of thrumming, blinking machinery. Red and blue lights flashed from the twisted construction, hundreds of parts shifting and adjusting to lighting quick calculations and adjustments.
I watched, helpless, as Peter screamed, the chrome liquid pulling up his waist to his chest. It left in its wake the same impossible apparatus, a contorted engine of unknown workings. The contorted automaton purred with life, using Peter’s body as a vessel.
And then it covered his face, leaving in its wake a still screaming child, his features covered by the living machine.
The creatures stood, looking down at their work. Peter’s body was barely recognizable, a heap of steel and smoke, blinking lights and throbbing parts, all moving and working to the heartbeat of their own making.
And yet, Peter was still screaming, his voice cutting though the hum of machinery.
He was still alive.
I fought to move, fought to do something, but I could feel my body shutting down. Everything ached in severe pain, but there was nothing to be done. I dragged my face across the floor to look at Ashley who was curled up in the corner, eyes wide, face a deathly pale.
She wasn’t screaming anymore, her mind trapped in shock. I could see her blue lips moving, but no sound came out. Her eyes slowly altered between her dead father and her screaming, metal brother.
The figures filling the house looked down at the two of us, their eyeless heads puffing hot smoke. Slowly, they turned away and began to leave.
I couldn’t believe it, couldn’t accept it. Why were they leaving, what had been the point of all this? What had they done to Peter? Why weren’t they killing me?!
As they walked back through the front door, I turned my head to look out the front window, into the night.
The towering column of chrome was blinking with light, a steady throb of pulsing white. The creatures walked back to it, their bodies leaning forward as thick plumes of smoke darkened the night.
The tower was pulsing in rhythm with the lights on Peter’s body.
As I opened my mouth to call out to Ashley, darkness rushed in on me and swept away my consciousness.
I fell into it.
The empty arms of the great black.
When I woke up, I was in the hospital. I was confused, distorted, and immediately asked where Ashley was. The doctors told me she was being taken care of and she was ok.
When I asked for Peter, they didn’t answer, instead shooting one another a knowing look. My whole body was killing me, a mass of knotted pain. I tried to get up, screaming, roaring for answers, asking where my nephew was, but I was quickly silenced as I nurse jabbed a needle into my arm.
That was…three months ago.
Apparently that night, at some point, Ashley had called 911. I don’t remember any of that, the police, the ambulance, the paramedics, nothing. I can’t imagine what they thought when they walked into that house. When they saw Charlie.
When they found Peter, still screaming.
Recovering from that night hasn’t been easy, both mentally and physically. I’m doing physical therapy, each day a painful reminder of the horror I’ve seen. Ashley is doing better, but I know there are parts of her that will never heal. Going through something like that at such a young age opens bloody wounds that will never close.
I was questioned about the events that night. Over and over again I was questioned…
No one really believes me, no one really understands what we’ve been through. No one believes in the possibility of horrors from another plane of existence splicing into our world. After all, there was no evidence of them, besides the wreckage of the house. Their bodies just…evaporated back into that fucking tower. And then the tower evaporated into the night sky.
They didn’t completely discredit my story though.
Apparently, others had seen the two silver pillars rising into the sky.
They’re calling it a Chrome Sunset, a never before seen natural phenomenon.
They don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about.
But I believe, that deep down, they know I’m telling the truth. They know that something inhuman invaded our little house in the country. They know because they won’t let me see Peter.
I don’t know where they took him, what has happened to him, but I bet you he’s still screaming around that mass of machinery.
It doesn’t matter. None of it does.
You see…I think I know what those monsters did to my dear nephew.
And if I’m right, we’re all fucked.
Because I think they created a living, breathing, tracking device.
I think they marked him so they know where to come back to.