01 Feb New emergency alert system message
Entry: August 16, Tuesday, 2016 M. Callus
I’m writing this from a motel in Redstone, CO. I’ve been in the same room for the past three days and have only left to get snacks and bottled water. There haven’t been any warnings on the TV yet but I’m waiting. Will there even be warnings this time? Back in Glenwood Springs (where I’m from) it started with the warning—the emergency alert system. You know the sound: the sudden silence then the successive beeps followed by that flatline tone. When I heard the beeping and screeching I assumed it wasn’t anything to worry about, at most a weather advisory. But how do you react when this comes up:
EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM
ISSUED AN EMERGENCY ACTION NOTIFICATION
1 MILE DISTANCE FROM
INTERSECTION I-70 AND ROUTE 82
= 3 MINUTES PREPARATION
LOCATE CLOSEST RELATIONS
GRASP HANDS AND SIT WHERE YOU ARE
CLOSE YOUR EYES AND DO NOT SPEAK
DO NOT SPEAK
DO NOT OPEN YOUR EYES
IGNORE ALL SOUNDS, DO NOT REACT TO TOUCH
FAILURE TO FOLLOW CAUTIONARY MEASURES WILL RESULT IN DETECTION
WARNING WILL BE LIFTED AT SOUND OF FOUR
SHORT BEEPS FOLLOWED BY ONE EXTENDED
I want you to see this before going into the rest because if you do see it—and I hope you never do—then know that all you can do is take care of yourself. You’ll want to help your parents or siblings or partners. But you can’t. Please let me share this with you, as crazy at it might sound, it might help you.
I lived with my mom in small ranch house that sat close to the road just outside of town on Highway 6. The sun had just gone down and the sky still had errant remnants of fading colors. The sliding door leading to the small backyard was open and there was barely a breeze coming through. It had been a beautiful night disturbed only by heavy and sporadic traffic. I didn’t pay a lot of attention to it at the time but it sounded like semis were making their way into town then back out again.
Mom was in the kitchen waiting for water to boil for tea as she went through her cell phone, which was charging in a nearby outlet. Lynn, my best friend, had stepped into the bathroom and I was relaxed on the couch watching something.
It happened right then: a sound from the distance so potent and full of force it started as a rumble in my chest before I even heard it. The vibrations rolled through me and before I could react I heard a sound blasting in the distance. It was like a sub-audible rumble followed a muffled explosion, ending in what sounded like the last bits of water going down a recently-unclogged drain.
I froze and looked back at my mom.
“I heard it too,” She was wide-eyed. The steam was just beginning to shoot from the kettle’s spout.
I heard the bathroom door shut and Lynn came back stopping at the couch.
“Did you hear that?” Her hand was resting on her chest.
“Yeah, and felt it.” I look at the open sliding door. “What do you thi—’’
My phone went off, my mom’s phone went off, the kettle reached its piercing shriek and she removed it from the stove. The TV went blank and began to buzz loudly.
We read the message. I looked to my friend, my mom, I saw their mouths forming the words, “…grasp hands…do not speak…”
The wind picked up and night air spilled into the house. The smell was intermingled with ozone and decay. My mom went to the door and closed it. The lights went out. I saw dark shapes charging past the house out of town with strange blue-green lights emanating from their eyes. Lynn screamed but covered her mouth instantly. My stomach dropped three inches into my hips.
Despite all of this it was eerily silent outside. Aside from the wind pounding against the house there were no screams, no frantic tires peeling down driveways. When Lynn grabbed my hand I almost jumped. My mom sat next to me and three of us eased onto the couch in the dark.
Lynn whispered into the inky black, “Is this for real? It’s like some bizarre test or practical joke.”
I felt their hands in mine and knew that on some level we realized it wasn’t a joke. The wind continued but through it I heard something else. It was the sound of a crowd talking but it sounded like they were all speaking in whispers. I had this feeling of being far from them but that I was drawing closer every second because the cacophony of voices became larger but no more intelligible.
“I think we should do like the warning said. At least until we hear the all clear,” I said to both of them. They both agreed in small voices and I could only assume they were closing their eyes like I had done.
I have no idea how long we sat there. The sound of voices grew but dissipated slightly as if scattered by the gusts outside. Still I heard no human voices outside. No boots pounding on the road or the sound of engines.
Then a few things happened almost at once. I felt a few puffs of cold air came from the left then the right moving across my face and tossing my hair, whispers were carried on them but I only caught snippets:
“…where is she?” “That nasty fucker, he’s next…” Some crying and sniffling. It sounded like it was coming from a child. “Time, more time.”
My mom’s hand clenched in mine. It was dry but the way in which she held it felt different. The fingers moved one by one in succession, the thumb rubbing the top of my hand. It felt so familiar and though I can admit now that I realized right then why I remembered that touch, I couldn’t in the moment.
I heard the sharp intake of breath, followed by a slow, rattling exhale. It made my blood run with ice. It sounded final. Mom’s voice came out dry, papery, and tired, “I’ve missed you. But you’ve gotta get outta here, Bub. They’re frenzied and craving life again…it’s a thirst you can’t imagine.” This was said urgently, sadly. “Please, sweety, get in the car and go.” It sounded so strained, so worried.
My mind was racing and Lynn’s hand was beyond sweaty. She had heard it too. I knew the voice and I knew I trusted it. But the warning…? As I was trying to think of where the car keys were Lynn’s hand clenched in mine, painfully hard. She convulsed on the couch and cried out. I couldn’t help myself and I looked over at her. When I opened my eyes I found her face four inches from my with her eyes closed breathing heavily through her nose.
“Lynn…?” I asked in a whisper. “You nasty bitch…it should’ve been you.” Lynn’s voice was hard and cruel. She wretched my arm towards her and my fingers slipped from my mom’s hand. I won’t detail the grappling fight we had, partially because the events of that night were so sudden and confusing I hardly remember specifics.
I left her writhing on the floor, yelling incoherently, and ran to the kitchen grabbing the keys off the key rack and felt my way to the garage door in the darkness. The scratches she gave me hurt, but the tears had fallen from my eyes so the already-dark and confusing world I saw was at least clear, not blurry. I had no idea what the hell was happening and knew that I was in danger merely by moving, breathing heavily and loudly, and for having my eyes open.
Mom’s car rolled onto the street and I went south down 6. The town was dark. The shops were all deserted but maybe people were just sitting and holding hands, eyes closed, waiting. I saw a few people walking slowly in the streets, a few were running, taking clunky uncoordinated steps. The looked confused and some looked angry. As I approached the edges of town I saw a blockade with a small opening in the middle on the road. Men and women in black uniforms and glowing blue-green eyes watched me as I approached. They began to converge on the gap, with strange brass-looking tools in their hands. I began crying as I sped up and surged through them. A few screamed as I almost clipped them with the car. They watched me leave with their strange eyes.
What good is a blockade if they let people through? Did I do something (or not do something) that put them at ease as I drove? Were there others and where did they go? Why were their eyes glowing? I couldn’t shake that they felt like military. But most important of all: what the hell had I experienced? The speed with which these events took place left me dizzy and it took some time for my mind to settle.
So I’ve been sitting in this motel room now wondering all of this and I think I’m starting to put it together. The first piece that came to me was the acceptance that the voice I heard and the touch I felt were my father’s. I didn’t want to believe that because he’s been dead for six years now, a sudden stroke took him as he worked in the garage one morning. He’s the only one who called me Bub.
I’m going to stop here because it’s as far as I’ve gotten. I want to return but I don’t know what I’ll find or even if I’ll be allowed back. There’s been nothing broadcasted on the news.
I appreciate your comments or thoughts.
UPDATE: I’ve been contacted by an EDD official named “Eldridge”. He wants to speak with me about the events of that night. I meet with him tomorrow, hopefully I’ll get some answers to all of this. Stay posted.