01 Feb The emergency alerts on the radio don’t make sense Parts 1 & 2
“The storm is getting worse. Do not go outside under any circumstances. If you need assistance, dial 911.”
I plopped down on the couch with a bottle of wine. “We certainly picked the right time for a honeymoon, huh? We’re going to be snowed in for days.”
“I don’t mind,” Daniel said, with a wink.
“No, seriously! I picked this cabin for the view. Pines for miles, with herds of deer and wild turkey. Now it’s just – this.” I gestured to the window. It was all white, save for the fuzzy gray outline of a few trees.
“Come on, it’ll be a funny story to tell our –”
A sharp crackle of static on the radio, followed by the announcer’s hurried voice –
“Close all curtains and blinds. I repeat, close all curtains and blinds.”
I shot a glance at Daniel. He shrugged back.
“If you have any windows without blinds – including cellar windows, glass insets on front doors, and mail slots – cover them with a sheet.”
“I bet it’s because of snow blindness,” Daniel said, pouring himself a glass. “You know, they don’t want anyone looking out their window, and getting blinded by the sun reflecting off the snow.” He stood up, and slowly lowered the blinds, until we were left in shadowy darkness.
“I’ll get the lights,” I said, standing up.
“The power’s out?!” I yelled. “No wonder it’s so cold in here! And how are we supposed to watch Game of Thrones? Or charge our phones? Or –”
“Rebecca, it’s okay. Here, sit, and drink the rest of your wine. I’m going to find some matches; then I’m going to chuck that stupid radio out into the snow, and we’re going to sit in front of a roaring fire. Okay?”
He disappeared into the kitchen.
The light through the blinds was fading, now, and the room was steadily getting colder. The wooden bear in the corner – that I thought was cute and rustic, when we arrived – looked ready to attack us. And the antlers hanging from the walls looked no better than sharpened spikes, ready to impale anyone who dared to walk by. “Hurry back,” I called, pulling the blanket up to my neck. “It’s cold without you here.”
“One final warning.” The announcer’s voice came over the radio, muddied with static. “Do not go outside – do not open the door – no matter what you hear. And don’t –”
I grabbed the radio, shook it, and sighed. “The reception’s gone!”
“Good!” he called back. “And I think I found some matches!”
I clicked the dial forward.
A cheery voice came on, clear as day.
“We are handing out free supplies at the edge of the forest on Maple Street – bottled water, canned food, blankets, and battery packs.”
Daniel rushed back in with the matches, looking confused. “Wait – I thought they said –”
I turned up the volume.
“Come out and get yours as soon as you can – there is limited supply.”
Update: I will post an extended update tomorrow or Wednesday. For now, we’re okay and I’m trying to conserve my phone battery.
The firelight flickered across the cabin. The shadows jittered and jumped, as if they were alive. The chill settled in, and I pulled the blanket tightly around me.
“So every phone number goes to voicemail. Including my mom’s, and she always wants to talk to me.” I swirled the dregs of wine in my glass. “And there’s no mention of anything on the news. Where does that leave us?”
“Stranded?” Daniel said, with a dry laugh. “Dead?”
“Kidding, kidding! Here, let me see if I can’t find anything online about it.” He pulled out his phone; the blue glow contrasted sharply with the fire. “Instead of looking on news sites, I’m going to just Google with wild abandon. Let’s see… ‘Minnesota’… ‘radio broadcast’… ‘put sheets over windows’… ugh, page loading, we’re down to 3G.”
The fire crackled and hissed.
“Aha!” he said, thrusting the phone in my face. I took it and began reading.
Hey, anybody in C___, Minnesota? We just got a really weird radio broadcast. They told us to lock up and shut our blinds, but now other broadcasts are saying to come out and get supplies on Maple Street. Anyone know what this is about?
The second one’s fake. It’s been playing on repeat, on every local station in range, for the past six hours.
Guys, I did a lot of research, and a similar thing happened back in the ‘70s. YOU WILL BE OKAY, if you follow these rules:
Don’t look at them. Don’t let them see you.
Even if you’re camping in a tent, or sleeping in your car, you can survive. Just be sure to cover any windows and apertures with something opaque.
Keep all pets (and other animals, even livestock) inside. Don’t put out the garbage. Don’t light a fire. They can smell from miles away.
Daniel and I looked at each other –
And then at the roaring fire.
I jolted awake.
The blanket was tangled around my feet. My neck ached, and my hands were cold as ice. The cabin was pitch-black now, save for the dying embers in the fireplace.
He only snored in response.
“Did you hear that?”
“Probably just a branch, or something. Don’t worry about it.”
Thud! Thud, thud, thud!
The thuds echoed across the cabin, coming from every direction – even the roof. Daniel jolted awake, threw on his glasses, and sprung off the sofa.
“What in the hell –”
A sharp knock at the door.
“Don’t answer it,” Daniel whispered, standing between me and the door.
“Of course I’m not answering –”
“Hey, open up!”
A man’s voice, loud and clear through the silence of the blizzard, called through the door.
“Police! Open up!”
Daniel hesitantly stepped towards the door. “What are you doing?!” I hissed.
“It’s the police, Rebecca.”
“It’s a trap!” I leapt up and chased after him, as he slowly walked down the hall – away from the fire, away from the warmth. “They said don’t open the door for any reason, remember?!”
He stood in front of the door, frozen.
A shadow fell across the sheet we had pinned to the door. At a first glance, it looked like the silhouette of a normal person – a normal policeman. But the longer I stared at it, the stranger it looked. The neck was just a hair too short, the legs too long; and the head was cocked at an unnatural angle. “It’s the police! Open up right now!” he boomed.
“We have to let him in,” Daniel said, staring at the covered window.
At the corner of the window, where part of the sheet had come undone.
I darted in front of him. “Do not open the door, Daniel! It’s not the police! It’s them – whatever they are!”
“Rebecca, it’s the police!”
He darted his hand under my arm, past my waist –
And yanked the door open.
“No!” I screamed.
For a moment, time froze.
The silence of the blizzard filled the cabin. Wayward flakes floated in, landing softly on the wooden floor. Daniel stood still as a statue, right on the threshold, gazing into the storm.
But my mind was racing. He let them in. There’s no coming back from this, no way to save us now. We’re going to die, right here, before our marriage has even begun.
But then I realized what I had to do.
I leapt up, and in one, violent motion –
Smacked the glasses right off his face.
As the glasses fell from his face, the scales fell from his eyes. His placid expression was now cut with terror. He grabbed the edge of the door, and with all his might, pushed it shut.
Or tried to.
“Shut it! Shut it!” I screamed.
“I can’t!” he yelled back. “It’s pushing back – I’m not strong enough –”
The sound of breaking glass, from deep inside the cabin.
“It’s too late!” I screamed, tugging at his arm. “They’re inside!”
“Close your eyes!” he yelled.
“What are you doing?!”
“Just trust me!”
Creeaaak! Thump, thump, thump!
I heard the door fly open – and the sound of rapid, heavy footsteps.
Daniel grabbed my wrist and yanked me forward. I felt the wooden bear poke at me, the antlers scrape against me, and various other obstacles bump against me.
Some of them felt uncomfortably warm.
The jingle of keys.
And then I was yanked out into the cold. The flakes stung my face; my ankles burned in the snow. I stumbled through it, crying and terrified; but pushed forward, until I felt the familiar leather seats under my hands.
“I got you,” Daniel said, hoisting me into the car.
The engine rumbled underneath me. The car jerked forward, and then swerved unto the road. “Good thing we have four-wheel-drive,” he said. “Oh, and you can open your eyes now.”
“But – won’t I see them?”
“I don’t see any on the road,” he said.
I opened my eyes.
The scene wasn’t much different from the dark of my eyelids, save for the headlights. The night was pitch black, only broken by the white of the headlights. Black trees flanked the road, stretching up towards the starless sky. And a myriad of snowflakes glittered in the light, hovering in the branches, as if miraculously suspended in mid-air.
No – not snowflakes.
Hundreds of eyes, watching us from the treetops.