Shadowed by Darkness By J.E. Davis
Introduction In this world in which we live. We know anything is possible. New things
are invented every day. Are they helping us on our way? Or are they determining our fate? Can we learn from our dreams? Or are they just setting us up for what lies ahead? Just maybe in the right situation, we can learn from our dreams and maybe, just maybe we can change what and how things affect our lives. In this story you will have to decide for yourself, and try to figure out if dreams can tell the future and if they do, can you change the future enough to survive.
Chapter One THE DARK
I wake up to the quietness of my bedroom. There is no noise, no sound. It is as quiet as a tomb. I reach toward the nightstand beside my bed and try to turn on the lamp, but it won’t come on. So I roll out of my bed and put my feet on the floor. I try to stand but my legs are limp and tingling as if they were still asleep, I begin to massage them and finally make it to my feet. I stand up and stumble across the room to the door. As I open the door and reach to my right to flip on the light, I feel a sense of nausea. I flip the switch two or three times, but no light. I think it might be a breaker, so I feel along the wall to my left while I hold on to the frame for stability, till I feel the corner of my dresser. I reach down and pick up my lighter and my cigarettes. I tried my lighter but it won’t spark. So again I am left in the dark. If not for the light of the moon shining through the windows in the hall, I wouldn’t be able to navigate my way through the house. As I walk out of my bedroom and down the hall to the kitchen, I open the fridge and grab a Coke. The light in the fridge is not working either and the drink is warm. I turn and look out the window and the whole neighborhood is dark, not a light in sight, so I am thinking there must be some kind of power outage in the area. As I turn back towards the bedroom, thinking about getting dressed, I notice that I was already dressed but don’t remember doing so. Trying to remember what I was doing, I turn toward the window. I feel an urge and open the back door and I notice something else missing. I pull the door back and forth, and then slam the door, but there it is, a dead sound. I turn and pick up a drinking glass from the counter and drop it in the sink, breaking it into pieces but, again, there is a dead sound. By a dead sound, I mean there is no echo. It is like something cushioned the blow. I scream, I can hear my voice, but still no echo. I think
of splashing water on my face in hopes of waking me up from this dream. After I turn on the faucet, I realize there is no running water, only just a few drops. I grab the soda and twist off the lid but as the seal broke there’s no fizz. I gradually pour it over my head, but evidently I’m not dreaming. I pick up the phone and dial my girlfriend Jen’s number, I put the receiver to my ear, but there is no dial tone, static or anything, I hit the disconnect button and release it and still no dial tone. With the land line out, I pick my cell phone up from the counter and dial the number again; I got a “no network” message. At least the power is working. The only thing I can figure is something must have happened while I was sleeping, which aroused an interesting question. Had we been attacked by another country with some new type of weapon? I open the back door and walk outside. The night air is neither warm nor cold and the wind just seems to be standing still. The moon is full and bright and appears to be about midnight with not a cloud in sight and just like inside the house, there is no noise of any kind. I walk over to my neighbor’s house, I can hear my footsteps on the walkway, but they don’t sound normal. Once I reach the door, I ring the bell,. it doesn’t work. I begin to bang on it, then on the door and then on the windows. But no one answers. I go to every house on my block, beating and banging on the doors, but still no one answers. I could understand one neighbor not being home, but everyone on the block? I know there is definitely something wrong. I stand in front of the last house on my block. After I knock and bang on the doors and windows and not get an answer, I reach down and turn the door knob. The door opens, I gently push it open and stick my head in and yell, “Is there anyone home?” But no one replies. I proceed through the door and find myself standing in the
living room. I try the light switch but the power still isn’t working. I search the entire house, but no one is there. All the beds are made, clothes hanging in the closet, food in all the cabinets, It is immaculate, just like something out of Better Homes and Gardens, or maybe some kind of movie set where people meet but don’t actually live there. I run out of the house and down the street to my house, I pull my car keys out and unlock the car door and get in. I put the key in and try to start the car, but nothing happens. I turn on the headlights, but they don’t work either. Whatever happened to the electricity must have affected the car as well. So I got out in hopes of finding something or someone who could explain what is going on, I decide to walk into town. The walk is about five miles, but alone in the dark without knowing what’s going on seems like an eternity to me. As I walk down the abandoned street towards town, there’s still no sign of life. There are cars parked in driveway’s and on the curb, just like if everyone was at home asleep, which tells me that whatever happened, it caught everyone by surprise. But if everyone’s gone, where did they go? How come I didn’t go? Did they die or just vanish? And why is my phone still working? And the most important questions is by who and why? With all these questions racing through my mind, I get the feeling that I am being followed. I’m catching a glimpse of shadows out of the corner of my eye. I thought at first, it might been the trees. So I stop dead in my tracks and watch the trees for a few moments, as I look around at the bushes and grass. The trees are deathly still and the bushes and grass seem untouched. Still, out of the corner of my eye, I can still see the shadows. So I immediately look up at the night sky. The only thing I can see is the moon, as it seems to laugh at me. Out of fear of being alone, I start towards town. At this point, I am
afraid that I’m the only one left alive. As I enter the edge of town, I can see cars parked on the side of the usually busy street and the diner where my girlfriend and I would eat dinner is completely empty. The other thing that is odd, the doors of the diner, as well as the other buildings, are standing wide open. As I walk in, I notice that there is no odor. Usually you can smell the food or grease the moment you walk in, but there is nothing. I carefully walk behind the counter and open the cooler where they store the leftover food. I pick up a fork and a plate from the counter and take a hamburger patty from the cooler. I cut into it and place a piece in my mouth, but immediately spit it out. It taste like ash. I hold the remaining piece to my nose, but it has no smell. This managed to raise more questions and revealed no answers. As I place the plate on the counter, with the moonlight shinning through the window, I notice a shadow on the wall. I look up and see a hazy figure standing on the sidewalk in front of the diner. I immediately run out to the street to find it completely empty. I run around the corner, but find nothing. “Is there anyone here?” But there is no reply. I shout again, “Can anyone hear me?” but again no reply. At that moment my cell phone vibrates in my pocket. I quickly pull it out and just as I open the phone, it drops the call. I check the call list and find the last incoming call was from Jen. I try to call her back, but the phone displays no network. I try again and receive the same message. Still confused I decide to go about five blocks to her apartment. On the way, I stop by the hardware store, on the block before the complex. I walk into and grope around in the dark, going up and down each aisle until, finally, I find what I’m looking for. On the bottom shelf is a row of flashlights. I pick one up and grab
batteries from the top shelf. After putting them in, I click to switch it on, but still no light. So I try another, and another, but the results are the same. After exhausting all the lights, I walk to the counter. I remember that thereâ€™s a gun under the register, a 357. I pick it and a box of shells up and put them in my pocket. I then walk back out to the street. As I continue on, I keep mumbling to myself trying to figure out all these questions and trying to rationalize the situation to keep my sanity. Once I reach the apartment building, the front door is open. As I walk in, I can hear footsteps on the stairs above. I make a dash for the stairs and run up the first flight before stopping. I am almost out of breath, and then I hear them again on the landing above. I take in a deep breath and take off running up again, but as before I see no one. Maybe I want to see someone so bad that my mind is playing on my desires. I continue down the hallway to her door. I knock but no answer. I turn the door knob and walk in. I look around the apartment, and just as I had found before, the bedâ€™s made, all of her clothes were nicely folded and put away. The kitchen was so clean that you could eat off the floor. It looks just like no one lives here at all. On her nightstand is a picture of us taken at the zoo last week, but everything else of hers is missing. This apartment looks like it was staged for appearances only. To the naked eye it would pass, but for those who know what to look for, they would know that this is just not her apartment. So I turn and walk out the door with even more questions, when I hear voices in the downstairs hallway, instead of running I decide to walk slow and easy toward the stairs. The voices begin to sound louder the closer I get to the stairs. I look over the railing and down the stairs, but canâ€™t see who is talking, so I start down the stairs, trying not to make a sound. Once I reach the second floor
landing, I can see the shadows of two people standing in the downstairs doorway leading out to the street. Again I ease my way down the stairs, trying to be as quiet as possible. Just as I reach the last step before stepping in to the hallway, they turn and walk away. I immediately run for the door and out onto the sidewalk. I catch a glimpse of them walking into the theater next door. I run to the theater and stop to catch my breath. I am bent over with my hands on my knees, breathing so hard that it feels like my heart is going to explode, when I hear a voice so sweet ask, “Are you OK?” I jump so startled at the sound that I can’t speak. Stumbling backwards, I jerk the pistol from my pocket. She leans towards me with a look of concern on her face. “I didn’t mean to startle you,” as she reaches out to steady me with a hand on my arm. She backs up and gives a small chuckle with a grin on her face. I then put my hand on her shoulder to reassure myself she is real, “You look a little shaken up. How about a cup of coffee to help settle your nerves?” I nod in agreement, still unable to speak. She takes the gun from my shaking hand and stows it in her purse. She then claps her arm through mine and leads me down the sidewalk towards the diner. As we walk, she stares at me, “You look so familiar. I know I know you, I just can’t place it.” I stumble along, thinking I would surely remember a pretty girl like her if we had met before. As we enter the diner, she gently guides me to a table, pulls out a chair. “Sit here. I’ll be right back.” She then strolls behind the counter, picks up a coffee pot and pours two cups for us. “How do you like your coffee?” “Just cream.” I reply in a wavering voice. She places the cups on a tray, rounds the counter and calmly walks to the
table. She pulls out the chair opposite me and lowers herself into it. “So are you from around here?” she asks. I nod my head in agreement and explain where I live. “And you? “No, I live on the other side of town,” she replies, turning around and pointing her finger in the opposite direction. “I haven’t lived here long though; my job required me to move here. What about you?” “I was born and raised here. My parents actually owned a farm just outside of town.” I raise my cup, just to be polite but expecting to taste nothing. I take a sip and the coffee is perfect, not too hot, and not too cold. I have to wonder how it is possible.
“Who are you?” “Oh I’m sorry. I’m Jess,” as she sips her coffee quietly. “What are you, some kind of magician?” “What? I don’t think I understand.” “Oh, never mind,” I return, trying to puzzle it out some more. “I’m Will, by the way. Sorry for pulling the gun on you like that. “ ”That’s O.K. I understand. I’ve got to learn not to sneak up on people.”With a small grin, “One of these days, it’s going to be the death of me.” We both have a good laugh at that. My nerves are starting to unravel, and that little joke certainly breaks the tension. Questions are still racing
through my mind, but my problem is where to start without sounding completely crazy. “You are the first person I’ve seen so far tonight.” As she leans in toward me, “I’ve seen a few others over on Elm Street, but I didn’t stop to talk to anyone. But I will admit, there are a lot of strange things happening around here tonight.” “I’ll agree with that!” I chuckle nervously as I stand up and excuse myself. I turn and shuffle awkwardly toward the restroom. As I get to the end of the counter, I turn back and say, “I will be right back. I would like to talk to you some more. Please wait for me.” As she set her coffee cup down on the table, “I’ll be right here when you get back.” As I step into the restroom and shut the door, I am startled by the phone vibrating in my pocket. I slam my hand into my pocket and snatch it out. As the call picks up, I try to hear through the static and make out Jen’s voice on the other end. I keep saying hello, but before she can hear me, the phone drops the call. I immediately hit the redial, but the phone displays no network. I am so confused and pissed off at this phone, I stretch back to slam it into the far wall, stopping only when I realize that it is the only thing that seems to halfway work. A few minutes later, as I’m washing my hands, I think I’ll ask Jess if she has a cell phone. It might actually work, and I can get through to Jen. The bathroom door swings open as I push, and I step back into the hall that leads into the diner proper. At the end of the hall, I round the corner and start to ask, but the table is empty. Jess is nowhere to be seen. After searching the diner completely, I run out the door, into the street. After scanning the area and rounding the corner at the end of the block, I realize Jess is gone.
How could a person just disappear without making a sound? I’ve never been one to believe in aliens, but what if….? So at this point, having thought about going over to Elm Street in hopes of seeing her or maybe someone else, but, I don’t know why I didn’t think of this earlier, I can find out if we’re under attack just by going to work. With all our government contracts, surely the guards will know what’s going on. So I turn and start walking west, down the long dark street, only now realizing just how far the diner is from the office. The moon is shining brightly down the dark, shadowy streets, but I know it should be descending toward the horizon. It has to be after two in the morning, but the moon’s position appears to still be at midnight. As far as I know, there is nothing in this world that can stop time. I keep going over these questions in my mind. Once I reach my office, maybe, just maybe, I’ll finally find some answers. It should have taken me a few hours to get here, but it seems that, after only a few minutes, I’m standing in front of the gate as I pull my badge out. The guard should be coming out of his booth to double check it, but there is no sign of life. Maybe due to some kind of attack, they probably were called inside for protection. So I walk around the arm bar and continue toward the main gate. I notice several cars still in the parking lot to my left and one helicopter still sitting on the pad just inside the fence. It is a Huey 311 gunship, so I know that the usual Army personnel should be here. The only odd thing is that the gate, it is standing wide open with no security in sight. So I proceed to the entrance and its doors operate on a keypad, which should be locked, but like every other door, they are flung wide open. I go down the long hallway to my office and sit down at my desk. I push my mouse to pull up the
screen, but it remains dark. I try the lamp next, and nothing. So I get up and go back out in the hall and proceed to the stairs, leading to the basement. As I walk slowly down, I notice that, while shadowy, it is still light enough to see to find my way. I don’t see any light source, but it seems as if the moon is right here in the room with me. Once down the stairs, I turn and walk steadily toward the generator room. Once inside, I pull the switch to start the generator, but nothing happens. I take a quick look inside the breaker box and the coils, but everything appears in working order. This doesn’t make any sense. This building is lead-lined, which should protect this equipment from an electro-magnetic pulse, which in turn would explain why even the batteries in town have no power. So this tells me that, if we are under attack, it’s not from any human enemy. I figure if there was an attack, there should have been some kind of message sent first, so I walk out of the generator room and back to the stairwell, leading down to the sub-basement. The steps seem to glow slightly as I walk down and into the command center. The place is as quiet as a tomb when there should be background noise going. I cross to the communications desk and look through the papers, but they are all blank. This just confirms that, whatever happened, it caught everybody by surprise. I turn back and start back up the stairs. The strange feeling I have had all night just keeps getting stronger, but I try to ignore it as I start back down the hall. I stop and open the first door on the right and walk in, and to my surprise, it’s completely empty. So I walk out and go across the hall to the next one, but it is empty, as well. So I rush back to my office, only to find it just as I left it. I stare at the furniture, half expecting it to disappear in front of my eyes.
I figure my best bet at this point is to get over to Elm Street and try to find other survivors. Maybe they will know more about what happened. So after the long walk back to town, as I round the corner onto Elm, I stop to look into the local newspaper office. While looking through the window, I see a blurry reflection of someone behind me. “Are you Will?” A voice drifts over my shoulder. I slowly turn and say, “Yeah, and you know me how?” “Thank God! I was beginning to think you were a figment of everyone’s imagination.” He smiles. His eyes are difficult to see for the light reflecting off his glasses. “So you’re not alone?” I say. “No, no, no. There are hundreds of us. We’re just scattered all over town.” I glance around, wondering if anyone else is visible. “So, how do you know me?” “Jess is looking for you, and asking us all to help find you.” “Okay, you found me. Can you take me to her?” I start to relax a little bit. “Sure. She’s at the diner waiting for you.” I think that is a little strange, but turn to go back there. I look back over my shoulder. “Join me for a cup?” “Sure. It’s been awhile sense I have had coffee. I’m Greg, by the way.” “Nice to meet you, Greg. I could really go for the company.” I start walking again, with Greg beside me this time. I have to walk a little slower, allowing Greg to keep up, his cane clicking repeatedly on the sidewalk like a drum for soldiers.
“So what exactly happened?” I glance quickly at his face to see what his reaction is. His lined and wrinkled face goes blank.”I have no idea. When I woke up, things were this way.” He stops me and looks deeply into my eyes.” I was under the impression you would know.” “So pretty much, we’re both in the dark.” With a small chuckle, we continue around the corner to the diner. As we cross the threshold, Jess is sitting at the first table, her flowing auburn hair cascading over her narrow shoulders. Her dark eyes glisten in the moonlight cascading through the window as she looks up at us. To our surprise, there are three cups on the table, as if Greg were also expected. As we sit down, I look over into Jess’s young face,”What happened to you? Where did you go?” “I went into the back to check on something. When I came back out, you were gone.” I hear something outside. I get up easy, trying to be as quiet as possible, tiptoe over to the door. Not seeing anything, I turn to look back at Jess as I lean against the wall. I accidentally turn on the switch, and light floods the room. Staring in shock, I flip the switch off and back on again. The lights turn off and back on like they never stopped working. Cheering coming from the table gets me to look back, and Jess rises and rushes to the pay phone. She lifts the receiver and listens for a dial tone, but hears nothing but silence. I turn and look out the door to see the street lights starting to spread light down Main Street. I look back, “Guys, you’ve got to see this!”
As I stroll out the door, “Come on, guys!” It was almost like being blind, and being able to see things for the first time. As we rejoice in the street, like a group of kids playing in the rain, we had to see if any other shops had power. So we run in and out of different buildings, flipping on switches till every shop on the street was lit up. The huge marquee gave off the most light, and I never realized until now just how big it really is. Then Jess comments that the movie playing, “I Am Legend,” is one she really, really wants to see. I just nod my head in agreement, but “Tonight is not the best night.” Greg starts for the theater, “You got something better to do? We’re not getting any younger!” Jess meets him at the door, dragging me along with her, “It’ll be fun.” “Alright, Alright, I’ll go. But does anyone here know how to run the projector?” Jess turns with a mischievous little smirk on her lips, “I think I can figure it out.” “Good, Will, you can help me get to my seat?” He starts down the aisle, going to about the middle of the rows. As the movie starts, we settle down and give a great big round of applause to Jess.