The Day the Lights Went Out free short story
I woke up from a restful sleep. It was then that I realized my digital clock-radio hadn’t gone off and it must be around 9 or 10 in the morning. I glanced over at the clock, but it seemed to be dead. I reached over and tried the radio, but nothing came through, not even static. I got up, looked for my analog watch, and the time said that it was 10:30. Since I was off today, it wasn’t that big of a deal, but it was disconcerting to say the least.
I went into the bathroom, checked the sink and the shower, and saw that they still worked. I took a shower and then got dressed. I went into the kitchen and that was when I noticed that it was eerily quiet. I heard no buzzing of electricity; the refrigerator wasn’t running. I wondered how long my food would stay fresh. In my living room where my computer was, which is usually on standby, was silent. Finding my cell phone, I realized that it too wasn’t working, it was dead. I still had a land line, so I tried that; nothing but silence. Just to make sure I wasn’t dreaming, I went to the bathroom and splashed cold water on my face, and even pinched myself, so I was definitely awake. Since the water still works, I don’t think the water pipes in my house are all that technologically advanced, that is, until I actually run out of water since there would be no electricity to pump the water to my house. I wonder what the outside world looks like?
Stepping outside, the only noises I hear were from the various dogs barking, and the neighbors who are all outside, wondering what to do. It was then that I looked up at the sky…. it was a weird shade of reddish-blue. I thought I’d try to start my car, since it was at least 15 years old, and had only had a little bit of electronics in it. I slowly realized that the starter was probably an electronic piece, and the car probably wouldn’t start. I tried it anyway, and didn’t even hear a clicking sound indicating something was wrong.
My next door neighbor, Dave, came over while I was mulling on what to do next. I walked over to him, and asked, “Do you know what’s going on?”
“I’m not sure. Somebody told me they saw a weird flash in the sky a little after 4 am, and then that’s when everything with electronics quit working. I have a 1964 Mustang, and it works fine, but my current car, that Dodge Challenger over there, won’t start at all. Do you think NASA or the government has anything to do with this?”
“I haven’t the slightest idea,” I responded, “we’re only about 20 miles from Lackland Air Force Base, maybe we should go over there and find out.”
“We can take my car, but it has only half a tank of gas in it. As far as I know, there are no manual gas pumps in this city any longer, so we’ll have to be careful on where we go.” responded Dave.
While walking to his car, we noticed a few teenagers sitting on the sidewalk, acting like the world had come to an end. I guess in their view it would have, they couldn’t play their video games, couldn’t text message on their cells, couldn’t listen to music on their music players, or do everything at once on their Ipads. I guess some of them will just have to learn to talk to each other in person. We got into Dave’s car, he started it up, and we were about to leave the driveway, when a few of the neighbors began approaching. This prompted Dave to floor the accelerator, peeling out onto the street, and we drove off. I looked back, seeing really angry neighbors shouting and shaking their fists at us. I’m just glad Dave had the sense to get out of there quickly.
On our way to Lackland, we saw a few antique cars on the road, a few bicyclists, and some people just walking, all towards the military base. I wasn’t sure what we would find, but I was thinking it may not be good. Did China attack us without warning? Did an EM weapon accidently explode and take out all the electronics? Was it possible that there was an alien invasion? The possibilities were endless, and my imagination fertile, but I wasn’t sure, although we were about to find out. Twenty minutes after we left our neighborhood, we arrived at the gates of Lackland Air Force Base. Something didn’t seem right, and I just couldn’t figure out what it was. However, at the gate, an airman was trying to keep back about a dozen people, who were arguing with him.
I got out of the car, calmly went up to the airman, and asked, “What happened for our electronics to not be working?”
“Sir, as I’ve been trying to tell these people, I don’t know, I know about as much as you. Nobody in command has seen fit to tell me, and with the radio not working, I can’t get any information. You’ll just have to wait here until an officer decides to come out here.”
I was about to protest, but, an explosion rocked the base. A huge fireball appeared which seemed to come from the center of the base. I heard gunfire, apparently our weapons that had no electronics were working, and the gunfire sounded like it was coming closer. The other civilians around me started running away; the airman checked his rifle, making sure it was loaded. Dave and I decided to stay and find out what would happen next. More explosions rocked the base. I noticed that the other military installations around Lackland sounded as if a war was going on. Although all of that was in the background and some miles away, I could still hear it. I saw some Air Force personnel running our way; it appeared to me they were all geared up for a battle. An officer stopped to talk to the airman guard, and it sounded to me like he was telling the airman to fall back. I managed to get the officers’ attention.
“Sir, what’s happening here? Why did our electronics quit working?” I asked.
“A war is what is happening, and they,” the officer pointed in the distance, “are the ones who made our electronics quit working. You need to go with us if you want to live.”
I was going to question who “they” were, when something came screaming out of the sky, hit near us, causing a massive explosion, and the last thing I saw was a shockwave racing towards me. I never did find out who “they” were.