Dan Kelvin lost his father to a sniper in Afghanistan.
Chapter 1 – Nobody Thought About It
The city moved. Hustled. Rushed. Oblivious to the others, also hustling. Daniel Kelvin was among that hustle and bustle. At age seventeen, he was walking home from high school. Snow swirled around him, never landing, always on the move. Just like the city. It was February in Michigan. The cold had forced him to put on a coat. Daniel passed lots of people, none paying attention to him in their rush as he returned to his apartment.
On his way back, he froze as a siren wailed off in the distance. Another siren, this one closer, began its wail about twenty seconds after the first siren. Everyone, including Daniel, began to make their way to the underground shelters. As Daniel followed the crowd, he glanced to where the first siren had sounded. A funnel cloud was already descending. In about ten seconds, it would touch the ground.
Since those creatures had landed almost two years ago, the weather had just been crazy. Random tornadoes would appear, wreck some buildings, then vanish. It could rain for a month on end, flooding everything, then the rain would vanish, leaving its carnage behind. They once had snow in the middle of July, snowing for three days and ended up with two feet of snow when it was all over.
The creatures had been unidentifiable, even after the military shot one of the ships down when it got to San Francisco. Scientists were still trying to figure out what the creatures were and what they had done to the climate. But until they figured that out, they were stuck with this random weather and shelters.
Daniel glanced behind him. He saw four soldiers ushering the crowd into the shelter. Two others were standing at the sides of the entryway, ready to close the gate when everyone was inside. Five seconds later, he was inside with the soldiers rushing in behind him. The gate slammed close and all sirens ceased. Not because the gate blocked them out; it was just a metal, chain-link gate reinforced with titanium alloy. The tornado had touched down. Whenever a disaster was about to occur, the sirens would sound to warn civilians to get to shelter. Once the disaster was happening, there wasn't any need for the sirens to continue sounding so they shut off until it was over. They would sound again with the all-clear signal and life would go back to normal. The wind rattled the gate as the tornado passed quickly overhead. Within two minutes, the sirens sounded with the all-clear, one five-second tone.
The soldiers opened the gate and life returned to normal. Daniel continued his venture to return to his apartment and everyone else continued their activities. Speakers crackled to life as the voice Daniel had grown up hearing began reading casualties from the disaster: three dead, five seriously injured, two buildings damaged. Daniel’s building was not on the list. The voice again reminded them to take shelter as soon as possible after the sirens sounded. The speakers crackled again and fell dead.
Daniel continued his venture home. He got to the building and chose to go up the stairs. The electricity tended to go out at random times and he never wanted to risk getting stuck in an elevator when that happened. He reached his apartment on the fifth floor and pushed a button close to the door. A little camera popped up and scanned Daniel’s face. After confirming it was him, the door clicked open. A little red light on the counter illuminated the apartment, blinking slowly. Daniel sighed and went over to it. A message appeared on the little screen: RESCAN WITHIN TWO DAYS. He groaned. The entry system was great, but sometimes it was a pain. Every two weeks, he had to rescan his face into the system. It required this so it always knew what Daniel looked like so it could let him into the apartment. If he grew a beard, he had to rescan every day. That’s why Daniel liked to shave; he didn’t have to rescan every day.
He sighed and looked around the apartment, not for anything. Then he noticed his mother wasn’t here. She must have gone somewhere; he didn’t know where. Heading to his room, he pulled his augmented reality headset off its charging base. He flicked it on and searched for his mother’s location. As suspected, she was at the store. Flicking the headset off, Daniel laid on his back, trying to keep his eyes open. ‘Tonight is the night,’ he thought. ‘Tonight’s the night I finally tell Mom.’ Even though it was only three in the afternoon, Daniel fell asleep.
* * *
He awoke to sirens; the long, descending tone ripping Daniel from his sleep. He quickly sat up and began to make his way to the door, glancing down at the watch he wore on his left wrist. It was 6:13 pm. He’d slept for three hours.
There was a shelter in the lobby of his apartment complex. He quickly exited the apartment, pulling on his boots, and headed for the stairs. Halfway down, he glanced out a window on the second floor. All he saw were black clouds. He quickened his pace down to the ground floor and headed for the shelter. It was clearly marked with signs pointing to the door that lead down into the shelter. As he went through the doorway, he glanced back. He tended to glace back every time he entered a shelter. He did that because he always knew something wasn’t going to be the same as it was when he entered. Two soldiers came running into the lobby, rushing everyone down into the shelter. But something was off with the way they acted.
The soldiers kept glancing back over their shoulders. Normally, they wouldn’t do that. They would just herd everyone into the shelters and wait for the storms to pass before going about their duties again. But they were constantly looking over their shoulders. Daniel glanced out the front doors only to see what he saw before: black clouds. ‘Maybe it’s they’re first time doing this.’ Daniel thought. He didn’t think anymore of the matter. He moved with the fifty others down into the shelter.