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Rated: E · Short Story · Contest · #2145198
Some things are too hard to believe

An Overactive Imagination

We all know people that latch onto the craziest explanations when they come across things they just don't understand. You know the people. They spend too much time on the internet digesting conspiracy theories. Not that there's anything wrong with that but sometimes it can be taken too far.

Well, Willy was one of those. Just as an example, when the country got locked down with freezing temperatures a couple of weeks ago, he claimed is was due to a pole shift. Sometimes I've just got to ignore him or I'll explode.

I lived just on the outside of town in an old two storey farm house where Willy rented a room from me. We worked together in town and this evening I was giving him a ride home after work. It was freezing out and the heater in my old truck was struggling to keep the cold at bay. I rubbed my hands together, blew on them and then reached forward to wipe the windscreen. It was hard to see.

"It's cold, isn't it Andy?"

"Yup," I said. "But it's just weather. It'll get better."

"I wouldn't be so sure. Things are sure changing: all those earthquakes, the bird and fish kills, now this weather. It's signs of Nabiru getting closer..."

I just couldn't listen anymore and started to think again about what was in the 'real' news. Tensions were growing overseas. It was scary and pundits were saying things were coming to a head. It's the closest we've ever been to a nuclear war...

I sat forward seeing some strange lights in the sky.

"What the heck...," I said, wiping at the windscreen.

Willy rubbed the window and put his face to it.

"Do you see that, Andy?"

The cab was lit up with a blinding flash of light. I squinted and pulled over. In the rear-view mirror I could see the skyline towards Amarillo had lit up and then dimmed to a red glow. Only then did I notice how dark it had gotten. We were already outside of town but the orange glow of its lights had vanished.

"What was that, Willy?"

"I know what it could be Andy. It's been coming..."

"Ah, come on. Don't start giving me all that extraterrestrial nonsense."

Willy shook his head. "That an interesting hypothesis, Andy, but it's not what I was going to say. That might have been a nuclear strike."

I was stunned into silence, I figured he was going to utter some wild theory. Instead it sounded like he was actually keeping up with current events. Of course a nuclear strike was also extreme.

I grinned at him. "That's a little far-fetched. It was probably just a melt down at the power plant."

He folded his arms. "Really? Why don't you start the truck?"

I only realised then that the truck wasn't running. In fact all the truck's lights were out. I turned the key in the ignition. Nothing happened.

I sat back, feeling my stomach clinch up. "Holy smokes!"

"Not so far-fetched now, is it?"

"It can't be." I reached into my pocket and pulled out my phone. Willy did the same. Neither would power up.

We sat staring at each other for a while trying to understand what this meant. It was staggering. Willy finally broke the silence.

"I guess we're back in the stone-age, now."

I nodded and then opened the door of the truck. "Come on. We're only a half mile from home. We'll freeze to death here."

The road was dark and empty. It was eerie. This wasn't a busy road, but it was never this quiet. Just before we arrived home we met a couple walking on the road towards us. They were thinly dressed and suffering from the cold.

"Hi," I called out. "You guys must have broken down too."

They stopped in front of us. "Yea. About a mile up the road. We're headed back into town."

I looked back up the road. It was so dark. "There's no power in town and you guys will freeze the way you're dressed." I pointed at my house. "That's where I live. You're welcome to come in and warm up if you want."

They looked at each other and then nodded. The man put out his hand. "I'm Josh and this is my wife, Alice."

We introduced ourselves then went into the house. It was warmer inside but still cold.

I led them into the living room and pointed out the fireplace. "We'll have to heat the house the old fashioned way."

Thankfully, I had a stack of firewood. It wasn't long before I had a fire lit and Alice had heated up some water on it for coffee. It was cosy. The four of us were draped with blankets, sipping our coffee as we sat in front of the fire. Despite what had happened we started to relax.

"This is kind of nice," Willy said. "I'll go out to get some more fuel."

We sat and talked for a while and then I noticed Willy had been gone a long time.

"Where's Willy now?" I said.

I then heard him talking to someone outside. Josh and Alice glanced at each other and then Josh leaned forward.

"You need to be careful who you let in. We saw two hooded people on the road. There was something... creepy ... about them."

We turned when Willy came through the front door followed by a very tall couple in deep hooded cowls.

"Come in," he said. "It's freezing out there. We have a nice fire you can warm up to."

They sat on the couch opposite us and pulled back their hoods. Both were hairless with grey rumpled skin and large black eyes.

My coffee cup slipped from my hands and shattered on the floor. I looked up at Willy who had a smug smile on his face as though to say, "Now who's nuts?"

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