News Report 1991

Story written by markdali on Thursday 23, April 2020

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A short story describing an 'invasion' of what people presume are aliens. This is the unedited version, i just have the bulk of the story here.

Overall Rating: Not Rated

This writing has not yet been rated and therefore this information is not yet available.
It was obvious that there was something quite seriously wrong by the manor of how the anchorman conducted his report - so unprofessional looking and with a direct look of concern on his face, he toyed with his microphone to get a better sound quality. There was no well-presented news team like there usually is. Just one man glaring into the camera - so much so that it felt like he was talking to me personally and only me. Very blunt and to the point, he addressed the audience watching at home; "Ladies and gentlemen, there's no other way to say this other than as straight as I can be. You might have noticed my broadcasting partner isn't present, as is most of the studio staff... We are only still here ourselves to get this broadcast out to you all at home. Go to your family, loved ones and friends, and be with them. Remain in your homes for the foreseeable future. I cannot express enough just how..." Interrupted by what must have been another news crew member shouting something inaudible, the anchorman jumps from his seat and runs around the table, just leaving the viewers the image of an empty table with a video playing on a loop reading 'Your go-to news channel'. It took a good 20 seconds of blank staring at this on repeat before I finally looked around at Lynn - to find her staring back at me with the same confused, facial expression I imagine myself to have had. I almost want to laugh at just how silent everything was but stopped myself from doing so. Deeming it to be a prank, Lynn scoffs and goes back to reading her magazine, looking up at the television set every couple of seconds to check if anything has altered. Out of curiosity, I pick up the remote to see what's on the other 3 channels; An old John Wayne movie. A pre-recorded antique show. Static. The only thing concerning is that the channel that is just showing static is supposed to be live news too, your alternative choice of news if you like - and that's not showing anything either. I walk through the room towards the back door with a pace to indicate I'm rushing. The street we live on is like what you'd see on a classic TV soap, if you want news or gossip, you shout over your wall and usually, they'll give you more information than you could get anywhere else. I hoist myself up to peer over the tall wall to see if Audrey or Jack are in the yard as they usually are. There's no one there but a discarded book is on the bench along with a pair of glasses and a half-full mug of tea. As the back door is slightly ajar, I presume they're in so I invite myself round. I knock out of politeness but loud enough so they hear me. I call their names out loud as I'm careful where to tread my feet. - they're a lovely old couple but they aren't the most hygienic of people. I try avoiding any contact with any loose items scattered around the kitchen floor as I call their name once again. Still no answer. I stand still and refrain myself from breathing so heavily to listen out for any movement going on upstairs. The only thing braking this situation being in complete silence is the grandfather clock ticking away next to the entrance to the basement. The house is no more of a mess than what it usually is, but items are in positions that give a sense of an urgent or a premature leave - like the discarded mug and glasses. The house is definitely empty and looks to have been for a few hours - judging from just how still everything is. Walking into the living room, I push my hand against the white and patterned dolly cloth looking curtain to clearly see outside. It's midday but it looks like dusk. The sky is forming a dark blue, almost purple colour at a rapid pace. People from the avenues are gathering in the street talking to each other and pointing up at the sky. Instead of heading back the way I came through my house, I open their front door to join the curious bystanders, taking a look back to see Lynn now staring through our window. Upon walking towards the center of the cobbled road, I hear snippets of conversation from groups of people - all making no sense. I stand alone in the center with my head tilted back studying what formation the sky is taking. It's happening so quickly that you can visibly see the sky changing colour and what looks like smog making its way across the (what was) a sunny day. The people on the street appear to be turning a darker shade as the sun is prevented from giving us any brightness. The sky is a deep purple colour that has black lines soaring round and round, forming a spiral that begins to fall towards the ground - not at a fast pace but quick enough to notice the descent. For the minute or so it took the smog to fall to the ground that looked about half a mile away - there was complete silence amongst us spectators - all frozen solid to the cobbles and staring in the same direction in almost entire darkness. I wait for some sort of noise to occur from even that distance away, although it seems to remain silent, the smog continues to spiral and I'm yet to hear anyone shouting or even to break the silence. I turn back to face my house briefly and can just about see see Lynn through the window as she's now forced to switch the room light on. There is now no natural light reflecting from the ground, just from whatever bulbs people have glowing from their houses. Lynn is mouthing something to me through the window, telling me to come inside. I skip towards my door as the darkness is smothering everything in it's path and very soon, it will be pitch black. "Audrey's just rung..." Lynn tuts as she says this with a grin spreading over her face. "They got a call from their daughter a couple of hours ago... The one that moved down south and she told them about what was happening to the sky there and mentioned some sort of gas being around afterward... So anyway, they've taken off a few hours ago and are now telling us that this 'storm' has come from down south and we should get away whilst we can and sorry they didn't tell us sooner, but you know what they're like... What they believe in... They think this is judgment day." Lynn laughs her way through saying this as Audrey and Jack are deeply religious and would believe that could well happen. After telling me this and joking around, she opens the door to talk to one of the neighbors that have remained still in the street. I replay the news report in my head and flick back to the channel to check for updates - still just a shot of the table and no one in sight. Whatever the 'gas' is that's looming over us, I don't want myself or more so - Lynn to inhale anything that could well be toxic. The thought worries me so much as Lynn is carrying our baby - I open the door but to my surprise, before I even see her, she bursts in the house, slamming the door against the wall. She's taken hold of Deborah's wrist from across the street. "Shut it! Shut the door!!" As she shouts, I glance outside to witness the area across the street is dimly lit for a split second before a spiral of the purple haze collides with the ground. The smog disperses instantly in every direction. I must have slammed the door just in time as I flick the latch and run around the house checking the windows are all shut and sealed. Deborah and Lynn stay close to the kitchen as far back from the front door as you physically can be. Once the windows of the entire house are all secure, I peer out of the glass, taking a step back but just enough to see what's happening outside. Being too misty to see anything, I hurry back downstairs to ask if either Lynn or Deborah have seen anything. I wish I could have thought of something to say... Something caring, something human, but instead I just froze, we all did. In a shape that resembles a very loose, scattered triangle, we remained as still as we could possibly be - not through choice, through sheer It must have been about a minute or so saying nothing, not moving and looking anywhere except into each other eyes. We all want an answer to the obvious question 'What's happening' but no one knows how to answer it, or to word the question for that matter. I would love to say that I suddenly got my wits about me and turned into a heroic figure and secured my partner and friend's safety, but I didn't. The only thing that broke my statue-like posture was the gentle sound of what sounded like hailstone outside, which urged me to turn my head in the direction of the front window. The haze is slowly dispersing and it's becoming clearer outside. I wouldn't be able to describe anything that's outside, only if it was right there in front of the window - but it was clearing... Slowly. I edged closer to the window as the sound of the hailstones grew louder as they collided against the floor outside, it's either a heavier fall or they're getting bigger. The closer I get to the window, I see a clearer picture of the street. The 'Hailstones' were jet black sphere-like shapes that when they connected with the ground, they shatter and release a lighter fog of purple, just enough to cover from the ground to about a foot above. I hear a whimper from behind me, unable to tell if it came from Lynn or Deborah, I remained focused on the outside window. The collision sound is now being taken over by a 'whirring' and vibration that becomes stronger by the second, to the point where the house felt as if it was shaking. The only thing that entered my head at that moment was to go to the cellar, which neither of us had been in for years. This was the quickest I thought and the fastest I moved in the past few minutes. I ran to the back of the kitchen, throwing anything behind me that's obstructing the cellar door. It's the safest place I can think of, whatever is out there, we're out of sight, out of mind down here - so I presumed. Lynn guarded her pregnant stomach and made her way down the concrete steps first. The sheer cold of the cellar hit us as soon as the door was open. Deborah eased her way in second, jittery and with tears rolling down her face. I take hold of the small dining table we have and drag it towards the cellar door, feeling like I'm running out of time as I feel my heart beating inside my chest. I place the table as close to the entrance as I can and shut the door, not thinking of a way out, just thinking about the best security possible with what we've got. Lynn pulled the light switch down, which flickered a very dimly lit light throughout the small cellar. It's unthought-of how one room could be so cold compared to the rest of the house. The cellar itself is only a small room, with a worktop, an old broken washing machine, and a few old blankets and washing items that have been left there. It's a room that looks like it was being used frequently but very suddenly, stopped - there's a definite 'eerie' feel about this room, that's why we never come down here. Huddling in the center of the room with a few of the old blankets discarded on the side and with patches of mold growing, I now notice how distraught Lynn is. - As stupid as it sounds to say, I didn't give it much thought as to what the future mother of my child was feeling, I was just preoccupied with finding temporary safety. As I watch Lynn tremble with fear as she coils over, holding her stomach I begin to think - not of what we're going to do to make the situation better or to ease her mind, but a sense of dread overcomes me. Have you ever thought, and I mean really thought about what you would do if you thought the world was ending? Those final precious hours with loved ones, wondering what's going to happen when there's no one to give you an answer? Being petrified myself but trying to muster up the courage to get through it for Lynn's sake, I take hold of her, holding her head close into my shoulder. With every weep, I feel her shoulders shake, so I wrap my arms tighter around her, hoping to bring her some sort of comfort. "Everything's going to be OK... It'll be alright..." I say this and as I do I realize it's the first time I've ever outright lied to Lynn. I had no idea what was going to happen as I was just as scared as she was. But for that brief moment of contentment, I thought it would be better to lie for the sake of comfort. I silently reflect back on past decisions of my life, accomplishments, and poor choices as a million thoughts run through my head. My body struggles to cope as I begin to crumble at the thought of this being the end, the end of me, my beautiful partner and unborn child I never had the chance to meet. Petrified to my very core, I walk away from Lynn, mainly to mask the blatant lie I just uttered to her that is wrote all over my face. A very small, probably 2-foot wide window catches my tear-filled eyes in the corner of the room. It's a fixed window that you can't open or close that has stains all over it, you could easily mistake it for a part of the building if you were looking from outside. I swear the most courageous thing I've ever done in my life is to stand on that worktop and peer out of that window. I don't even think Deborah and Lynn acknowledged what I was doing as they clutched onto each other for comfort. There's so much dirt even on the inside of this window that I can only see through a tiny section - but that's enough. I make out the front street, still every so delicately smothered with smog, but I can see clearly enough. The 'whirring' and vibration I felt just a few minutes prior to this had stopped, which I only just noticed. As stupid as it sounds to say - outside 'looked' silent. Like there was no atmosphere, just an empty place with no life and a purple haze going in whichever direction the wind guides it. Thuds are heard very delicate at first - delicate enough to question whether I actually heard them or whether I have just convinced myself I can hear something - when you're that desperate for silence to be broken, it is possible to trick yourself into believing you heard something. I check back on Lynn who is underneath an old duvet, knelt down in the corner. The 'thudding' becomes louder and more distinct. I stable myself on the worktop to avoid falling or creating any unwanted noise and slowly raise myself so I'm eye-level with the window. With the noise growing louder and feeling like it's closer, I hold my breath in preparation for what's about to happen. I think in the darkest hour of someone's life, when they feel in the most danger and when their loved ones are at risk, even the biggest atheist on the planet half believes... - in the hope to bring comfort and peace of mind. Which is why I was silently praying. Through my silent prayers, I leaned to the left to see if I could spot anything. Like nothing I've ever seen before or am likely to again, a figure stood on the cobbled street. The only way I can even begin to think of describing it was like one of the very first deep-sea diving suits, huge helmet with a screen for vision, metallic body like features and boots that looked to be part of the suit itself. Like it was all welded together in one piece, except when it walked, it could bend its knees and elbows as any person could. It looked to be around 9 foot tall and moved so slowly as if it was patrolling for something in particular. My thoughts were hoping it was a contamination suit by someone coming to rescue us or to at least tell us some information. I didn't breathe throughout the entire time I watched this thing walk in front of our window, I just turned to face Deborah who happened to be looking at me and gently whispered 'shh' with my finger over my lips. The being of whatever was in the suit was definitely about 9 feet tall as the closer it got, I could see clearly just the enormity of this thing. Carrying a pole in its left hand that presumably had something connected to it on the other end judging by how horizontal it was kept, it yanked on the pole and made a screeching sound that sounded so high pitched, only dogs could hear it. Upon doing this, it was revealed that the other end of the pole was indeed connected to something - a human being. Or should I say, it very much so resembled a human being, but surely they could not withstand whatever gasses are out there? The closer the two got, the clearer the image was to see. All aspects of fear had been replaced with curiosity and an adventurous mind as I didn't even want to blink, missing a millisecond of what's in front of me. I alter my stance to avoid being spotted and continue to watch closely what's happening. Now I can see in plain sight through a small, clean part of the window, I can see the 'diving suit' is more mechanical than what I first presumed. Not as stiff and hard to maneuver around as it once looked. There are lights flashing around the neckpiece that must be indicating some sort of signal. A huge, monstrous-looking machine connected through a pole to a regular human, as if the machine is walking the human-like you would walk a dog. Once the machine had passed, I eagerly waited in anticipation for the image of what this human form looked like. I hear scuffles on the floor outside as it makes its way closer to my sights. It's an old woman - or more descriptive, a young woman that looks to have been 'drained' of any life left in her. She doesn't look like she's aged naturally, it's like when you see the effects of a certain drug taken by an addict on a person, she looked wiped out completely. Her face looked drawn out like it had lost all colour, almost a creamy, waxy, white colour. Her skin hung down below her jawline and was so skinny she looked like she had been starved for weeks. A few strands of red hair covered the left side of her face as the rest of her head was bald, revealing what looked like burns on her scalp. As she passes, I notice her spine, you can see every lump of bone down her spine as she's so skinny that her skin looks tight to her body. Wearing only what could be described as a piece of material around her waist to cover her bottom half, she drags her feet along the floor, creating that 'scuffling' noise. There is a mask tied to her face covering her nose and mouth which I presume is an oxygen flow. Right outside where the window is I'm spying through, this woman stumbles to her knees, at such a force that she bounces to her hands and knees through exhaustion. She lets out a groan in pain so loud that I can hear it through the breathing apparatus and through the window. I can hear nothing but pain and suffering in her groans. Like someone is exhausted and delicate. The mechanical beast that's attached to her pauses as if to give her a moment to recover. In this brief moment, the suffering woman looks directly at me. It's a small and dirt covered window she can see, but being this close to it herself, she must see my eyes from inside. We lock eyes that cause me once again to freeze. A small but certain feeling of concern takes over as I glare into her tortured eyes and for a moment it looks like she's trying to send a message across to me. These few seconds of potentially the first communication with what's typically deemed as an extraterrestrial are precious and I treasure them deeply. That is, of course until we are interrupted by her moaning and screaming in agony, crippled by pain as she leans back on her knees writhing and shaking with uncontrollable pain. More welts and burn marks appear over her body as this torture is suddenly cut short. Now rising to her feet once again, she fails to look me in the eye again as she just did, instead, she limps and hobbles her way in the direction of the machine that has hold of her. I thought it was a pole attached to some sort of wire or rope wrapped around her body, but it's revealed that the end of the pole is quite literally embedded into the center of her spine. Just for a brief moment, I notice electricity bolts circulating through the pole and down into the 'claw legs' that stem from the bottom of the pole, digging their way into her back. They look to be wrapping around her spine on the inside too. A way of preventing any escape from the beast. I shudder at the thought of being restrained by my spine bones as I look behind me to step down from the worktop. I notice Lynn and Deborah aren't behind me - I have no idea where they are, I didn't hear them exit. I once again turn forward to steady myself against the wall when the machine controlling the woman outside has its sights through my window. Not from across the Street and could be mistakenly looking for me, directly through my window from a few inches away. Knelt on its knees to get a better glance at me. I get a clear image of it's mask before throwing myself back out of fear and colliding with the ground. I vaguely remember my vision being blurred as I stared at the ceiling before shutting my eyes, feeling like my body was shutting down. Partially due to my head hitting the hard surface of the floor but the stare I'm receiving from the beast outside feel hypnotic. As if it's sending me into a deep, dark trace and there's nothing I can do about it. The intimidating and stunning glare from the beast stayed with me for quite a while after - like the image had been printed on my mind. Cold, round bulging red eyes with white spots where the pupils should be. I could only see them through whatever protection was around its face - but I got a clear enough view. I don't know how long I was out for. It could have been seconds or it could have been an hour. I woke up dazed and confused - but more so, scared stiff and panicking where Lynn was. The window was clear or anything I had previously seen, no smog, hailstones like rocks hitting the ground, and no mechanical beasts. Rolling over to my stomach and stumble my way onto my feet, stabling myself with the worktop. A few seconds pass of finding my balance before I feel safe to drag my aching carcass to the stairs of the cellar. I tread carefully as I feel uneasy but eventually finding my way around the room and find a way of climbing on all fours up the stairs - as a toddler would. I hear the soothing voice of Lynn coming from the kitchen - a sense of relief overcomes me as I know she's safe. I crawl out of the cellar entrance completely to make sure it's her and not rather just that I so badly wished it was her voice. I see her leaned against the wall with the phone to her ear, toying with the cable attached. "No, no, don't come round honestly. We've been advised to leave him but keep checking on him. I've only just left him to phone you. He's... Oh hang on I'll call you back..." Lynn rushes over to me and assists me to my feet, guiding me to the sofa where she lays me down, supporting my head with numerous cushions. In my confused state, I attempt to ask a hundred questions all at once, stuttering, and not making any sense. I knew what I wanted to say, but couldn't get the words in the right order - talking jibberish. Calming me down the more frustrated I grow with myself, Lynn takes hold of my hand, exhales deeply and begins to speak; "You fell off the worktop, hitting your head on the floor. You're a little confused and shouldn't be walking just yet. Take it easy. I know we were all scared, fearing what was happening at the time - but it all dispersed, all the smog and hailstones just dispersed into the air... Look, look outside - it's a clear day!" I gently turn my head to face the window to see a sky no cloudier than normal and the air is clear. I begin to mouth something; "Shh. Just rest. Honestly, you hit your head quite hard against the floor and was out cold for a while. Spalder called round from across the street to see if anything was the matter with you. You just knocked yourself out. You won't remember but you've been in and out of consciousness for a while. That's why we put pillows and blankets under your head after you had fallen." I don't recall any pillows as I stumbled back to my feet, but I take her word for it as I run my fingers through my hair at the back of my head. They're stained r deep red colour that resembles dried blood. I must have been there a while. I begin to speak but am once again, cut off by Lynn; "The sky was apparently a drastic change in weather. It was on the radio. It came from the south and worked its way up here apparently. It came back to normal shortly after you fell. I tried calling Audrey to tell her and Jack not to panic - it's not 'Judgement day' ha-ha! It's silly of us all to be so scared really, once we knew you were OK, we've all been laughing about it how we jumped into the cellar! Ha-ha!" Lynn's smile usually has a contagious effect on anyone who sees it, a smile that shows her white teeth and shows off her dimples at the same time - but I'm not smiling, far from smiling. I struggle to comprehend everything I've just heard in the past 90 seconds. Rising to my feet, much more sturdy now, I walk to the door and am hesitant to open it. "Ohhh... Look, I'll show you! I'll open the door then if you don't believe me!" Lynn says in a sarcastic and short-tempered tone - this is borderline patronizing after what we've all just been through. I toy with the idea of telling her what I saw through the window but decide against it. I mean, in what way could I say that is possibly be believable? Especially in my confused state of mind, I'd be laughed at and ridiculed when not taken seriously. Being extra cautious as I step outside, I hold the gate at the front of the yard. Nicholas Parker is sat in his yard across the cobbles reading a paper. "Ohh you look miles better boy! Feeling OK?!" He cheerfully asks me, in which instead of verbally replying, I just nod my head in agreement before looking up at the sky. "Drastic change of weather! Some storm that! I'll remember that anyway!" He leans forward to tell me about the weather, then in a very dismissive manner, leans back into his chair and shakes his paper as he says he'll remember the storm - not even looking in my direction. The rest of the day flew by, dosing in and out of sleep and constantly feeling off balance, I didn't do much in the afternoon and surprisingly enough, decided to keep my mouth shut. The very next day I wake up with a sore head but feeling fine. I hurry downstairs to see if there's any follow up on yesterday's events. Eagerly waiting for the news to come on for the first time in my life, I sit in my dressing gown, perched on the end of the armchair. To my surprise, it's a different news anchor than the one who's always on, not the one that delivered the speech yesterday about running to your families; Nothing. Absolutely nothing is mentioned about yesterday. Not even some half-assed lie about what the 'storm' was. It's as if they were embarrassed by the way the anchor conducted yesterday's report - like we were all fools jumping to conclusions about the 'unknown'. I glare outside my window to see children playing in the street, people stood laughing and joking on street corners as if nothing has happened. They carry on as normal. These people have been force-fed some very quick, dismissive story about what's happened - and they're happy to eat it all up. These people, Lynn included, believe every word they are told if it doesn't interfere with their very sheltered, bubble wrapped lives. I become frustrated and angry but realize I can't go out preaching about what I saw. What annoys me is they're happy to be the sheep, not thinking for themselves, not asking questions, and demanding answers. Things like that aren't just a 'change of weather' it can't be. The more I look outside at these people enjoying themselves and living their life, the angrier I become. I toy with the idea of telling Lynn for a good 20 minutes or so, but once again, decide against it and come to the conclusion that ultimately, people are happy to believe and go along with anything they are told, as long as it fits their agenda. Just because people can't comprehend something they don't understand, they link it to something they do understand, rather than admitting their fear of the unknown.

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    A good story, but could do with a proof-read, there are quite a few spelling and grammar mistakes in there, you also switch between past and present tense a few times, accidentally I think. I liked a lot of the imagery though, and your descriptions of the mechanical beast and the woman he was leading were really good. Like I said, an interesting story, and I'd like to read more of it if you continue, just iron out some of the errors.
    Indecent hit the errors, so I will not dwell on them.

    Now, you do have a good plot. What you need is a good, hard proofread and edit.

    Also, I would break this into two, maybe three chapters. There are natural breaks in here which would make it flow more smoothly.