That Night

That night as Alicia remembered it had been full of wonders, the weather had been all over the place during the day ending with a full moon on snow that had stuck to the tree trunks reaching into the clear sky. The frosty covering sparkeled under the lunar light and fingers of cloud whisped upwards.

Venus had shown her red glinting presence and though the moon was so bright the landscape fairly crackiled benieth it the stars still showed in stealy brightness.

There had even been a moonbow, magestic in the sky, muted colours blossoming like a special irridescent plant of the dark places, she had watched it all with awe until the cold had driven her in.

Alicia had slept badly that night, so badly. There was a pressure thumping at her head, crushing her temples and the temperature seemed to fluctuate, one minute hot and humid like midsummer in a surna the next cold and brittle. A thrumming had built within her until she could not take it anymore, she had got up to make a cup of tea – none of the lights were working, she’d grabbed her torch, it would not work, she opened her phone to use it’s screen as a poor exuss for a torch but the milky light of the screen was not there. It appeared the battery to that had run out too.

And so she’d sat huddled on the setee until the rose of dawn begain to lighten the sky – and that was when she first saw it. The black lines in the sky, arching above her, seeming to eat the dawn as it passed by. The whole sky criss crossed in an isometric grid. She had choked on her scream.

Thinking herself mad, maybe fevered she hurriedly dressed, still no electricity, the phones were all out, even changing batteries did not help – nothing electric was working.

She had exited the house and stared at the sky alight with green and pink ribbons, her neighbour had been out staring too, ‘it’s the aurora, don’t normally get it down this far! My be alot of electrical stuff going on in the atmosphere.’ She’d nodded and shrugged, tried to take a photograph but the thing wouldn’t switch on. Alicia wondered if the lights were anything to do with that? It was after all an electrical storm was it not?

She shook her head, it was as if the grid was disappearing from view, neither of them mentioned it. The day stretched to full light and it was there, the black grid in the sky and nothing worked, engines would not start, she walked to her sisters who had gas, but the gas plants evidently needed electricity to run. They got one cooked meal and a cup of tea.

Alicia stared at the sky from her sisters window. And frowned. ‘It’s a Faraday cage,’ she whispered though surely that should protect them and allow the electrics to work. Her sister nodded and picked up her sad toddler.

‘There’s a low laying electrical storm this side of it, it’s trapped in here with us.’ they stared at each other and then at the kid.

‘People will start panicking soon,’ Alicia said.

‘I’m amazed they aren’t already. Do you think we could walk to Dad’s?’ Alicia nodded that would be the best place for them, it was 26 miles outside town though and the weather was icy cold though the snow had gone in the night.

Alicia’s brother-in-law entered the room looking pale and shaken his arms loaded with bags of purple bottles, meths Alicia realised and nodded. Their camping stove ran on that didn’t it? They bundled all the food and blankets and tools they could into a small trailer and attached it too a bike. The three kids were bundled up tight and ruck sacks full of more supplies were upon all three adults backs. They would not make the farm by night fall. They had only paused to fill a thermos with hot water.

People were beginning to throng the streets though not really doing anything, just staring at the grid in the sky, the one everyone seemed to notice and then forget. Tension was mounting though, as soon as people realised that the electricity was not going to come back there would be hysteria. She hoped they could protect the farm. If they couldn’t they would all be dead weather by murder or hunger.

Alicia thought of her brother too far away to walk home but did not mention him. They walked and the kids moaned and then a fight broke out behind them with screams and anger and they scooped the kids into a run to get out of town quick. They didn’t dare turn to see what was happening, out in the lanes it was quieter, but there were still people wondering around looking lost, if they didn’t go home they would likely die of exposure.

But they were thinning out and two hours in Alicia poured the first hot drink. The bike could go faster so they sent it on a head. The children had stopped whining and that was a bad sign, it was a long hike. It had begun snowing on night fall obscuring the grid from sight. She ended up dragging her sisters rucksack as she strapped on a child carrier and put the too big for tot within.

The bike returned after a cold eternity and they bundled the kids into the trailer.

‘Hows dad?’ they both asked.

‘He hadn’t even noticed there was no electricity.’

They smiled at each other and the kids were gone. They trugded on through the cold, hoping and fearing and hearing a strange chittering sound that turned the blood cold. Warm food was bought in the trailer and the three of them plodded on with Alicias brother-in-law filling the trailer with snow encrusted wood.

The night fluoresced with neon sky colours and Alicia stared at the grid she could not see but she could see something else. She screamed.

Posted: Friday, January 11th, 2013 @ 9:17 am
Categories: Uncategorized.
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4 Responses to “That Night”

  1. Michelle Says:

    I was really into the sorry and sad when it ended, but that is the world of flash fiction.

  2. Amalia Dillin Says:

    First of all, I LOVE your site design with the giant monster maw.

    Second of all, this has a lot of interesting description! And I love the hint that the father lives without electricity all the time — he comes off as very eccentric and fascinating for a character who never appears in the story itself! Nicely characterized.

  3. mazzz in leeds Says:

    I like the idea of this grid, and the electrical storm trapped inside

  4. admin Says:

    Thankyou guys :) It was my third attempt at writing this weeks Friday Flash the other stories all came out around the 2000 word mark instead :/ Damn NaNoWriMo and it’s large word goals!

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