“The Event” Sci-fi Horror by Kate Bergquist

"The Event" by Kate Bergquist

Maybe it didn’t happen the way you think. That’s what my friend Billy keeps saying, over and over, looking down at me, giving me his nervous, sideways look.

But it did happen. We were both there; we saweverything. I keep trying to tell him but he doesn’t seem to hear me. And for the sake of human race, for the slightest chance of saving the world, I need find a way to remember all of it.  

                                                            #

My stomach still clenches when I think of it.

The Event.

It happened without warning, cloaked in a summer heatwave, each silver-bright day the same as the one before it; it scorched all the lawns orange, turned our gentle curve of Little River into a stony ditch.

 Even the crows complained about the heat, in their funny crow way, making guttural sounds, stamping their clawed feet on the parched grass, demanding the worms stop tunneling so deep; performing their stomping dance to conjure even the thinnest mist of rain.

I’d just turned fifteen that August, still decompressing after a stressful freshman year.

I was tired of being stuck in an air-conditioned house in North Branch, New Hampshire, in a neighborhood that was pretty much what you might expect: several neat rows of nearly-identical houses, most of them split-entry style, built in the late 90’s, planted like well-tended crops on the site of a once-thriving horse farm.

It was the kind of town that gets crazy full of skiers in the winter, with Waterville Valley not far away. It was the kind of town that attracts swarms of people in the fall, all googly-eyed over the foliage even after all the leaves have turned to rust.

In other words, it was a pretty freaking awesome place to live. Far from where anyone expects anything bad to happen.

Especially here, in our little neighborhood, complete with its fiber optic Internet and a million-dollar view. Behind our landscaped yards, above the tree line on a clear day, you can see Mount Washington and most of the Franconia Ridge in the distance. And sometimes, at night, me and Billy watch the stars. And we’ve seen really cool things, too, like the Starlink slipping like a diamond bracelet across the night sky, and other satellites, but we’ve also seen some things we can’t explain. Tiny specks of light that move in impossible directions at unbelievable speeds.  

But it had been something like forever since I’d seen any clear view. With clouds flung like loose bones and teeth across a white canvas for so long, I was beginning to forget what our mountains and sky even looked like.

                                                             #

Everything was silver.

Oh, hell. I just can’t do it today. I’m going back inside.

#

The morning that the whole world changed, it was too hot even for bugs. I was in the backyard doing some chores, soaked in sweat, pulling some dead weeds from the garden, thinking about a ride I’d taken in Manny’s truck not that long ago. I’m trying to remember what day that was, because all the days seemed to blur together lately. And time seems different now; it doesn’t always move in straight lines; it unfurls like a threadbare flag in the hot wind. But this memory is a good one; it has some weight to it. And it feels so recent; it feels like it happened an eyeblink ago.

                                                            #

The sky cracked open like a hollow, dusty skull.

Sorry. That’s all I got right now.

                                                           #

Me and Billy were hanging out at Whistle Rock but on the way back we decided to go a different way home, down an old logging trail that led to Route 11. It was a short-cut of sorts, but it was really steep and dusty with a couple of narrow turns and you even had to clear one sharp elbow at the steepest spot.

And that’s why we liked it.

Right at that spot is where my back tire snared on a chunk of broken glass.  Billy was in front of me; when I yelled to warn him, he slowed down to turn back to look at me, and I drove right into him. Both of us got tangled in the bikes, in the dust. I slammed down pretty hard, with Billy on top of me.

“Shit!”

Billy was quiet. Like he was holding his breath. 

I got off my bike and looked around. We were still a good four miles from home; that was a lot of walking in this heat. 

                                                              #

I saw it first. It was like waking from a dream, and looking up to see two huge blue eyes opening wide. And then those eyes blinked and I saw an old blue truck bearing down on us.

With Manny Fuentes behind the wheel.        

                                                              #

Manny killed the engine and jumped out. “Hey, you guys okay?”

He told us both to get in to his completely restored, aquamarine and white 1966 Ford F100. So cool. I’d never seen a truck like it. He’d even rebuilt the engine himself.

I couldn’t believe our luck. Manny Fuentes, a senior, captain on our football team, and a really great person, a kind person, a guy who would literally give you his shirt if you told him that you needed a shirt; that guy just happened to be driving down this logging road at the exact right moment that we needed him.

What were the chances of that?

I didn’t hesitate to jump up into the cab. But Billy seemed upset all of a sudden, pouting. He hung his head and I could see he was upset. He scuffed his feet against the ground, kicking up a spray of dust. I wasn’t sure why; it was so broiling hot; the two of us couldn’t ride back together on his small bike.

He said he wanted to ride back alone.

Manny wouldn’t hear it. “Easy, Billy, you’ll get heat stroke out here.” He lifted both bikes into the bed, taking such care with them, then got into the driver’s seat and popped the clutch to ease the truck down the twisting mountain road.

                                                              #

I heard something whimper, and it wasn’t a good sound. And Manny wasn’t smiling like he usually did. He turned his head completely around to look back at Billy, No no no!

And out of the corner of my eye, I saw a white tail fly out the cab window with Billy trying to grab it. And then my vision was interrupted, suddenly, by something bright and silver and so high-pitched in frequency! So loud! It was a like an electric bolt to my body.

It threw me flat off my feet.                                                                              

Or as my mom says, it knocked the stuffing right out of you.

The pain was excruciating. From my head right down to my tailbone.

For a moment, it felt like I had lifted right out of my body. I was weightless. Defying the laws of gravity. Then everything went dead quiet.

What happened was this: a ragged slit formed high in the clouds, ripping across the sky like a torn sheet. Then thousands–maybe a million–terrible, dark things tumbled out of the tear, thrumming their silver wings like angry moths, semi-obscured by the clouds.

Some kind of…spaceships!

I froze. My mind tried to reconcile what I was seeing.

I tried to take a photo with my iPhone but I was shaking too much; besides, I knew it would come out looking like an overexposed legion of ants. 

Because what I was seeing was far more sinister.

                                                                          #

Wobbly, I climbed to my feet. The ground wasn’t quite solid. I glanced across to our neighbor’s yard, and there was Mrs. Rosa. She was sitting in the middle of her lawn, her skinny legs sticking straight out in front of her. She held something round in her lap. I couldn’t quite figure out what it was.

She looked lost, dumbfounded.

“Don’t you see?” I yelled, pointing at the sky. My tongue felt like sandpaper.

 She blinked her unfocused eyes. I saw the shudder in her face. “Was that an earthquake?”

I wanted to scream that what just happened came from above, not below. When I looked up again, a sharp pain blasted into my skull.  But I could see that the sky had put up a serious fight — the clouds were completely shredded.

 I realized my hands and feet had gone numb. The air had an electrical smell to it.

A few seconds later, the silence ended and a humming noise began. It was a deep, metallic hum, but it made the whole neighborhood feel secure again, because our private army of whole-house generators were faithfully defending our insatiable need for electricity.

                                                              #

It must have been the grid, everyone said.

Just a little blip in the grid. Of course! It had to be that. After all, we’d been warned that something like that might happen after so many days of extreme usage.

              But no one else experienced The Event like I did. They were all so happy to be connected to the Internet again after not having it for at least five minutes; completely oblivious to the fact that life as we knew it had just come to an abrupt end.

                                                               #

Okay, so that was a lot to unpack. But some of it really did happen that way, I’m convinced of it.

                                                              #

And so it was that even after The Event, I was always trying to get outside, even though it felt safer inside. At least you could see what was coming at you. And despite what you might think, ninety-five degrees really isn’t so bad for a kid like me, especially in the mornings, when there is still a slight breeze, when I could still smell the pungent mix of pine and balsam like it was a sachet pressed beneath my pillow.  

And beneath it, I could still hear the pervasive hum.

Even through my closed bedroom window.

I was taking my time making my bed that morning, because doing simple things like that, mundane things, almost makes you feel that everything’s still normal.

But it’s not. Ever since The Event, I don’t even want to eat anymore.

And it takes so much energy to even try to get myself to move; all those little sharp needles of pain.

                                                            #

Hold on. I need to rewind. I wish I could think in a straight line. 

I hear Billy’s voice again. A whisper this time, near my right ear.

 “There was so much blood.”           

Blood? What are you talking about, blood? I don’t remember any blood!   

                                                            #         

I do remember looking at a poster.

It was tacked onto on one of the pine trees, on a trail up near Whistle Rock. There are lots of posters up there, and they’re all black with faded orange letters, ragged around the edges and hard to read, but if you squint, they all say the same thing:

                                               POSTED

                                          No Trespassing.

But this said something different.

Something silver.

                                                            #

That beeping again. My phone?

A text from Billy.

Whistle Rock. Let’s go look.             

Whistle Rock was our secret place, a cool stone formation in the woods that we discovered years ago when we went off-trail one day; it sort-of resembled a turtle. Billy said it was probably made by native peoples. Behind the rocks, in some dense brush, we also found a small stone chamber built into the hill. We named it Whistle Rock because when the wind started to pick up, there was a subtle whistle sound that came out of the rocks.

There was something special about that spot. Something magic. Before the Event, we spent every moment we could up here, alive and free beneath a canopy of pines, listening to the soft whistle of the wind. Digging in the cool dirt, looking for treasure. Finding a few arrowheads, pieces of old bottles.

But it just wasn’t the same now. We had always felt safe there. But not anymore.

                                                            #

Thunderstorms and flying saucers. 

                                                            #

I went to let my dad know I was going to ride my bike; he was busy finalizing his latest work project, or as he put it “shortlisting the right candidates,” and didn’t appreciate the interruption. Frowning, he nodded, without even turning to look at me. Even with the shades drawn, I could see his bald spot; it seemed to be spreading daily. And what was left of his hair was damp and plastered to his head. I could smell cigarette smoke, too–no doubt he had snuck yet another one; the window was cracked open an inch. But the air was so dense outside, it pushed tentacles of smoke back into the room.

I wanted to explain something to him. But Dad, he’s only afraid of two things.

I hovered around the doorway, hesitating. Waiting for him to ask me, “What things?”

But he never did. I couldn’t remember the last time we’d had a long talk, or a short talk, or had done anything together as a family for that matter, really, although I do still have vague memories of doing outdoor things with my parents, like going up the lake, fishing with my dad, taking mountain hikes with my mom.

For the past few years, though, both of them had pretty much lived indoors—even our groceries got delivered – and they only left the house for absolute necessities.

They were closed in, closed up. Covid started it, for sure. We all stayed snug and safe inside. Thinking nothing bad could ever reach us in our homes.

But then, The Event.

I was convinced my dad didn’t fully grasp the enormity of the situation.

I didn’t want to bother him when he was so busy with his work, but I felt a sense of urgency. He looked over at me, then pushed out a long sigh as squinted at the screen — at a section highlighted with a blinking yellow cursor. The yellow was so bright in the otherwise dark room, like a tiny pulsating sun; I could feel the warmth of it even though it hurt my eyes.

Dad saw me staring and clicked back to his wallpaper screen. His eyes were muddy. And his skin was so pale and brittle-looking, I almost expected paper-thin slices of it to start sloughing off his cheeks.

 I knew that look. His insomnia was back, big time. When he got this bad, he fought sleep, he said it was too much likely slipping away from everything he knows, slipping the bonds of his bones and skin into something he had no control over.

I knew how he felt. None of us had control anymore.

Not really.

Pushing back disappointment, I turned to leave. Dad’s voice trailed behind me. “Come back anytime, Ethan. I miss our talks.” 

As I drifted down the stairs, I could hear my mom yelling from the kitchen, “Ethan! I talked to the doctor.”

Oh, right. She must mean Dr. Karo, who was supposedly trying to help me with my “coping mechanisms.” Last session he wanted to work on “compartmentalization” techniques with me, but I kept insisting his time would be better spent helping my parents overcome their own agoraphobic tendencies.

He didn’t find that amusing, hiding behind his glowing monitor, in his locked office, in his sprawling house, complete with a ten-foot-high fence and a monitored security system.

To me, the thought of spending another minute online with Dr. Karo was even more reason to flee. Besides, I’ve been coping way better than my parents have (and better than most people I know, for that matter) ever since The Event.

                                                            #

I feel a change in the air. My palms are throbbing, just like they do when weather is coming in.  And I hear a distant rumbling sound, like the mountain is clearing its throat.                    

                                                            #

Oh! My mom’s here. Hi, Mom! Missed you!

She always triggers me. I can feel a stream of water slipping from my eyes. Maybe, if we’re all lucky, I can cry enough to fill up Little River.

                                                            #

Mom caught me at the back door that day, a bit out of breath. Dressed in her steel-gray bathrobe, she glanced fearfully at the sky, then down at me, a perpetual worried look creasing her face. I noticed her bangs looked straggly lately, streaked with gray.

A visual reminder of how hard The Event had been on her.

On all of us.

Don’t worry, Mom, I’ll be back soon. I just have to keep looking.

“I know, honey.” Her voice had a catch in it. She wiped her eyes with the sleeve of her robe and steadied her gray eyes on my face. “I know how hard you’re trying. You’re doing great. It’s just that I–I wish our world hadn’t…completely turned upside down.”

I know. Everything’s different now. But we’re all still here, right? We’re all survivors.

I gave her a quick, urgent hug, then pushed opened the door to a sharp slap of heat.

                                                           #

I jumped on my trail bike – a Schwinn Sidewinder – got it from a neighbor in trade for my MP3 player—and flew up the trail, ducking the low hanging branches, pushing my calves to near-spasm, feeling my pulse throbbing in my throat.

            Took me about ten minutes to get there. When I did, Billy was in the middle of the trail, hunched over, clutching his stomach.

“What’s wrong?” I skidded to a stop, jumped off the bike and ran over to him. I could smell the puke from ten feet away. And a worse smell underneath.

Putrid. Like something decomposing.

Billy’s face was completely drained of color. His skin looked waxy. He pointed to the chamber. His lips twitched; he was about to cry. “I didn’t know what it was, at first,” his voice croaked. “I just knew…it was bad.”

I put my arm around his shoulder and led him through the scrub brush and down to the entrance to the chamber.

That’s when I saw it. My eyes clicked on it and went in close.

Manny’s backpack.

You couldn’t miss it – sun-yellow with a large, custom black patch in the shape of a flying saucer.

 Something furry was stuffed into the backpack, and something dark had leaked out.

I felt dizzy, disoriented. My breath pushed high in into my chest, finding all the tight spaces. My mind hit the rewind button. I could hear Manny yelling, stop, stop, STOP!

I could see his thick fingers gripping the steering wheel, his knuckles bone-white.

I shook my head to erase the memory and turned back to Billy.

                                                            #

Are these dreams? Or memories? I’m not sure.

                                                            #

“You pull it out of there?”
“No. It was…laying right there. Just…just like it is. I haven’t touched it.”

I was trying to breathe from my mouth, to keep from gagging.

Billy was shaking, his eyes were shut tight; trying to draw the blinds in his mind.

“What are we going to do?” He pushed his hands together, hard, trying to pray.

I wasn’t sure what to tell him. “It’s gonna be okay.” But when I lifted my hand from his shoulder, the trembling got even worse; I could literally hear his teeth rattling. (Billy’s smaller than me, even though we’re almost the same age. He’s thin and wiry; I’m taller and heavier set).

I led him away from the backpack, back up to the trail, where the smell was less overwhelming. “Try to slow your breathing, so you don’t hyperventilate.”

Billy nodded, then sat on a rock and put his head between his knees. I told him to take a few deep breaths and try to visualize something nice.

But I couldn’t think of anything nice. 

I gave him a few minutes to compose himself. Then: “Did you look?”
Billy nodded, gravely.

“Is it –”

“—yeah. I think it is.”

I kicked a stone with my sneaker. “Fuck.”

 “Yeah.” The air was so heavy. Suffocating. Why wouldn’t it rain? Even just a few drops, even if it was black and oily and had a chemical smell or felt greasy. It would just feel so good on my face; it would feel like hope.

I had to do it. I had to go look for myself.

                                                                  #

The backpack gleams like sunlight against the black earth. It reminds me of Manny’s smile, lighting up the gray day.

                                                                 #

I want a happy ending. Who doesn’t? All those other scenes played themselves out in my mind, rolling like free movie previews. But I can tell the real movie is starting now, and after a such a long wait, here it is: – the feature presentation – but I’m afraid — I want to stop it; I really want to go back to a white screen again; I have way more control that way…but its already starting.

My arms and legs are itching with a million pinpricks and I realize that I have no choice but to watch the whole thing right from the beginning, until it pushes deep into the middle and spreads out to all the twisted edges.

                                                                  #               

I hope you’re proud of me. I think I got most of the edges right.    

                                                                             #

It was a bruised and broken sky. That’s what was different. There were black clouds on the horizon that morning, heavy and low-slung, threatening to rupture. The crows were doing their little stomping dance on the grass, celebrating the first fat plops of rain.

    #

I’m pulling dead flowers from in the garden when I get the text from Billy.  Whistle Rock. Let’s go look. I text back: On my way. Bring water and food–just in case.

And then I text Manny to let him know.

                                                                         #

I’m up near Whistle Rock. My legs are cramping from the long bike ride. I can see the poster clearly now. Same as the ones plastered all over town, taped to all the glass storefronts, even curled around the streetlights and so many tree trunks. It was a really clever way to get the word out, too: people stopped to read every word.

This one is taped to a tall pine. I can see it now in full laser mega-pixel. I remember I even have another one folded up in my jeans pocket. It’s printed on a bright silver-colored paper, shaped like a flying saucer. A fluffy white dog’s face pokes out from the escape hatch of the craft.

    LOST DOG: JASPER
(Possible Alien Abduction)
Lost while hiking August 7th
North Bend at trail near junction at Route 11.
Jasper’s only 8 pounds and afraid of only two things:
Thunderstorms and Flying Saucers. If seen, please text Manny Fuentes 603-555-2252

               #

We’ve been searching for Jasper every day for a week now. He’s Manny’s whole world; Manny even camped out a few nights hoping to lure Jasper back to him. We’ve been leaving water bowls in different spots on the trail, tucked into the brush. And a full bowl of dog food in the stone chamber. We told Manny to leave his backpack in there, because scent is everything to a dog, and we thought Jasper might pick up the scent and find his way to it.  

                                                                          #

I’m almost at Whistle Rock when the sky tears open. It had been holding back for so long; it just lets it all go, all at once. The rain comes down so hard and so black, hammering at the earth, washing away the dirt, the rocks. Racing down the culverts. It feels like needles blasting my skin with a million pinpricks.

                                                                         #

I run to the chamber to get out of the rain. The food bowl is empty! My eyes fall across Manny’s backpack gleaming like sunlight against the black earth. And it’s moving! I hear a whimper. “Jasper!”

There’s a frantic thumping. Jasper’s tail. I think he got himself caught in the straps. I take a step forward and reach out, but Billy pushes me roughly aside and lifts the backpack. Jasper’s little white head pokes out and licks Billy’s face.

“Jasper! I got you!”

We’re over the moon excited. Billy keeps hugging Jasper, you’re safe, you’re safe, who squirms in the backpack, trying to wriggle out.

I pick up my phone, but Billy slaps it away. It makes a loud cracking sound against the stones. Billy backs away from me, his eyes full of fear.

                                                                           #

“Maybe it didn’t happen the way you think.”

“What are you talking about?” I’ve never seen him like this. He’s jumpy, nervous. Scared. Jasper begins to whimper. Billy’s eyes are puddling with tears.

“Hey, hey, let’s get him on this leash first so we can get him to settle down.”

“I’m keeping him, Ethan. He’s my dog.”

“He’s Manny’s. You can’t possibly think you have some kind of right to him just because you found him.”

“We need to save him.”

“We just did.”

“No, you don’t understand! It wasn’t like that. Manny never wanted us to find him. Manny’s the one who tossed him out the truck window to begin with!” Billy bends over suddenly, clutching the backpack against his belly, and projectile vomits against the wall. I duck, but some of it still splatters on me.       

                                                                         #          

My friend Billy. I feel bad for him. He’s so mixed up. I think he’s lost it. Dr. Karo would say, he’s in a bad place. As we stand in this hollow space inside the chamber, he’s been telling me these horrible stories, about alien abduction. He says he remembers things; they keep coming at him like knives thrown from bad dreams. He thinks Manny has been seeded by the aliens, and he’s now using Jasper as bait. 

Honestly, he’s kind of scaring me. Billy rubs at his eyes, then he whips his own phone against the wall, and crushes it under his heel.

“So that’s why he threw Jasper out the truck window?”

“That was before. He knew the aliens were coming for him, so he wanted to save him.” 

It sounds pretty messed up. And maybe even crazy. But…he’s my best friend.

“There’s…something you should know.”

“What?” Billy looks at me, his eyes huge.

“I already texted Manny.”

                                                                      #                        

We scramble into action. Billy tucks Jasper securely into the backpack and zips it shut, leaving Jasper plenty of room for air. We rush from the chamber. Beneath the rattle of the rain, there’s a deeper sound now, it’s guttural, like a growl. We grab our bikes and start pushing down the trail. Water is pouring over us; I can barely keep my eyes open, it’s so hard to see. The trail is so slippery I have to go slow to stay upright.

Billy’s getting farther ahead of me; he’s just a dark smudge against the gray. I can see him take a sharp right. He’s taking the short cut. That’s the old logging road; there are fewer trees, but the road is wider and a lot steeper.

I take the turn, too wide and wobbly, trying to avoid the right side of the road that is now a raging river. I almost go down, but am able to correct at the last minute. I start to accelerate down the hill, and then I see Billy, right in front of me! I brake, but it’s too late. I crash into him and we both fall, a silver roar of rain and stones and steel. My right leg crunches beneath my bike and I hear a loud crack when my shoulder hits the ground.

For a few moments, everything is silent, except for the rain, which is starting to slow.  Billy is quiet, as if he’s holding his breath. Adrenaline kicks in and I wrench myself up, and pull both bikes off him. He’s squinting to keep the rain out of his eyes, but it’s not working.

“You okay?” By sheer luck, the backpack ended up in his lap, and Jasper is whining, wrestling to get out. Billy nods, let’s out a breath. “I think Jasper’s okay too.”

“Great. Make sure he’s got enough air.”

I think my shoulder is dislocated. But I can put some weight on my right leg. Good. It’s not broken. I drag the bikes off the road with my left arm.

And that’s when two halogen eyes blink above the crest of the hill.

An old blue truck. Manny’s. But…it’s all rusted, the bumper is dented, and the windshield is spider-webbed with cracks. Billy shrinks back, clutching Jasper.

The truck coughs and sputters. Manny pushes open the door; there’s a squeak of rusted hinges. He shakes the rain out of his face and ambles over to us. He cracks a smile, but it’s not the dazzling smile I remember. It’s gray and greasy and specked with tiny black dots. And the dots are crawling like hungry ants all over his slimy teeth.

There’s an awful smell on his breath, like something decomposing. It smells like rotting fish, but worse. Way worse. I have to hold my breath to keep from gagging.  

Manny says, “Get in the truck, now, or you’re all dead.”     

                                                                        #

We’re in the truck, Billy’s in the middle holding onto the backpack. He’s shaking so hard. I feel bad for him. We should have put up a fight, we should have run, but I couldn’t run. The truck jostles and pops down the steep road, parts of it have washed away, so Manny is trying to steer carefully.

We hit a huge bump and the truck lurches forward. I hit my head on the windshield.

We’re on the steepest part of the road now, and Manny starts braking. But nothing happens. He pumps the brakes but the truck keeps accelerating down the hill. We’re heading right for Route 11, there’s no way to stop!  

Manny yells. “Fuck!”

Billy bolts that very moment, sliding open the cab window and heaving himself out, pulling the backpack behind him.

Manny turns his head around to look back at Billy, No no no!

And out of the corner of my left eye, I see a white tail fly past before my vision is stolen by something bright and silver and so high-pitched in frequency! So loud! It’s like an electric bolt to my body.

                                                                          #

I’m so dizzy. The ground doesn’t feel solid. My tongue feels like a piece of torn sandpaper. I look down, and I’m covered in glass. And blood. There’s so much blood! I’m outside of the truck, sitting in a puddle of it. Where’s Billy?

I blink my unfocused eyes. Ahead of me, a car crushed like a tin can. There’s woman on the ground, her legs shattered into pulp, her hands still holding onto a steering wheel. It’s my neighbor, Mrs. Rosa, and she’s dead as stone.

The pain hits like lightning, flashing red and blue, blasting into my skull.

I hear a voice, somewhere above me. Weak pulse. Thready. This one needs immediate transport.

                                                                          #

There’s a soft pressure on my chest. I feel something licking my face. The tickle of soft whiskers. I know it’s Jasper, and I know he’s alive. Liquid joy fills my veins, but I still can’t lift my arms to hold him.

                                                                         #

Beneath the hum, I can hear my dad speaking in somber tones, “Doctor, what should we expect?” There’s a pause and then another male voice says, “The accident caused a traumatic brain event. We’ve been slowly bringing him out of the medically induced coma, and he’s already showing some promising signs of awareness. But–we need to keep monitoring his vital signs and brain activity before we’ll know the full extent of any permanent damage.”

                                                                          #

Mom’s here again! I hear her say: Omygod…Omygod…Omygod. Her voice is so muffled, I can tell she has her hands pressed over her mouth.Then: “Ethan! Oh my God! You’re awake!”

                                                                          # 

I open my eyes – really open them this time.

And everything is silver.


Kate Bergquist has an MA in Writing and Literature from Rivier University in New Hampshire. Insurance
agent by day, dark fiction writer by night, her short fiction has appeared in The Chamber Magazine and
other periodicals. She finds inspiration along the Maine coast, where she lives with her husband and
several old rescue dogs.


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