[Thriller] [Realistic Fiction]
Dream Noire – Part I
It was a cold rainy night. An alarm sounds. It is 9:00am; only three hours until the public bus to university arrives. My eyelids too heavy to fully open, but with willingness, I open my eyes just enough to see and grab my phone from under my second pillow, which its only purpose is to sit on top of my phone as it charges all night. I remain in bed on my side, still half asleep, the phone sits in my hand with continuous obnoxious ringing. On the vividly bright screen is a math equation; an equation that must be solved correctly in order to silence the phone and terminate the alarm. Nine multiplied by nine plus two: piece of cake, *enters 20*. The phone vibrates and another equation appears on the screen. After a few more attempts, I manage to answer an equation correctly, but with shattered ear drums. Being only half conscious, I let myself ragdoll back into sleep, and everything fades to nothingness.
It is 10:49am. Whilst sleeping, I hear words being shouted from someone in my house. It was my brother yelling at my dad. Those words I thought I would never hear. He yells “THE INTERNET IS DOWN”. Only those words in that sequence can wake me up from a deep slumber. I forcefully unfold myself from my blue bedsheets. Forget hygiene or dressing up, the internet takes priority. I sprint downstairs and there stood my brother with his iPhone glued to his face as usual. Next to him was my dad holding the house phone, dialing some numbers. Quietly, I grab a banana and make do of time to nourish myself, knowing I only have an hour before I must leave for university. Shouting from my dad’s lungs invade the house’s silence. I stood behind the kitchen counter questioning how that phone can withstand such vocal force and spit. Perhaps it was made by lebanese engineers designed specifically for the lebanese. All of the sudden, the phone disconnects. It is no surprise; who would want to speak with an irrational angry lebanese anyway. My dad dials again and again, but the phone doesn’t even ring anymore. The calls are not going through. My brother does the unimaginable by tucking his iPhone into his pocket. Seeing my brother without his iPhone in his face is truly a rare occasion. He then snatches the house phone from dad’s hand and determines that the phone line to the house is disconnected. Great. No internet, and no phone connection. I reach for another banana, but I restrain myself, not allowing greed to get the best of me. I finally step into the conversation between dad and my brother:
Me: “what did they say on the phone?”
Dad: “there’s no internet”
Me: “no way, how about you tell me something I didn’t know”
Dad: “I mean there is no internet worldwide”
I paused for a minute and let that sync in. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about, I thought to myself.
I head upstairs to my bedroom, frustrated from all the nonsense. I wake my computer from sleep mode by smashing the spacebar, and I attempt to load the Google homepage fully aware there’s no internet. The page almost instantly loads. However, the homepage redirected me to Google maps instead. Whatsmore, a red bar at the top states that the page is in Emergency Offline Mode; something I have not heard of until now. The Google map also looks abnormal, given I am unable to pan outside my city and the fact the whole map had a tint of bright red. At the bottom of the screen was a message -a paragraph long- that read:
“The current page has been pre-downloaded and cached to your personal computer under Canadian government authority. Your address was identified and located inside a state emergency area. The links below are guides to help you through the outbreak of the Noire virus. …”.
The Noire virus, I thought to myself. A recent virus outbreak thought to have only existed in the United States. A virus so deadly, it shows no symptoms to humans and silently kills those infected by it within 24 hours. The Noire virus is also known to increase animal reproductivity by a tremendous rate. The virus is not fully understood by scientists yet, therefore cannot identify the reasons for the different effects it has on animals and humans. Why do humans die from this virus whereas animals reproduce at a faster rate? I attempt to browse other websites such as CNN for some insight, but fail to do so due to internet disconnectivity. I thought to myself: am I still in bed? Am I dreaming all this? Did I actually leave bed this morning? What if-, then all of the sudden, I open my eyes.
I hear an obnoxious alarm sounding from under my pillow. I disarm the phone alarm and yawn. I lift myself off my bed and take a deep breath. I remember; my dream of the Noire virus. That’s very creative, Lelo, I tell myself. I unlock my phone. It is 11:12am. Not long before the bus arrives. Before getting ready to shower, I attempt to check for new emails on my phone as per my daily morning routine – but no internet. I head downstairs; it is quiet as a wasteland. I head back upstairs, open the blinds of my bedroom window which opens to the local park. My jaw drops. There I stood upright looking out my window, and I see chickens; so many chickens I was unable to see the gravel paths and the road, as the chickens covered the entire area. And above, were thousands upon thousands of dark-feathered birds flocking their wings in the sky; so many that their wings were blocking the sunlight from reaching the ground.
Everything I wrote describes the dream I had on Oct 19. This first part is just a small part of the dream I had. I made a part II for those are interested =D
Dream Noire – Part II
A tall man stood still in the middle of the park, surrounded by the unstoppable flow of chickens. He had no expression on his face, but he did have a Canon camera dangled from his neck by a safety strap. Out of the sudden, sirens go off. My heartbeat immediately started beating twice as fast. I never knew Emergency Alert Systems were installed in this city. The sirens seem to play a loud sound every ten seconds, but I don’t understand why they turned on now. Shifting my eyes back to the park, I see the man in the same spot. Afraid of being seen, I close the blinds of my window and make a small gap to peek from. The man stood like a statue for another ten minutes without making any movement; until a few folks from the neighborhood started gathering around the mailboxes a few meters away from the park. Their lips are moving, they seem to be discussing something, perhaps the sirens, or possibly the abundance of animals. I place my ear against the glass window but all I am able to make out was mumbling. They exchange a few gasps and then they notice the still man in the park. The man turns his head around and stares at them. I fear for my neighbors, this was the first movement I have seen the man make. Then, the odd man began sprinting toward the innocent folks, kicking the chickens out of his way, while the folks struggle for an escape. Speechless and scared, I start to wonder, where is my family?
The time is 3:30pm and the blue sky with the sun are not to be seen. The birds continue to block most of the sunlight. I am amazed how these birds can manage to fly in such density. It is difficult to accept the fact it was this dark outside – everywhere – at this time in the afternoon. From my window, I am able to see the main road of my street. And I was able to observe a few vehicles shove their way through the chickens, leaving blood and broken bones behind their wheels, which were then covered by more chickens as they equally spread across every surface area. Besides the nonstop sirens, distant shouting and frequent bangs can be heard from my bedroom. The painful sounds brought more anguish to my heart and my urge to find my family members continues to grow stronger. Where have they gone to anyway?
Never before have I had a stronger desire for school. I would give anything to be spending my time at my university, surrounded by fellow students with equal stress levels. Being terrified to leave the house, I feel secluded from the world and my family. Will the Center for Disease Control ever contain this outbreak? Is my family safe? I continued to wonder. I take a seat on my computer chair. What I would give to chat with my online friends right now. I clench my fists and begin to type on my keyboard. A few hours passed and I learned a great deal about the Noire virus, given what scientists already know to date. All the information, facts, and precautions are written on the Google’s offline documentations. Google continues to help people even when the internet is down. What would we do without Google? I wonder. Supposedly, the Noire virus is deemed more contagious than I anticipated. The primary focus of biomedical scientists is to reveal the behavior of the virus on human cells. Although the effects on animals are much more intriguing, finding a cure and a vaccine for humans takes the priority. Following the first document, I learned that the virus’s only mode of transmission is by direct contact. Direct skin contact with an infected person will immediately spread the infection. That explains why the virus is spreading so fast uncontrollably. It sure would be ideal if I had a hazmat suit right now. I could purchase one from Amazon as I usually would with other necessities, but it would be hard to make an online purchase without internet.
It is now midnight. The house is still deserted. Normally, the house is crowded with noise, either from the television or family members trying to win arguments by yelling the loudest. Whatever time of the day, my family is always making noise, making it near impossible for me to get any homework done. I guess the world had to come to an end in order to find some peace and quiet around here. I lay in my bed out of sheer boredom, without intentions to sleep. But I fell asleep right away. I unconsciously thought I could just fade into sleep then wake up back into the normal world, where it was safe again. As much as I wanted that to happen, instead, I awake to a sound of a loud door slam coming from downstairs. Is it my parents? Brothers? Or could it be raiders? I thought to myself. I have to prepare for the worst. I grab my homemade wooden sword that I crafted years ago when I had an obsession with hand-held weapons. I have always kept the sword behind my dresser mirror; it gave me safety reassurance in a way. I firmly grip the hilt of the sword, open my bedroom door and silently march toward the stairs. It feels like a scene from a horror film, but worse, since I don’t have the option to leave the house and make a run for it. With every step I take down these seemingly endless stairs, it feels like the sirens outside are getting louder and louder. Halfway down the stairs, I realized that wearing a t-shirt with exposed skin is not the best idea. Any skin contact is a guaranteed death within 24 hours. Putting trust in my sword, I don’t turn back. Reaching the bottom of the stairs, I flip the light switch on the wall and notice the front door of the house is wide open. Petrified, I reach in my pocket, take out my phone to dial 911, but still no service. I slowly lift my head up from my phone screen, feeling hopeless, and I see a tall man standing before me with a Canon camera in his hand. I freeze in place speechless, then I hear something behind me. Before I could turn around, I felt excruciating pain on the back of my head, I drop to my knees, close my eyes and fall into the void. This is the end for me, I conceded.
I open my eyes. I’m in my cozy bed under my bedsheets. The window blinds closed, and my computer fan making a faint comforting sound. The emergency sirens louder than ever can still be heard. I wonder how long they will keep them turned on for. But a better question is: how did I end up in my bed? The last thing I remember was seeing a human figure behind me and then-. My bedroom door slowly creaks open. Holding the outside door knob is my dad.
Dad: “are you feeling okay?”
Me: “where were you yesterday?”
Dad: “I was at home the whole time, why?”
Me: “no you weren’t! you beat them didn’t you? are you infected?”
Dad: “don’t start with nonsense, I know you overslept and missed your classes”
Me: “what? but.. the emergency sirens are still-”
Wait a minute, I paused. Then I became lucid, I turned my head toward my second pillow and I realized; the sound of the sirens is coming from under my pillow.
Well, that’s the end of the story. There won’t be a third part, but I will work on new stories in the future. I originally wrote two different endings for part II, but I scrapped one of them and kept the better one. Thanks for reading!