I’ve blogged about this before a few times, but when I first started blogging back in August, I had a story called “The Adventures of Jensen Carpenter.” It was a weekly journal chronicling the Apocalypse. I hand-wrote everything, and shot through it pretty quick as I had to have it done every week. I’m not content with the way it stands (even though you can read it all still), and have started re-working everything and making it a (hopefully) more enjoyable read. I’m about to post the first chapter, so it would be cool to get any feedback. When it’s done, I’m pretty sure I’m going to self-publish it because it’s barely the length of a novella, but it’s still something I’m proud of. I’ve changed the name of the novel to “Omnipresent Forces”, and here’s how it starts:
Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.
I sat on my couch, eyes glued to my television as my mother gripped my arm in fear. My own pulse drowned out most of the surrounding noise as my eardrums pounded against the inside of my skull.
Tick. Tock. Tick.
Today was a big day. Newspapers have been using “The End is Nigh” headlines and the President issued a national emergency a few days ago, with the promises of a speech explaining everything to come. Everyone in the general population has been kept in the dark, and crime rates have skyrocketed as everyone tries to make sense of the hurricane of chaos sweeping through us.
In five minutes we’ll be brought to the light.
My name is Jensen Carpenter, and this is my account of the Apocalypse.
When the newspapers began to print stories about the end times and the President started to publicly freak out, I decided to keep an account of everything, so any future inhabitants of Earth may be able to figure out what happened to us. If humanity becomes the next stage of dinosaurs, hopefully whatever takes over this planet will at least be able to translate this and know how everything occurred.
My mother’s hold on my arm tightened as the President walked up to the podium. The fear was obvious in his face. The make up department tried (unsuccessfully) to cover the pale, gray clam-like color his skin had turned. I knew this was worse than I thought just by looking at him.
“People of the United States,” he began, but his once powerful and confident voice was now weak, forced, and terrified. “I come to you with the most grievous news. I am sure you all have seen the newspaper headlines, seen various archived footage on your televisions, or heard through the grapevine that humanity is in danger.”
He paused at this point, adjusting his suit and taking a sip of water before continuing. “Nothing is a lie.”
The audience he was standing in front of gasped as the President hung his head.
“They’re surprised by this?” my mother asked.
“That everything is true?” I responded. “I have a hard time believing some of it.”
Reports of aliens, priests performing a multitude of exorcisms, people raising from the dead and becoming zombies — all these stories and accounts have been flooding the internet, the newspapers, blog articles, general conversations. Schools have been shut down, no one is required to go to work, and most people have fled into their homes before the sun has even begun to set. All the times we were afraid of living before have been amplified by an abundance of unexplainable supernatural events we had subconsciously been trying to make light of.
“We have spent a great amount of time trying to hide this information from the public,” the President continued solemnly. “We have come up with more than one excuse and explanation for the things that should have been revealed years ago. Information has been hidden from the general public to help protect you and prevent mass hysteria; but the truth is you should have known what’s been happening since day one. If we had informed you, perhaps there might have been a chance of surviving this. As it is, I regret to say the past must lie in the past, and henceforth we can only go on with hope. If you believe in prayer, now is a good time to start.”
With that, the President folded up his notes and walked away from the enraged reporters, who instantly started bantering him with questions.
My mother released her grip from my arm and turned the television off. My sister, my father, my mother and I remained silent. It seemed as though even my dog was too afraid to speak.
“What do we do?” asked my sister quietly after we stared at each other uncomfortably long enough. “Do we just sit back and die?”
“No,” said my father. “Just because the President says there’s no chance of survival doesn’t mean it’s the truth.”
“What do you suggest we do, then?” I asked. “How exactly are we supposed to fight?”
“Costco,” my mom said simply. “Ever since people started all of this ‘the end is here’ talk I’ve been devising a plan. Costco has no windows, very few doors, and everything you can possibly have or need. In bulk.”
“And if zombies start to rise and meteors start raining down on the earth you think that they’re going to avoid Costco?” I asked sarcastically. “Mom, we are talking about world domination. If things continue the way they’re going every inch of it will be covered.”
“What about underground?” asked my sister. “We could hide underground.”
“If nothing is a lie, whatever starts to take over this world will be able to smell our blood,” said my father. “These creatures aren’t here to play jokes and only ignite fear. They mean business.”
Signs of end times began years ago. People started eating each other when they took certain drugs. The media pretended that exorcism movies, zombie movies, and video games were for entertainment purposes only, but it turned out they were all true. Every horror movie or news story cover up turned out to be nothing more than training videos for our subconscious. What works. What doesn’t. How to survive. They’ve known the answers since the formation of the government, but they’ve been too afraid of “riots” to let us know. I think the government is made up of a group of skeptics who are now going to cause the destruction of the human race.
“We need to start boarding up our windows at least,” said my mother. “Even if we do end up leaving this house, we need to shut ourselves off from the world while we figure out what to do.”
Before we’d even had a chance to move, a knock came on our door. I headed to the window and looked out to see who it was.
“It’s Connie,” I said. She was a nice, lonely, middle aged woman who lived across the street. Without waiting for anyone to answer, she barged in our front door and locked it behind her.
“Head for the mountains,” she said frantically, her already frizzy hair far bigger than normal, almost as if she had spent the last twenty minutes inside of a light socket. She was pretty erratic on a day-to-day basis, and I’m sure the President’s confirmation of the Apocalypse has her mind wheels turning. She’s always been one of the people who believed in everything, and everyone always chose to ignore her. Now that it turns out she’s right, I think she may be the best person to have on our side. She’s spent so many years preparing for this, and I’m sure she can outsmart whatever comes our way. “It may not sound like much, but it will buy is some extra time. There’s a group of us leaving in twenty minutes.”
“What good will that do?” said my mother. “We won’t be able to hide.”
“I understand that, but the raids are going to start in the cities with the biggest populations and grow from there. If they’re able to take out the majority of the population and cut off our resources they’ll succeed in wiping us out. If we hide in the mountains, we’ll be able to listen in on what’s going on and stay one step ahead of the enemy for as long as we can. Maybe it will give us a fighting chance.”
“What raids are you talking about?” I asked.
“You haven’t heard? Immediately following the President’s speech, riots and outbreaks started to spread. And not the same sort of events we’ve already been witnessing. They’re already here.”
“Who?” asked my father.
“I can’t even give you a straight answer to that, Bill. Aliens, zombies, demons, I have no idea how to classify them. Whatever it is, or whoever it is, or however you’d like to classify it, only one thing is for certain — they’re not human. Not to mention they’re only here for death, torment, and ultimate domination.”
“What raids are they doing?” I asked.
“Jensen, I don’t want to be rude, but I don’t have time to discuss this. Either you’re coming or you’re not. We can answer questions as we go if you join us. If not it’s every man for himself.”
I looked at my father. “It’s a better plan than Costco.”
“We’ll start packing.”
Connie looked at her watch. “We’ve got less than ten minutes to vacate. Pack light. I’ll be back for you soon.”
She hurried out of our house as we immediately started grabbing everything we felt we needed. Our house turned into a cycle of mayhem as we scrambled to take things we couldn’t part from. I had never been in a situation like this, and looking over my old books, movies, and other various collectibles hurt me for a moment. We spend so much time focusing on our materialistic things, things that may or may not have any actual worth, and when it comes time to part with them we automatically think they’re more important than things like food. My mother, smarter than all of that, ran for the kitchen, grabbing all of the nonperishables while my dad, sister, and I grabbed clothes and necessities. We were each only allowed one trash bag of items — mainly clothes, some food, and hygiene-related things. I grabbed a phone charger, hopeful cell service wouldn’t go down any time soon and we’d be able to keep in touch with each other.
“Come on, Goldie,” I called to my dog after I finished my pack. “Time to go for a walk.”
Goldie came bounding toward me excitedly with her tongue hanging out and her tail wagging as I grabbed her leash and started to hook it into her collar.
“Jensen,” my mother started gently. “I don’t know if–”
“We’re not leaving without her,” I said firmly. “No ifs, ands, or buts about it. She’s family.”
She opened her mouth to say something, but Connie burst back in before she had the chance.
“Let’s go,” she said impatiently.
My father and sister rushed into the room and we began to head out the door. We loaded our things in the trunk of her car and buckled up. Luckily, Connie agreed with me on the dog front, and Goldie jumped in and sat on my lap. It must have been nice to have no idea what was going on, to merely think all we were doing was going for a ride and coming home soon. As we drove away I looked back at the house I grew up in and made my peace with the fact I’d most likely never see it again. It was hard not to become sentimental as all of my childhood memories flooded in a rush. Playing with squirt guns in the front yard with my sister. Easter egg hunts. Christmas mornings with a fresh batch of snow. Rainy days next to the fireplace with a cup of cocoa. I swallowed back tears as I forced myself to start forgetting, rather than remembering, because one way or another, I would not come out of this situation the same as I am now going into it.
My sister seemed to be somewhere in the same level of everything as my dog. She was younger, barely twelve, and hadn’t completely grasped the ideas of danger and death. My dad stiffened, only looking forward as Connie drove, unable to look at his crumbling family. He had worked so hard to support us, and he had always done such a good job, and everything he had ever worked for was being pulled from underneath him before he even had the opportunity to process anything. My mom sat next to him, her shoulders heaving every few seconds as she stifled her sobs. She was scared — terrified, actually — but she was doing her best to show us how strong she could be. She only wanted to protect us, and because I knew her so well, I knew she was more worried for our safety than for her own.
I’m sitting in the car now as I relive today’s events. If you’re reading this, I apologize in advance if I’m unable to explain everything or I must go for days without writing. My future is unclear to me from this point forward, but I will do everything in my power to chronicle everything. For now, we have already hit the back roads of the city and we’re safe until further notice. I’m going to try and take a nap to preserve my strength. I’ll check back in soon.