Time had vanished. It had rolled out through the open balcony door like a slow sluggish tar. Instead a heavy heat had settled in the apartment. Amy sat next to her father. She was staring at the news, trying to comprehend the images. It had only been a minute since she woke from her comforting nap and a low voice in the back of her head tried to convince her that she was still sleeping.
“It can’t be real,” Jack said, breaking the silence. His voice came out real calm, almost like he believed himself.
Amy heard that her father spoke, but didn’t take in the words. She replied, more out of habit than anything else. “They are all dead,” she said, “All of them,” when she said that she wasn’t thinking of the lifeless bodies lying in the city streets. “Look at them dad, they are all…” the last word stuck in her throat like an uncomfortable fish bone, stabbing painfully, insistently.
“Yeah,” Jack nodded, “and they are killing everyone.”
Silent tears streamed down Amy’s cheeks.
“I didn’t wake you,” Jack continued, “I thought it was just rioting or something. I didn’t see. I was rationalizing.” This last word he said without any conviction. Maybe there was a hissing voice deep down in her dad’s head telling him that he had fallen asleep on the couch next to her, Amy thought, she felt dazed.
A sudden noise broke the numb moment. It was coming down on them like a storm, demanding their absolute attention. The TV’s spell was broken, replaced by a new fear. Jack turned his head towards the hallway, expecting a horde of those stumbling and awful creatures come crashing through the apartment door. The sound grew in strength but nothing broke through the door. The sound kept growing, and growing until it was right above them.
“Outside,” Amy almost had to shout, she pointed towards the open balcony.
Jack got up from the couch and took a few quick steps to the balcony. In the same moment a formation of black helicopters swooped into view. He quickly counted seven identical helicopters, no numbers or logos on them. Some kind of military black ops he thought, he had seen one just like them once, while doing a stint in Iraq for Doctors Without Borders. Maybe they were here to resolve the situation.
Amy came out on the balcony, “They are flying so low” she said. Jack had trouble hearing her over the roaring noise. The helicopters flew low and fast and the noise faded out quickly as they flew out over the city and split formation. Three helicopters held a straight course for the centre of the city with the two on each side breaking off in opposite directions, then they vanished into the dark night, the only evidence of their passing was the low humming of the propellers spinning angrily.
“Who were they?” Amy asked. They were both startled by the volume of her voice now that the noise was gone.
“I think they were military, I’ve seen helicopters like them before. They send their best guys in those,” Jack replied, “They’ll soon get things under control,” he tried to sound reassuringly but didn’t do a very good job of it. Amy bit her lip nervously, a habit her mom had possessed and Amy had picked up when her mother had passed away. Jack took his daughter in his arms and held her, “Everything is going to be alright,” he said, and now, holding Amy he could almost believe it.
“It has to be” Amy replied.
The night had gone silent again. The only thing breaking it was two sharp gunshots from the apartment above.
To be continued…
© Hugo Oddlane, 2014
List of episodes for No Longer Alive: http://wp.me/P4cKL8-l