Hi all, as promised, chapter two of my book let there be dark. This chapter is called Last Remaining Light. I posted chapter one yesterday please see that as well.
Hopes y’alls enjoys it and youse likes whats youse sees🤗🤗!
Let There Be Dark
Last Remaining Light
He grabs the car keys off the dining table in one hand, a cell phone in the other, the phone pinned to his ear he says with utter disdain, “I’m on the way alright! Stop calling me every five minutes.”
On the other line she tells him, “Stop raising your voice.”
“I’m not raising my voice, Vivo. I told you I was coming!”
“There you go again,” she quietly remarks.
“What do you want me to do?”
He realizes, from the thumping in his chest, the tension in his throat, that she was right and loosens his shoulders and says to the phone, “I’m sorry dear it’s just- I’m just stressed out with the moving, my parents’ funeral and.”
“I know baby, I know. But what time can you reach here?”
“You said five.”
“I know that but I was busy unpacking. Lost track of time.”
“You could have unpacked earlier, you had the whole day.”
“Why do you have to rub it in every time? I know I’m late, stop repeating yourself.”
“I’m just saying–”
He ends the call, tucks the phone into his pocket and walks quick, rushing to the front door when he realizes–
He walks beside the TV and swipes his hand across the top, grabbing the house keys. On the coffee table is a drawing of her rendered in pencil, half-complete, half-shaded, pencil shavings all over the table. He laments the fact he hasn’t had the time to give the drawing its proper time and attention. He shakes his head and sighs.
He shoves the keys into the knob, opens the door and shuts it back again. He locks the door, twisting the key twice.
Striding fast across the hallway, he enters the elevator and exits on the first floor, the sun almost burning out to twilight, he looks at his watch and it reads 17:40 pm.
He knows he’ll be late again, and there’ll be hell to pay. Once he reaches his father’s car he clicks the car remote and within two beeps the doors unlock.
He opens the driver-side door, and, just as he’s about to take a seat, he hears a long screech, horns blaring, crash, followed by a rapid boom, punctuated by a solid bang.
To the left and right of him he hears more and more horns and dozens of other collisions. People start streaming in from their home, the parks, playground, and make their way to the main road, curious, as they’ve never heard nor seen such a tremendous pile-up.
Alex Chow, late in picking up his dear darling girlfriend, looks at his watch, then back at the road. The last thing he needs is a bloody obstacle.
His neighbor, Uncle Wong, spots him and says, “Eh, Alex you know what’s going on?”
“My house has a blackout. No electricity. Suddenly. And then, this.”
Alex closes his car door and without look at Uncle Wong, walks to the scene of the crash. The bystanders, some of them just stand there and watch, while others, who want to help, are too afraid to set foot on the roads, afraid that another collision might–
Far off in the distance they hear another crash. Babies, held safely in their mother’s, or, in some cases, their maid’s arms, cry uncontrollably.
The other kids, they stand fascinated, shocked, surprised, but secretly, what they want to see is the blood and severed limbs amid the shrapnel and shattered glass. Something to tell their friends at school.
An old lady in the backseat of a smashed Toyota slugs her way out of the small opening between herself and the car lodged to the passenger seat. For her, up is down and down is sideways in a folded car crash crumple of metal and leather, like damaged metal origami.
Just as she’s about to get out, dragging herself across the granite and tar, resisting the pain from her bruised elbow, she’s stuck, when she realizes what used to be her car seat is now pinned onto her knee.
Alex pushes through the crowd of bystanders, looking at the wreckage, and at the whole stretch of road, the debris and smoke and tells Uncle Wong, “The traffic lights are all dead.”
Uncle Wong looks up at the flats behind him. “All the lights are dead,” he tells Alex.
His watch reads 18:01 pm.
At this hour in the city the sun is just a tad dim enough to see that some residents turn on their living room lights, but every flat is dark and not lit. The residents stick their heads out their windows, wondering, what happened to the lights, the roads.
Why is there no electricity?
Overhead, the blue sky turns grey, turns red, then turns dark, a black tarp over the window of the planet.
The crowd gasps, whispering and murmuring the what’s and the whys, when, up in black sky, they see something burning through. An orange glow, a shooting star descending to Earth, fades in the distance.
A four-year-old kid screams, “There’s another one!”
Turning their heads up, the second glow falls steadily, then a third glow, a fourth, tenth, fifteenth, coming down rapidly, all in quick succession.
The first glow lands in the distance.
The old woman is still stuck with the seat pinned on her legs, and other accident victims are still struggling to get out. Some stagger and fall. Those who come out scot-free are crying, mourning over the losses of dead family members on the roads.
The crowd is huddled together elbow to elbow, afraid of the sudden dark, fascinated by the descending lights from the sky. They see one light getting closer and closer to them.
Run! One of them yells. The crowd disperses as one glowing pod lands right on the main road, landing on the granite and splashing debris in its wake, killing some on the road.
The old lady in the Toyota, she stands no chance as the pod skids and burns, crashing against the wrecked Toyota, grinding her into nothing but burning ash.
The pod, now settled, glows with ambient heat, hot from re-entry into the atmosphere, the hatch opens fully and inside a blue thing, a cross between a humanoid and a blue frog, with mottled skin and head, eyes, ears, nose, hands, legs. The blue thing opens its eyes, its emaciated body all shriveled up, its skin held into its bones like an airtight plastic bag.
It steps out of the pod and places one foot, then the other on the scattered granite, walking slowly to the crowd a few meters away, who take a step back for every step forward the blue thing takes.
After five steps of this non-reciprocal dance, too weak, it falls to its side, but its fall is barely stopped by its elbow, which gets scraped because of it. It’s eyes look at the crowd, the soulful, merciful stare pleading for mercy. The eyes seem to be saying please, help, please, but another part of him however, looks off, wanting of something, needing something.
The crowd doesn’t know whether to help or flee. A teenage girl with a goodie sweater takes a step closer, against the wishes of her parents. This gives the others in the crowd the confidence to follow, inspired by her lack of fear but they mistake that courage for what it actually is; a strange curiosity for the unknown.
The blue thing’s pale blue lips gap open slightly, and it croaks a sentence, a pathetic version of “I come in peace”, the words squeaking its way out its vocal cords. It pushes itself up using its uninjured hand.
It’s on its knees and slowly but steadily its back on two feet. He staggers to the one person closest to him, the girl with the goodie sweater. The goodie lady, she backs away, one, two steps back, gaining to make a distance away from it. It jumps to her using it’s last ounce of strength, the crowd gasps but still too weak. It falls back an arm’s length away from her, its fingers land and thud beside her ankle, gripping it deep into the meat, caressing the anklebone.
It groans, looking at her, its eyes close slowly and never open again.
The hoodie girl doesn’t kick away the hand around her ankle. Instead she stands the way a statue would stand and closes her eyes in disgust, but second later smiles in elation. She raises her leg, realizing the blue thing’s grip slipping, its breath calming to an inevitable halt.
Alex and Uncle Wong ask her if she’s all right. After a few coughs, she calms herself enough to say I’m fine, don’t worry about me, please. I’m. All. Right.
How many light bulbs does it take to replace the sun? Instead of nightfall, sun fall, people point to the sky and the lack of light in their flats is now made painfully obvious and available light is only a reminder of the accidents around them— the flames of the burning cars on the street, and the ambient glow of their cell phones, a cell-by-light march, back to their flats, some pressing the elevator buttons and hoping it would, might just–
“Same here. Can’t work,” a man says, his son and wife beside him. Alex stays behind, looking at the crowd dispersing, moving upstairs and he tells Uncle Wong, “I’ve got to find my girlfriend.” He finds her number on speed dial, the phone in his ear and there’s a beep, not a ring tone. He takes a look at the screen but notices that all the reception bars are dead.
He shouts to everybody and no one, “The phone lines are dead!” Whoever’s left in the crowd tries to call with their phones and it’s the same beep again and again.
The girl with the hood steps over the blue hand with a growing indifference unbecoming of any human being in light of the present situation.
“Camera?” A voice calls her. “Camera?” The voice says again. A voice trailing with cell phone lights, beneath the lights footsteps crushing gravel in quick shuffled steps calling her name again and again, at first calmly and then frantically.
“I’m here,” Camera picks up her cell phone from her jeans pocket, waving it above her head with arm outstretched high.
The frantic voice is overcome with joy. The voice walks quickly one ambient glow cell phone in hand, followed by two more behind her.
The voice raises its phone up to face level, the glow casting a canvas of texture, a once smooth face ravaged by age, each line a mark of experience, marks she’s earned in her lifetime. Framing the face is a tiding, a headdress of cool blue and beside her are her younger daughter Diana and her husband Salad, the other two moving cell phone lights.
“See? I told you she’ll be alright,” Diana tells her mother.
“Come on, let’s go,” Salad tells all of them.
Camera, she raises her knees, slowly lifting one foot, striding forward and landing it, then preceding with t he other foot in the same manner, keeping her cell phone in her pocket. By now the parking lot is almost empty with only Alex, Uncle Wong and a few others still there, looking at the blue thing on the ground, their cell phones glowing against its sad face, their knees almost touching the ground to observe.
Uncle Wong looks at the blue thing’s diamond-like eyes, its shriveled skin and asks, “What is it?” Bringing the phone closer to its face, Alex, although knowing he is about to state the obvious tells Uncle Wong, “It’s not from here that’s for sure.”
“But look at it. It’s a him, I’m sure. He looks like a blue frog-man.” Alex stares at the Fogy’s face and thinks long and hard and then he asks, “Hey Uncle Wong. Help me shine your phone light there.”
“What? Like this?” Uncle Wong, with his cell above Fogy’s face, while Alex fiddles with the controls of his phone, tapping buttons with a lightning-quickness that still baffles Uncle Wong, whose phone, a basic model with just the call and text messaging functions, is already too complicated for him to operate.
“What you doing, ah?” Asks Uncle Wong while shifting his legs to a more comfortable position.
“Turning on night mode.”
“Yeah. Stay still Uncle Wong.”
“I’m old. You expect me to squat like this for how long?”
“Just a while. OK. Keep the light there.” Alex points the camera-phone at Fogy’s face, steadying his hand, his finger on the camera button, and the flash on his phone shining on Fogy’s face. Hold it. Hold it. Snap. Click, Saved in memory. He does this again a few more times and Uncle Wong stands up and stretches his legs, bends back and releases from deep down inside him- a loud groan.
Alex admonishes him with a, “Hey, what are you doing?” To which Uncle Wong tells him, “When you turn sixty you try to squat and then you tell me what’s it like. You’ll see.”
“All right, all right,” Alex grumbles, standing up, reviewing his pictures, while behind him the remaining few others from the crowd also begin snapping pictures.
He shows Uncle Wong the pictures- close ups of Fogy’s head, its eyes, its torso, the contours of it’s shriveled skin, its gaping wide mouth.
“What are you going to do with them? The pictures I mean?”
“Don’t know. Sell, maybe.”
The keys dangle from Mrs. Azusa’s hand and find their way to the door keyhole; the keys then turn clockwise, with her fingers twisting the keys twice before it opens.
Her husband Salad is the first to walk inside. He removes his shoes and leaves them at the doorstep places his hand on the wall, feeling for the switches. His fingers find them and he presses the switches to its on position but there’s no light. He clicks his tongue in frustration and he tells the wife and kids to stay outside the door.
He enters the house and goes to the kitchen storage cabinet. He opens it and, using the cell phone’s ambient glow to shine into the cabinet he bends down to the toolbox but he’s not really looking for the toolbox but the flashlights and tap lights.
He shines the light of his cell at the toolbox but looks past it to grab his flashlight and a plastic bag with the five tap lights in it.
Going room by room he places the tap lights, slightly larger than his palm into Camera’s room, then Diana’s and him and his wife’s room, the kitchen and then the living room. He tells them to come inside. They remove their shoes and the first thing Camera and Diana do is entering their respective rooms but Camera walks slowly, not sure what to do, or where to go. The only thing that helps her is seeing her sister go to her room and then her mother and father to the parent’s bedroom that she knows where her room is.
“Mere, are you ok?” Her concerned mother Asia asks.
“Just a little shaken, that’s all.”
Afterwards Salad goes the kitchen enters the bathroom and turns on the sink. To his surprise the sink works, at least for now. He turns it off to make sure he saves the running water for later.
His wife goes to the gas stove and turns on the flames. In the dark the gases appear more sinister, their flames hissing louder than usual. Asia stares at the flames. How majestic the flames truly are against the dark, how, she thinks, that the light becomes stronger in darkness.
She remembers her religious classes, about fire and heaven, about hell flames, about the end of the world, about good and evil and the struggle of man, all this while she just stares into the blue-hot flames, when all she can see is not the dark surrounding her but just the hissing blue of the flames, how at first sinister, now appears to be her best and most loyal friend, the thousands of breakfasts, lunches, dinners she has cooked with this stove. Her best friend in this whole house.
“Don’t waste it,” Samad tells her.
Reluctantly, she takes one last look at her best friend, her fingers hover over the knob and, with a great hesitancy, she turns the flames off, and it is dark again in the kitchen.
Outside, sirens are wailing. People stare out their windows and they see firemen and ambulances and police cars, the slash of blue and red and orange lights swirling against the walls. The firemen have large heavy-duty flashlights, and there is another truck that brings with it a power generator. In quick succession the men mount the power lights on the ground, taking electricity from the generator and the lights come on, bright as the sun.
They remove those easy ones first, the ones that are just fallen or unconscious, not vaporized like the old lady in the Toyota, while Alex and Uncle Wong, who try to help are told to step back.
“What took you so long?” Uncle Wong asks a fireman.
“Maybe you didn’t notice but we were busy! It’s all over the island we’re short of men as it is, so don’t complain about why we took so long.”
Uncle Wong backs away, suddenly he’s quiet. He lets them go on with their rescue work. Alex, who’s kept quiet tells Uncle Wong yes, in spite of what they said, they were a little bit too long in coming to help.
Looking at his watch again he sighs, worried that time is running out. “I’ve got to find my girlfriend. I’m supposed to pick her up from work. It’s all gone to shit.”
Another vans, maneuvering its way across the wreckage on the road, a nondescript white van, and stops at the crashed pod where the blue frogman came out. The back door of the van opens, with five men bursting out in chemical agent suits, a transparent plastic sheet five meters wide on both ends, running to where Froggy lies dead now, covering him in that sheet of plastic while another team go to the pod, examining it, taking pictures.
“Where’s the lorry?” The one taking photos asks.
The other faceless man tells the photographer the lorries over there, by the parked fire trucks, reversing into the pod. A moment later it stops, and the men in the lorry get down to do the heavy lifting, placing the pod on the lorry. After a little heave and ho the pod, a light thing surprisingly, is loaded on the lorry, and covered with a dark canvas. In a quick instant the lorry drives away and Froggy’s corpse is taken to the other van where it soon drives off too.
“They must have a team of others doing the same thing all over,” Alex remarks.
“Others?” Uncle Wong asks.
“Has to be, right? There were other lights in the sky, landing all over the city.”
“What are the police doing?” Uncle Wong asks, his eyes on the road.
What the police are doing, in fact, is cordoning off the roads, placing cones and the army, they’re raising wheeled barricades and locking them down, sentries in place armed with M-16 rifles, making sure we’re all safe. Nobody gets out and nobody gets in. Each and every constituency is covered; everybody is safe from these intruders from beyond the stars.
Alex runs to the soldiers screaming and asking, “What’s the meaning of all this, I’ve got a girlfriend I got to see, come on, open the gates!” But they don’t care, it’s as if he’s invisible to them, until a Commanding Officer comes to him directly.
“We have direct orders to seal the areas, Sir.”
“I’m sorry to disrespect, Sir, but some of us were supposed to meet and fetch people. At the airport, no less. I have to be sure.”
“What’s your name brother?”
“Chow. Alex Chow.”
“I’m Major Tang. Now Mr. Chow, you have my word that you’re… girlfriend was it? Yes well, you have my assurance that she is safe. In fact the airport is one of our highest priorities in terms of security.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. I believe we have an understanding Mr. Chow?”
Alex is eye to eye with the Major and the Major’s hand is extended in an expecting handshake, waiting for Alex’s hand to make the agreement complete. Reluctantly, Alex shakes the Major’s hand, gripping it firmly, never taking his eyes away from the Major. “Yes we do, major. Yes we do.”
He lets go of the Major’s hand and walks away, to his car.