Vaporized ll, page 1
Schmall World Publishing
First published in Great Britain as an e-book by Schmall World Publishing
Copyright © Simon Rosser 2016
The right of Simon Rosser to be identified as the author of the work has been asserted herein in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved.
This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organisations, places and events are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
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AMBER FOLLOWED JOHN in through the front door of the property and into a large hall. They turned left, and entered into a spacious lounge.
At the far end of the room, sitting in an armchair, looking out over the fields towards the ocean; on the southeast side of the property, was an elderly man. Amber didn’t recognise him at first, but with each step she took, she succumbed to a feeling of unbelievable joy.
“Amber,” John said. “I believe that’s your father.”
“Dad?” Amber shouted, as her father turned around, a look of disbelief on his face, as he saw her running towards him.
“Amber, how in the world did…”
Amber cut him short as she reached the armchair, dropped to her knees, and wrapped her arms around him. Perhaps there is a God after all, she thought, as she cried tears of joy.
She finally managed to drag her head from his chest, after wetting his shirt with her tears, and looked up at the kind, soft, slightly chubby face, of her seventy-five year old dad.
“I can’t believe what my eyes are seeing,” he said. “I never thought I’d see you again, poppet. How on earth did you get out of London, let alone survive this terrible thing?” he asked.
John’s voice boomed from the doorway. “I’d better go and make us all a cup of tea,” he said.
Amber told her dad she would wait until John got back, with the tea, before giving the details of her trek home.
She told her father about discovering her mother’s ashes, in the bed, at their home. Her father stroked Amber’s hair as he said “I’m so sorry that she didn’t survive, poppet”.
Amber was seated with her father and John, around the coffee table in John’s lounge. The south-easterly facing French doors, which looked out onto a decked patio, were open, allowing a light breeze into the room.
After hearing how her father had survived, and ended up at the farm, Amber had been relaying the details of her terrifying journey to them both; from the moment she’d woken up in her uncle’s apartment in London, until she arrived here yesterday.
John and her dad listened intently, their mouths dropping open at certain points, a disbelieving look on their faces at times, as she told them the incredible happenings in the apartment block, the museum, and as she made her way through London, not to mention the incident on the Severn Bridge.
“So you’re saying these things were first able to control water and then, after a few days, created what appear to have been hollow tubes, or tendrils, as you referred to them, which were pumping stuff through them, and smelled of ammonia?”
Amber nodded. “Yes, Dad. It all started with the water in the apartment swimming pool. I saw it with my own eyes. The water was literally defying gravity, somehow moving by its own accord, as if under intelligent control.”
Amber’s father sat there, completely mesmerised by what his daughter was telling him.
“So, you’re telling us, these things, wherever they’ve come from, have the ability to mimic us, and other animals, using water? Not only that, but can also somehow bring an extinct museum exhibit back to life?”
Amber nodded her head slowly. “I know it sounds unbelievable, but it’s true.”
“How fast did you say that thing that hatched on the bridge was able to run?” Amber’s father asked.
“I’m not sure. It had to be close on eighty miles an hour. I’d accelerated to a hundred and it had almost caught up to me,” she said, sipping her coffee.
“Incredible, simply incredible,” her dad said, putting on what Amber called his ‘physics’ face. A serious, contemplative face her dad used to make, when marking his pupils physics exam answers, at the dining room table at home.
“I think I’m going to need something stronger in my coffee,” John said, after listening to the story. “I’ve been saving my XO Cognac for a special occasion. I’ll go and fetch it.”
Amber’s father turned to her. “The ammonia molecule, NH3, like the water molecule, is abundant in the universe. It’s a compound of hydrogen, which is the simplest and most common element, along with another very common element, nitrogen. The role of liquid ammonia as an alternative solvent for life is an idea that goes back at least sixty years,” he said.
“What do you think is happening Dad?” Amber asked, as John came back into the room holding a bottle of Cognac and three crystal-cut glass tumblers.
“Well, I’ve been thinking about that over the last few days, after seeing that thing out there, off the coast, being built…”
“Being built?” Amber interrupted.
Her father looked at her. “We haven’t told you yet, have we? We’ve been studying that alien object, off the coast, through John’s telescope, upstairs in the top bedroom. There are machines, flying robotic machines, constructing it. The object is using some kind of anti-gravity device to keep it above the ocean. Incredible,” her father said, shaking his head.
“But what’s it for?” Amber asked.
“Would you like some Cognac, Peter?” John interrupted.
Amber’s father nodded and smiled at John. “I sure do,” he said.
“What about you, Amber?”
Amber nodded. “Why not? Just a little though, in my tea.”
John gave Amber a funny look, before pouring some in.
“You’re ruining an expensive Cognac there.”
Amber ignored the comment and looked at her father.
“Well, my best guess is; that our planet is either being terraformed, or, the aliens have come to steel our water.”
“Terraformed?” Amber repeated, with a quizzical look upon her face.
“Yup,” her father said, taking a gulp of Cognac. “A process by which another planet’s ecology, atmosphere and temperature is modified, in order to make it suitable for life. In this case, alien life. Scientists have talked about the possibility of terraforming the Planet Mars for a long time, by using micro-organisms to pump out gasses, give the planet an atmosphere, eventually an oxygen-rich one, making it suitable for human life.”
Amber closed her eyes, horrified at the thought of her dad’s hypothesis.
“Either way, Amber, it would appear the Earth is in serious trouble. Whether they take our water, or terraform the planet, Earth will be unrecognisable from its present form.”
“Cheers to that!” John said sarcastically, raising his tumbler of Cognac. “Depressing, isn’t it. I’ve had to put up with your father telling me this since we first set eyes upon that thing out there.”
She pulled away. “I’m so happy that John found you after you’d collapsed, and brought you back here,” she said.
“Just pure luck, poppet,” her dad said.
Before Amber had told her story about her journey from London, her father had told her how he’d ended up at the farm. He’d gone for an evening walk and collapsed on the grass verge, in the lane running alongside the farm, a combination of too much heat, and a drop in his blood pressure. John, who he’d known for ten years or more, had found him, whilst driving back to the farm, and had resuscitated him.
The only reason he’d taken him into the nuclear bunker was because the farmhouse had been overrun by wasps, from a damaged nest in the eaves, and John had considered it too dangerous to take him into the house. That, and the fact that it was nice and cool in the bunker. It was also filled with medical supplies, including a large stock of bottled water, made it the logical place to stay.
Her father had refused to go into hospital, fearing he may end up with some worse ailment, and had agreed to spend the night, with John watching over him in the bunker, to recover.
Amber’s mum had, of course, been told, and reluctantly accepted it was best for her husband to stay there, for the night in order to rest, as it was extremely hot in their cottage also.
“If only your mum had come out for the walk with me,” he continued. “She could have spent the night with me, in John’s bunker, and survived too.”
Amber wiped away a tear. “She’d have probably insisted you go back home with her Dad, or to the hospital. Don’t blame yourself for what happened to Mum. No one could have foreseen what was about to happen and, if you’d gone home, you’d both be dead now.”
“That’s true,” her dad smiled. “On the Sunday morning John drove me home and we found your mum’s ashes in the bed. Terrible thing,” he said, shaking his head. “After that, I returned here with John. We’ve been trying to figure out what’s been going on ever since.”
Amber wiped a tear from her cheek. “I got nervous after hearing that NASA had tracked two objects entering Earth’s atmosphere last weekend. People were talking about it. It freaked me out a little,” she said.
“Yep. I must admit I didn’t pay too much attention, at the time. I thought it was a load of poppycock,” her father said. “I should have taken the stories a little more seriously.”
John slammed his brandy glass down on the table. “Jeez, look at the time. The broadcast is due in twenty minutes,” he said.
Amber looked at John, and then her father, feeling somewhat confused. “Broadcast?” she said.
Amber's dad looked over at John. “Haven't you told her yet?”
“Oh! Sorry, I haven't had a chance.” John turned to Amber. “We've been monitoring a transmission from the United States. Nevada to be precise...”
“What?!” Amber said, stunned at the revelation.
“Yes, two days ago, on one of the emergency channels. I've not been able to respond to the message yet, but I’m continuing to try. The message appears to be coming from the Nellis Airforce Base, situated there. Have you ever heard of Area 51?” John asked, tentatively.
Amber nodded slowly, still surprised by the development. “Yes, I've read about it. It's where the US Government supposedly hides its secret technology, including some recovered, crashed, flying saucers, allegedly.”
“Well, I’m not sure about that, but yes, that's the place. Come with me, the message is being broadcast every six hours. There's one due now, at midday,” he said.
Amber curiously followed John out into the corridor, past the kitchen and into a large study, where computer monitors, hard drives, and an assortment of radio equipment, both old and new, had been set up.
“This is my little operations room,” John said. “I'm a bit of a nerd when it comes to computers and I’m also an amateur ham radio operator. It's the main reason why my Mrs divorced me,” he said, smirking.
He led Amber over to a modern-looking item of equipment, with green and red LED lights blinking on and off in sequence, and picked up a set of headphones. He then carefully turned a large dial on the tuner in front of him.
After a while he nodded slowly, and removed the headphones. “Got it,” he said, reaching out and pushing a yellow illuminated button next to the dial.
Amber immediately heard a man, with a slight American accent, speaking succinctly and clearly.
“To anyone still out there and whoever might be listening. This is a pre-recorded message from US Black Ops Division, Scientific Advisor, Colin Montgomery, speaking from Nellis Airforce Base, Groom Lake, Nevada, USA. Earth appears to have been invaded by an alien species, clearly intent on taking over our planet for its own purposes. We do not know how much of humanity has survived the cataclysm that has been wreaked upon us, but we assess a few pockets of us remain. We have a dedicated and highly specialised unit, of less than one hundred scientific and military personnel, based at a secret, highly secure, underground location. In a few moments, those listening will be able to attempt contact, using AM frequency, 282.80000.
We are using all our resources to assess the threat we face. We have limited, but effective, means to attempt intervention but, and we have no doubt, our prospects are grim.
So we say to anyone who gets this message; contact us, and we will tell you how to get to us. Humanity must regroup, and fight back against the alien menace, that has swiftly and comprehensively destroyed everything we know.
I finish this broadcast with a quote from the Bible;
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord, your God, goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.
To anyone listening, please attempt to make contact now.”
Amber sat in stunned silence, wiping a tear from her cheek, as the voice of Colin Montgomery broke off. Now, more than ever, she realised the hopelessness of the situation they were all in. How can we possibly fight back?
John had quickly picked up the headphones and had tuned the station to the frequency advised. He began speaking into a microphone, confirming that the three of them had survived, giving brief details of how they had managed it, and their approximate location, in Wales, UK. He ended the message by giving details of the equipment he was using, and the best band and frequency for them to use, to make contact.
John finished speaking, removed his headphones and turned to Amber.
“That’s it, love. I have left the same message three times but, so far, no contact. However I’m confident this Montgomery chap will be in touch. We just have to be patient.”
Amber was standing in the lounge, next to her father, looking out over the fields towards the Atlantic Ocean in the west, and the setting sun. John was walking across the fields towards them, from the direction of the small hut. He’d just been to collect more bottled water, from the large stock he thankfully had, and to feed Pegasus, making sure the stallion was comfortable, before locking the horse inside the underground bunker for the night.
“You know, Amber; human beings are a remarkable species. We have been around for two-hundred thousand years, and have survived everything that Mother Nature has so far thrown at us. So, I am sure we can overcome this, too,” he said, squeezing her shoulder.
Amber looked at her father, reassured, but not convinced by his comment. She smiled. “At least I’m here with you Dad. I love you.” she said, wrapping her arms around him.
“I love you too, poppet. Everything will be ok, I promise.”
Amber listened to her dad’s comforting words, and felt his reassuring arms around her; as the sun dropped out of sight, ushering in a new and uncertain night for the three of them.
AMBER JOLTED AWAKE, her eyelids flicking open in an instant. Moonlight filtered through the net curtains covering the bedroom window, casting eerie shadows on
She turned towards the bedside table and checked the battery operated alarm clock. The time was 12.20 a.m., just ninety minutes since they’d all turned in for bed. The Cognac she’d drunk earlier had made her tired, sending her into a deep sleep as soon as she’d lain on the bed.
Amber’s eyes remained fixed on the creepy shadows washing over the ceiling above, as she wondered what had woken her.
She then heard a faint thumping sound, coming from somewhere in the fields outside that surrounded the farmhouse.
Her father and John had shared the rest of the entire bottle of Cognac between them, and as she lay there in the silence, she could just make out the sound of her father snoring in room next door.
Amber’s heart started to race. She pulled the quilt off her and swung her legs out of the bed. She’d slept in her leggings and a T-shirt, just in case she needed to get out of the house in a hurry, but she hoped the sound she’d heard was nothing sinister. There was no way she was going to be able to get back to sleep now though.
She crept over to the window positioned above the foot of the bed, and peered out, moving the net curtains a little to get an unobstructed view of the fields outside.
The large oak trees close to the house were moving slightly, silvery light from the three-quarter moon in the clear night sky above, filtered through their dead branches, casting unnatural shapes on the back of the room’s bedroom wall and ceiling.
Amber scanned the dark fields below, tracing the wooden fence that divided the fields surrounding the farmhouse from the adjoining land, along from the closest point, as far as she could, and back to the end of the fields again. She then locked on to the corrugated shed in the corner of the field; the entrance to the nuclear bunker that had protected her father and John from the Event; the Event that had initiated the vaporization process, and the seemingly unimaginable scenario, of what appeared to be the colonization of Earth by alien lifeforms.