Chapter 1: The Hangover
I fumbled my key in the lock, eager to change out of my work clothes. It was the fourth of July after all, and I had been invited by my neighbor Robert "Big Bob" McCormack to his annual "Fourth of July Shindig." Judging by the sound of music pulsating through his door, the party was well underway. Finally, I got the door open and slammed it shut. I caught a glimpse of myself in the hall mirror. My shaggy black hair hung to just below my ears and my grey-blue eyes shone with excitement. I was wearing a variant of my usual work clothes for the special occasion- an American flag tie, my red vest had white and blue stripes. I grinned, maybe I wouldn't change. The clothes fit the occasion. I slipped my keys into my pocket and jogged towards the kitchen. I opened the fridge, and that's when things got weird. I felt as if I had just fallen through a hole.
I was aware of vibrant, florescent lights that warped and spiraled in a blur of color as I zoomed by. I was aware that I was falling as well. The rushing wind whipped my clothing around violently and strained my eyes. The g-forces pulled at my insides as I began increasing the speed of my descent. For some reason, I felt as if I was on a very steep slip and slide. Finally, a small black opening appeared at the end of the tunnel and grew larger as I approached. I tried to scream as the hole engulfed me, but the wind took my breath away.
Suddenly, I was no longer falling through a tunnel, but instead I was falling through the sky. The cold wind whipped through my clothes and stung my skin. I had just enough time to fear been splattered all over the ground before I inexplicably began to slow. I hit the ground hard, having no control of my body as I rolled to a stop. I opened my eyes again, the sky and world around me spinning in circles. I blinked hard, shaking my head to set my focus right. I groaned, flipping onto my side and squirming from the pain. The sky stopped spinning long enough to reveal a bright sun and a few patchy white clouds hanging lazily overhead. I cringed as I slowly sat upright, my back against the wheel of a car I hadn't spotted before. I managed to scramble away. Better safe than sorry.
My eyes rested on the old, cracked road I was on. I traced the cracks down the road, glancing around at the abandoned cars along it. Several small general stores, a few cigarette outlets, and other buildings lined the narrow sidewalks. The road split at a 'T' intersection about 50 yards down, right in front of a white building labelled 'Visitors Center'. So I was near a town then.
There were no signs of life, anywhere. There were no people, no birds chirping, no rodents scurrying about or even insects that I could see. My head was still swimming from the fall, but this was confusing me even more. I could feel a headache coming on.
What the hell happened?
I tried to think back, tracing my steps from returning home from my shift at Sam's Club. I walked in the front door, shoved my keys into my pocket, and opened the refrigerator… and now I'm here in the middle of nowhere sitting alone on an unmaintained street.
Just before I could panic, a small, high-pitched whistle rang out in the sky above me. I looked up in time to see somebody falling, straight for me. I scrambled backwards, pressing my back against the wheel of the car again, just as the newcomer slammed into the pavement about a foot away. I moved to the front of the car, and watched as the person rolled to a stop on the opposite side of the road and began squirming in pain. I just watched cautiously, until she sat up.
I figured by this point I must be dreaming, as an angel just descended from the heavens. Long, dark-brown hair framed her face, contrasting with the porcelain skin of her high cheekbones. Long, feather duster eyelashes adorned her beautiful sea-green eyes. A clean and tight, white shirt hugged her body, while a pair of dark-blue jeans wrapped around her legs and met a pair of brown-leather boots.
She finally managed to get to a sitting position. She looked over, meeting my eyes for a second before she quickly began backpedalling away.
I put a hand up, "Chill! That happened to me…"
"What?" she asked in a seductive British accent. Wow, a British angel, now that is definitely quite the combination.
I struggled to stand up, my back cracking multiple times in the process. I had to lean myself against the car for support once I was on my feet. That fall really must've lasted for hours, or else my landing wasn't as soft as I imagined. Maybe I had been unconscious for a while? I defiantly hope not, considering how this girl had stayed conscious.
There was another small, high pitched whistle and out of nowhere, another figure smacked into the road about 20 yards away in front of the general store. I flinched away, setting off a car alarm after bashing the car the wrong way with my elbow. Again, I jumped away, before embarrassment overcame me and I forced myself to look at the girl. Luckily, she was more focused on the newcomer.
"That," I said gesturing to a man who was kneeling on all fours. He shook his head to regain focus, looking up at us but not saying a word. Instead he took a couple of deep breaths and stood up.
I was surprised to see he was a lot bigger than I had first imagined. He had broad shoulders, and massive biceps that bulged out from underneath a cut-off flannel shirt. A worn-out camouflage hat fell from the sky and hit his scuffed and muddy hunting-boots. He smiled and scooped it up, adjusting it back onto his bald head. What he lacked on the top of his head he made up for with a brownish goatee around his face that was well past been described as bushy. He wiped a bit of blood away from his lips, looked at it with disinterest, and then smeared it off on his already dirty jeans.
We looked at each other for a moment or two, having a stare off to see who would speak first. Then, there was another small, high pitched whistle. Then, as expected, another person fell from the sky, immediately followed by somebody else. They both hit the middle of the road, lying in a heap. I couldn't help but notice that all of us seemed to have slowed down before impact. Strange.
The one on top of the pile rolled off. They sat up, revealing it was a female police officer. She was also attractive, but not quite angel quality. Her skin was a golden tan, and her straight, black hair was pulled back into a ponytail. Her uniform was dark-blue, with a shiny-gold bade on it reading 'NYPD'. A police hat dropped on the ground beside her, and she snatched it up.
The man she was on top of remained sprawled out on his back groaning in agony. He had a thin structure, with brown hair that came into a small pyramid atop his head. He was wearing a black and blue long-sleeved plaid shirt and dusted jeans. One of his high-top shoes had come off on impact and was laying a few feet away. I was also curious when I noticed a pair of handcuffs dangling from his right arms.
I glanced at the group that had formed as the cop brushed off her shoulders and straightened her outfit. She paused while slipping her ponytail through the hat and looked up at me.
"Who are you? What the hell?" she asked, spinning around to look at everybody.
Nobody had an answer to her question, so I stepped forward and outstretched my hand, "I'm Alex Dawson, and we all fell like you did."
The cop stared at my hand, not accepting the handshake. I shrugged and slipped my hand into my pocket. What a punk, I thought.
The redneck stepped closer to the group and said in a husky voice, "Is' at so? I'm Buddy, Buddy Thomas."
Now the cop was really confused, looking around at everybody, "Okay…I'm Officer Samantha Dawson, what just happened?"
The angel-girl looked at the ground and put a hand up, "Yeah, my name's Ashley…"
We all waited for the last kid, who was now in a sitting position, pulling on his left shoe. He looked up at us; "Frank…" his accent was Australian.
Samantha laughed and put her hands up, "What is this? Am I on TV?" she looked around in circles smiling. Hey, maybe she's on to something. I too began searching around for cameras, disappointed when I came up empty. How would they accomplish that? It seemed like an illusion to me, maybe this was a new reality show. "Operation Messed up?" I had heard stories about that show- it was meant to be the flag show of some new TV station.
When I looked back at Sammy she had her palms-up, "Are you serious? You don't know either?"
I could tell me and her weren't likely to get along already. I checked the others, thinking that maybe they were in on it. If they were, they were putting on a pretty good show because I had no clue.
"Look Samantha…" I started.
She cut me off, "Call me Sammy."
I glanced at Buddy, who had a smirk on his face, before continuing. "Sammy…none of us knows. I was here before any of you, and I watched each of you come down." I let my explanation sink in for a minute. It didn't seem to help much, for Sammy just stared at me with a look of doubt on her face.
She placed her hands on her hips and pursed her lips, "Ok, sorry that I don't get teleported through a wormhole everyday like you, Andy!"
I rubbed the back of my neck as the others chuckled quietly. "It's Alex, not Andy. I got an idea; let's recount what happened before this."
Buddy grinned and raised his hand like a school student. I raised a brow and waited for him to say something, but he kept his mouth shut. I exchanged glances with Sammy before pointing at Buddy.
"I was with my neighbor, fixin' his tractor," Buddy said. Wow, how typical. I can already guess what Sammy and Frank were doing, but I pointed to her next.
"Well, I was arresting Frank here, for trying to steal a car!" she shouted.
Frank slowly stood up to defend himself, "Now wait a minute! I wasn't stealing the car! I was stealing the iPhone inside!"
Sammy crossed her arms and rolled her eyes, "So? That's still theft, dumbass!"
"Petty-theft mate…" he protested. This further assured me we were on television, considering this would make for a great reality TV show already.
I droned them out and pointed at Ashley, "What about you?"
"I was driving home," she answered quietly. How could a girl like her be so shy? Surely she must get around, but she acts like the new-girl in school.
Anyway, that was the worst possible scenario. Somewhere back home, there was a strong possibility that there was a mass pile-up on a highway. How could they capture her while she's driving home? Those reality show producers are damn good…
I sighed, "Well, that doesn't help much because I was just walking in my door. Anybody got anything?"
Sammy shook her head and began looking around. She located the Visitor Center and began walking towards it, "I'm going in here and talking to somebody!"
We didn't have much choice but to follow her, so we did. Ashley was unsure about the whole situation, trailing behind the pack like a stray dog. Frank on the other hand couldn't care less, while Buddy was smiling like it was Christmas. Aussies and Rednecks- proof that God has a sense of humor.
The deeper we got into town, the more uneasy I felt. While the cars further out had been pulled into the side of the road, nearer the center of the town, a few had been abandoned in the middle of the road. One car had flipped over onto the pavement, smashing a store front. It would take a really good driver to navigate through the wreckage. I was so distracted, I collided with Sammy, stumbling over her shoe and catching myself before I tripped over.
"Sorry!" I sputtered, turning to her. I followed her gaze to the ground, following a thick line of dark-red liquid leading from the doors of the building.
Sammy froze and held out her arms to block anybody else from passing. They all leaned over her shoulders to see the trail for themselves. Ashley cupped a hand over her mouth and Buddy's expression turned from excitement to shock.
"Oh my God…" Sammy whispered. I leaned over her shoulder to get a better view. To me it looked like kool-aid spilled out across the ground, but I've seen kool-aid spilled across the ground…never have I seen blood spilled across the ground.
"What is this?" Sammy asked, her minty breath hitting me.
I quickly backed off, embarrassed, "Uh, looks like blood…"
She reached down to her side and pulled out a Smith and Wesson 5946 9mm pistol. It was a sleek black colour, shining white in the sunlight. She clicked off the safety and held it close to her face as she continued advancing towards the building.
"Really?" I questioned. I've never seen a cop actually pull a gun before, and certainly not over speculation. Sammy was different though, and ever since she landed I've been wondering if she's really a cop or not. I might not have seen a cop pull a gun before, but I knew enough of them at Sam's Diner to know her attitude made me uncomfortable.
"Better safe than sorry!" she replied firmly, flicking her ponytail back. The rest of us crept after her, scanning the area and watching her every move.
We were almost to building now, nearing the sidewalk that was neatly lined with lush hedges. The building was all white, with four windows on the front and a set of stairs leading up to a double-wide doorway. The roof was black, hanging slightly over the edge and trimmed with white gutters.
Just as I was about to walk up the staircase after the others, a hand snatched my arm. I twisted around to see Ashley, her eyes pleading and her lip quivering.
"I don't want to go in there…" she begged. I caught myself before I stared too long into her beautiful eyes, deep into her everlasting pupils. How could I say no?
I looked back at the others, who were standing by the door and waiting for us.
I gently tugged Ashley closer to me and whispered, "We'll be fine, I don't think its blood, and I think we're on TV…"
Ashley stalled for a moment longer before taking a deep breath and nodding her head. We slowly caught up to the others, while Sammy cautiously opened the door with her shoulder. We all piled in while she held the door open, and immediately our suspicions were confirmed.
Thanks for reading!
Chapter 2 coming soon!
Please take the time to Review/Comment/Subscribe/PM or Email me with questions or ideas!
If you like this, feel free to check out my other stories, or take a look at my co-author account "Epic Legkicker", for more great reads!
Big thanks to "freddyburn" for fixing this mess up! Check out his stories!