No one would have guessed that America's darkest hour would have been 9:27 A.M. Central Standard time. No one would have guessed that a small town in Avondale, U.S.A. could bring down the world. No one would have guessed that the entire planet would be united against America. But then again, no one knew what the Americans had been planning for years.
I was working for a small private company at the time. We were funded by the United States government, but were technically separate from it. Plausible deniability and all that. Of course I didn't know that. All I knew was that I had just graduated from a small college in a Midwestern state school and this was the only job opportunity that promised anything other than boredom and embarrassment for the rest of my life.
I was basically a glorified receptionist. I took calls, made coffee, made appointments for meetings and just generally did what I was told. Not the most glamorous job, but it was either this or admit that I'd never surpass my father the mechanic in a one gas station town. So when one of my cousins suggested the job as a great way to get out into the world, I jumped.
People are always saying things like "If I had known what was coming I would have never taken that job," but honestly, if I hadn't taken the job I'd be dead now. And I still have enough fight in me to at least appreciate that.
Now I was always taught not to be too curious, and definitely never to look a gift horse in the mouth. So I did my job. And I did my best. And I didn't ask questions and I said yes sir and no ma'am. And I got promoted. I was to be Colonel Olsen's assistant. Not a bad deal at all. This changed my job description by about three words. I was now doing all the same things as before, but I was doing them "for the Colonel."
He and I developed a rapport. We were both Christian men who had come from small towns and big families. He became the closest thing I had to a friend at the compound. And I feel like I must have meant something to him as well. One day after a meeting he asked me into his office. I didn't think it would be any different than any other chat we'd had over the past few months. I was wrong.
He started by handing me a flash drive, a key, and a cell phone. If I ever got a text message from the cell phone I was to take the key and unlock the safe in his office. I was then to upload the data from the flash drive onto a laptop that he stored there. After that I was to read the notes he had left me in the safe and follow their instructions to the letter.
Even at the time I knew this was a cryptic message. Try as I might I couldn't push it out of my head. I was always raised to be obedient and I tried not to to be curious. But it was too much this time. I tried to access the files on the flash drive one day and locked up my computer. Nothing came of it and when I called tech support they were baffled.
They ended up transferring the contents of my hard drive to a new computer which they asked me to kindly be more careful with. I promised them I would treat it with the utmost love and they laughed and walked away. I slid the flashdrive into my back pocket with the key and went home.
When I came to work the next day it seemed normal enough. I was told that all employees would be going through a medical screening that day. And since my last name was Aleichem I would be first. As I was receiving a shot from a particularly busty and very friendly nurse, the phone started buzzing. Not my personal phone. The phone. I quickly excused myself to check the text. It was blank. However, it had come from a very familiar number. Colonel Olsen's.
I quickly made my way to his office which was blocked by two impressive looking soldiers. I tried to look unassuming as I made my way for the door but they weren't having it. Colonel Olsen's office was being searched for signs of treason against the United States.
I was blown away. Treason? There was no way that could be. The Colonel was the most honest upstanding man I had ever known in my life. I hid my concern and told the men that I had heard about this issue and had been spying on the Colonel for months now. I told them that I had a key to his office safe and that if I were allowed to enter the room I would help them with their investigation.
The two soldiers looked quizzically at each other. They had clearly not been expecting this. I was not the country bumpkin they had expected. I told them that if they didn't let me in I would go to their superior officer and claim that they had been obstructing my investigation. That did the trick.
They unlocked the door and the taller of the two led me into the room. I walked quickly to the safe hoping that I could somehow think my way out of this. My hands shook as I slipped the key into the safe. It unlocked with the loudest clunk I had ever heard. I slowly swung the door open kneeling in front of it to obscure the soldier's vision. There was the laptop, and some documents. And a gun! What had I gotten myself into. It had a tube attached to the barrel that I knew had to be a silencer.
Could I do this? Should I trust the man who was being charged for treason?
I whipped around and put the gun to the head of the soldier who was looking at some documents on the desk and pulled the trigger as I closed my eyes as tight as I could. I don't think I need to describe what a gun does to a head. The other soldier opened the door to ask about the sound he had just heard and I put a bullet between his eyes. I may not have been the country bumpkin that they expected but I was definitely part of middle class America and my dad was a card carrying member of the NRA. I knew what to do with a weapon.
I dragged his body into the room, closed the door, and threw up everywhere. This was not what I expected on a Thursday morning.
After I had collected myself I went back to the safe. I leafed through the documents. The only one that had any meaning to me at the time was the first page.
If you are reading this I have most likely been killed. I know that you are a strong man but I hope that you did not have to make use of the item I provided for you. However, now is not the time for such wishes. Please take the documents provided with you and flee to Mexico. I have provided passports for you and your family. I urge you to take them and run as fast as you can.
And please forgive me.
COL Jericho Olsen
Remembering the other instructions I had been given, I opened up the laptop computer, booted up what was clearly not a standard operating system and slipped in the flash drive. The screen went black immediately and I feared I had done something wrong. However, white text soon showed up saying things I didn't understand. I didn't take the time to figure things out.
I stood up, took a deep breath, slipped the gun into the back of my pants and walked quickly but calmly back to my desk. Fortunately I met no one along the way. I put on my coat and left a note on my desk stating that it was 9:30 and I felt ill and would be back the next day, please forward all calls etc. I don't know why I did it. It's not like I could return after leaving two bodies in my boss's office.
The rest of the news until Mexico is unimportant. I withdrew all my money from savings. I told my friends to leave the country if they had the opportunity, something big was about to go down. Most importantly though, I managed to convince my dad and my sisters to come with me. When we arrived at the border the guards took a quick look at our passports and ushered us through welcoming us to the great country of Mexico.
We continued to drive as far South as Mexico City. All along our trip we heard of stories of strange happenings in the States. The most upsetting thing to hear was that there was no communication from North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, or parts of northern Iowa. I had been working in the city of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
When we reached Mexico City we finally stopped. I paid for a couple hotel rooms in a nice part of the city and bought the laptop I'm writing this story on. The connection in the hotel wasn't good, but the news was worse. Most of the Midwest was gone. Not as in there was no communication. As in when the planes flew over it, they couldn't see anything but fire. Ash was falling like snow in Chicago and Canada had closed its borders.
I kept this news from my family. There was no point in scaring them. I just kept the TV on Spanish soaps and told them to try to think of happy things.
It was at this time that I decided to take a closer look at the documents the colonel had left for me. It was ugly stuff. My friend the Colonel had been doing some dirty things. Apparently the facility I worked in was experimenting on criminals with radiation and other things I don't even know how to explain. There was one experiment with a lady who had toxic fumes coming out of her mouth, a witch doctor who can 'experiment' on criminals. Another, was a little Japanese girl with a 'Grudge'.
One patient who had spontaneously combusted and couldn't be put out. He was in constant agony and begged to be killed. It reminded me of the Human Torch. The Colonel had denied this request but told the convict that he would do his best to end the pain. The man was kept sedated in isolation until a General could be brought to observe him.
When the General arrived he was disgusted but intrigued. He demanded a field test of Subject Q1100317.
The Colonel protested saying that this man had suffered enough and that they should end his pain. The General apparently was not pleased with this and told the Colonel that this job was not for a soft man. The Colonel continued to protest and the General forced him into to the cell with Q1100317. The doctor on hand stopped the sedative feed and the Human Torch woke up.
The Colonel did not survive this encounter. Unfortunately, this pleased the General. He ordered a full field test be prepared for the next week.
"This man could change the way wars are fought."
I've just heard that the United States has been quarantined. No one is allowed in or out. My country is burning to the ground. And I can't escape the smell of smoke.