Here is a little story that I wrote just for fun. Let me know if anyone likes it!

 

It reads:

It wasn’t until I tried to start my car that I really began to think something strange was going on. I had awakened just after dawn. The first thing I noticed was silence where the incessant chatter of the early morning news on my clock radio should be. I raised myself up on my elbow and saw the radio was dark. The power’s gone off, I thought, so I dragged myself out of bed and reached for my cell phone on the bureau to find out what time it was. Oh great, was my next thought, I forgot to recharge it and now it’s dead. I forced myself into the shower. Thank God for propane water heaters.

After I dressed in the semi-darkness of my bedroom, I walked into the living room. It was kind of eerie without the TV, radio or even tunes on my iphone to listen to. The silence was getting to me so I decided to go to the neighborhood Starbucks, hoping their power was still on. That’s when my car wouldn’t start. “What the…” I said to the steering wheel as I sat with my mouth hanging open. I looked up the street and two houses down I saw Russell Lawrence, that insufferable bastard, with his head under the hood of his new BMW.

“What’s wrong, Russ?” I asked as I walked up behind him.

“What?” he said as he pulled his head from under the hood. “Oh, I don’t know…won’t start, won’t even turn over.”

“Mine either,” I said with uncharacteristic empathy.

“Really? Well, you drive a Ford, gotta expect that kind of thing, but this is a BMW.”

End of empathy. “Yeah, and you have the same problem. Go figure.”

“I’d call the dealer, but my phone is out, and my cell’s not working. I can’t seem to get a signal.”

“Mine’s no good either. I forgot to charge it, it won’t even turn on it’s so dead.”

It was at that moment Tommy Wilcox came riding his bicycle down the street. “Have you seen it?” he shouted as he came to a screeching halt beside Russ’s Beemer, causing Russ to practically throw his body between the Beemer and the bike.

“Seen what, Tommy?” I asked.

“The moat,” he said.

“What?” Russ and I said in unison.

“The moat, at the edge of town. I’m on my way to the other end of town to see if it goes all the way around.”

“What are you talking about?”

“We think it might be why all the electricity in town is off,” Tommy continued.

“Who thinks that?” I asked.

“My dad, Mr. Williams, everybody, I think. I told them I’d ride to the other end of town and check it out.” With that, he climbed back onto the pedals and veered off down the street.

“What do you make of that?” asked Russ.

“I don’t know, but this is getting stranger by the minute,” I said and headed back to my house.

“Where you going?” called Russ.

“To get my bike…I’m going to have a look at this moat.”

***

It was the damned-est thing I’d ever seen. It looked like a rushing river, but it was situated where no river had ever been before that morning. A sizable crowd had gathered by the time I arrived, all of them staring at the water as it rushed by.

“Here it comes again,” someone called and as I watched, a fifty gallon drum went floating by, bobbing in the swift current.

“What’s that?” I asked Tommy’s dad, Roger.

“Hey, Jake, ever see the like?”

“No, I never have. What’s with the drum?”

“Steve threw it in about half-an-hour ago. This is the third time it’s floated by. It floats off that way, then comes floating back by from that way,” he said as he motioned the direction the metal messenger was taking, letting everyone know that whatever the cause, the ‘moat’ made a full circuit around the town.

“What the hell?”

“Yeah, that’s what we all said.”

***

By noon the entire town of Grassplains knew about the moat, despite the fact there were no phones and no electricity. There was any number of theories as to how it came to be, most, though not all, linked the moat to the electrical blackout. They ranged from aliens to government conspiracies, some even combined the two. The one thing that was agreed upon was that somehow someone needed to get over the moat to find out just what the hell was going on.

It was generally agreed that the current was too swift to try swimming across and a bridge was out of the question. Dolph Sweeney volunteered his bass boat, but was in no hurry to volunteer himself, so I reluctantly did the honors.

I climbed into the boat while Dolph backed the trailer to the edge of the water. There wasn’t a spot to conveniently back the trailer into the water, like a boat launch, so a group of fifteen to twenty of the town’s biggest men got on both sides of the boat to lift it off the trailer and slide it into the water. I couldn’t help wondering if they were some macabre group of pall bearers, sending me off to oblivion. I had in mind to get the engine going and buck the current, but as they were setting the boat in the water, the current grabbed it and pulled Willie Jenkins into the moat. He drifted quickly down river, so I engaged the engine and shot down the moat in pursuit. I lost sight of him as we were floating by Miller’s dry goods on the south end of town and by the time I’d made the first circuit it was obvious Willie was a goner.

Out of respect, I made two more circuits trying to find a hint of his body in the current, but by the fourth time round the crowd was urging me to get on to the other side before I ran out of gasoline. It appears Dolph hadn’t filled the tank since his last fishing trip and didn’t know how much was in the tank.

I got to the center of the moat easily enough, but there seemed to be something holding me there, as if going to the far side was like trying to go uphill. I would make a little progress, then slide back to the middle. After several attempts, I decided to change directions, remembering my original intent to go against the current. Although initially my maneuver met with the jeers of the town, when I began showing progress, they changed their tunes. It was as if the current, as I pushed against it, forced the small boat further and further from the middle toward the far side. Once I got near the edge of the moat, I didn’t know what to do next. Then I saw a rope hanging out over the water from a branch of an old oak tree whose root base was partially uncovered and cut through by whatever dug the moat. I angled as close as I could, but it seemed to be just out of reach. I wasn’t sure I could jump from the boat to the rope without ending up in the moat myself. The memory of Willie was still fresh in my mind.

I passed by twice, close enough almost to touch it when the engine of the bass boat began to sputter. I knew I’d only have one last chance if that, then I’d be adrift as the boat ran out of gas. I timed my jump perfectly and as the boat fell away under my feet, my hands grasped tightly onto the rope. With some effort I got it swinging and was able to jump down near the base of the tree. As I rested there under the tree, I saw the boat float by again. Somehow it had turned over and the contents of the boat, including empty beer bottles and fishing tackle began to litter the edge of the moat.

I believed I must have been on the eastern side of town as the last thing I remembered seeing by way of a landmark was Miller’s dry goods store and figured I’d drifted long enough to get around another quarter circuit from there. That meant if I headed down the nearest road, it should take me to either Chesterton or Newbury, depending on which road it actually was. I couldn’t tell and the road sign must have been somewhere in the middle of the moat’s path.

I walked for what must have been two hours without seeing anything I recognized. It was as if all the trees, houses, and any other identifiable structures had been scraped off the earth. I was about to turn back, thinking I might have better luck going north of town, when I saw it. I don’t quite know how to explain it, but it appeared to be a wall made of milky-white glass. I couldn’t see through it, nor could I see the top of it. By this time I was tired, hungry and frustrated. I sat there at the base of that wall and cried. Just what in the name of God was going on?

After resting I began heading back to the moat. It had been hours since I’d had anything to eat or drink and I was beginning to wonder what I was going to do. As I approached the tree I saw a basket of fruit bobbing at the edge of the moat, caught on a root of the tree. I figured it must have been in Dolph’s boat and luckily came to rest right where I needed it. I looked around to find what else might be lying about and was able to fish a few beer bottles out of the moat too. They were nearly empty, but I figured I could use them, perhaps, to get word back to you on what I’ve discovered, which isn’t much. I’ve written this note (in a bottle) so that if you get it, you know I didn’t run out on you. I’m too tired just now to start out again, but as soon as I’ve rested, I will head north this time. I will report back in this same way if I can’t find a way to rescue or otherwise communicate with all of you.

Wish me luck,

David Post

 

Now aren’t you ashamed of yourself, Kurlok? Your father and I would never have allowed you to keep them if we’d known you would tease them so. I’m afraid they will have to go back on your father’s next trip to that side of the galaxy.

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