Saturday, 31 January 2009

The Refreshing, Post 8...


We found out how the rest of us would be affected later that night. I guess to allow relatives of the missing (presumed to be animal) people appropriate time to take the news in and for grief, acceptance or whatever to set in before having to deal with their own fate, the report went off the air for a couple of hours, and ended with a scrolling list of the thought-to-be victims of the cloud (starting with Jimmy Scott) running in silence against a black background. Regular scheduled programming returned. After I flicked through six channels and only found a bunch of celebrities ballroom dancing, some infomercial for a device to make juice cartons easier to open, what appeared to be some really cheap “erotic” (read: not very) vampire movie (with a leading actress whose only lighting was across her eyes), another light comedy show starring another new teen singing sensation, devised purely with record sales in mind but with some damn catchy songs that refused to leave my head, the end of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 (hell, I would have watched that over anything, and double hell, it was the Puma Man episode, my favorite), and lastly, one of those talk shows where the wild-haired, even wilder-attired host talks to his guests’ dead relatives, I switched off and went for the walk I never managed to go on before. Subconsciously I may have been hoping that the latest developments had sent Kimberly back out into the hall again, but they hadn’t. They had sent her to my room to find me however, which I discovered when I came back from my walk to find her stood in my doorway, leaning against my door (luckily she was thinking clearly enough not to break down my door and let herself in…I would have run away if she had gone that far), panting heavily, hair all bedraggled (in a sexy ruffled way), staring at me like she wanted to eat me. Then she said to me, breathlessly “They reckon folks are turning into animals”. I agreed that yes, that seemed to be happening, but…Well, I didn’t quite get to tell her that it was only people above the cloud that were changing, as she had grabbed my shirt and tugged me toward her, saying “I wanna get animal”. The absurdity of this particular situation didn’t have time to hit me, as she kissed me (and I started thinking that she might try to eat me after all), and I unlocked the door as fast as I could.
It was going to happen to all of us.
The news came back on a couple of hours later, and this time they cut right to the chase. The cloud was descending slowly but surely. The camera crew and spectators in Chicago were still on top of the apartment building when the cloud dropped again. Animals came down. Around the world, animals had come down from the buildings where the cloud had lowered, many places were now half gone above the cloud. My apartment block is only five storeys high (I’m on the third), and the cloud was scraping the roof. Based on all the research that had been done, the cloud lowered twice a day, and going by the distance it came down each time, it only had to drop twice more to reach the earth. Twice more meant one day. One day left and the cloud would have absorbed us all, turning us all into animals, birds, insects and other creatures (maybe some might not even change into living things, but the hope was that we all would)…into anything but human beings. It appeared that animals, birds, insects and other creatures would not be affected. In a morally and ethically questionable move a couple of different animals had been sent above the cloud and had come back down, unchanged after three seconds, unchanged after five, ten, thirty seconds. The longest they tried to keep them up there was five minutes, before it was decided that it didn’t look like they would be changing. Peculiarly though, at one point a hamster was put up in its cage, and after three seconds a tug was felt, but then they brought it back down to find that only the cage had changed...into a wallaby, with the hamster nestled safely in its pouch. It took a lot of work to resolve that situation, the wallaby being understandably miffed. In retrospect, it could have been worse. It could have been a full grown kangaroo.
So, humans being changed into animals, animals staying animals, buildings being changed into trees and mountains, trees and mountains staying as they are. Still no idea why. The most common explanation being that the human race, and all traces of its imprint on the planet were being wiped out, possibly by a higher power. With this being the best theory that could be found, and the closest to an actual scientifically supported explanation anyone could give, the majority of the world went with it. The world leaders and world media certainly did. That was where the “Refreshing” business began, and the attempts to stem the now certain hysteria, expected to break out en masse, on a larger scale than even before (and I had twice witnessed one of the potential effects of the hysteria).
This was not the end of the world, they were saying, rather it was the end of the world as we knew it (because that made it better, apparently), and the birth of a new world. Everything we knew, all the human race had done, was being Refreshed, made new again. It was like they were promoting this thing, making it out to be for the greater good. Sure, all the wrongs mankind has been responsible for were about to be erased and corrected, but what about what we got right? Simple, just cross our fingers and hope that the next human race (if there ever will be another) gets it right. Some bull about the species leaving behind its greatest legacy, sacrificing itself for the prolonged continuation of the most beautiful and incredible of all the planets. Failing to mention that this was not a choice, hoping that people would be gullible enough to accept that notion, and quietly (and peacefully) sit back and wait for the cloud to take them.

Friday, 30 January 2009

The Refreshing, Post 7...


At around nine that night, long after the experts had been taken off the air due to their ineptitude, and TV schedules had, for the most part, returned to normal (leading me to the conclusion that they were really trying to keep the hysteria levels to a minimum), all stations cut to another news report. I tried to switch channels to see if there was another report on anywhere else, as the guy who came on the channel I was watching really bugs me, but unfortunately his arrogant and usually smug (but pallid and subdued in this instance) face was on every channel. The reason for this, he proceeded to tell us, was that the world leaders had appointed one reporter from each country to speak live on air to their nation, uninterrupted, on every station. The only way you could avoid what the bulletin was going to say would be to turn off the TV, and I couldn’t see too many people wanting to do that. This had the whole country, the whole world gripped. It affected everyone. There had been exhaustive studying of the initial footage, research into any reports from around the globe of things disappearing above the cloud, or of animals coming out of tall buildings they shouldn’t have been coming out of, and the people who should have been.
Following the stop sign experiment, more recordings of similar experiments had been made, increasing the number of things being put above the cloud and filming them each time, and each time yielding the same result. Objects go up, three seconds later they glow brightly and burst into a ball of white light, out of which a bird appears and flies off. All except for the metal pipe hanging off the crane. They showed clips of all the experiments, and they were all beginning to segue into one another. Object replaced by bird, next, object replaced by bird, next, and so on until it was in danger of not meaning anything any more. That is, until they ran out of objects to put up there in one place (Atlanta I think, where they were still extra spooked from the Jimmy Scott incident, and were more determined to get to the bottom of the phenomenon) and, caught in the moment, decided to utilise a nearby crane which was being used to lift large sections of metal pipes for some kind of pipeline (I really didn’t care enough about the insignificant details to pay attention to them). This led to a turn of events even more peculiar and most crucially, enlightening, than everything else that had preceded it. On camera above the cloud, the rest of the objects had turned into birds and flown off, one by one in order of insertion into the cloud, but when it came to the crane’s three seconds being up, it glowed brightly as all the others had, burst into a ball of light as all the others had, but instead of a bird taking its place, the top of the crane became the topmost branches of a tree, and the pipe hanging off it was replaced by a monkey, dangling from one of the boughs by its tail. Before the camera disappeared, the monkey scurried down the top of the tree, through the cloud, down part of the crane and back up above the cloud again when it set eyes on the crowd of people watching it. When they tried to lower the crane it wouldn’t budge, apparently rooted to the spot, like the tree that had appeared in its place. This went a very long way toward explaining what had happened to the skyscrapers and towers around the world, and the correlation between those incidents and the mountains and trees above the cloud in the Chicago footage. Returning to that footage, and comparing it to the shots from below the cloud, the conclusion was drawn that the summits of the mountains and the tops of the trees led directly on from the skyscrapers and towers below the cloud. Therefore, the experts deduced, while objects seemed to be changing into birds, animals and the like, buildings and other structures that were in contact with the ground were becoming mountains, hills, trees and other natural structures that were in contact with, or grew from the ground.
Sadly, the news was broken that the people who had gone into work in the buildings which had been the scenes of the mysterious appearances of animals now actually were, almost certainly, those animals.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

The Refreshing, Post 6...


I never made it for my walk, but I did manage to clear my head, and I never once needed cigarettes. I never even made it out of the building. I only made it down the stairs from my floor to the floor below, where I found my hot downstairs neighbour Kimberly pacing the corridor. She was wittering away, something about the end coming, our world being done for and needing to feel like a woman once more before it was all over. Still dazed from the news report, I didn’t quite catch on at first, until she made it clear by pressing me up against the wall and saying that mankind was screwed and she wanted to be one last time.
I knew the hysteria was going to catch on.
I wasn’t complaining.
By the time I got back to my apartment, a lot had changed. the hysterical reporter had been replaced by one far more composed, but still coming across as trying to suppress his own solemn mood in order to present himself as jolly as necessary to reassure the people watching. The odd quiet next door had been replaced by the regular level of noise, my neighbor sharing his newly formed opinion that it was all a big con, thought up by a Steven Spielberg or George Lucas type to promote some new multi million dollar blockbuster about the end of the world, like when Jerry Bruckheimer, Michael Bay and I think Touchstone put a huge fake asteroid hole in the side of some building in LA to promote Armageddon in 1998 (until they had to take it down for affecting traffic). “They can do anything with special effects these days” was his argument. Fool.
The biggest change had come in the form of squirrels. Dozens of squirrels flocking out of the British Telecom Tower in London, England, the Blackpool Tower in Blackpool, England, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France and the Space Needle in Seattle.
They had shown the footage from above the cloud over and over again, even slowed it down and shown it frame by frame, but were no closer to knowing what it meant. Even the “Professors” they had wheeled out over the last couple of days were still stammering, stuttering and getting very flustered when trying to explain. After much lobbying from viewers, the networks had also brought in some religious types to see if there might be any biblical theories to help explain alongside the scientific ones, but all that resulted in was a massive science versus religion debate. No matter how different the views of all the experts (and the handful of random ordinary members of the public) may have been, one thing remained constant; the note of panic in each one of their voices.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

The Refreshing, Post 5...


11am, Chicago time was when the broadcast went out live across the world. The time set for the experiment itself was five past the hour. The stop sign would go up then, the camera (already hooked up to the live feed, and filming, to save time) would go up 1.5 seconds later. I was watching, glued to my screen in a way normally only reserved for stupid cartoons and the like that I should have long grown out of. In the moments leading up to the broadcast, I took a look out of my window to see what, if anything, was happening outside. I took a check of the cloud, which seemed much closer, and wondered what in the world (or not of this world) could be above the cloud. I looked up and down the street, peering in one or two of the windows opposite, and was told all I needed to know about whether anyone else gave a damn about all of this by the quiet and empty street, and the people in the windows I looked into adjusting their TV sets to watch the broadcast. Next door I saw a window wide open and, with them not being the quietest of people to live next to ordinarily, swung my window open so I at least had some chance of hearing someone else’s view on everything, albeit a view peppered with far more swear words than even the most open minded person would find acceptable. I went to the fridge to fetch a glass of water (it was too early for me to be adding Jim Beam, even under the circumstances) more to pass the time than for thirst reasons. I knew if I sat watching and waiting for the broadcast to come on I’d be so tense all my fingernails would be chewed away in seconds, leaving only the packet of cigarettes hidden under the front right hand side of my couch, that I had done so well not even tearing the plastic off of yet. No, keeping busy was the key to keeping it that way. Of course, with all the thoughts (and attempted non-thoughts) of cigarettes, I had managed to make myself as tense as I had been trying to avoid becoming sitting idle in front of the TV, and realised that my thumbnail had strayed to my mouth and found its way between my teeth. I stopped as quickly as I has noticed I had started and closed the fridge with my water in my hand. The same second the fridge door clicked shut, a shout came from next door that made me turn on my heel, the glass slipping out of my hand and, incredibly, not shattering but merely bouncing three times, spreading water across the floor. I ran back to the window to get a clearer listen, and from what I heard, decided that there was something important happening on the TV. I ran back to the couch where I had last ditched the remote and turned the set on. All the stations, including the more specialised ones like sport and music were pretty much devoted to the cloud and its developments, with only a smattering of regular programmes every now and then, mostly in the graveyard slots overnight. This meant that whatever station I put on would surely be able to tell me what I wanted to find, and it was, as soon as the picture on my set had faded up properly. As it did, I found myself echoing my neighbour’s “What the holy hell is that?” sentiment, as I realised what I was seeing. Next I knew, a voice sailed in through my open window, strangely close, asking “You seen the animals dude?”
I had. A couple of hundred in fact, pouring out of the front lobby of a large building that I recognised but couldn’t place, running amok in the nearby streets. I returned to my window and poked my head out, to be greeted by my neighbor peering back at me with a shocked look on his face that I’m sure I too must have been wearing myself.
“Where is that?” I enquired.
“London. Canary Wharf. But it don’t stop there, same thing has been reported at a bunch of other skyscrapers” He informed me.
“The same? With the animals and all?” I asked.
“Yep, animals, bugs, birds. It’s crazy dude.”
I nodded and agreed, before we both retreated back into our apartments to return to our TV’s. this new bulletin confirmed that an assortment of animals from mountain goats and snow monkeys to lizards and insects had come stampeding out of Canary Wharf, when the cloud had suddenly dropped lower a little while earlier (I thought it had looked nearer), and that while the authorities were attempting to round up the creatures causing havoc in London’s Docklands area, no one knew what they were doing there, where they had come from, or what had happened to all the people who had gone into the building at the start of the working day to do their jobs as normal on the floors now above the cloud.
Another little admission the news bulletin had for us viewers was that there were already reports of people around the world having gone to work on the upper floors of the taller skyscrapers and office blocks before the cloud had appeared, but not returning home from work once the cloud had taken hold. No one knew where they were, and when search teams tried to reach their floors, they all found some kind of obstruction preventing them from going above the cloud, unlike in the open air in places like Chicago. How people could be allowed back into buildings where half the staff were inexplicably unreachable I will never know, but I guess some people’s minds work in very unusual ways when faced with very unusual situations. Finally, the bulletin ended with a message that occurrences involving animals, like that in Canary Wharf, were also being reported at other buildings including the Empire State Building, the Sears Tower and others, and then showed the alarming footage before switching to the live broadcast from the top of the apartment block in Chicago. I had gone from tense to stunned to scared in the space of three and a quarter minutes. I really didn’t want to see what was happening above the cloud, but I couldn’t turn off now.
The mood from Chicago was notably muted when the live feed came on our screens. People at other broadcasts over the past couple of days had been buzzing with excitement. The people at this one looked sick with anxiety. Even though this was something that affected the whole world, I felt a little more at ease knowing I was not where the camera crew shooting this historic event were. I knew that whatever was above the cloud in Chicago was above me too, and above the rest of the population, but it seemed less directly linked to here, seeing it on the TV…seeing the stop sign going up…
This was it, the time had come.
It was beautiful. For the brief, live moments, it looked like Heaven. The sun was blindingly bright, the sky a mesmerising clear shade of blue I had rarely seen living in a big city. The stop sign stood out boldly against the backdrop of the blue sky, clouds as white as the one covering our world, distant snow-capped mountains and tall lush green trees. It was stunning, and were this a normal thing to be seeing it would have been a peaceful, serene view. Naturally, snow-capped mountains and tall lush green trees were not a normal thing to be seeing above the middle of Chicago, especially when they seemed to be coming out of the tops of skyscrapers and high rise towers which had their peaks above the cloud. This made the view creepy and extremely surreal. What happened to the stop sign managed to top even that. I had forgotten about the sign, momentarily distracted by the background of the shot, until it disappeared. If it had simply disappeared there is every chance I would not have noticed it go, my attention being diverted as it was. I did notice though, when, without warning, the sign glowed brightly and then burst into a ball of brilliant white light, out of the centre of which appeared a large bald eagle that hovered in the air for the briefest of moments before flying off towards the mountains. Then, nothing. The camera had clearly had its three seconds, and they cut back to another live camera down on the rooftop of the building, where the reporter stood silently, visibly shaken, the crowd behind her stood in exactly the same way. Even next door was quiet. I think it is safe to say that no one expected to see what we all just did. The reporter explained (when she finally regained the power of speech) that the footage was about to be taken for review by experts, and would be shown again in later bulletins, but that in her opinion, we were all done for. She was cut off as she got the last word out, replaced by a commercial for the station’s later prime time news show, before the hysteria she had quickly been taken over by could rub off on viewers. I felt that was too late; if I was prone to hysterical reactions I would have gone off on a doozy of one triggered by that. As it was, I was not what you would call calm and collected. I was even too freaked out by the footage to say “to hell with being good” and reach under the sofa for my cigarettes. This was not a situation for the sick/happy sensation of having filled my lungs with sweet smoky goodness. It really required more of the mood a nice head clearing walk in the open air would provide. So I grabbed my coat and headed for the door.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

The Refreshing, Post 4...


The papers admitted that the media could have handled the events of the first day better, and should have reported all the facts they had. Jimmy Scott, aged 22, from Atlanta, Georgia would testify to that…if he still had his head. If the news had reported the story of the sticks, and more specifically the hand in Chicago, Jimmy Scott most likely would not have gone to the roof of his high rise apartment block with his ladder, climbed to the top rung and popped his head through the cloud to try and see what was up there. And most likely, he would not have felt the tug after three seconds, and his friend Ray Connors, aged 23, most likely would not have had to let go of the bottom of the ladder where he was stood keeping it steady, to catch the body of his friend as it fell, minus the head, neck and top of the shoulders, with the top of his torso level with his collarbone looking exactly like the arm of the guy in Chicago.
All of this, the papers said, was why it had taken so long to decide on sending cameras up. Stories had to be researched and verified, to ensure they all added up, which they did. Then, the news companies had to get their collective brains in gear to work out a strategy. They tried to send cameras up for a second, and pull them back down before the “three second tug” (as it had, being a tug that comes after three seconds, become creatively known), but could not get any useable footage due to exposure, focus and motion issues, or some technical crap. Of course, when they tried to leave them up there long enough for decent footage to be obtained, the tug occurred after three seconds and the cameras disappeared. So, they connected some cameras to some monitors that would stay below the cloud and sent the cameras up again, recording what was shown on the monitors. Screenshots of these recordings were shown in the paper, but weren’t very clear, so I turned on the television to see if any of the news bulletins were showing the video clips. The screenshots the papers had shown had been leaked, and were not meant to have been seen by the general public yet. The news companies had wanted to wait until their next plan had been carried out to show the footage, and so they were still holding off on showing it, even with the leaked pictures (they felt the quality was so poor, and that they showed so little, that they didn’t jeopardise their footage) now in circulation. The next plan was the next logical step on from what they had been doing. They had managed to get shots of what was above the cloud (and that in itself was, according to the whispers, huge news) before the cameras disappeared. All they needed now was to see what was happening up there to make the cameras, poles, rods and, of course, the hand in Chicago and Jimmy Scott’s head and shoulders in Atlanta disappear. The decision was made, sensibly, to send something above the cloud, wait for a second and a half, then send up a camera to record what happened a second and a half later. The camera would be focussed on the object before going above the cloud so as not to waste unnecessary time that was going to be crucial to establishing what the hell was going on just the other side of this bizarre cloud. The object was to be something large and easily visible to the camera so that it was more obvious when it disappeared. They were to film in Chicago, due to the larger presence of news teams from the earliest reports (even the team that had shot the hand incident had remained), and with more experience of the cloud’s capabilities than most places (although Atlanta had experienced the most serious incident, Jimmy Scott’s head had been the only thing put above the cloud there). Since people had been sticking things up into the cloud for almost a day, there were a lot of objects which had been left laying around by over-enthusiastic crowds wanting to get a piece of the cloud prodding action before they were ushered off the roof when things had turned ugly with the hand. They picked a large metal “STOP” sign that one particularly over-zealous person had apparently knocked clean out of the ground on the street below, leading to several near collisions, much horn honking, and amazingly only one actual (fortunately minor) smash. With the plan in place, along with the important elements of the plan (news team, equipment, large piece of metal with big white letters spelling “STOP” on a red background…you know, the usual), they just had to announce a time for the experimental broadcast.

Monday, 26 January 2009

The Refreshing, Post 3...


It was well into the evening that an announcement was made. All the major leaders of all the major countries (why would they care about the little ones at a time like this, they never usually do) wanted all the major media companies to do something “VERY IMPORTANT FOR THE WELLBEING OF THE PLANET’S INHABITANTS” (the damage limitation broadcasts again) which I’m sure pained every one of them to have to do. And what was this most important of things that required the co-operation of typically ruthless, selfish media figures? The world leaders wanted them to send cameras up through the cloud covering. It took all day to come up with the idea of trying to see what was above the cloud. Shouldn’t have mocked as it turned out. When the newspaper arrived on the mat yesterday morning, it told more of the story than the TV news had. I don’t know about the very early hours of the morning, but after remaining glued to the set (bar occasionally going to look out of the window with a cold glass of Jim Beam and water) for the majority of the night, I gave up about midnight after one too many confessions of “Now we still don’t know the whole score with this phenomenon, but please stay with us and we promise to bring you more details as we get them” and one too many weather experts taking wild guesses. All I knew waking up yesterday morning was that the cloud had appeared, and there were going to be some cameras sent up above it…oh, and it had gotten lower too. The newspaper filled in some of the gaps.
Around noon the previous day, the news companies had received reports of people in Chicago having gone to the tops of their buildings to get a closer look. Some of these people had tried poking sticks, metal poles, umbrellas and assorted other items through the cloud, which at first had no effect on either the cloud or any of the poking devices. eventually these people found themselves holding their sticks and rods above the cloud for more than a second, and it was only then that things started to happen. One man left his snooker cue in the cloud for three seconds before he felt a tug on the end like a bite whilst fishing. When he pulled the cue back out at this point, the end was missing. It wasn’t snapped or splintered, just perfectly cut, as if it had been sawn off. So, naturally people started poking their sticks into the cloud and leaving them there for three seconds until they too felt that tug. When a heavy metal scaffold support that took two men to lift came down without it’s end, people thought it best to report these happenings.
The presence of TV cameras makes people do crazy things sometimes. Further proof lies in the incident on top of that building in Chicago when the news team got up there, and when the reporter and her camera crew started recording some talking heads for the next bulletin. She spoke to a few of the people who had seen the poles being poked into the cloud, and of course a few of the people who had done the poking. In the midst of all this, when an elderly guy was saying how it had taken him forever to get up the stairs to the roof, but that it had been worth it to see the “darndest sight” of his life, some idiot decided to get in the shot, climb up on his friend’s shoulders and stick his hand and arm up into the cloud. They showed the footage later on when the hysteria was reaching its peak, and you could actually see the guy being physically tugged by the arm after three seconds, before falling off his friend’s shoulders into a heap on the floor, clutching his arm. He wasn’t screaming. He had turned as white as a sheet, but he wasn’t screaming. He was lying in a foetal position on the floor, eyes bulging, staring at his wrist. The look on his face was one of pure terror, and as the cameraman and soundman started to close in on him, the sound he was making became more audible, and was every bit as unpleasant as the look on his face. It sounded as though he had fallen into an icy lake; he was struggling to breathe and made the noise of someone shivering, only without shivering. He was rocking back and forth a little on the ground, but as far as shivering goes, there was none, he was still otherwise. He finally caught his breath and started muttering incoherently, hand clutched even tighter to him as the crowd convened around him. Eventually a couple of the people in the crowd managed to steady him and prise his arm away from his chest. At that moment, the cameraman dropped his camera out of shock (and I’m guessing they were understanding enough not to try to charge him for breakages). The last image shot on the camera, and the last we saw before the static took over was that of a stump, about a third of the way up his arm, where his hand and wrist had been, and appearing to have been neatly, perfectly sliced off. But, there was no blood, even though the bone, muscle, tissue and so on were there for all to see. His arm just came to a stop, like the rest of it had somehow become invisible, or in an even more (until any of this business started) far-fetched situation, had simply disappeared. Disappearing arms and hands was bad, but it got much, much worse.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

The Refreshing, Post 2...


We first thought it was some kind of massive terrorist act. Well, what else would you think going outside to find the densest, lowest cloud covering on record? It looked like the whole city was on fire and smoking, or like those dramatic shots of how bad the smog has gotten over L.A or London. But when the sun rose, it was pure white cloud. There were absolutely no gaps in the cloud, which was unusual enough as it was, even without the incredibly low height of it. The weirdness was further exacerbated by the sunrise. The sun came up as normal, and as I said, as it came up the density, height and color of the cloud were revealed. This was perhaps the least peculiar part of it; of course daylight makes it easier to see things. The part that was really peculiar was what happened when the sun rose above the cloud. When the sun normally goes behind a cloud, its brightness is dulled slightly, but occasionally rays of brilliant light will break through (something I personally believe to be one of the most beautiful natural sights) and shine down. This cloud was so dense that there were not even any of these rays. However, and I am no scientist or anything so I can only assume it was to do with the whiteness of the cloud, as it was not like a grey rain cloud, the sun seemed to react with the cloud in a way that illuminated the whole mass of it, and made the entire covering positively glow, bathing the city in the most incredible light. It was stunning, but at the same time it was scary…what was it, why was it there, what did it all mean? The entire news network (TV, radio, internet) was buzzing with it by mid-morning, and by the afternoon the scale of this strange occurrence became clear. What had seemed like no more than a localised weather anomaly in the early hours had quickly proved to be across the nation when the first breaking news bulletin interrupted breakfast television, and was shown to be worldwide by the time the prime-time shows were pulled from the air to make way for the continued breaking news. The news had long broken, but kept getting bigger, and the bulletins continued into the evening, when the sun had set (when the cloud covering was awash with a red glow that made it look as though the sky was bleeding), and the eerie day had made way for an equally eerie night.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

The Refreshing, Post 1...


The world is different today, but then, in a way, so am I. Only two days ago I awoke as usual to my gibbering radio alarm, before filling up on imitation Crunchy Nut Cornflakes that aren’t so crunchy by the time I have forced them down where I’m never really that hungry in the morning but have always been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I put my (honestly) unacceptably creased uniform on for work (if they paid me more I might, might be more motivated to iron it), and went out for another day, just like every other.
Today however, I, like every other person on this planet, woke up knowing that, in a short while, I will be dead.
They say dead is not entirely accurate, that we will still technically be alive, just…altered. Some of us will most likely become plants or animals, still living things, while there is a chance others will become (and some of the more spiritual ravings have been trying to convince us that this is literally the case) God only knows what. All anyone seems sure of, and that is sure in the loosest sense, is that everything in the world is being replaced, or in the words of the damage limitation/propaganda messages being broadcast, everything is being “Refreshed”.
We all (except the gullible and too young or old to understand) know the truth. All we don’t know is why this is happening and how it will end.