As they walked up the stairs, Barry, the family golden retriever, bounded across the living room and nuzzled up to Liz. The overgrown puppy was almost a year old and had formed an attachment to a particular member of the family who couldn’t help but sneak him treats.
“Sorry buddy, got nothing right now, but maybe later” Liz said, enjoying the feeling of his fur. She made herself comfortable on the couch, plopped Barry onto her lap, and waited for the meeting to start.
“So what do we know?” Their dad stated as he began pacing back and forth, “So far, we know that electricity is not working correctly, if at all. Batteries and anything that generates current is pretty much toast.”
“Oh yeah! The prius smelled like ozone! I forgot to mention that.” Mark chimed in, remembering his earlier patrol.
“Yes, good on you for noticing. It started this morning, but hasn’t seemed to be getting any worse. We would have moved it outside but it seems to be holding steady now and it would have taken too long for us to manually open the garage doors and push the thing outside. We’ll have to plan that for later if it continues to have issues.” dad concluded.
“Regardless, the only other response we’ve gotten from anything electrical so far after that stone came into contact with things. Both the washing machine and cell phone responded, but not exactly in a manner that was helpful.” dad noted, pausing a moment to face Mark.
“Yeah, I know, fire bad, sorry, can we move on?” Mark squirmed under the gaze of his Dad.
“Sure, long story short, nothing electric seems to be working. Let’s talk about chemical reactions.”
“Our pepper spray was doing fine” Liz interjected.
“That’s good to know, I was worried it might be wonky too, because combustion is totally hosed right now. I tried startup up the Jeep, the old army diesel one, to chase after you kids, but the engine pretty much blew a cylinder after I got it started. The explosion the fuel generated was way out of whack. No cars for us for now it seems.”
Liz frowned at this news, as bicycling around certainly hadn’t felt safe and seemed to be the only mode of transport they had aside from walking.
“Also, when I tried using my guns, the shells exploded like they were over packed. Ruined my .22 and damn near took my hand off. Your mom has a theory on what’s going on” he gestured to mom to continue.
“It seems that whatever is happening, it’s generating a lot of fluctuations in power. Anything that requires a consistent and steady source is on the fritz. Also, the larger the energy burst, the more likely things are to get wonky. Candles and gas stoves seem to be more or less okay, there probably is some additional flickering there, but nothing compared to what we’ve seen with bigger bursts of energy. It almost seems like the quicker energy is released, the more energy it draws from whatever is going on.” mom explained as their dad frowned at the explanation.
Liz nodded in understanding, both of the explanation and her dad’s frown. Her dad not only amassed a giant collection of guns, but had trained relentlessly for years to perfect his ability to use them. Knowing that was all useless now had to hurt.
“On a lighter note, Gravity seems to be working fine!” her dad said, attempting to lighten the mood.
Liz and Mark groaned synchronously. Even the apocalypse wasn’t enough to stop their Dad from making bad puns. A quick hit from their mom got Dad back on track “Ok, fine, be that way, but still, all electricity isn’t gone.”
“That’s right, as we all know, the brain functions mostly on electrical impulses” their Mom continued “And we all seem to be working fine, so that’s good. Also, that energy rock inside the creature didn’t seem to blow it up. I’m guessing it probably means that for whatever reason, biological sources of energy don’t seem to be going haywire.”
“Which brings up the next topic, monsters.” Their Mom nodded in the direction of the splash room that contained the bloody mess of the Fuuzer. “We are clearly seeing things that have not existed before appearing seeming randomly, all over the place.”
“Yeah, that bear thing was terrifying.” Liz shivered at the memory.
“I’m glad everyone is still safe, but we can assume our new monster neighbors come in more terrifying and violent flavors as well. Still no idea where they came from or how they got here, but they seemed to have spawned into existence as if from nothing.”
A light went off in Mark’s head at this, “This is totally like a video game. Maybe we’re living in a video game now!”
“Maybe YOU’RE living in a video game, we’re stuck here” Liz snarked back.
“Status! Inventory! Stats! Ability list! Set Class Ninja!” Mark started barking out various different menu names and commands while the family patiently waited for him.
“Uh, well, it was worth a shot. I mean, I have a couple of books where this sort of thing is totally expected.” Mark mumbled.
“It’s actually not that crazy an idea considering where we are Mark, we’ll have to keep an eye out for things like that just in case” their Dad said as he patted Mark on the back consolingly.
“But for now, we have to deal with what we know. I think we should do a circuit of the block and look for nearby survivors. We’ll need someone to hold the fort while another group does the search. Any volunteers for either of those?”
Mark looked at his sister, and then to his parents, “I can’t stand the idea of any of you getting hurt or worse out there, and I can’t imagine letting someone stay by themselves. I think we should have backup regardless of what we’re doing.”
“Solid thinking there Mark” their Dad said. “We’re better fortified here at home, and since I’ve been training on weapons more than your mom, I was figuring I’d take patrol duty.” Mary nodded in agreement at the suggestion. She didn’t like the idea of her kids going out there, but she couldn’t deny they were both trained for this. “The question then remains, who’s staying and who’s going?”
“You decide Mark, I’m okay with either” said Liz.
“Then I’ll hold the fort with mom.” Mark affirmed. “But if you’re going out there, could you check in with George’s mom? I know she’s home Thursday mornings and she must be freaking out.”
George was Mark’s best friend, and lived just across the street. They had known each other since first grade and stayed close even into Freshman year. Haley, George’s Mom, was pretty much family to him.
“Certainly son, we’ll make sure she’s on our circuit. Now, let’s get ready to go out there. We’ll hit the armory and do a quick check through the block. Liz, pick out what you want too, but be sure to get a ranged weapon, something with decent reach, and a knife.”
Liz nodded and started towards the armory when the she noticed an odd light coming from the windows. She paused and everyone took a moment to focus on what was going on outside. Giant crystals were drifting downwards from the sky in a couple places, and they were glowing brilliantly, even though the sun was bright in the sky. The closest one seemed to be falling on the lake that was just a few blocks to the south of them.
“Better hurry up Liz, I have no idea what’s going on now, but I’m assuming it probably isn’t good.” dad muttered grimly, looking out the window. Liz snapped out of her reverie and marched with new urgency into the family armory.