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Thin fog had curled around the power plant high on a dark hill, shrouding it like an evil cloak and mixing with the steadily creeping shadows. The sun, not visibly setting, had been hidden by more rolling, unwanted thunderheads hanging ominously over the saturated, bumpy green hills of Haddon, Minnesota. Lightning spat across the sky and thunder grumbled, and light drops of rain began to patter on the windows of every house in the tiny town below, as the last bits of power faded away with the calm before the storm.

Within an hour, the same outrageous storm system had returned to hammer the town. The swirling clouds brought hail, sleet, heavy winds, and even minute tornadoes that touched down all around the dark, silent streets. In several places houses had been destroyed, cars overturned, trees toppled and blocking streets. The town was damn near chaotic, with frightened people running around in the dark, screaming for loved ones and digging through what remained of their houses. By the time the moon was visible, lifeless but seeing all like the eyes of a corpse, the entire town was powerless, the usual orange glow of the sleeping city nothing but inky darkness, soaking into the small gathering of structures like a sponge. Except for the occasional wail of sirens, Haddon was as silent and lifeless as a morgue when the pathologists have gone home and the bright flourescent lights have been turned off. Random flashes of lighting let the power company know that there was still a town remaining at the base of the hills, desperately seeking the power they needed to begin the disaster relief plans.

The silence was broken by the sudden squelch of rusty hinges. A small door swung open into the dark, fenced in back area of the power company, and a lone figure wrapped in orange rain gear plodded wetly out the exit. Keys jingled in his slippery hands as he snuffed mucus back into his nose, wiped excess drops from his bristly mustache, and glanced down at his watch. Twelve O' clock midnight. He glanced around him as he put a cigar to his lips, flipping the lid off his butane lighter and putting the brown tuft of tobacco into the dancing yellow flame. It ignited and he inhaled sharply, hot smoke burning his lungs, the feeling warm and almost reassuring in the cold dark. He could see the sillhouettes of random machinery dotting the yard, but he was headed for one of the main generators, stored in a stone shed in the far corner that had ceased to function properly over a half an hour before. He let smoke seep from his nose and he flipped ashes from the tip of the cigar and began to squishy walk to the shed. The dull red glow from the tip of the cigar illuminated a half hidden name tag pinned to grey coveralls: FRED GREER.

One last tug was enough to finish the cigar off, and he let it fall to his feet. It touched the muddy ground and hissed, extinguished.

"Damn," he muttered, and grasped the knob. It was a habit he had always had and could not seem to get rid of. It was company policy to keep the shed doors locked, but he always had to try the handle before simply unlocking it. He flicked his wrist and the handle rattled, but clicked open. He smiled and pushed it, where it swung lazily open and silently bounced off the wall.

"Well what do ya know?" he asked himself playfully, and winced as cold rain began to fall around him once more. He frowned and stepped into the dark shed, pulling the crinkly hood from his face and clutching the silver flashlight from his belt loop. He pressed the button and pale yellow light washed over the crypt like shed, nothing out of the ordinary. Except for the four small holes carefully hand drilled above the boxy generator inside, not noticeable to the untrained eye, everything seemed normal. Fred cursed and shined the flashlight all over everything again, as lightning flashed behind him. He heard the other generators humming monotone in the sheds behind him. One was enough to cause a blackout, but why had it ruptured when the others were working fine? Rain dribbled through the holes and puddled on the generator, but Fred was busy detecting the problem.

"Ah ha!" he cried, as the beam shined over the six plug ins in the back of the machine. Each one had been unplugged and was hanging limply from the back, like the legs of a dead spider. It never occured to Fred that the plugs had to be hand removed, the power switches beside them deactivated to prevent electric shock and each pulled from its socket. Fred had never been a bright man but he knew to do that. Although it was not audible, the power switches had been left on, which was a mistake severe enough to get a man fired from Haddon Power, Inc.

If it had been a mistake at all.

If the plugs were inserted now, there was always the danger of severe electric shock. The power would leap into them like fire in dry brush, which could do damage to unprotected hands, which was exactly what was working with the equipment now. Rivulets of rain water entered through the drilled holes and ran slowly down into the sockets, where Fred's calloused fingers fumbled with the plugs. He smiled as he grabbed the tangled red plug, and brought it closer to the socket. By the time he saw the water dripping from the ceiling, it was too late.

Power exploded into his body. His screams were drowned out by the loud humming and buzzing all around him, crackling and flashing like a strobe light and casting his writhing shadow across the dark yard. Sparks popped and skittered from the machine. Spit sloshed from Fred's gaping mouth and sizzled on his blackening chin. The rain gear melted to his body and his arm caught blue electrical fire, that seemed to race up to his shoulder and catch his whole body on fire. His hand locked on the plug, his flesh burning, Fred could only stand as the life was zapped from his body one second at a time. His left eye bubbled from the socket and crawled down his burning cheek. The other eye looked blankly at the celing as fire melted the flesh beneath it away. He shook violently, his body limp and charred but jerking and twisting in all directions. His smoking hair whipped around on his nearly bald head. The only thing keeping him standing was the juice pumping into his body. Suddenly, the generator made an unnatural mechanical scraping, grinding noise and smoke curled from the vents.

A large fireball swelled from the shed and debris flew in all directions, burning chunks of concrete smashing into the fence and all other objects. A resonating roar echoed all across the silent night, the low hanging clouds turning orange with the glow of the explosion of fire. Fred's burned corpse tumbled out of the shed and slumped awkwardly against the fence, no longer electrified, the rain washing out most of the flames that covered his body. From within the fiery rubble of the shed came another explosion. A large white wall of energy swept across the yard, through Fred, making him twitch and his remaining pale eye snap open and close tightly again. It made hissing noises as it sped through the town, washing over everything, passing through the police station, the hospital, all buildings, standing or destroyed, before dissapearing into the night and storm. The yard was dark once more except for the diminishing glow of the shed's remains, the skeleton of the generator twisted and mangled. Fred jerked again in the silence. His eye swiveled behind the scorched lid.

To be continued...

Fear was Here


The following comments are for "Dead in the Dark: The Accident"
by Fear

Keep 'Em Coming
I liked this story. That's almost all I have to say. It's good. Minor conflicts.

"The town was damn near chaotic, . . ." You kidding? That's pretty much as chaotic as it can get.

I'm not an electrical engineer, and I have little working knowledge besides the obvious of electricity. But is there a bluish fire? And what's the white wall of energy that spread forth? I think it's meant for dramatic purposes, but if you know your electricity well enough to explain, by all means do. Remember, I don't know this stuff.

Also, it says on your bio thing that you're an accomplished writer. Feel free to send in the Oldies.

( Posted by: Washer [Member] On: July 22, 2003 )

I'm pretty sure the electrical fires are blue. Anyways, I described the wall of energy being white so my readers could visualize it, when actually it would be invisible. I really don't think it would even happen, but this IS a fictional story and it will come into play later...when things REALLY get chaotic. That's the reason I put DAMN NEAR CHAOTIC...things are about to get much much worse. This is science fiction, and I promise this story will take you beyonf the laws of life...and death.

( Posted by: Fear [Member] On: July 23, 2003 )

The new bogeyman?
Will he be the next Freddy k? Who knows.
I sense a disturbance in the force, nevertheless.

Nicely done.

( Posted by: albie [Member] On: August 6, 2003 )

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