901 Main Street
by Jason Alan
This is the rough (very rough) draft of the first few chapters of a book I’ve just recently started, tentatively named 901 Main Street. I have a lot of stuff to add to it and plenty of editing to do, but the basics are here and I couldn’t wait to post it and hopefully get a little feedback from what I’ve written so far. So let me know what you think and as always, thanks for checking out my crap. 🙂
901 Main Street
by Jason Alan
Day 1: Tuesday, June 26th
At 2:41 GMT the first meteorite hit just outside of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Over the next hour, twenty other locations experienced the same event. All of the objects were not much bigger than a large SUV, and all landed in rural areas adjacent to major cities across the globe.
The second one landed near Sydney. Then Vancouver and Tokyo. Followed by Lagos. Then Mexico City. Jakarta. Los Angeles. Kinsasha. Mumbai. London. Johannesburg. New York. Sao Paulo. Moscow. Madrid. Shanghai. Dallas. Cairo. The last two hit just outside of Abidjan and Istanbul.
While half the world slept, the other half went about their lives as usual. The majority of those that were watching the local news when the story broke weren’t alarmed. Meteors hit the planet all the time, and these in particular all touched down in farmland or desert. Not one casualty or injury was reported. There wasn’t even any damage to property. No reason to panic, they thought.
But as the hours went by and people realized that it was happening all over, they began to wonder. News agencies around the world began contacting each other, and that’s when the questions and the speculation started. Was this some sort of alien invasion? Was it mere coincidence? Were we being attacked? Was it a government conspiracy? A freak meteor shower? But how could a meteor shower hit from so many directions at the same time?
There were no answers. Each question only spawned more questions. There was a small minority who quietly (for the most part) panicked and stocked up on supplies. Some of them even claimed that they knew this was coming. That they had been warned by those who were in the know. But most people just tuned back in to the news when they were able and waited, hoping to see what pieces of the puzzle would be found. If any.
The news outlets began interviewing every scientist they could contact. They put maps on the monitors behind them, with dots indicating where all of the mysterious rocks had landed. They seemed to have been strategically directed to span the earth, only near populated areas. Most of the scientists offered nothing other than they saw it as a coincidence and could make no conclusions until more data was collected.
The rest of the day was more of the same from the news as they waited for answers. It was mainly non-stop coverage of the same speculation until the governments stepped in. The military in all the affected countries donned their haz-mat suits and surrounded the sites, allowing only approved personnel to enter the perimeter. This gave the reporters at least something to cover, but they kept them back as much as they could and offered no answers as to what they were or from whence they came. Yet.
Geologists, entomologists and various other researchers and professors gathered together for what seemed to be the busiest day in the history of modern science. They spent long hours and gave the Colombian coffee growers a fair amount of business as they studied the samples that had been collected. None of them had yet found anything to report that distinguished these chunks of rock and metal from any others that had been studied before.
Later in the day word spread in Los Angeles of doctors and physiologists being transported to one of the research facilities, but nothing could be confirmed. It did, however, spark some controversy and additional conspiracy theories. Rumors spread worldwide of the scientists getting ill, possibly due to radiation. The already present alien theories took a natural evolution to include the meteorites containing viruses or irradiated materials. The first wave of attack. What was next?
But still, nothing could be confirmed, and there were no instances of any of the workers coming down with any illness. Until later that night. In Buenos Aires, the site of the first meteorite, one of the researchers began coughing. For about ten minutes it seemed he couldn’t stop. Then it subsided. He said he felt fine, a thorough physical confirmed it, and they contributed it to his cigarette smoking.
At 6:30 AM in Addison, Texas, Jason Lee’s phone alarm went off. As usual, he got up without hitting the alarm and began his morning ritual. His coffee was ready, set to brew at quarter after six. Modern technology, gotta love it. He made himself a cup, one teaspoon of sugar and a splash of milk. Just the way he liked it.
He turned on his wall mounted 60′ plasma and switched from some movie channel that he was too drunk to remember watching last night to CNN. From what little he had seen yesterday, everything seemed to be fine but now they were talking about two of the research facilities being under quarantine. There was serious talk of the rest of the sites possibly doing the same. Efforts were made by several of the groups to contact everyone who had been close to any of the planet’s new arrivals. They strongly advised them to stay away from the general public, and come back to the facility for testing as soon as possible.
Jason turned off the tv.
“Alien invasion,” he said dryly. “We’re all doomed.”
He finished off his first cup and poured another. He sat back down, drank half of it and abandoned it. Then he took a quick shower and got dressed for work. A few minutes after seven he walked outside and looked around. Nothing worth noting. Nothing different. A cool morning, a few clouds hanging about, birds singing their annoying little songs. Business as usual.
“The world hasn’t ended yet,” he sighed. “Too bad.”
He walked to his Audi, swabbed the roof with a finger and made a mental note to wash it. Way too dirty. Can’t have that. Keep up appearances. Don’t start slipping. Be a responsible cog in the machine. Go to work, brush your teeth, wash your car, pay your taxes, blah blah blah.
The usual forty minute drive to work was cut almost in half. There were still a lot of cars on the road, but not so much that he had to stop or slow down every few minutes. He mused that he could get used to that kind of traffic.
As Jason was leaving for work, Ronald Logan was waking up at his home in Warr Acres, Oklahoma. He kissed his sleeping wife on her cheek and headed to the kitchen. He had the exact same coffee maker, but since he didn’t drink coffee every day he didn’t set the timer. But considering how many Pabst Blue Ribbons he had knocked back, today would certainly be a coffee drinking day.
Last night his wife had casually poked at him for drinking. He joked about it making her prettier and she laughed it off. That was one of the many things he loved about her. She had a great sense of humor.
He set a pot to brew and went to the spare bedroom that he had made into a kind of office and library. It held all of their books and had quite a respectable computer setup that he put together himself from the ground up. He like to refer to himself as a high tech redneck. Two years prior he completed his solar power project, converting the entire house to solar energy. No more electric bill.
He fired up one of his two thirty inch monitors and scanned several news sites, hoping to find that some light had been shed on the meteor situation while he had slept. There was no disappointment in that regard. Reports of sickness near the meteor sites were growing. Full on panic hadn’t set in yet, but if the situation got worse it would only be a matter of time.
That was all he needed to justify getting supplies, as if what happened yesterday wasn’t. Saving the coffee for later, he went back to the room and woke up his wife.
He shook her lightly and spoke in a stern but calm voice. “Honey, wake up.”
“What, babe?” she stirred a little but didn’t open her eyes.
“I’m going to the store, hon. You want anything?”
“Nah I’m good,” she said, opening her eyes and puckering her lips. “Kiss me, old man.”
He smiled and bent down to kiss her, then headed for the door. “I love you, sweetheart.”
“Love you, too. Is there any coffee?”
“Yeah, there’s some brewin’ in the kitchen.”
“Oh, is that where we keep it now?”
He walked out the door and into the hallway. “Be back in a bit, smartass!”
When he got outside, he looked up and around, scanning the sky. It was clear, no clouds. And thankfully, nothing falling from it.
“Chicken Little lives to fight another day.”
He clicked the remote start button on his keychain and the 1989 Ford F-150 that he had bought brand new roared to life. Five liters of American V8 power. With the exception of the body and paint, he kept it in tip top shape and it was far from stock. He had a CB radio, satellite radio and a police scanner. All of that and even his heater and air conditioner were powered by solar panels that he had installed himself.
As he pulled out of the driveway he turned on the police scanner and remembered the old saying. Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.
Day 4: Friday, June 29th
It was lunch time on Friday when Jason decided, considering the circumstances, to hole up in his office for the weekend. When he looked out his window on the 50th floor, he saw even less of the normal bustle of litttle ant people down below.
About six o’clock he left the office and saw there were even less people. He took a trip to the liquor store, grabbing three 1.5 liter bottles of whiskey and a 12 pack of cokes. The clerk was coughing horrendously, and since he had expected as much he had brought his own bag. He hadn’t been feeling sick and didn’t want to take any chances so he loaded it up himself and left the money on the counter. He told the man keep the change.
On the way back he stopped by a Subway, hoping that the employees weren’t sick. He didn’t want somebody with this awful new infliction to be making his sandwiches, gloves or not. He would rather brave the dry, tasteless desert world of the office vending machines.
When he went inside he was greeted by a petite, dark haired girl who couldn’t have been more than fifteen. She had a few pimples on her face but was pretty enough to get a date for the prom, had she cared about that sort of thing. He frequented this place and had never seen her before. She must have been new.
“Welcome to Subway. What can I get for you, sir?”
She seemed pleasant enough, but he could tell there was a certain sadness under that veneer of pleasantry. He set his large paper bag down on a table.
“How are you feeling?” Jason asked, inspecting her face as he walked closer.
“I’m doing ok. How are you?”
He stopped at the counter and continued to stare. Her eyes weren’t red and she looked well enough, but he wanted to make sure. He didn’t make it to his high position in the insurance world without being careful and prepared.
“Oh,” she said, smiling a little. “You mean am I sick? No, I feel fine. The manager wouldn’t let anyone come to work who isn’t ok. Even he isn’t feeling well.”
“Ok, good.” He was relieved.
“In fact, I’ve been the only one here all day. Everyone else is sick. I had to set up everything myself. But it’s kinda cool, it hasn’t been busy. My school let me off today. You ain’t sick, are ya?”
“That was nice of them. And no, I feel fine as well. We’re the lucky ones I guess.”
“Yeah well, there ain’t really much use for school right now. Most of the students and all the teachers have the flu, too. Or whatever it is. They’re talkin’ about closing school Monday if it’s still like that.”
Her southern drawl creeped out a little the more she talked. He thought she probably made an effort to keep it in as much as she could.
“Well, it’s good to know I’m not the only one who’s feeling ok. Kinda scary, isn’t it?” he said.
“Yeah.” She looked serious and a bit frightened for a moment, but snapped right out of it with a warm smile. “Hey it’s nice to talk to ya mister, but if you know what ya want I can make it while we chat.”
He had forgotten that he was even hungry.
“Oh. Yeah, sure. Let me get three foot longs on white. One meatball, one Subway melt and a Philly. Actually make it two of those. Extra cheese on all of them, please.”
She was already cutting the bread before he finished talking. “Right on it, mister. You feedin’ a whole family or what?”
“No, just me. I’ll be in my office all weekend. I kinda want to bury myself in my work to help keep my mind off what’s going on. And it’s Jason, by the way.”
She smiled at him warmly. “Good to meet ya, Jason. I’m Francine. Most folks call me Franny an’ if you wanna call me that then it’s alright with me.”
“Nice to meet you too, Franny. You’re not from around here, are you?”
She laughed a little. “Ya caught me, J. Me and my momma are from east Texas, right outside of Tyler. Her job offered her a position out here last year and she took it. You said you wanted extra cheese, right?”
“Yeah. No toppings on the meatball, but put a little of everything on the others. Not too much lettuce. So, how you like the big city?”
“Well I reckon it was alright until a couple days ago. You know, with all that’s been goin’ on.”
“Yeah. It’s crazy, alright,” he said again. “Hey I’m gonna step out and have a smoke while you finish up. Toast one of those meatballs if you don’t mind, sweetie.”
“Ok I’m on it, J.”
He walked out and not for the first time noticed how few people were out. Quarter to seven on a Friday and the streets were almost deserted. The few people he did see were coughing.”
What the hell is going on?, he thought, and lit his cigarette.
When he was halfway done she stepped out, the little bell on the door bringing him out of deep thought. Or more aptly, almost no thought. He was finding it hard to believe what had been happening. Would this prove to be fatal for a lot more people? He wasn’t sure.
“They’re ready when you are, sugar,” she said, grabbing the cigarette from his hand and taking a drag.
She exhaled the smoke dramatically and held her arm out to him to give it back. He just looked at it.
“Go ‘head, J,” she said with that sweet southern smile, “I ain’t got the cooties.”
He smiled back and grabbed it with two fingers and she went back inside. After standing there for a moment he dropped the cigarette and followed her in.
“Tell ya what, J,” she said, and paused for a second. “Say, I’m awful sorry. That’s a bit rude of me. You mind if I call you J?”
“No, it’s fine.”
She smiled again. “Thanks. Anyways, this order’s on the house. Don’t worry ’bout it the boss ain’t gonna know nothin’.”
He pulled his wallet out. “It’s ok. I don’t mind.”
“Now you put that away it’s no trouble. I barely seen anybody today and you been nice to me and I wanna be nice to you.”
He paused and looked at her, then put it back in his pocket. No sense in arguing, he figured. Didn’t look like she knew how to take no for an answer anyway.
“That’s better.” The smile hadn’t left her face. “I even threw in a few cookies for ya, hon.”
He smiled back at her. “That’s real sweet of you, Franny. You’ve been awful nice. I sure do appreciate it.”
He grabbed the bag and began to walk to the door.
“Say, you don’t want nothin’ to drink?”
He stopped, thought of the sodas he had bought and turned around. “No, I’m f-“, then he remembered they weren’t cold. They never kept them cold at that store.
“You know what, just give me a cup would ya?”
“Sure thing, J.”
She took one from the stack and handed it to him as he walked by. He went to the soda machine and filled it with ice. As he walked back he held it up to her.
“Cheers,” he said, “you’ve been real sweet. Thanks for everything.”
He put his sandwiches in the big paper bag and put it under one arm. When he opened the door her sweet, drawly voice accompanied the little bell.
He turned around again, holding the door open with his foot. “Yeah, Franny?”
She had her arms against her chest and was biting one of her nails. She looked a bit nervous.
“Can I come with you?” He could see that she was scared. “I’m awful hungry and I don’t like to eat alone.”
“Uh, I don’t know if that’s a good-”
He was interrupted by a homeless man in dirty, tattered clothes who ran to the door. His eyes were so badly bloodshot there was almost no white in them. The green fluid Jason had heard about was dried on his upper lip, all over his chin and on his shirt.
“It’s the aliens!” he said, panicky and frantic. “They’ll kill us all!”
The last word turned into a precursor to vomit. He bent over and puked a large amount of green liquid onto the restaurant floor. Jason backed up just in time to avoid it. The door slowly closed as the man erupted into a tremendous coughing fit. As soon as he stopped, he ran away. They heard him screaming even when the door closed.
“They’ll kill us all! They’ll kill us all! They’ll kill us all!”
They looked at each other for a moment, both shocked and more than a bit disgusted. Jason stepped over the puddle and locked the door. “Get your stuff. Let’s go.”
She nodded in agreement and grabbed a sandwich she had already made for herself before he came in. She quickly stuffed it inside her purse, grabbed her keys and headed for the door.
“Do you think it’s safe?” she asked him.
“I don’t know. I think he’s gone but I’ll check.” He set his bag down on the table that was behind him and pulled a knife out of his breast pocket.
“Wow, that’s nice. Is it a Buck?”
He either wasn’t paying attention or acted like he wasn’t. He put his face against the glass and looked both ways as he opened the blade. Not seeing anyone, he slowly unlocked and opened the door. He looked outside and looked around. Nothing. Good.
“Hold the door,” he told her in a soft but commanding voice. She didn’t say anything, but she liked it. She held the door.
“When I step out, come out behind me and lock the door as quickly as you can. We only have a couple blocks to go.”
She nodded as he grabbed his bag and stepped outside with his back to her and looked around. She locked the door.
They saw no one, but heard the man still yelling then breaking into another coughing fit.
“Good. He’s still moving away from us, but we still should be careful. Follow me closely, but keep looking behind us. Got it?”
They began walking, slowly at first then speeding up a little, looking every which way as they went.
“It is a Buck,” he said.
“The knife. You’re right, country mouse. It’s a Buck.”
“Oh, yeah. That.” She smiled nervously.
They made it the two blocks to the building without seeing anyone. The streets were completely empty.
“Holy shit. You work here?”
When they got to the front door he looked around one more time and put the knife back in his pocket. They were buzzed in. They went inside and looked around. The only one inside was the security guard. He was reading a magazine.
“Hey,” Jason said.
“Hey guys,” he replied, not looking up. He was a temp, but he recognized Jason.
“You see anything strange today?”
He put the magazine down and took a sip from his coffee mug. “You mean other than the whole world being sick? Nope.”
“But you’re not sick.” It wasn’t a question.
“Nope. Not so much as a sniffle.”
“I suggest you don’t let anyone in if you don’t recognize them or if they look sick. There’s some weird shit going on. Some homeless guy out there’s yelling about aliens.”
“No shit. People been saying that since Tuesday. All kinds of conspiracy theories floatin’ around since the meteors hit.”