Chapter 48: Justice
I clambered up onto the small stage set up in front of City Hall. It was torn and broken in a few places, but I was still able to find some support. The megaphone I had dug up in my old closet was practically plastered to my sweat coated hand. I forced myself to take a few ragged breaths before I pressed down on the speaker button and shouted, “Everyone stop! Everyone, please, remain calm!” Of course nobody listened to me, but what could I do? Most of my energy was being spent trying to keep my mind clear. I could usually control my ability to read minds, but with the large number of people with thoughts all racing through their heads it was all coming to me at once. I tried again, “Everyone! Please-”
I was cut off by a sound of an explosion that seemed to break the very walls of sound, followed promptly by a high pitched ringing that seemed to come from everywhere. Everyone stopped what they were doing and clutched at their heads, trying to cover their ears. A few fell to their knees and pressed their heads against the ground as if to bury themselves in the earth to get away from the ringing. The ringing suddenly ceased and was instead replaced by a loud, booming voice with an unknown source, “Greetings, Americans,” the voice said, “There is not much time to explain. I wish I could come down there and meet you all in person, but that isn’t possible at this time.”
“Who are you?” A woman shouted up to the sky angrily.
“I am the man who’s been responsible for your last two months,” the voice said as if it could hear the shouter. It laughed at its supposed cleverness before continuing, “Sadly, your trials aren’t over.”
“Why are you doing this? What’s going on? We need to know!” A mann cried up in vain. Others began shouting their agreement, adding more questions, adding more tears. But the voice continued talking through them, not hearing their pleas.
“You’re not the only ones going through this. I’m afraid all fifty of your states have been consumed in the turmoil of anarchy. And don’t think the rest of the world doesn’t know what’s going on- they do. Or at least, they think they do. Either way, they have all tried to save you. Obviously, that hasn’t really worked out. And they’ve all given up.”
“No!” A woman cried from where she lay on the ground, using her last bit of energy to exclaim her sorrow and defeat.
“But without hope, where would the fun be?” The voice continued. Is this just some sort of sick game? I asked myself. A small rage began to burn inside of me as this idea began to consume my thoughts. “You’re not locked in. There’s no invisible wall or anything keeping you from other cities or from the outside world.”
“But what about all that water?” Someone murmured a few feet away.
“It’s only an illusion,” the voice continued, “The only thing keeping you in is yourselves…and this.” A blinding flash of light shocked our vision for a second before the sky erupted and the fog and smoke vanished. Everyone tilted their heads back and gasped: above them was a violet sky with a pale red sun that was completely swarming with jet black drones. There must’ve been hundreds of them, each flying in every direction, covering the city. Then it suddenly occurred to me, That’s what Walker and I saw that day we flew up in the helicopter! That’s what attacked us!
“I remember when this all started,” the voice said nostalgically, “Believe it or not I was actually disappointed when the nuclear bombs didn’t kill all of you- at least, not in the way I planned. I’m glad some of you survived- makes it more interesting to watch,” More frantic murmuring from the crowd. “I’ll have to go now,” the voice continued, “I’ve got other plans. Ones that involve you. This is a game, remember that. Your master and audience is the same- me. So for now, I’ll allow you to make the next move, right after I make mine. Just remember; we’re always watching.” I looked back up at the sky and scowled at the drones. Were there real people up there? I guessed not, but that didn’t make it any less intimidating. “Goodbye.” The voice vanished and it felt as if a huge blanket of stillness was lifted from the crowd. We stood in silence for a second before the ground started to shake and my heart dropped. I dropped the megaphone and ran as far away from the mine as I could before it exploded in the heart of the city.