Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copies left
You can choose from our best books below
Kyra Dune would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

Lights Out

By Kyra Dune All Rights Reserved ©

Scifi

(Short Story)

I was working in the garden, surrounded by pink tulips and yellow daffodils, when everything went dark. I froze in the action of pulling some weeds, my heart hammering in my chest. I thought I had been suddenly struck blind, that I was having a stroke or a heart attack or something. But I felt no pain, only fear.

I slowly got to my feet and tilted my head back toward a sky I couldn't see. I pulled off my gardening gloves and touched my eyes one at a time. First the left, then the right. How could this be? I wondered. How could a relatively healthy man in his early sixties be suddenly struck blind?

I turned my head this way and that, listening. No birdsong. Only a few moments before, I was trading tunes with a mockingbird while a chorus of cardinals played backup. Now, only silence. Was I deaf as well?

"Hello?" I whispered, then sighed with the relief at the sound of my own tremulous voice. Not deaf then, but still blind.

Knowing the layout of my garden as well as I did, I had no trouble negotiating my way back to the house. I always left the back door open when I was working outside because I could never remember the code and I didn't like to take my tablet out where it might get dirt in the fans. The damn things were so sensitive and I'd already broken three this cycle. If something happened to this one I wouldn't get a replacement until the start of the next cycle.

As soon as I stepped through the door into the kitchen, I knew something was seriously wrong. No humming. My appliances always hummed. They were never whisper quiet like they were supposed to be. I moved carefully forward, trailing my hand along the counter until I came to the refrigerator. I touched the door. The surface was cool, but the familiar tremble of the motor was missing.

Cold terror clutched at my guts. It was worse than I thought. I wasn't blind, the power was out. I pulled my trembling hand away from the refrigerator. The emergency generators should have kicked no more than two seconds after a power failure.

On a normal day, the emptiness of the house didn't bother me. Madge had been dead going on six years and I'd grown accustomed to be being alone. Now the emptiness was like a living thing lurking in the darkness, waiting to devour me.

"Don't panic," I whispered. The sound of my own voice was eerie in the stillness. "It's only this sector. Has to be. I just need to get to where I can call J-Block and everything will be fine."

J-Block was two sectors north of where I lived. Surely neither of those sectors would be dark. And even if they were, J-Block wouldn't be.

I made it through the house without running into or tripping over anything. Under a little table by the front door, a battery operated lantern waited for me. One good thing about living alone was that everything was always exactly where you left it.

I lifted the lantern and turned it on, casting the room in deep blue light. Madge had picked this particular lantern because of the color of its light. Cerulean, like the sky, she'd said. So much nicer than yellow or red.

Opening the front door was out of the question, but when I had the house built for us thirty-five cycles ago I had a failsafe put in. Madge laughed at me then, saying I was being silly to think we'd ever need it, and it was a running joke between us during the course of our marriage. Now it would seem it wasn't such a fool thing after all.

After setting the lamp on the floor, I pushed my recliner against the wall, revealing a trapdoor. I spent a moment studying it. The door hadn't been opened since the tunnel was installed. It was meant to be only used once, in the case of dire emergency. This certainly qualified.

I bent over and slipped my hand through the narrow opening where a button waited. I pushed it and a spring activated latch popped open. It wasn't hard to lift the door and once up it stayed open exactly as it was supposed to. Three steps led down into the tunnel.

With the lantern in hand, I descended into the confined space. The tunnel was made of steel and was just tall enough so I didn't have to crawl or even stoop. Blue light reflecting from the walls made the tunnel seem to glow all on its own.

The tunnel was short. It ended at a second set of three steps and another trapdoor. This one also lifted easily, tearing a small hole my front yard. I climbed out, then stood a moment, shining the light around. I saw no sign of anyone else. But I did notice the air had cooled considerably in the short time since darkness descended.

I walked slowly down the street, silence my only companion. The air tasted metallic. Then I heard the sound of pounding followed by muffled screams. My heart raced. I turned slowly toward the sound, wishing I'd thought to grab something to use as a weapon before leaving the house.

The light of my lamp played out across the front of one of my neighbor's homes. Mary Watten's panic stricken face was pressed to the glass of the window beside her front door.

"Help," she cried, her voice small and distant behind the glass. "Please," tears rolled down her face, "we can't get out. The air...it's so cold. So thin. Please."

I stared helplessly back at her. She couldn't get out; I couldn't get in. Unlike me, most people kept their houses sealed up tight and rarely ventured outside even though the temperature was carefully modulated. The Council discouraged people from leaving the safety of their homes more than was necessary. They didn't want people wandering around getting into mischief. In fact, this was the first time since Madge's death that I had even seen another person face to face, instead of through a video screen.

The only way I could help Mary was to get word of our troubles to J-Block. Turning my back on that terrified woman was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do in my entire life. I gazed north, expecting to see lights glowing in the distance. Nothing. J-Block was dead. Dead. The word echoed down the corridors of my mind.

I drew in a breath, my lungs struggling to cope with the rapidly thinning air, and when I breathed out a crystalline fog spread before my lips. With a tremble in my step and the cerulean glow of the lantern to lead me, I continued on into the silent darkness.


Write a Review Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, Kyra Dune
Continue Reading
Further Recommendations

Mark-Mikkel: Got directed here by the author herself. Started reading it, schoolday turned into a day of reading. I really like the apocaliptic world she has created. There are some oddities in the writing tho, but I guess they are because she did have to do it for NaNo (which she wrecked, good job!). In the ...

snowview03: This is the first book I have read on this app and I loved it! When I read the title I thought about the hunger games, but this novel is so much more. Some book have a comparison between other books that fallow like premises so i will do my own: Arena has the compellingly emotional stresses and t...

Hawkebat: Playing both Kotor I & II and Swtor I found the story line interesting and it held me until chapter 35 Very good story and plot flow until then, very few technical errors. I felt that the main character was a bit under and over powered, as it fought for balance. The last few chapters felt too f...

jigglypuff314: Feeling sad that you can't watch your harem hentai in class? This is the book for you! No one will suspect a thing (other than your boner) as you scroll through pages of some of the best porn you'll ever be able to imagine!Spectacular details and a wonderful tug of emotions, you won't know whethe...

Deleted User: It was a great hook. I do not like reading scifi because they end up being like all the rest but this one kept me wanting more.

Steve Lang: I thought this story was imaginative, and well thought out. I also think it was an original piece, and not a rehash of previous scifi stories I've read in the past.Thank you for the effort put into this tale, and I look forward to reading more of your work!

Schaelz: I was intrigued from the second I started reading, and it kept my interest the whole way through. Chelsea has a way with words that will enchant you until the very end. She is very poetic with the way she mixes genres and keeps you on the edge of your seat. The main character is also very relat...

Jalakins: I loved this story. The characters were very interesting and engaging. The plot was very interesting and I had a hard time when I had to stop reading - just wanted to read it all in one sitting! My only complaint on the story is that sometimes I felt like the storyline jumped from one thing to a ...

re8622: The Last Exodus quickly grabbed my attention. Almost as soon as I started reading the story, I couldn't put it down. I found that the ideas the author put forth were very thought provoking given the turmoil we have seen gradually rise over the last several years. I felt that I could understand th...

More Recommendations

Pablo Rojas: Love the story, at the end it is a western story, simple, yet giving hints and pieces of the situation that is happening all over ravencroft´s universe. easy to read and always keeping with the main stream story I want to keep reading about, Olafson´s adventures.

Leah Brown: This was an amazing read! I was hooked from the very first chapter, holding my breadth to see what would happen next. The characters are rich and vibrant, and the world Danielle has created is fascinating. If you love YA, you MUST read this book. Such a smart, brilliant debut novel. I loved it!

Ding Fernando: very nice read.so realistic you can hardly put it down,i really like the character so human despite posessing immortality and eternal youth.though i would prefer a better ending..i still love this novel and i am recommending it to all sci fi fans to give it a try .you will love it too!!

borkarprasad: Nicely laid story. Needed a little more ghost and Raven conversations. Initially, Had everyone on suspect list but satisfied by the precision to capture the killer. Waiting for more Raven and Cade adventures.

rafajogosmmo: If the second book was not free I would buy it even if I am poor, the book got me hocked all the way to the finish. I hope the second one lives up to the first, I really do.The only problem that I had with the book is that it is a bit confusing to know the side characters, I would get confused be...

Remini UDA: I would like to firstly admit I do not like the romance genre, it's not something I tend to read and as such I did not complete the whole story and only made it to chapter 15. Whether that affects this review is for you to consider.The Unknown Variant is a very well written book, as a reader I wa...

About Us:

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.