At 3:33AM, my eyes flash open and I spring out of bed.
Marshall, our dog, is barking wildly in the hallway and startled me awake. The lights are still on in our bedroom, my laptop still open on the bed in front of me. I must have fallen asleep writing again. I notice Hillsy, my husband, isn’t in bed yet.
I stumble out into the hallway and walk to the second bedroom (turned laboratory). Marshall is at the door, still barking uncontrollably.
“What’s your problem, little man?” I open the door a crack and he pushes past my legs to squeeze through.
A bright, blue light cascades down the hall as I stand in the door frame and observe the room. It’s glowing. Hillsy is hunched over his desk, adjusting the device he’s been staying up to work on. Nothing out of the ordinary.
“See buddy? Nothing to worry about.” I walk over to the desk and glance down at Marshall, already sitting by Hillsy’s side.
“How’s it going babe?” I ask.
“Oh! Shit, you scared me. I thought you were sleeping.” My husband breaks his focus to turn and look at me. “But now that you’re up, you gotta see this.” He smiles eagerly.
“You didn’t notice Marshall barking?” I ask as he wags his tail and jumps on Hillsy’s lap.
“What? Oh, hi big guy! No… Sorry I didn’t notice – I was really focused… But look! I think this version might be the one, babe.” He takes off his safety glasses as I rub my tired eyes and observe the device sitting on his desk. I notice the addition of the blue crystal at its core.
“Wow babe, this thing looks incredible.” My interest piques. “Did you test it out yet?”
“Not completely. But I think it’s ready. Wait – what time is it?” He looks down at his phone in disappointment. “You think we should just wait until tomorrow?”
“I see how excited you are babe and I’m really proud of you, but my gut tells me we should wait till the morning… what do you think?”
“You’re probably right… Okay, I’ll turn it off for tonight, let’s go to bed.”
Hillsy carefully begins adjusting a few dials to power the device down with Marshall still on his lap.
Out of nowhere –
We gasp in unison. Startled, Hillsy jumps out of his chair as our little cattle dog lets out a series of fierce, guttural barks, each one sounding more urgent than the last. Marshall barks when we have visitors or if he hears a strange noise, but unprovoked, it is very out of character of him to make such a commotion.
“Shit!” Hillsy yells.
“What? What’s wrong?”
I glance at the device and notice that it isn’t powering down anymore. In fact, it looks like it’s turning on. The crystal inside starts spinning and the brightness intensifies. Blue and white beams of light shoot from the device and dance on the walls around the room.
“I tried to turn it off but it’s not working.” Hillsy says with a slightly worried tone. “I must have hit something when Marshall started barking.”
I watch as it begins picking up speed. Spinning faster and faster.
“This is wild.” I say, my mouth open in awe.
Sparks begin emitting from the crystal center of the device and breaks my sense of wonderment. I start feeling uneasy.
“I’m not sure how our landlord will feel about this, bub…”
“Don’t worry, it’s completely safe!” Hillsy starts yelling over the sound of the device picking up speed and power as he fiddles with the controls. It grumbles and grows louder by the second.
“You sure?” I ask with hesitation.
The barking starts again.
“Quiet, buddy… it’s okay!” Hillsy yells.
“Babe… I’m scared but I think it’s working.”
“It is. We’re gonna have to go through with it now, I can’t turn it off.” Hillsy says with both fear and excitement radiating from his bright green eyes.
Suddenly, papers around the room start fluttering. A shiver rolls down my neck and spine. I get goosebumps down my arms and an anxious feeling in my gut. What is happening?
As the device generates more power, static electricity lifts my hair straight up. The room gets brighter as the papers and tools around us start levitating. I hold onto Hillsy and Marshall, unsure of what could happen next.
“Is this supposed to happen?!” I scream.
“Well – not really!”
Shit – I think to myself.
“Hold on tight! Here! Put these on!” Hillsy yells over the roaring device and shoves a pair of safety glasses at me.
I hear Marshall’s bark turn into whimpers and I pull him closer. Items around the room start spiraling around us. We huddle together tighter, trying to avoid being hit. With each moment that passes, the energetic force gets more intense.
I hear a thunderous, deep rumble. The force is so violent that the foundation of our apartment building begins to shake. The walls and ceiling are cracking around us, and the device itself begins levitating before our eyes.
“I don’t know what’s happening!! Babe – take Marshall! Go to the other room! NOW!!!”
What looks like a bubble of light emerges and envelops us and whatever other tools, papers and objects are in our orbit.
I try mustering up every ounce of strength within me to back away from whatever is pulling us in; to do something… anything. I want nothing more than to escape this nightmare but I feel stuck. I use all of my power and it’s rendered useless. Nothing happens.
As hard as I try to resist, to scream, to say anything, with each moment, we are drawn closer into the chaos. The deafening sound and sphere of light intensifies. There’s nothing I can do. I have no control. I can no longer hear myself think. I can no longer force my eyes open. I feel completely paralyzed. All I can do is hold on tighter to Hillsy and Marshall for dear life.
A flash of white light takes over my vision.
But my eyes are still closed, I think.
Everything goes silent.
The rumbling disappears and is replaced by a high-pitched ringing in my ears. It feels like the sound is piercing through every fiber of my body. I try blinking my eyes over and over again. Open or closed, I can’t say; but white light is all I can see.