Come Out­side

Shepparton News - - WEEKEND - By Thomas Read

He had been get­ting mes­sages ever since sun­down, so much so that he had to turn his phone on silent to get away from them.

Each one held the ex­act same mes­sage: “It’s a beau­ti­ful night tonight, come out­side”.

He looked up the fore­cast and was con­fused when it said that tonight was cloudy and at a high hu­mid­ity.

Every so of­ten he would look up from his book and check his phone, only to see that a bunch more notiÅ­ca­tions had sprung up. They were all from a dif­fer­ent per­son that he ei­ther barely knew or a close friend or fam­ily mem­ber.

At Årst, he didn’t think that much of it. He Ånished read­ing the chap­ter, turned the light off and went to get some sleep. But, every few min­utes, he felt some strange tin­gling feel­ing that he should check his phone again, and as he sus­pected, more and more peo­ple from his life had cho­sen to mes­sage him about the sup­posed glo­ri­ous night out­side, and all he could do was groan and turn his phone right off, cover his head and try to sleep.

His body, how­ever, did not seem to want to sleep, as he tossed and turned un­der his sheets, a cold sweat break­ing un­der his py­ja­mas. I don’t feel hot, though … he thought to him­self as he lay in his bed, only in his box­ers, star­ing blankly at the ceil­ing.

He didn’t know what time it was or if the mes­sages had stopped, but he started to be­come more and more para­noid about the night.

What ex­actly were those mes­sages talk­ing about? Did they mean some­thing? Was this just some elab­o­rate prank by one of his best friends? He looked to his cur­tains, thick and heavy to block out the sum­mer heat. If he could just have a lit­tle peek at what’s out­side, he might un­der­stand what the heck was go­ing on. His arm slowly reached out of his blan­kets and went to pull the cur­tain aside …

The loud mes­sage ping fright­ened him out of his sup­posed stu­por, put­ting all his at­ten­tion to his phone. All he felt af­ter that was con­fu­sion; how did it go off ? He turned it off en­tirely, it should be im­pos­si­ble. He AEipped the de­vice over and clicked the power but­ton, but it didn’t turn on. In­stead, it only had one mes­sage in the mid­dle of the screen. He didn’t recog­nise the num­ber, he didn’t know that you could have the num­ber 1111–111–111. The mes­sage was very sim­ple, yet its con­tents was what ut­terly ter­riÅed him. “DON’T LOOK AT THE MOON.”

His breath­ing quick­ened and he sud­denly felt hot­ter than be­fore as he quickly pushed the power but­ton down hard, wait­ing in those seem­ingly eter­nally long sec­onds for his phone to fully boot-up. As soon as he saw his home screen, he launched his mes­sag­ing app and searched for the sender of the ter­ri­ble omen. When he saw it, he typed as quick as he could: “why?”

The sender replied in­stantly, “DON’T LOOK AT THE MOON, WHAT­EVER YOU DO”.

He re­peated his ques­tion, and the sender took nearly a full se­cond to re­ply. Nor­mally, that wouldn’t bother him, but at that mo­ment, that se­cond de­lay was pet­ri­fy­ing. “THE.” “SKY.” “IS.” “…” Noth­ing. The lit­tle text bub­ble was still AEoat­ing in that cute fash­ion, but no other mes­sages came from the mys­te­ri­ous num­ber. He tried to make more con­tact, send­ing ‘hellos’ and ‘are you theres’, no new re­sponses came. When the bub­ble dis­ap­peared, his eyes widened in fear.

This was not a prank any more. Some­thing was hap­pen­ing, some­thing that was huge. Friends and col­leagues from all over the city had sent him texts telling him to go out­side, even though the fore­casts pre­dicted a hor­rid evening. They said it was a beau­ti­ful night, but noth­ing about it sounded re­motely pretty. His eyes were drawn back to the cur­tains, those thick, navy blue cur­tains that were ap­par­ently pro­tect­ing him from cer­tain doom.

How many oth­ers have been af­fected? Was this wide­spread, or only hap­pen­ing lo­cally? His mind was scram­bling for an­swers to some­thing he couldn’t even see, he didn’t re­alise how much his phone was buzzing in his hand.

He no­ticed his hand was trem­bling when he brought it up to his view, and he dropped it when he stud­ied the mes­sages. They were from his friends, his fam­ily, yet they sounded so alien and un­fa­mil­iar. The notiÅ­ca­tions were all talk­ing about the 111 num­ber, call­ing it ir­rel­e­vant and that they did not Åt. Each one, how­ever, had the same chill­ing end­ing. “Come out­side.” He was so petriÅed that he couldn’t move a mus­cle. His thoughts were screwed, his breath­ing like an en­gine spout­ing its Ånal, wheez­ing fumes. There was a knock at his win­dow. “It’s a beau­ti­ful night tonight, come out­side.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.