Three cows disappeared from John Pierce’s place. He reported them as being stolen, but an investigation of the farm yielded nothing. No forced entry, no damage to the fences, no footprints. Nothing. It was chalked up as “one of those things.”
Six weeks later, two of those three cows were found in the trees of a nearby park. It was clear they’d been mutilated, but their advanced state of decay precluded any definitive answers. Again, “one of those things.” Now, though, people were starting to take notice. It’s not every day that cows wind up in trees. Especially dead ones.
Abdullah Raheem was admitted to the hospital on June 11, 2017. He was found on the side of the road with severe burns covering 98% of his body. He had been missing since 2011. The only words he spoke were, “the earth penetrates the sky.” He died on June 14th, 2017. An investigation into his whereabouts for those six years has gone nowhere.
No one connected his situation to that of the cows. Why would they?
Andrea Stillson had endured four miscarriages over five years. The one child she carried to term in the sixth year disappeared as it was being born. “Dematerialized,” according to the doctor. The story made national news. The hospital was sued. Andrea’s family refuses to settle. Last I heard, the case is still pending.
A girl named Jessica Heinz found the skeleton of a cow in her bedroom on June 30th, 2017. It was presumed to be the third of John Pierce’s.
My name is Ted Barnaby. On July 3rd, 2017, my house, as well as ten meters of dirt below it, vanished. I was inside at the time. I woke up at the bottom of the hole where my home had been.
I was forced to move in with my ex-wife until I was able to settle with my homeowners insurance company. That was in November of 2017.
At the end of last year, local internet message boards and forums buzzed about flashes of what people called “heat lightning” during the darkest hours of the night. It’d all be well and good if our climate were known for producing heat lightning. And if it weren’t a colder-than-average summer.
The hole where my house once stood has a ring of caution tape around the perimeter. A meter beyond that is a ring of barbed wire. At the center is a tent, maybe seven meters on every end. Two guards are stationed outside it 24/7. People yell to them all the time, trying to get an answer about what’s going on inside. They never answer. I don’t recognize their uniforms.
It’s the sixth tent and guard post set up around town in the last month.
We had a town-wide meeting a week ago. The three local officials were accompanied by a man in a gray suit. He sat on the far left side of the repurposed middle-school stage and did nothing but stare at the officials as they took questions from the confused and frightened townsfolk.
I used the term “took questions” instead of “answered questions” on purpose; we learned nothing from them over the course of the meeting. The officials were skittish and unwilling to commit to anything they said. It was as if the man in the suit had instructed them to remain as vague as possible.
The one thing I, personally, learned was that everyone’s dogs had run away. Not a single one, from Chihuahuas to St. Bernards, remained in town. John Pierce, the guy who lost his cows when all this started, said his own dog ran through the plate-glass sliding door after the heat lightning started. He followed the trail of blood through the fields as long as he could, but he lost her after that.
Two nights after the meeting, we experienced a lightning storm. The sky was cloudless. I looked at an online weather map when it started. There were no storms in the area. Afterward, I noticed an unpleasant odor coming through my window.
The next morning, the front lawn of my apartment complex was covered with dead birds. Their feathers look charred. Eight men in gray suits were picking up the carcasses and placing them in red bags emblazoned with triangular symbols made of three interlocking yellow semicircles.
Word got around that roadblocks had been set up on all the roads leading to and from our town. No one’s TV, internet, or cell service works. No one’s except mine. I have a satellite phone I bought a couple years ago before a trip. The internet connection is slow, but it’s better than nothing.
According to the news media, there was a chemical spill in town. Access to and from is being restricted until the compounds can be neutralized.
The photos and video from the reporters outside the quarantine zone are few and far between. It looks like they’re not being allowed to get within a couple kilometers of town.
Last night we experienced what felt like a series of earthquakes. Each jolt was accompanied by blinding flashes of light. I heard some of my neighbors running down the stairs, probably thinking it was safer to be out in the open during an earthquake than confined inside an apartment built without seismic activity in mind.
Before I lost consciousness, I heard shrill, horrified screaming outside.
When I came to this morning, I knew something terrible had happened. A glance out my broken front window confirmed it. I still don’t believe what I’m seeing.
Great columns of earth are being hoisted into the sky. The one nearest my location must be over a kilometer high and still rising. The ground below is littered with the bodies of those who ran outside last night. They’re burned beyond recognition.
I didn’t notice I was missing my pinky and ring fingers until I grabbed the sat phone to see if I could get a glimpse of what the scene looked like from the reporters set up far outside town. Except none of the Australian broadcasters were covering it. The sites I’d visited the other day are offline.
Over the course of my typing this, I’ve gone to the roof of my apartment and surveyed the town from six storeys up. There are at least twenty columns of earth rising kilometers into the sky. One of them reaches higher than I can see. That one has since detached from the ground. Waves of heat distortion are rising from the gaping hole. From here, it looks like it’s a hundred meters wide.
A deep, heavy humming fills the air. It’s less of a sound than a sensation I feel in my chest and stomach. I figure it’s whatever is causing the ground to be sucked into the sky.
I don’t expect to be able to update much longer, and I don’t know if this message will reach anyone. If any part of it does, just know something terrible is happening in Deniehyfield, Australia. Something incomprehensible. Something alien.
Search online and see what, if anything, is being reported. If you don’t see anything, please demand an investigation. The ground is starting to shake again. I’m terrified we’re being wiped off the map.