Electra BlueA Short Story by Alan WalshBlack ice brought on by fresh rain and freezing night air made driving conditions dangerous& tiring for the Deputy Sheriff making his mountain rounds; so he decided to stop at hisfavorite turnout for a rest &smoke. He lit up whilegazing down into the valley at thevillagethat was his next stop. The contrast of bright village lights against the dark valleyfloor, and the towering mountains all around, touched a part of his soul.The air was crisp,dead-still, and rain-sweet in the aftermath of the storm.Long before his conscious mind kicked in, his subconscious detected a subtle change.Slowlythe valley took on a blue hue that crept part-way up the surrounding mountainsides. It hadan eerie “electric” quality about it, but there was no sound emitted and no detectablesparking or movement in the valley. It brightened in intensity to the point of beinguncomfortable towatch. As he turned away and reached for his shades, the light suddenlyblinked out;like someone had thrown a switch. The valley was immediately plunged intocave-blackdarkness.No blue hue.. no village lights.. no nothin‟.Only faint moonlight paintedthe upper slopes ofthe surrounding mountains.The Deputy assumed a power outage, and headed down the mountain to see if they neededassistance. The village was utterly pitch-black. Only his headlights provided illumination.Not a soul in sight. Given the time of night, this didn‟t surprise him too much; but then arealization came to him. No light anywhere. Not even candlelight. Most people would beasleep and blissfully unaware, but every burg has it‟s night crawlers; and they werenowhere to be seen. Cruising around, he searched out likely places for people tocongregate. The local diner, which he knew stayed open for night workers, was dark andsilent. The door was unlocked, and there were signs of recent activity, but no one washome. The tiny city hall, the school, the town auditorium.. all deserted.He found anunlocked car and tried the horn & headlights.. nothing. Not a soul to be seen anywhere. Hestopped and banged on a couple of doors. He drove around cranking his siren and “MickeyMouse” lights. No response. Everything looked perfectly in order; except forno light.. nopower.. and no people. The hair on his neck & arms stood on end, and a creep settled intohis soul.Things were getting over his pay-grade fast, so he jumped on his radio to call in. Noresponse. The repeater up-mountain apparently wasn‟t working. At this point, there wasonly one thing to do. He headed out to the nearest Forest Service fire lookout station.Relief at last.. lights and people! No one there knew a thing. A mountain sat between thevillage and their locale. A couple Rangers tried to call places they knew in the village, andgot busy signals. Using their phone to call his headquarters, the Deputy reached a boreddesk sergeant who listened to his story and then said “damn transformer probably blew..
would explain the weird blue light. These are tough mountain folk. They‟ll be okay. Move onand finish your patrol. We‟ll check on „em in the morning”.The next day, a Ranger rolled into the village for an early breakfast.. and soon foundhimself rushingout to the lookout post with his skin crawling. A phone call later, Sheriffswere rushing up the mountain. They found the town intact and untouched.. with no onehome. No bodies.. no indications of a mass exodus.. no nothin‟. State and federal officialswere called.. searches conducted..tests done.. no answers..not a singleclue. The village wascordoned off, and everyone sat outside the newly-established “danger zone” scratching theirheads in shock and disbelief. Drivers were reroutedbythe excuse of a landslide, and thewhole matter was hushed up tight.A private pilot crossingthe mountains next spotted an eerie blue light below that suddenlybrightened and blinked out. It was broad daylight, so a light of that size &intensity had tobereally significant; especially in the largely vacant mountains. A post-landing call wasmade, and he next found himself locked in an interrogation room at the regional Air Forcebase. The GPS position of the sighting was determined, and once again authoritiesdescended on an uninhabited mountain village. At this point, the response escalated rapidlyAn overall Area Army Commander was assigned, who set up shop at the sizeable regionalSheriff‟s headquarters down in the flats overlooking the mountains; with connections to theAir Force, National Guard, Police, and other civic assets of surrounding towns.The entiremountain range was emptied and cordoned off. Every conceivable asset was utilized toobserve and search for answers;intelligence satellites repositioned.. electronic assetsscanning the skies.. aircraft, military, and police personnel scouring the mountains.No one observed a thing.. until the night a satellite sensedsimultaneous blue lights acrossthree mountain locales. There had been police and military observers in those three villages.No one heard from them, and they were gone along with all the villagers. Their equipmentsat where they left it; lifeless.There was no hiding the events from the press anymore. The Area Commander put out apublic call for help from anyone who might have observed anything even remotely useful.Hours & hours were wasted taking calls from nut-cases. Front page headlines screamed foranswers. Politicians pressured. Family & friends of the missing congregated and held vigils;when not pressuring the authorities. National media pitched camp and interviewed everyonein sight. Self-proclaimed experts put out “end-of-the-world” warnings. UFO nuts held signsup to the sky inviting “ET” down. A wide array of personnel, equipment, and weapons sat onalert. Nerves were heavily frayed.Two weeks passed without event, so tensions eased a bit. The alert level was lowered.Assets were slowly pulled off for other needs. Politicians complained about the cost.Searches wound down. Local leaders commiserated about the pressure they were under,and their utter inability to provide any answers whatsoever. Everyone held their breath,praying that the bizarre horror was over.
The Area Commander madehisdaily update call to the President. “No, Mr. President, I‟msorry but we have no answers. Not a clue. Every conceivable asset has been brought tobear, and we‟re no further ahead than we were at the beginning..” As he spoke, theCommander‟s aid waspulling on his arm. At first he ignored it, but it was getting rougherand he eventually covered the phone receiver with his hand to deliver a sharp rebuke. Hiseyes turned to the aid, and he saw the man lookingout the window.. white as a ghost.Hiseyes followed to where the aid was looking.. out the window.. toward the mountains..andafter a momentary pause for recognition, he dropped the phone.The entire mountain range was bathed in blue light. It was brightening, and expandingrapidly..spilling over the local foothills.. down into the flatlands.. straight toward them.