Henley stood at the edge of the large field, starring across old man Bakers corn that had long since wilted and died from lack of water, towards a distant line on the horizon where he could barley make out a cluster of Cottonwood trees skirting the edge of the Hootnah river. What lay beyond those trees, Henley did could not tell, and what was making the ominous noise that seemed to be coming from that direction that caused a sinking feeling in his gut, he could not tell either.
Henley had woken up that morning to a new and different world, a world were he – as far as he could tell – was the last man on earth. He woke up late and sat up in bed with the terrible realization that he was going to be late for work. Without looking out the window of his second floor apartment at the early morning hustling and bustling people and cars below in downtown Herby, in central Idaho, he jumped into the shower and then got dressed and headed out the door on his way to work.
It wasn’t until he pulled out of the underground parking garage of his apartment building that he realize something was wrong. As he drove the three miles to work, first down Main street and then a left on Birch for the remaining two miles until he reached the Marble and brick building of the Munie Corporation, he saw no other cars or people, or even animals for that matter. The streets were littered with paper and garbage, and weeds had grown through cracks on the sidewalk and in the streets as if nobody had used them for years. On one cross street, Henley saw the two story tall billboard for the movie theater, now tipped over and laying across the street with its face prominently displaying next weeks release – A Storm on the Horizon starring Renée Zellweger. Henley had never heard of it.
When he parked his car in the empty parking lot of the Munie Building with all it’s windows broken and a thin coating of moss starting to take hold in the “M” of “Munie” on the sign that greeted visitors and workers as they enter the parking area, and got out of his park was when he first noticed the noise.
It wasn’t man made, Henley thought, but it wasn’t natural either. The noise was like a wood chipper, and a freight train slamming on the brakes to try and come to a stop, and a roaring tornado all mixed together. But there was something else, another noise, a screech that seemed to be a noise made from the agony of a living being, but then again, at the same it almost seemed to be machanical in nature. This was the noise that frightened Henlye the most.
* I will never forget the first time I read The Langaliers by Stephen king and how I was in ahh on how things were described in such detail in the story, this my attempt to try and emulate that style of writing.