Chapter 0:



Part 1

“Great! Our reward for all this year’s hard work, a crappy office party! I’m not the least bit surprised that Vernon would spend all his time brown-nosing and hobnobbing with Walter and the others. Meanwhile, the good little worker bees get rewarded by being sat at the bar, given cheap beer, and being allowed to watch some crappy game on a big screen T.V. I can’t wait for all of their castles to come crashing down around them!”

“Wow Nicolaus, you sure do wax poetic when you’re drunk! Keep up that level of complaining and not taking action and you’ve got yourself a job in politics someday.”

“I’m better off in the trenches. The Department of Futurists and the world at large wouldn’t benefit from someone like me taking any leadership rolls. Carl, you’d definitely have a better chance up at the top, being the light that brings all of us lowly peasants on the lower floors some kind of joy.”

“What are you talking about? The one that brings us any form of joy is clearly…ah, her!”

“Her? Amala? Yeah, she’s pretty. But that ‘holier than thou’ personality of hers needs to go. She won’t even give any of us shlubs a chance.”

“Well, when you look like that, and are that talented, do you really need to talk to losers like us? Shit man, look at her. Long black hair, sexy fuchsia lipstick, tiny black dress, bronze unblemished skin, and those beautiful purple eyes…and such a cute little butt! Man, they don’t make ‘em like that too often!”

“Let me finish my drink so I can poke holes in your previous observations. Bar-keep, one more! First, you sound like a perv. Second, her eyes probably aren’t purple; contacts. Third, you sound like a perv.”

“Good to see that you agree with everything else though.”

“You know what? I take back my complements; you’re just a dirty old perv. That’s enough standing around and doing nothing! Do you see that cute, red headed waitress with the freckles and in the short skirt? I’m going for it!”

“Yeah…okay. I’ll wait here to console you when she turns you down, and you need someone to complain to about how much of a bitch she is.”

“Whatever man; watch this!”

“Hello! Can I help you?”

“Hi - Yo! I’m Nicolaus - or Nick, that’s what most people call me. What’s your name?”

“I’m Katie…look…I know…”

“Katie, huh? Sweet name…you know sweet, like cool not tasty. Anyway, before I make any more of a fool of myself, tell me how do you feel about office parties? I hate them, personally.”

“Well, I don’t really go to office parties, since I don’t work in an office. These ‘end of the year’ gatherings are the bane of my existence! There were two of them this week before you guys. I had maybe… two old guys grab my butt, one d-bag tell me I looked like ‘one hot tamale’, and some dude barfed all over my pretty little skirt. That, as a matter of fact, gave my already skeevy boss a reason to finally make me wear an even shorter skirt, one he’s been trying to stick me in for a month!”

“Oh…um…M-my boss is over there with the slick haired guy’s head up his ass.”


“Hah! Made you laugh. I’ll take that as my one victory for the night!”

“Wait, is it so bad you need to count?”

“I mean… This year sucks in general. There were those documents that were leaked naming a bunch of criminals who’d never gotten convicted, a bunch of big businesses fired their workers and…it feels like the world’s about to end.”

“Can’t give up hope yet! I think…your boss is looking this way.”

“Is it the Italian guy with the slick back black hair, with just a bit of poop on his nose from sticking it up someone’s ass?”


“That’s not my boss that’s—”

“Yo, Nick’O, sup!”

“Hi, Vernon.”

“What is up man? You couldn’t possibly be hitting on this pretty young waitress?”


“I’m so sorry miss. My co-worker here is a bit too outgoing sometimes.”

“It’s okay. Look, I’ve got to go. Bye, Nicolaus.”

“Yeah…see ya’.”

“Essh, Nick’O. You really need to work on your game. You see how fast she ran away?”

“What is it? What do you want, Vernon?”

“Hostile! Relax, man. I’m just here to talk.”

“When was the last time we talked? Oh yeah! When you told me that I wasn’t doing my job correctly! And then there was the time you told me that my desk should be kept clean because it makes everyone else in the office look bad. No, you know what, bet it was the time you said that I should tuck in my shirt at work, even though that isn’t a rule. See, what’s funny is that was all in one day, the first day I’d ever even met you!”

“Okay, okay, okay! I get that I’m not your favorite person, but it’s going to be a new year soon. We’ve worked together for like two years now and I think we need to stop this little turf war.”

“Well… I don’t actually like having to work with people I can’t stand.”

“Exactly! Look, I’ll start; let me extend an olive branch. Me, Amala, Walter and Carl are going out to Newtonville. All the suits and low quality drinks are the shits, so were going to have a better party away from these guys. Oh, and you can’t see the sky to well from the inner city. I know what you’re thinking. ‘Sky? What the heck? Nothing to look at in the sky.’ No! As a matter of fact, the night sky is going to have those awesome lights the newspapers’ have been talking about, and it’s going to start snowing from what I hear! What I’m saying is, I came over here with the mission statement that I’d make peace with you, what do you say?”

“Hang on, Carl is going?”

“Yup! You’ll even get to ride with us and everything. Heck, if you need more incentive…free drinks!”

“Alright, alright. Whatever…”

“Perfect! We’re out of here in about ten minutes. Go grab Carl. I’ll get Amala and Walt.”


“Look who’s back joining the peasants. So, Nick; how was it? Get rejected?”

“No. I’m not you, Carl. Anyway, what the hell man? When did you and Vernon start getting all buddy-buddy?”

“I mean…I never really disliked the guy. When he came over he said he wanted to bury the hatchet.”

“Let me guess, he also said that Amala was going on this little escapade and your jaw hit the floor, then you decided that I would go without asking me?”

“Man, you can’t just stay an angry brat all your life. Try and have some fun, try and do something new.”

“Whatever, fine.”

“Hey, look.”

“What? Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me.”

“Looks like Vernon is getting the redhead’s number.”

“That son of a…great, now he’s coming over here.”

“Carl, Nick’O! Looks like we have a new friend joining us. Miss Katie, the cutie over there gets off in a few minutes too; she will be accompanying us tonight.”

“Cool. Nick’s happy about that, I bet.”

“Uh…yeah, ‘course.”

“Yeah, bro. All for you. Alright, Amala and Walt are already out front. Let’s bail!”

Part 2

11:44 PM

Newtonville Rock. A large, almost mountain like rock formation on the outskirts of Newtonville; a small town finally dragging itself into the 21st century. The small town of Newtonville is dwarfed by the neighboring city of Trenton, Arizona.

(Never thought I’d be riding in a car with some d-bags I don’t even like. Having to laugh at their jokes and pretend that they’re not just a bunch of garbage people, this makes me feel like such a tool! The sooner I get out of this truck the better!)

Upon reaching Newtonville rock, Nicolaus quickly exited the car alongside of Carl.

“I am never doing that again.”

“Oh, it wasn’t so bad, you’re such a drama queen.”

“You got to sit by a window! I don’t want to hear your crap.”

“Yeah, but you got to sit between both Amala and the Red-head.”

“Her name’s Katie, by the way.”

“Whatever. Looks like she’s coming this way. While you’re over here romancing her, I’ll give Amala a little bit of time with her soon to be passionate lover, me!”

“Please, just go away.”

Carl ran off gleefully to give Amala some company.

(Man…I do have to admit, Amala is good-looking. She’s got such a stark look about her. Crap! Did she catch me staring?)

“What you blushing about, Spike?”

“Spike? Is that what you’re going with?”

“Yeah, it’s okay. Not many guys I know who have hair as spiky as yours, so you stand out!”

“Guess I should call you ‘red’ in return?”

“Go ahead, wouldn’t be the first time. Tons of the old guys at the bar call me ‘Red’.”

“You mean the old guys’ who try to grab your butt and throw up on you?”

“Yup, them.”

“Let’s not go with ‘Red’ then.”

“Good idea. I’ve got a question though. What exactly is so special about this big rock?”

“The papers’ have been saying that some crazy, mysterious lights have been hanging in the sky over here for the last few days. Something like the northern lights.”

“The northern lights? Sounds more like everyone’s tripping on acid.”

“Don’t ask me. I got nothing.”

A sudden commotion began coming up the path. Some teenagers were surprised to see another group standing opposite to them as they came to the clearing.

“Huh? Hey, there. You kids’ up here to check out the lights too?”

“Oh…yeah, bro! Me, the dudes and the ladies were just trying to find a good spot to see the aurora!”

“Aurora? That what the kids ‘er callin’ it now?”

“Yeah, bro! It’s awesome! Hey, is that whiskey? Mind if we join you?”

“Hell yeah! I’d be insulted if you didn’t!”

(Giving kids alcohol, huh Vernon? I should call the police on your ass; but I guess I’m trying to bury the hatchet…so…)

“Well, looks like we have almost doubled our groups’ size; eh’ Spike?”


“…What’s up?”

“It’s just now I’ve got to deal with this smart-ass jerk-off and some lug headed jocks.”

“You still use the terms ‘jock’ and ‘jerk-off’, yet you’re in your twenties. Which tells me a lot about you.”

“What? Like what?”

“If you’ll allow me to psycho analyze you for a minute…okay. Number one, you were probably geeky in high school. Number two, you are probably not very active in sports right now. And finally, you’re probably not very popular, or good with girls.”

“H-Hey now…two of those, okay. That last one…come on…”

“That was, admittedly, a shot in the dark. I was right though, wasn’t I?”


“Thought so. Relax, I’m playing with you. You’re so fun to tease!”

“Don’t know if I like that or not.”

“Hahaha…so, any idea when these lights are supposed to start?”

“Not sure. Where’s Carl? I’ll ask him.”

“Best leave him alone. He seems to be very busy with that quiet girl over there. I’ll just ask Vernon. Hey, Vernon, when does this thing start?”

“Should be any minute, Katie. Come over here and grab something to drink with us!”

“In a minute! Geez, guy’s kinda pushy, huh? He’s alright looking, but if he were to start in on me, no way in hell! Chill out for a second, dude, am I right?”

“Oh, well, I mean…”


“Now that I think about it…why did you come out here?”

“My boss said I could leave for the evening and, well…ya’ know…”

“Sorry, I’m kind of dense; could you spell it out for me?”

“*Sigh*…My…boyfriend…called me and said that he was too busy to pick me up…and Vernon came over at the right time…and I was kind of pissed, which is why…”

“Oh…heh…I see.”

“Spike, I was going to tell you before, but I couldn’t bring myself to. You’re actually really fun to talk with and I got all swept up and stuff.”

“Wait, you could tell that I was…?”

“Yeah. We waitresses get it all the time. At least I can say you were the politest guy to ever hit on me. That doesn’t really help, does it?”

“Not really…no. Well, I feel like an idiot.”

“No, no, no, I have a boyfriend, so that’s why…uh, I mean…”




“…I think I’m going to go over and get something to drink. I’ll - uh - see you over there, Spike!”

Carl returned to Nicolaus’s side confused at the look on Katie’s face.

“Hey, Man. What happened? She looked really relieved.”

“Whatever, man!”

“Hey, you don’t want to talk it’s all good. I, on the other hand, made out great!”

“Really, how?”

“Well, first, here! I brought you something to drink away your sadness!”


“And, Amala only told me to ‘go away’ this time.”

“That’s an improvement?”

“Yeah dude! Usually, she’ll just ignore me until I go away! I think it’s time for the second phase of my plan.”

“Which is?”

“I unzip my pants in front of her and say ‘welp…we’re already here and it ain’t going to suck itself’.”

“…and then get promptly arrested, is the next part of your plan, I’m guessing.”

“It was a joke - sort of - but hey, maybe if you tried that with the redhead things would’ve gone differently!”

“Why are we friends again?”

“Because of my good looks, charm and comedic timing that are all unrivalled, making you wish you could possibly catch the women I throw to the way side.”

“Good looks…you’re like in your late thirties, balding, have a beer belly and haven’t had a steady girlfriend since probably high school! And you were saying that I wax poetic when drunk.”

“But here I am, still the most desirable bachelor at our job.”


“Hey, look!”

Everyone’s attention was drawn to the pitch-black void that was the night sky. Ever so slowly, snowflakes drifted downward as a cold breeze began to roll in. The entire city and all its inhabitants looked up as the frozen particles danced gracefully carried by the light gusts of wind. As the snow continued to fall, an almost purplish hue enveloped the sky. It was followed by a blue streak glossing over it; followed by red and yellow and even white.

“Whoa, Nick, you seeing this?”

“This must’ve been what Vernon was going on about.”

“Wow, man! Ridiculous, right? How is this even -”

Just then, an ear piercingly loud static sound, erupted from the sky! The white streaks started to plume into rounded orbs, growing and shrinking in size repeatedly! The noise continued to grow in volume making the ground itself shake! Everyone at the small ridge had their ears covered attempting to shut out the sound. Then almost as suddenly as it started, it ended.

“What…what the hell was that?”

“Hey! Is everyone alright!?”

“Shit; man, my ears…I can’t really hear! What’s going on?!”

“Everyone looks ok—”

A blinding white flash was the last thing anyone from that time and place remembered.

Part 3

(Beeping…beeping…what the hell is that beeping? Why can’t I move? My whole body feels like it weighs six hundred extra pounds! Even my eyelids are heavy! Don’t freak out, don’t freak out! Probably just sleep paralysis…that’s not good though! Dammit, will someone stop that damn beeping?!)

*Crash! Bang! Clang!*

(What was that?)

“Doctor! Something happened!”

“Is the patient alright?”

“He seems to still be asleep.”

(Are they…talking about me?)

“What the hell happened in here?”

“It looks like someone ran through here and knocked everything over.”

“Let’s get this cleaned up for now.”

(They left? I need to open my eyes…come on…come on!)

Nicolaus’s eyes sprung open! The clean, pure, whiteness of the room blinded him for a second. White sheets, white walls, bright white lights casting a clean glow over the room, it was desensitizing. The apparent beeping was coming from a heart monitor that sat alongside the young man’s bed. Nicolaus looked down and saw tubes and cables hooked up to his body. He shuddered as he sat up and began to remove them!

“Ah…! Dammit! That hurt! The last thing I remember…was that light. Where is everyone?” Nicolaus started hitting the buzzer near his bed, but the nurses were already on their way in, once he began tearing off the monitoring cables!

“My god, sir, please lay back down!”

“Wait, please! I need to know what’s going on.”

“Doctor! Doctor!”

“Hang on, I just want to know what’s going on!”

“Nurse, please! I’ll handle this. Son, please wait for one moment.”

The doctor led the nurse out of the room, then returned taking a seat next to Nicolaus’s bed.

“Hello, Nicolaus. My name is Dr. Archibald. How are you feeling?”

“Fine, I guess. Where are the others, where am I, what’s going on?”

“All in due time, son. For now, just relax. Everyone is safe. You were brought here to North Trenton Hospital. A few hikers found you all collapsed up on Newtonville rock.”

“Really? What was the cause?”

“Like I said, all in due time.”

“Okay, I guess.”

“Now, please get some sleep. I’ll be checking back in soon.”


The next few days were quiet, aside from the nurses and doctor running in and out of Nicolaus’s room. He was unable to call his family that lived in a different state, but was reassured that they’d been notified of his condition. They started running tests on the third day and continued for a few days after that. A little over a week passed and the police finally came to speak with Nicolaus.

“Uh, can I help you, sir?”

“Don’t go callin’ me ‘sir’! You make me feel old.”

(You are pretty old though, man.)

“Let’s see here…your name is Nicolaus Thompson. You’re 24 and work as a computer technician at the Department of Futurists. You don’t seem to have any prior arrests or anything - hell, not even a single parking violation?! Wish I was this good when I was a kid!”

“That’s nice and all, but can you tell me what the hell is going on? I’ve been saying that exact line for what feels like weeks and haven’t gotten an answer yet. You guys have left me in the dark since I woke up so I think I’m entitled to…something!”

“Look, kid there’s a procedure that I need to follow, alright?”

“Sorry…it’s just…”

“*Sighs*…I know you’re on edge having lost so many of your friends, but I need you to help me with this. We need as much help with this investigation as possible.”


“We’ve hit a ton of stops along the way during our investigation and we could really use the perspective of someone who was actually there.”

“No, not that! W-What did you mean when you said that I’d lost friends…” Nicolaus’s voice cracked.

“Shit! They didn’t tell you? Damn, I’m going to get in so much trouble. Alright, guess I’ve got to be the one to brake it to ya’. Most of the people involved in the incident…have passed. Only a few are still currently with us; which are you, Amala Singh, Vernon Marino, Katie Vang, Harper Wolf, and Vergil Trask.”

“So…everyone else…died?”

“Yeah, I’m sorry, kid.”

“E-even Carl?”

“Carl Lincoln? Yes, him too.”


“It’s been happening slowly for the past few days. They’ve been dying off one by one and we can’t seem to pinpoint the cause.”

Everything that the detective was saying to Nicolaus went over his head at that point. Hearing that all the people who went out that night with him were dying, knocked him for a loop. That night, everything changed…not just for those involved, but even the world surrounding them had changed forever.

End of prologue