Boxed In: Part 8

One year ago…

Shane stretched his arms wide above his head, releasing a loud yawn.

It was an early humid Saturday morning in July. His mother and father were sleeping.

Lucky them, he thought, recalling his long nights of insomnia.

The light from the moon cast his shadow on the pavement as he roamed his driveway to the end of Alpine Street, lugging his camera bag over one shoulder.

After about a mile of trekking, he reached the bottom of the hill. He hiked the familiar steep paved road just like every weekend. Once at the top, he scanned the gray horizon at the quiet streets of Baldwin below. The street lights lined the small suburban town.

Shane removed his camera from the bag and wrapped the strap around his neck. Assembling and twisting on his new lens, he felt a rush of excitement and anxiousness to test the equipment. He worked all summer at the Box picking up trash and escorting new trainers around the facility to pay for the stronger lens.

“Hello, beautiful,” he said to camera.

He waited on a patch of dead grass for the sun to rise over the hill to catch the perfect moment.

The golden glow slowly swept across the land, highlighting the dew on each blade of grass. He could see everything.

He adjusted the focus to capture a butterfly kissing the tip of a nearby leaf. He wanted to shoot something farther away, so he shifted his viewfinder across the horizon trying to catch some of the thick patchy clouds.

Click. Click.

Turning to his monitor, Shane noticed an object in the photo he didn’t see through the camera; a dark silhouette of a thin aircraft flying straight toward the hill.

“What the-” he said glancing away from the picture.

Nothing was there.

Suddenly, the outline of a drone appeared.

He sat perplexed at the machine flying closer toward him.

Two thin tubes disengaged from the body and shot fire into the neighborhoods. Shane jumped to his feet as a grenade dropped onto a rooftop near his home. The force threw him onto his back, kicking the air out of his lungs. His camera dangled from his neck and knocked him hard on the sternum.

Thick yellowish smoke climbed higher up the hill to where he laid groaning in pain from the blow and sharp ringing in his ears.

He coughed from inhaling dust and scattered debris from destroyed buildings. The smoke settled in messy layers for miles.

Ashes and desperate cries rang from the few survivors of Baldwin, along with the simultaneous mass attacks in North America.


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