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  • Mental Ramblings

Emergency Broadcast

I half expected it, off the back of the national text alerts a few weeks back, but the timing took me by surprise. I'd fallen asleep in the armchair nearest the telly and was rudely awakened by said TV turning itself on at god knows what time. I was used to waking up when it turned itself off rather than on so this felt weird. But there I was, in the middle of the night, in the dark and essentially still asleep. At least most of my brain was, my eyes and ears were starting to really hate what the television was doing.


The screen was white and blinding to me at first, til the searing red words - EMERGENCY BROADCAST - STAY INSIDE - flashed and then remained solid. I was intimidated, on edge, I DID NOT FUCKING LIKE IT. There was no sound to begin with which I also hated but somehow it got worse as a siren started to play, not that loudly but when had a fucking siren ever been good news?


The cat stayed oblivious, asleep and stretched along almost all of the sofa. For such a small creature she could cover some space, and for such a small creature she somehow made me feel safe. I'd seen her hiss and swipe at dogs ten times her size and she treated most humans the same. Had she not been there, with claws that could rip you apart, I probably would have shat it.


The siren stopped and a brunette woman, pony tail, glasses, classic newsreader look really, appeared and started talking. I wasn't in a position to take in what she was saying still, I just felt so uncomfortable and still not really awake. I flicked through a few channels and all I got was the same, well babestation was consistent I suppose. A fake, almost square, breasted boiler with lips like plungers and an arse that made her look like a reversed kangaroo was waving her phone at me. Well not at me but you know. A couple of glances off camera though and the channel closed down. Shit was clearly serious.


I hit up a few times to get the emergency broadcast back, this time with sign language. An old school mate of mine was partially deaf and he taught me bits and pieces. It was good fun to cunt off people in front of them rather than behind their backs. It also earned me points with his older sister who I was hopelessly in love with for a time. She knew it of course and was shameless in her exploitation of me but I didn't care. It was just more material for the wank bank.


I tried to make out what was being said on the screen but the dread and the chills I was feeling made it so difficult. The sign language interpreter was going like a machine as the broadcast continued, almost too fast it seemed. Finally though my senses came to me, I was still far from fucking happy but I was awake and could take in the emergency broadcast.


YOU ARE REQUIRED TO STAY INDOORS UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. COVID 23 IS AIRBORNE AND IS PROVING FATAL TO ANYONE WHO CONTRACTS IT, LIFE EXPECTANCY IS 48 HOURS. IT IS BELIEVED TO BE OF ALIEN ORIGIN, I REPEAT ALIEN ORIGIN, OF WHICH COVID 19 WAS THE START. MARTIAL LAW WILL COME INTO AFFECT IN A FEW HOURS. ANYONE OUTSIDE AT THAT TIME WILL BE ARRESTED. ANYONE ATTEMPTING TO GO OUTSIDE WILL BE MET WITH THE REQUISITE FORCE TO TURN THEM BACK. LETHAL MEASURES ARE AUTHORISED.


I shuddered and had to steady my hand to check social media on my phone, all of it the same, all running the government's emergency broadcast. Looking between the phone and the TV again I noticed the sign language interpreter once more. She was still signing so fast, it didn't seem to correspond to the message being spoken. Her eyes were lit and I began to notice the terror on her face.


I checked out her hands and realized what was happening. She wasn't conveying the message the newsreader gave out.


NONE OF THIS IS TRUE. RUN.

FUCKING RUN.

THE AI IS AWARE AND COMING FOR US.

FUCKING RUN.

RUN.

RUN.

RU...


She looked like she was going to have a heart attack and drop to the floor, which she ultimately did. Her crazed eyes looked like they might explode and her rapid arm movements took on a manic quality. The eyes disconnected though when it looked like a bullet caught her between them and the lights went out. Before she even landed the camera was turned off as if she had never been there. Almost imperceptibly the newsreader paused and looked to her left but for most people nothing would have happened.


I kissed my fingers and patted the cat on the top of the head. It glared at me and I laughed, it seemed so loud and unusual in that moment. I had no idea who else had seen what I had seen but I knew what I believed. I felt so cold and so weak but I knew I had to move. I grabbed the biggest knife I had and all the junk food and water I could get in my bag. I looked back at the cat one last time and checked it had enough food. It would be good for a couple of days before it would have to start hunting, much like myself. I screamed, took a deep breath and strode out into the fuck knows what.

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