When the lights go out

Here’s something for The Ghostly World Journal, finally found the time to write it down. Hope you find the experience of Lisa and Markus of interest if not rather scary…

I like to stop and visit from time to time the Cafe on Milton Road, Chichester. On occasions I end up sharing a table with a stranger and usually end up in a conversation. Usually the opening gambit is a question as to whether the chair opposite me is taken and if they might join me. That’s how it happened when, I think he said his name was Malachy, a stranger to me, he came to sit at my table.

Sharing some small talk I happened to mention my interest in unexplained experiences and that I was on my way after lunch to meet with an owner of an alleged haunted house. Well his eyes lit up and thought I’d might be interested in a story that just happened the other week, then thought for a moment as if he might have the date wrong.

He said he knew the people involved in this tale and vouched for their characters, assuring me they wouldn’t have made the story up, certainly not to him. He repeated that they are not the sort to and still cannot account for what they’d experienced. Events like this don’t happen to people like them, their answer when they recalled the episode to Malachy. So I took him at his word. The experience had disturbed and haunted their thoughts as to how they came to experience the start of World War 3.

Here is his account of the events. It was late evening when Lisa and Markus returned home after attending a party for some friends of theirs, they decided to watch some television before going to bed. When they switched on the television the normal station they expected to see was broadcasting an emergency alert. What they had on the channel was a World War 3 alert, informing people what to do.

At first they thought this was a joke, but all the stations were broadcasting this breaking news story. The longer it played out, the reports increasing unnerving. The BBC in the UK, reported the latest details and what was known so far. They were also informing people of an emergency channel, broadcast over TV networks as well as web addresses for those still with internet connections. Information was constantly updated, informing people how to keep safe and what preparations to take. News announced about various Heads of State, and they remember the Queen of the United Kingdom had been moved out of the country.

Broadcasts from all over the world were talking about war breaking out, and the first strikes had taken place in the US. Nuclear strikes had targeted major capitals of Europe as well. Then it seemed that more and more countries of the world were reporting missile strikes.

Lisa and Markus listened long into the night and into the early morning unable to break away from the destruction they were seeing reported. Lisa had tried to phone her mother and was unable to get through. The phone networks were down and at one point so was the internet.

Malachy continued telling me of this amazing experience and reinforced that the couple had listened throughout the night, understandably shocked, unable to take in what they were witnessing and stunned by the reports. In terms of what to do, they were constantly questioning themselves, realising there’s not much they could do at this point. An unnerving sense of isolation and what fate loomed. The feeling of hopelessness with everything, their family, friends, neighbours – what will happen..?

It was 6:00am in the morning when they flicked over to the local news channel, the breakfast show. This would give them local information and news about their region and possible preparations they need to be attending to after watching world effects and the destruction of cities. But then the strangest of things.

The regular news bulletin carried no mention of World War 3, no emergency broadcast, nothing… just the local news headlines, travel and weather reports. They flicked around the main channels. All broadcasting the main news of the day, no mention of the World War, no mention of first strikes, no mention of emergency procedures the population need to be informed about. It was just the normal regular broadcasts they see day and night.

So what had happened? Malachy looked at me as if holding out for an answer.

Could it be a time slip? He said, as I shrugged my shoulders unable to offer any explanation. They’d been recorded cases of people seemingly slipping back into the distant past and out again somewhat quickly. Did the event exist in another reality and those signals from it bled into our own reality and Lisa and Markus somehow tuned into it. A most strange case and one very real to the couple.

I’d to excuse myself. On returning I was somewhat surprised that Malachy had gone from the chair. Nowhere to be seen. I asked the woman at the other table if she had seen my dining friend leave. The woman looked a bit taken aback. Apparently she was wondering what was holding my fascination for so long seated as I was on my own.

WB esq.

story by John Riley

artwork by Tomasz_Mikolajczyk

The Ghostly World Fictional Ghost Stories

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