Twelve Thirty-Seven

By J. W. Wright

Jeff checked the back seat. Every time he got into a car he would check every part of the car, both inside and outside. He couldn’t even remember how long he had gone on like this, living in a state of constant paranoia. Had it been weeks, or months? The sun had been blocked out by the black clouds of smoke for as long as he could remember. He looked up at the black sky. Was it day time or night time he wondered?

He looked down at his watch. It was broken. The time constantly read twelve thirty seven. The second hand was stuck perpetually at the sixteen second mark. He had made a note of this on many occasions.

He reached into the back of his jeans. He felt for his gun. It was there. A rusty old twenty-two caliber revolver. He took the gun out and laid it on the front seat. The seat was leather, and worn with age. It was a brown interior, which must have been nice at one point in time. He opened the glove compartment. There were no keys. He checked under the visors, under the seat, under the back bumper. But there were no keys.

Normal circumstances would have warranted hot-wiring the car he thought. But there was a problem. That problem was that he had no idea how the hell to hot-wire a car.

He remembered as clear as day, the world before it had come to this. He remembered his wife and son. He heard their voices. He saw their faces. He felt their touch. It was as real as anything. But he knew. He knew he would never see them again. They were taken away. Taken away by those... things.

Those things were not like anything else Jeff had ever seen. They were not of this world. The things stood about seven or eight feet tall. They had no visible features. They lacked faces. They possessed no eyes, no mouths. From what could be concluded as their torsos projected waves of energy he could only imagine were limbs.

On the day before the world ended, Jeff was a normal guy. He remembered working for a major legal firm. He would always work until exactly five in the afternoon. His boss would always say “No overtime!” and make them all clock out at exactly five.

On that day in particular, Jeff was out for lunch. He always had a break every day from twelve until one. By twelve thirteen, Jeff was home. He was welcomed with open arms by both his wife and his son. He smiled. He realized that his wife had made his favorite meal. A simple yet elegant thing for him was this meal of grilled cheese. He took his seat and immediately began to devour his meal.

Upon finishing his lunch he got up and began to wash his hands at the kitchen sink. He noted the dark clouds that had formed in the sky. He wondered how hard it was going to rain today. As he pondered this, he heard a loud screaming coming from outside. At first, he thought it might be some kids playing, but it grew louder. It grew more bloodcurdling. It grew more savage. Something was wrong.

He heard a pounding at his front door. A woman screamed for help. He looked at his wife and son. They were staring at him in horror. He wondered what he should do. He walked towards the front door. He hesitated. The banging grew harder. It grew more intense. And then it was silent. Heart pounding, Jeff was hesitant. He reached for the knob and opened the door.

What he saw was not his neighbor. It was like a replica. It was as if someone had created a wax figure perfectly representing them. As he stared at this false neighbor, it began to morph. It turned from a shape he recognized into a large blue shape, with something akin to tentacles hanging off its sides.

As he looked at it, it seemed to stare right through him. He turned around and saw his wife and son huddled in the corner, cowering with fear. “No!” yelled Jeff. Looking to his wife he screamed, “Susan, take Jacob and run!” Susan grabbed their son by the hand and took off with him.

The strange blue creature took off after them, with a large electric jolt threw Jeff literally fifty feet into his front yard nearly missing the street. As he hit the ground, he head and saw what would be the last he would ever see his wife and son. The strange creatures had them, and as they took them away from him, he could hear the creatures excitedly saying to each other “More to replicate.”

The time of that occurrence was twelve thirty seven and sixteen seconds. The time he received the electric jolt from the creature. As he snapped back from his memories, he again regarded the watch he now wore, in memory of the last time he saw his wife and son. He could trust no one. They could replicate anyone he knew. He must go on alone like this for the rest of his existence. But he was doing this for them. He would not let his wife and son down. He would not let these creatures replicate him as well.

Jeff walked further down the street. He walked up to the next car, and proceeded to check every part of it. Both the inside and the outside. He checked the glove compartment for the keys. They were there this time. He put them in the ignition and turned them. The cars engine started. Jeff smiled as he looked in the mirror. Everything was going to be fine. He was going to get out of here. But from his reflection, you would have sworn that he was made of wax.