I don’t recall anything between the weapon going off and waking up in the medical area. I’m not even certain as to how long I was out – asleep, knocked out, unconscious or whatever it was – but it must have at least been overnight because I feel pretty well rested after the gruelling events that I’ve experienced alone in that corridor. It doesn’t hurt, so that’s a relief. Whatever those weapons were, they weren’t there to hurt me. I’m not even sure if they were weapons now – seeing that I’m here, healthy and unhurt.
My mind is feeling a little fuzzy, no worse than having to wake up on any other day, mind you, but it quickly accelerates from zero to one hundred miles per hour. So many questions … what’s going on here? What happened to the bunker? Who were those people who came out to get me in the corridor? Why were they wearing virus suits? But most important of all, where is my family?
The room is well lit and extremely modern. It’s more hi-tech than anything I’ve seen before. This is a room for medical purposes, but it doesn’t look or feel anything like a hospital. There are data screens everywhere, similar to computers, yet not like anything I’ve ever seen in a regular hospital.
There is no sinister, metal, torture-like medical equipment set out on trays and I can’t see any containers or medicines. And there are no syringes anywhere, which is always a good thing. Everything in this room seems to happen electronically. I am alone, but I see that I am being monitored on a camera which is pointing directly at me.
I am comfortable, warm and not in any immediate danger, so in spite of all my questions, I can only assume that whatever is going on is not a threat to me. I also hope that it means Dad, Harriet and David must be on the receiving end of the same treatment. I’m desperate to see them, but it doesn’t appear as if that’s going to happen at the moment.
And what about Mum? If those guys came out into the corridor in virus-protection clothing, what the heck is going on beyond the bunker doors? And what does that mean for Mum who’s currently trapped outside?
At the time, I’d assumed that there were no other children in the bunker because we were here during term time. But that only excluded families with school-age children. What about those with toddlers? It’s very unusual not to see any other children. But that wasn’t the only thing.
There didn’t seem to be any couples in the bunker. There were men and women of different ages, but none of them seemed to be together. It was as if it was an open day for childless and friendless people. There were plenty of people visiting the bunker; I’d even go as far to say that it was quite busy.
But none of them seemed connected – and here’s the other thing that struck me. Most of them weren’t engaged in the exhibits in the same way that we were. It was almost as if they were just hanging around waiting for something to happen.
The terminal was active now, and all was as it had been during the training. The location was different of course, much more modern than that grey and functional building. But this was exactly how they said it would be. He’d trained alone, in isolation. There were no colleagues to laugh and joke with, it was important that each person knew their role completely.
His workstation was an exact replica of what he’d had at the Orientation Centre. Everything exactly the same, including the framed photograph of his family. He’d been trained thoroughly and precisely, so he knew exactly what to do and when to do it. He understood that his instructions would arrive at the appointed time.
All was as it should be, except for the long delay activating the lighting. But he couldn’t help worrying about Trudie and the kids. They said that his family would be okay on the outside. It would only be for a limited time, they said. And he didn’t really have a choice. ‘No families!’ was the strict policy on this mission. So long as they were in their home when the darkness fell, they’d be okay.
The darkness began at 15:00 BST on 15 May. It was undetectable at first. Just like the weather had changed and the skies were going grey. Only this was a weather pattern that was occurring everywhere. It had been preceded by high winds and extreme atmospheric conditions.
It was the sort of weather that grounds planes and stops ships setting off to sea. This was a global phenomenon. The same forecast would have covered the entire world. It appeared that somebody wanted as much of the world as possible locked up safely at home.