The Secret Bunker was amazing. I was at that age where I could often take or leave Mum and Dad’s family days out, but this one captivated the entire family.
There was nothing ornate or subtle about the place. It was a massive concrete bunker buried one hundred feet under the ground. You reached it via a 450-feet sloping tunnel, accessed through the cottage. The bunker itself was incredible. There were offices, control rooms, dormitories and bathrooms. There was a chapel and even a radio studio. I hadn’t a clue why anybody would want to hear a DJ playing tunes after a nuclear apocalypse, but Dad informed me that radio would be used to transmit important messages from the Government in the event of an emergency. I think I’d prefer the DJ.
We found what must have been a mini cinema on our explorations, and inside they were showing Cold War films in black and white. Part of me wanted to laugh at these films, another part of me knew how deadly serious they were. They were explaining what to do in case of a nuclear attack. Men with really posh voices used phrases such as ‘Duck and cover’ and ‘Protect and survive’ and you’d see old-fashioned school children practising what to do when the bomb went off. It only struck me looking back how ominous the sound of the sirens had been in those old films.
Twenty-four Hours After The Darkness
It’s only a faint hum at first, and I can feel it as much as see it, because with the noise comes a small vibration through the floor. Whatever is creating this must be pretty big and powerful – or extremely close – as I’m feeling it through a thick wall of concrete. It is building slowly, and it doesn’t feel to me like a generator, it’s not a sound I’ve ever heard before.
Still this wretched darkness though, I’d had a sudden leap of hope when the humming had started, expecting the lights to come on and everything to be resolved. What I’d give for this all to be sorted. In an instant, the humming alters pitch, as if somebody just changed the gears of a car. It has an urgency now and I get the sensation for the first time in however many hours it has been that something is changing around me, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.
The lights come on. I am dazzled and confused for a moment, my eyes are used to the blackness and I’m now immersed in bright light. As my eyes struggle to adjust, I look up to see that I am no longer where I thought I was. This is still the long corridor, but it has somehow been transformed since I last saw it.
I don’t have time to question that. Three figures wearing virus-protection suits are running towards me and, as they do so, the small, red lights from the laser targeting on their weapons come to rest in unison on my forehead.