The airport was crowded as it was a Sunday and there were more travelers than the weekdays. Most of them were rushing to the counters to collect their boarding passes. Though they were all rushing, everybody was silent. Except for the people at the counter, people were hardly talking to each other.
Sandra and Harris got down one flight and were ready to take another flight. They did not understand why everybody looked so dejected and what was wrong. Sandra tried speaking something to Harris. But, Harris sighed her to send him a message on his mobile phone.
Sandra sent a message, “It is awkwardly silent. And, everybody is so sad. Can you please check if something bad has happened to this city? What could have gone wrong?”
Harris replied, “I’m afraid it reminds me of the earlier time when a natural calamity happened and claimed the lives of thousands of people. I heard that Boston was expecting a heavy snowstorm this weekend. But, I wonder why it should make them all dejected, sad, and awfully silent. Let me check the Internet. Check your Facebook and let me know if you can figure out something?”
Sandra came up with an idea. She said, “Let me send a message to Christine. She said that she will be in Boston over the weekend. She might know of something. This silence is very frightening. And, look at that. People are ordering food by showing items on the menu and they are not talking anything. The staff is taking the orders as though this is plain normal.”
Harris checked all news channels on his mobile. He could not figure out anything. There must be some reason behind this mass melancholy attitude, he thought. He pinged a couple of his friends on Facebook and asked them if they knew something about what’s happening at Boston.
George replied, “It’s not just about Boston. I landed here at New York just now. The situation is as grim as you said. And, did you check the television channels? They have cancelled all live shows on some pretext or the other. They have been broadcasting sad stories.”
After thinking about his experience and George’s experience, Harris understood that something happened to the entire nation when they were mid-air. They escaped that episode because they were not present on the land. What must have happened in those three hours, he thought?
Harris decided to call up his parents and find out if they are alright. Earlier, he noticed that people were not taking calls and instead sending replies to people. Nobody was talking on phone. He wondered if his father would talk on the phone. As expected, his father did not take the call. He replied saying, “I’m busy. Will call you later.”
Harris tried calling his mother. She did not answer either. She sent a message saying, “Busy.”
Harris replied to his mother saying, “I need to talk. Please talk to me once.”
Earlier, his mother would have jumped at this opportunity. She was always whining saying that he never got time to talk with her. But, now, she replied, “Message me. We can talk through texting. I feel sad. I don’t feel like talking.”
Harris was confused. He asked Sandra to check with her parents and friends and see if any of them answered their calls. After a few minutes, Sandra sent him a message saying that none of her friends wanted to talk on the phone. Neither were they interested to reply in long messages. She said that everyone is replying like he has been sending messages ever since they got married – in single words.
Harris could not control his laughter at her joke. He laughed a bit loud. Suddenly, he could see other people looking at him angrily as though he has committed some unpardonable sin. He decided to tone down his laughter for a while until he figured out what was happening.
Sandra came up with an idea. She logged into Facebook and created a new page. When she had to describe the page, she mentioned that anyone who can type more than ten words is welcome to join this page. She forwarded this page invitation to all friends and asked them to forward it to everyone. Harris also forwarded it to everyone. Initially, they thought that nobody would respond to them.
Harris noticed that these sad people at the airport only responded to urgent messages on their mobile and did not bother about their Facebook or other social media accounts.
Within a matter of few minutes, some twenty people joined the page by writing more than twenty words.
Harris and Sandra told them that they are in the airport and everyone around looked so grim. People from different airports told them that they were traveling earlier and when they alighted, they were surprised to see grim faces everywhere who replied only in single word or two.
Within one hour, the number of members in the group increased to three hundred. Everyone who was not sad or did not understand the common depression joined this group. They were all traveling or were under water in the last couple of hours, they said. Many discussions started pouring in. Harris suggested that they try to speak to their family members and find out what happened.
Harold told that his son was writing one word at a time saying that he felt the sky turning pink all of a sudden and he had a very odd smell and sensation. Harold told that it took him nearly forty five minutes to get this information from his son.
After going through all the information received, Harris said, “This looks like some gas leakage or some kind of terrorist attack. Let us all be careful. If you see something happening again, cover your nose with a cloth or get under water for some time.”
Someone in the forum suggested that they should all get together physically to deal with this. They said that they were not sure if the government is aware of this. All government offices and websites also seemed to be sad. People were moving around. But, they hardly made any sounds. They moved like zombies, someone said.
The word zombie made sense to everyone. Everyone in the forum agreed unanimously to the doubt that people were slowly converting to zombies thanks to the gas attack.
Harris and Sandra slowly moved to a corner of the airport where they thought they are safe from all these people.
“Can’t we seek the help of cops?” someone asked in the forum.
Someone else replied, “I’m a cop. I was swimming for the last two hours. My colleagues were playing outside. Now, they are all so dejected as though their wives have been kidnapped by enemy soldiers. Trust me. I want to move to safety. I’ve been checking to see if anyone else from the government is on the same line as us.”
Harris saw something strange happening. He noticed that people are looking at angrily at each other. The grimness turned into hostility. Everybody in the forum replied saying that they have noticed something similar in the places where they were. They all decided to move away from these zombies.
Harris asked, “Is it just our country that is under attack?”
Many people replied from various other countries – some of the most peaceful countries, too, proving that it was a global phenomenon that happened two hours ago at the same time across the globe.
Harold asked, “Is it an alien attack?”
Nobody replied to that post for the next few minutes. However, they started commenting saying that something of this scale would not have been possible by humans. It must be aliens. Most of them agreed.
The Facebook page where people were communicating immediately got deleted.
Harris and Sandra did not know what to do. Luckily, it took them a few minutes to get in touch with all those people on Twitter using their Facebook credentials. They were sure that this account would also be deleted. They quickly exchanged all their contact details. Within a few minutes, that twitter account also got deleted. Harris started a whatsapp group to communicate with all of them. Within a few minutes, the network was completely down.
After some time, Harris was unsure how it happened, but lights went out everywhere and it looked dark as though mankind never knew of electricity.
Sandra got frightened and worried about her parents and her children. Harris and Sandra ran farther away from the airport to hide somewhere.