Unlike most people, Agents Holmann and Murtaugh knew about the blackout before it hit them, but not by much.
They’d been tracking the manifestations for a couple of weeks. The sensor network had narrowed it down to Tulsa, Oklahoma, when the data coming in stopped dead. All of it. Every feed from the city went black simultaneously. Fifty two seconds later and Oklahoma City vanished too. They quickly tasked satellites to the area. By the time they had Tulsa in their sights, Dallas, Kansas City, St.Louis, and Memphis had gone dark as well.
They opened an emergency channel to the boss. His face filled the screen, scowling and squinting.
“What the hell is going on, Agents?”
“It’s in Tulsa. Whatever happened is expanding outward in a radius from there.”
He glanced at the wall, did the math, and talked quickly. “Do we know what it was?”
“Not exactly, Sir.” said Agent Holmann. “Satellites confirm the cities aren’t gone, but there are huge swaths with no power and the tech isn’t working.”
“Seems unlikely, Sir,” replied Agent Murtaugh, “considering the source.”
The two agents looked at each other. There was only one thing they knew that could do something like this but both were hesitant to say it. Agent Holmann bit the bullet.
“We’re thinking it might have been a wish, Sir.”
His eyes went wide. “A wish! Jesus-H-Christ on crutches! Are you serious?”
They nodded. “We were tracking a lamp in the area when the blackout started. It was a ninety-two percent energy pattern match.”
He pointed a stubby finger at them. “I don’t care how you do it, but you two better find that damn thing and…”
His image vanished and was replaced with a ‘connection interrupted’ message. Ten seconds later and the lights in their own office went out.
“Well, I guess that’s that.” Said Agent Murtaugh.
There was a fizzling sound and the monitor they’d been watching vanished in a sparkle of blue light. The computer disintegrated too. Then their phones disappeared in a puff of glitter. Agent Murtaugh’s watch (that his kid had gotten him for Father’s Day) glittered right off his wrist. The sprinkler heads vanished and water gushed into the center of the room from the gap in the pipe and splashed to the floor. The two agents stepped back from the quickly growing puddle to keep their shoes dry.
No alarms went off. Presumably, they were gone as well. But they didn’t need them. There were enough surprised screams and shouts to serve as alarm enough from rooms down the hall.
“Maybe, not quite all of it.” Said Agent Holmann.
Agent Murtaugh let out a little laugh. “Yeah, not quite.”
Agent Holmann went over to the window and peered out, checking on the parking lot. All the cars were gone. Well, not quite all of them. Back near the bushes, at the edge of the lot, was a bright turquoise, hard top, 1959 Buick Electra.
“Jerry’s car is still there. The rest are gone.”
Agent Murtaugh circled around the
ceiling leak and went to the door. He peered up and down the dim
hallway. It was also gushing everywhere there had been a sprinkler
head. The floor was pooling up quickly.
“So, what’re we thinkin’?”
Agent Holmann put up her hands. “I’m thinkin’ tech erasure. Somebody just wished away a whole lotta’ progress.”
Agent Murtaugh agreed. “Yep. They’re wishes, for sure.”
Agent Holmann went over to one of the
many filing cabinets, opened it, and fished through the folders. She
pulled one, flipped through it, and nodded. She turned to leave.
“Well, c’mon. Let’s go get those keys from Jerry. If we’re lucky we can get to Tulsa before too many more wishes.”
Agent Murtaugh stepped out, avoiding the spigots. “Jerry ain’t gonna like it. That car’s his baby.”
“Boo hoo, for Jerry. We are not walking to Tulsa.” Agent Holmann kept the file close to her chest so it wouldn’t get wet as she followed him.
“No, ma’am. No, we are not.”
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