“THE DISTRESS CALL: PART 3 of 3” by Scott Donnelly #MicroTerrors

THE DISTRESS CALL: PART 3 of 3” by Scott Donnelly #MicroTerrors

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“Micro Terrors: Scary Stories for Kids”™ 2023

Welcome to Micro Terrors: Scary Stories for Kids, where it’s always the spooky season – full of chills, thrills, and spine-tingling spooks! Micro Terrors are family-friendly frights for those ages 8 and up. And while our stories are for younger ears, we are still talking about things that go bump in the night, and some children may not be able to handle what others can. Parental consent is recommended. Now… for tonight’s MICRO TERROR!!!!
“Gone?!” I exclaimed. “What do you mean everyone is gone?”
The girl grabbed me by the collar of my shirt and pulled me closer. “Gone,” she reiterated. “They don’t exist outside of false projections of themselves. Those are what that alien force was using to lure everyone to their doom.”
“Yes, doom. That’s probably where your “dad” was taking you. You were about to be wiped out of existence.”
The lights in the room quivered and then a sharp burst of sparks flew down from the ceiling above the door. A glinting figure generated inside the room, just under the shower of electrical sparks. As it took its complete form, I saw it was my dad. Well, now I knew it definitely wasn’t my dad and all the alien sludge/people projection stuff this girl was spewing was dead on.
“You’re not my dad!” I howled.
“But you want to see him, don’t you?” the glitchy projection said. It hadn’t glitched before when everything was calmer, so I could only imagine that the stress of the situation at hand was creating its current, unstable presentation.
“Come with me and I’ll show you your dad,” it said.
“No,” I said.
“What are you?” the girl asked. The projection of my dad turned and faced her. “I am whatever you want to see,” it said, glitching again and taking the form of a different person; a woman with long blonde hair wearing a pair of Humanity’s Promise coveralls. “Hello, Carly,” the woman said.
The girl next to me, Carly, just stared in bewilderment. Her eyes went wide and her mouth gaped open. “Mom?” she said with a tremble. I nudged Carly on the arm, reminding her it wasn’t her mom and she was quick to snap out of it.
The projection then turned to me.
“Everyone else is waiting,” it said. “Come join them. What other option do you have? No one else is coming for you.”
Option? This thing clearly didn’t know who they were dealing with. I wasn’t going to be intimidated by creepy alien projections. I charged it, expelling a primal roar, and threw a punch as hard as I could. The projection just stood there, unphased by my beast-like blitz as my fist flew right through it. The weight behind my punch made my body tumble through it too, a charge of electricity shocking me and making my hair stand up.
When I regained my balance, the projection of Carly’s mom was staring at me straight faced. I turned to the control panel and glided my fingers over the appropriate buttons and the door whooshed open.
“Come on!” I shouted to Carly. She ran after me, blazing through the projection as well, knowing now that it wasn’t going to physically hurt us.
Together, Carly and I ran as fast as we could to the closest elevator. Inside, I looked at the control panel for my best option. The docking bay level stood out to me, as did the lifepod I knew my ship had. I pressed the button for the docking bay and the elevator doors closed.
“Do you guys have a lifepod in the bay?” I asked.
“I think so,” Carly said, still shaken by the sight of her mom after so many years.
“Good. We’re getting on that thing and blowing this pop stand,” I said. As the elevator shot down level after level, going speeds that I’m sure would make me nervous if I thought about it more, I put a hand on Carly’s shoulder. She jumped at first, but then lightened up with a smile.
“Sorry about your mom,” I said.
“Thanks. I’m sorry about your dad.”
“Thanks,” I said.
Suddenly, the elevator came to an abrupt stop, tossing both Carly and I around like pinballs. We both hit the floor and looked up to the fluorescent light above us that started to buzz and flicker. I stood up first, and when the light finally regulated itself, I helped Carly to her feet.
“This is what it does,” she said, holding back a whimper. She had seen the fall of her ship. She knew what had happened before and it all seemed to be coming back to her.
“What happened on your ship?” I asked.
She swallowed and took a deep breath. “The sludge made contact with us. We didn’t know what it was; it never even appeared on radar. It seeped into our electrical systems and compromised the entire ship. It studied us. It grew smarter because of us. It was able to use our electricity against us, creating phantom versions of the crew; the projections. One by one, everyone was duped and lured away. Before long, everyone was gone. I was too late by the time I caught on, so I threw myself into cryogenic sleep, hoping it would leave me alone.”
“And it did,” I said. “I was also in a cryogenic chamber. I guess there’s something about it that the alien sludge can’t probe.”
Carly seemed to agree with my assessment. I looked around the elevator, my gaze finally settling upon the control panel. If the sludge had compromised the electrical make-up of the ship, I wondered if there would be any sign of it behind the panel.
I ran my fingers along the edging of the control screen until I felt two tiny divots. I placed my fingers in them before shifting the panel upward; it came loose and I pulled it away from the wall. Exposed black wires connected the back of the panel into the wall. Carly aimed the flashlight into the open wall cavity and I moved in for a closer look.
All of the wires were covered in an undulating black sludge. As the light from the flashlight’s beam hit the exposed wires that were connected to the back of the panel, the black coloring of them began to crawl back down the wires and into the wall, revealing their true colors of blue, red and yellow. They weren’t black wires at all — they had just been covered by the alien sludge.
“That stuff is on everything,” I said, completely amazed by the unheard of lifeform I was witnessing. And from the simple fact that it slid back into the wall and away from us, I assumed it wasn’t aggressive towards people. It used the electricity to manipulate and take things over.
“At least this stuff isn’t aggressive towards—”
I was cut off by the black sludge shooting out of the wall and splattering on my face. I screamed, let go of the panel and ripped the sludge off. I threw it to the ground and watched it crawl back up the wall and slip into the open cavity.
The ship rumbled like a hungry belly; the alien presence within its core had been disturbed.
“We need to get out of here!” I shouted. I picked up the panel that I tossed to the floor and jammed it between the elevator doors. With all my might, I pried it from one side to the next, shimmying madly until the elevator doors split.
Carly jumped into action and slipped her fingers between the doors. Together we pulled the elevator doors apart and exposed the inner workings of Humanity’s Promise. It was a conglomeration of wires, steel fixtures, criss-crossing beams and computer systems — all heavily tainted by the alien sludge. I leaned out of the elevator and looked down. That’s where I saw the level in which the docking bay would be.
“Come on!” I commanded. I helped Carly out of the elevator and together, we climbed down the steel fixtures and beams, careful not to touch the sludge. When I felt comfortable enough to just drop, I did. Carly followed suit. We hit a metal landing with a steel door in front of us; the door that would have opened if our elevator had made it down this far.
The sludge was waking up. I could hear it squelch and moan in its own alien ways. It seemed to be alert, wise to our plan of escape.
There was a sensor pad on an upright beam next to the steel door. Using my skills, I ran my finger across it in a pattern that I knew would unlock it. And thank goodness it worked; just as the senor chimed and accepted the security pattern, a glob of the black sludge fell down next to us. The impact sent it splashing in every direction.
Carly shrieked and grabbed onto me. Another glob dropped next to us, followed by another and another! It was raining alien slime. The steel door hissed as it opened, and when we turned around to walk through it, we were startled again by the sight of my dad.
The defective projection stood there, its image glitching in and out; it was the most unstable I had seen yet. His eyes flashed white before completely vanishing, leaving two gaping holes of static. His voice boomed with a haunting distortion.
“There is nowhere to go,” he said, his voice seeming to come from everywhere all at once.
A second projection sizzled to life next to him. It was Carly’s mom. Her eyes were gone too, replaced by two white-hot glowing orbs. Her voice was choppy and deep:
“Follow us, Carly. We can all be together again.”
I grabbed Carly by the hand and screamed, “Run!”
Together, we blasted right through the projections and into the corridor that led to the docking bay. We turned a corner just as another projection appeared. It was Charlotte. She stood in the middle of the hallway with an ornery smile and tilted head.
“Found you!” her sweet, giggling voice reverberated all around us. I resisted the urge to stop and kept running, blowing right through her as well.
Carly and I drifted around another corner where I saw a yellow and black striped door up ahead. It was the docking bay! I prayed the escape pod was still there and capable of flight.
We skidded to a stop in front of the door and I frantically assaulted the control panel until the door hissed and split open. A deafening roar erupted from within the docking bay. As the door completely split apart, the lights inside the docking bay flickered like an unhinged light show.
Carly and I stood in the threshold of the bay, looking in on a surreal sight; a conjuring of all our fears. The creature that consumed most of the bay was scaly and dark. It was larger than life, displaying sharp teeth, not only in its mouth, but from other mouths at the ends of long tentacles. Serpent-like tongues, the size of giant anacondas, squirmed within each mouth. The monster hissed and roared; it gurgled and clicked.
“The leviathan—” I stammered. It was one of the creatures that rose from the depths on earth; one of the creatures that caused the final events on our home planet which put Humanity’s Promise into motion. It was the image of pure fear, pure intimidation and hopelessness.
That’s how I knew it wasn’t real. It was a last ditch effort by the aliens to stop us. They knew we were close to escaping.
“It’s not real! Keep going!” I shouted to Carly over the deafening roars of the monster. I gripped her hand even tighter and ran through the docking bay, breaking through the projection of the leviathan. On the other side, there was a circular door on the wall marked by red lights that indicated the escape pod was still inside.
I tapped a button on the control panel that opened the door. With the roaring manifestation of pure fear behind us, Carly and I rushed to the escape pod and climbed inside. I fidgeted with the buttons and was able to close the circular door behind us. The lights in the pod lit up and the engine hummed to life. Carly hit a button on her side of the craft that opened a bay door ahead of us; the vastness of space was sprawled out before us.
“Let’s blow this pop stand,” Carly said with a wink, using my exact phrase from earlier.
I hit a button on the dash and fire exploded from the thrusters on the back of the escape pod. We shot out of the terminal with insane and unmatched propulsion. Humanity’s Promise and Humanity’s Last Hope, the two ships that were supposed to save the future of mankind, were now nothing more than ever-shrinking dots behind us.
I breathed a sigh of relief, but that was quickly interrupted by a sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach. Sure, we had escaped the alien-infested spaceships, but now we were alone on a small craft that would only supply a limited amount of oxygen and fuel.
Carly must have felt the same way. Her silence in the seat next to me spoke volumes. She and I both knew that we were the only two humans left in the universe now. We had no food, nowhere to go, and no one to save us.
The sick feeling in my stomach started to fade and in place of it was a fluttering sense of acceptance. Knowing there was nothing waiting for us out there, my body relaxed. There wasn’t any use in fighting the inevitable.
Carly reached ahead of her and tapped the computer screen on the dash. I glanced over and looked at the fuel meter. It was still at 99%, so we definitely had time to kill. I saw the oxygen level was at 76% — the tanks must have been damaged somehow; maybe when the thrusters propelled us out of the terminal. It dropped to 75% the longer I looked at it. Maybe we didn’t have as much time to kill as I initially thought.
At the bottom of the screen, where Carly started to hover her finger, was a red, circular button with SOS stamped in the middle. I watched Carly contemplate tapping the button, which would have sent out a distress call of our own. Even though it was useless since we were the only two humans left, I could see how tapping it would still be enticing.
“We have nothing to lose,” Carly said in a soft, defeated voice. With the tip of her finger, she tapped the red button. It turned white and confirmed a distress call had been broadcast out into space.
The distress signal was traveling the speed of light, approximately three hundred million meters every second. I assumed the signal would eventually be lost to time and space, traveling indefinitely until the end of the existence of everything.
So, you could only imagine the sinking feeling in my stomach when the computer screen beeped at us to say our distress call had been received and acknowledged.
A moment later, a confirmation notice pinged on screen that something, from somewhere, was on its way to us. . .
Thank you for listening to Micro Terrors!!! Join us each Saturday for another scary story! For more fun, visit our website at MicroTerrors.com where we also have spooky games you can print out and play — like wicked word searches, mysterious mazes, and more! MicroTerrors.com is also where you can find us on your favorite social media and even send in your own scary story for us to tell! Plus, you’ll learn more about our author, Scott Donnelly, who has other horrors for both young and old! I hope you’ll join me again soon for Micro Terrors: Scary Stories for Kids!

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