Jake's dad believed a lot of crazy things. He thought the Apollo program was about burying the Roswell aliens on the moon. He said Uncle Sam had listening devices planted in all the pennies.
And he told me once that the President - *every* President - sacrifices a virgin to some goat-headed God on the night of their swearing in.
He had ‘em all scribbled down in loose papers on the floor of his trailer, and years later they found a bunch more piled-up in a locker on Storage Wars season 4, episode 6.
Barry Weiss was pissed about that purchase.
Yeah, Jake’s dad was convinced that the end was coming from all sides, and he didn’t want to be caught bent over with his pants down and his pucker airing out.
So he fortified his pants.
He bought concrete and bottled water and a purifier and enough of those dried rations to feed 4 people for 20 years,
then he wheelbarrowed everything out deep into the woods behind his trailer and built a bomb shelter.
Once he finished, he took Jake and me out to see it and said, “When it comes - and it will - meet at the bunker.” And he made us promise him we would.
Depending on the week, *it* was aliens, or WWIII, or an army of bigfoots coming down from the hills. But the *it* that eventually got him was an oak tree.
Crashed into it in 2002, drunk off his ass.
Jake and I grew apart after that. He went off to college on a scholarship, I apprenticed as an electrician closer to home.
Last I heard, he joined the military in 2006, but rumour was he landed work at one of those three-letter agencies his dad talked about so much.
Then today, the storm cuts power all over town. I’m driving to a call, and it’s pouring so hard my F150’s wipers are a blur.
Visibility’s like 30 feet ’til it’s a solid wall of gray, and I’m hunched so far forward I’m practically resting my chin on the wheel. Then a red light pops in and I slam on the brakes.
My engine goes from a rumble back to its idling growl, and in the quiet I hear my phone vibrating in the cup holder. So I grab it.
48 missed messages. As the rain’s pounding my windshield, I scroll through ‘em. “Meet at the bunker.” “Bunker, now!” “Where are you?” “Get your ass to the bunker!!!” All like that. All from Jake.
Lightning crashes so close the thunder’s right in time with it. The bolt turns that impenetrable circle of gray into a blinding white.
And then it hits two, three, four times, each boom shaking my truck like a baby’s rattle. I hold up a hand to block the flashes, but through my fingers I see it.
A tall, glimmering figure lumbering toward me.
Even with all his theories, Jake’s dad had never described anything like it.