Hammer Down

For Maximilian Johns the night would begin like any other. Concerns about school dogged his thoughts, an upcoming project on the War of Independence only reminding him of how much he disliked History. Rather than worry too much about it however, he consoled himself with the possibility that he might be able to palm most of the work onto his friend, Benjamin. Such were his concerns, his world a small circle of friends and the never ending cycle of school life. What he could not foresee was how much more dangerous his world was about to become...


Max 2.07am
Benj. You up?

Max
Benj. Answer Goddamit.

Benjamin
WTH. Its 2 in the morning.

Max
Did you hear it?

Benjamin
I was asleep Max. What you talking about?

Max
The bang. Sounded like an explosion.

Benjamin
Where?

Max
South. Beyond the tracks I think.

Benjamin
U Sure? Could have been a car or something outside.

Max
No. This was big. Everything in my room shook.

Benjamin
Go back to sleep. I can't hear nothing.

Max 2.18am
Benj!

Benjamin
Geez, WTF.

Max
Can't you hear it!

Benjamin
Holy Hell. I can hear something. Wait up a sec.

Benjamin
Sounds like gunfire. Rifles I think. Too far away to tell.

Max
This is freaking me out. Your parents up?

Benjamin
Yeh. Dad's got his gun, Alice looks totally freaked. What about yours?

Max
Mom's over in Bursville. Dad's down at the front windows. He doesn't look happy.

Saddiq 2.21am
Hey guys. You hear it?

Max
Hey Sadds. What do you hear?

Saddiq
Hard to say. Sounds like a thumping sound. Over near the rail line.  Guns too I think, but far away.

Benjamin
What the hell's going on?

Max
No idea, but the cops have just cruised down the street. One of them stopped near the intersection.

Saddiq
Doing a cruise here as well. Two cars, both moving slow towards the railway station.

Benjamin 2.28am
TVs stopped working. Anybody got a radio?

Max
No. What about you Sadds?

Saddiq
Somewhere, but I don't think I've got any batteries. Land lines are down too. Only the towers are up at the moment.

Max
OK. Now its crazy. Cops are using speakers in the street. Emergency broadcast. Telling everybody to stay in their homes.

Benjamin
Shouldn't we get out if its an emergency?

Saddiq
Do what they say Benj. Must be a reason. Could be a derail on the tracks. Maybe a chemical spill?

Henderson 2.40am
Guys. You hearing what I'm hearing?

Max
What?

Henderson
Dad says there's some kind of incident at the rail yard. Something big hit the Fuel Depot.

Max
Does he know what?

Henderson
No. I'll see if I can find out.

Henderson 2.42am
Can't find out anything yet. Strange but. They're talking about calling out the National Guard.

Saddiq
Why?

Henderson
No idea. Hold on. Somethings starting up.

Max
What is that?

Benjamin
Shooting. Lots of small arms. Going off like fire crackers.

Saddiq
Where is it coming from?

Benjamin
Sounds like the tracks. Max, you should get on to Ali. She'll be able to see the Fuel Depot from her place.

Max
Why should I phone her. Can't you?

Benjamin
Really? You've been waiting for a good reason to call her for weeks and now you're going all yellow. You've got her number. Call her and find out.

Max
Bloody hell. I'll get back to you.

Max 2.53am
Ali. Tell them what you told me.

Ali
Hi guys. Cops everywhere. About a dozen locals as well. All firing into the Depot. Theres something in there they want to kill and it isn't dying.

Saddiq
What do you mean. Isn't it a derail?

Ali
No. There are things crawling all over the tanks. Can't see what they are but the cops are unloading everything they've got.

Max
Won't they set the depot on fire?

Ali
That's the weird thing. Looks like its what they're trying to do.

Max
Won't you have to get out?

Ali

Max
Ali?

Saddiq 3.13am
Guys. I'm near the hospital and everythings going to hell. Loads of ambulances at the ER. Fire engines heading towards the rail station. Full lights and sirens.

Henderson
Yeh, I got EMTs flying past. Can see the North Bridge from my window. More cops than a donut convention. Looks like some heavy trucks too.

Johns 3.15am
What the hell's going on? Got a cop car out front on the lawn. Dad's freaking out.

Max
Something hit the Fuel Depot. Don't know much more.

Johns
Crap. I'm going into the basement with the family. See you'all in the morning.

Johns
Hold up. Got a convoy of trucks heading along Main Street. Big ones. Gotta be Army.

Saddiq
Where are they going?

Johns
Definitely towards the hospital. Looks like a rally point. Can see every cop in the state as well outside the Town Hall. Hey Hendo. Ur Dad is right in the middle of it.

Henderson
What?

Johns
Yeh. He might be the Mayor but he ain't the boss there.

Henderson
I'll give him a call. He's gotta know something.

Saddiq 3.21am
Found the batteries for the radio.

Max
What's it saying?

Saddiq
Emergency message only. If you're in town get out. If you're out of town stay out. Not much more.

Max
Anybody heard from Gibbs?

Saddiq
No. He got that new VR kit. Probably still locked in his room.

Max
Maybe we should warn him.

Benjamin
No point. When he's deep in one of his new toys he won't answer. If there's any trouble his Mom'll dig him out.

Max 3.34am
More cop cars on the street. People running up towards midtown. Some look injured.

Benjamin
Gunfire is getting closer. Cops going house to house down the street.

Henderson
Sorry Guys. Dad wouldn't tell me anything. Mom's packing. I think they're going to evacuate the town.

Saddiq
Same here. Cops are saying everybody has to get out. Calling it a chemical spill but that don't wash.

Max
What's happening at the Hospital?

Saddiq
They're evacuating. Got a load of buses out the front and more coming.

Max
Maybe we should all go?

Saddiq
That's what they're saying.

Johns
Main Street is jammed. Cars banking up all the way back to Channing. Whoa. Hold On.

Max
What?

Johns
Something just went off. Blew out the Library and half the Civic Centre. Just went up. Cars all over the place. Can't see anything in the smoke.

Johns
Lots of shooting around the Police Station. Cops are running up the street.

Johns
We're off. Next time you hear from me I'll be in the car.

Max 3.37am
What do you see Hendo?

Henderson
They've opened the Bridge up to traffic. Everybody's going north. We're going too. You better get out Max.

Max
Spoke with Dad. He's not going. We're going to get into the basement and wait it out.

Saddiq
You sure? The cops aren't playing. I've seen a few people dragged out already.

Max
No problem. The basement is solid. No one will even know we're there.

Saddiq
Suit yourself. Its going crazy here.

Benjamin
We're off too. Three NG trucks out front. Evacuating everyone. Never seen so many guns in my life.

Benjamin
Just saw three flights of helicopters heading south. Packing rockets and firing into the streets behind the High School. Huge explosions. Never seen anything like it.

Max
I can hear them from here. Might see if I can contact Ali.

Max 3.43am
Ali. Where are you?

Ali
Just near the bridge. Gridlock all the way along the mountain road but its moving slowly. Are you getting out?

Max
No. Staying put. Going to ground in the basement.

Ali
Be careful. I've been hearing stories.

Max
What about?

Ali
It wasn't something crashing into the Fuel Depot but something crash landing. A plane or rocket of some kind. All sorts of weird being said but not much sense yet.

Max
Let me know when you're away safe, yeh?

Ali
I'll let you know. Be careful.

Saddiq
Holy crap. I've just seen tanks, heaps of them crossing the bridge and moving into town.

Benj
Yeh. Trucks and soldiers too, all heading for midtown. We're going.

Saddiq 3.46am
Tanks are firing. Took out the Post Office and Supermarket. Lots of gunfire. Getting closer.

Max
Haven't you gone yet?

Saddiq
Problems with the car. Piece of crap. Waiting for a bus out.

Johns
Just got over the bridge. Cops are saying the town is being fully evacuated. Just as many NG and Army going in as the rest of us getting out.

Max
What are they fighting?

Johns
No idea. Maybe somebody should tell Gibbs.

Max
I'll get him on the phone.

Henderson 3.59am
Max. Any luck?

Max
Nothing. All the landlines are down and he isn't picking up on his cell.

Saddiq 4.03am
Power's gone. Anybody else?

Henderson
Here too. Looks like its the whole town.

Ali
Everybody OK? Just seen all the power go off. Got jets overhead and Army everywhere.

Benjamin 4.07am
Still got bars Max?

Max
No problem yet. Towers still seem to be up.

Benjamin
Yeh. Mine's sketchy. Dunno how much longer...

Max
Benj? You still there?

Benjamin

Saddiq 4.11am
Just had explosions real close. Helicopters letting loose. Everything's on fire.

Max
Got your bus yet?

Saddiq
See it coming. We'll be gone in 2.

Max
Good luck. Be careful.

Max
You out yet Ali?

Ali

Henderson 4.15am
Got more Army out the front. Set up some big guns and waiting. Cops with them. Can't move until its clear to run.

Max 4.17am
Haven't you gone yet?

Max 4.24am
Hendo? You out?

Henderson 4.24am
Guardsmen have us in the back of a truck. Streets are blocked to the south. I can see fires all along the hills to the west.

Max 4.35am
Shooting out the front. We're in the basement now. Steel door locked and only a few small windows to look out. Pretty grim. Where are you Benj?

Benjamin
On the road. Cell went down but seems OK now. Goddam war zone here. Rubble everywhere and tanks guarding the north road towards the bridge.

Benjamin
They're saying we won't be safe until after we cross the river.

Max
Be careful.

Benjamin
Roger that.

Johns 4.38am
You really should be getting out Max. The cops are saying anybody left in town can't be saved.

Max
Too late now. Firefight out the front and I can hear something in the house.

Johns
Can you see anything?

Max
Only out the window. Crap view but I can see shadows running across the yard. Pitch black out. Something is definitely in the house.

Max
Gunfire everywhere. Shooting in the street and next door has gone up in flames. Dad is thinking we might have to run for it.

Henderson
What's in the house?

Max
Can't say. Smashing everything up but. Soldiers are on the lawn up against our stone fence. Unloading everything they have onto the roadway.

Max
Now they're running. Can hear fire in the house.

Max 4.44am
Somethings up against the door. Trying to turn the handle but its locked from our side.

Benjamin
You can't stay there. Run!

Max
No choice. Doors jammed. Dad says the basement is fireproof but I dont know.

Henderson 4.49am
Tanks are retreating. Firing as they go. We're almost out.

Saddiq 4.50am
On the mountain road. Can see the whole town. Everything's on fire. Helicopters are shooting into the centre of town.

Ali
We're out too. Going to a camp near Bursville.

Johns
Can't make it yet. Traffic moving but not over the bridge.

Max 4.55am
Sadds. Can you see any part of the town that's not burning?

Saddiq
Only to the east. You might be able to get out if you make for the sewerage plant.

Max
Thanks. I've told Dad and we're going now.

Henderson 5.00am
Max. You have to go now. They're saying the town can't be held and they're going Hammer Down in 20. Get out as quick as you can!

Max
Hammer Down? What's that.

Henderson
I have no idea but it doesn't sound good.

Henderson
GTFO now!

Max
We're going. Got the door open. House is a mess.

Henderson
Tell your Dad to run. There's going to be nothing left in 19 minutes.

Max 5.07am
Made it to the mall near Garland. The sewerage plant should be only a few blocks.

Max
Half the houses have been blown up. Everythings on fire. WTH has happened?

Max 5.09am
Hiding in a dumpster. Creatures everywhere. Can't see what they are. Too dark. Can hear them moving through the alleyway.

Max 5.13am
Lost Dad on Murchison. One moment he was in front of me. Next he was gone. Too dark. Can't see anything.

Max
OMG. Bodies in the street.

Henderson 5.16am
4 minutes Max. Get your ass moving.

Max 5.17am
Going for the plant. Hope to find Dad there.

Max 5.19am
Just outside the plant. Dad's not here.

Max
Can hear something overhead.

Henderson 5.20am
You don't have any more time. Find a hole and crawl in!

Max
It's too late. I can hear it coming.

Saddiq 5.21am
You there Max?

Ali 5.21am
Max. Where are you?

Ali
OMG. What is that?

Ali
Max?

Ali
MAX!

THE END

Comments