It was a stormy night as the lightning crashed at the stroke of eight o’clock, the old radio began to make a low humming sound as it sat on top of some worn blankets among other discarded items up in the attic. The old man asleep on the couch downstairs, had lived in the Victorian home his entire life, and was the only surviving member of his family. His parents, and a sister had gone before him, their photographs had been taken in the courtyard just before their departure.
The tv he had been watching became obscured with the static lines of interference, taking on the same type of low hum as the old radio up in the attic. As he awoke, the stillness in the house was calming and familiar to him as he noticed the clock had stopped at eight. Everything had fell into a predetermined sequence, the eighth month, the eighth day of the eighth year, and all at the stroke of eight. He knew instinctively that he must prepare.
Getting up to the attic had become more difficult for him in his later years, but he had known of this day coming all his life, and certainly would not allow himself to miss it. Finally making it up the drop-down ladder, he peered inside the attic at the buzzing old radio. Climbing the rest of the way into the attic, he reached for the rumpled blanket and the old radio, carefully pulling them along closer to the north window. Opening its casing, the low hum of the old radio now more audibly emitting that of a buzzing sound, as a pale blue light engulfed the attic, flowing out across the courtyard like a beacon in the night. This would signal the long awaited arrival, and knowing that it wouldn’t be long, he slowly made his way back down the ladder. After shutting off all the lights, he would use the glow from the tv for light to change his clothes.
As he got dressed and adjusted his neck-tie, he marveled at the timing of it all, and was thrilled to have lived long enough for this opportunity. He and his family had been chosen, and throughout his younger years he had witnessed the departure of family members before him, as the old radio then was passed down to the next “contact”. He had been the last to receive it.
Dressed for his departure, he methodically tidied up around the house, straightening a few photographs hanging on the wall, along the way. Those were the final photographs of his parents and sister, each at their designated times throughout the years, when they stood in the courtyard awaiting their departure. He too would do the same as they did, and at the stroke of midnight, he would be the last one to finally depart. From his writing desk, he took some documents and tucked them into his jacket pocket, then reached for his hat, he was ready to walk out to the courtyard, and for his photograph that would document his departure.
He knew midnight was approaching as the moon was directly overhead, shining brightly down over the still courtyard. Even the black-birds were silent as they quietly filled in along the courtyard trees to acknowledge and bear witness to his departure.
Just over the horizon, pale blue landing lights of the craft matched that of the old buzzing radio, as the craft drifted overhead while coming to hover directly above him. As the discharging steam vented and filled the summer night, he stepped forward into the descending light as the import capsule was being lowered, and would hover just twelve inches off the ground. Opening the only hatch-way at the side of the capsule, he fixed himself into the seat, and sealed the hatch-way. Moments later, he and the craft would vanish up and away, into the night.
The warm sunlight filled the cool autumn air as the leaves fell onto the courtyard, a new family had arrived inside the old house. A young boy and girl scurried about the house looking for places to hide from each other, while their parents along with the movers, brought in their belongings, that would signify their lives.
The kids giggled and shrieked as they made their way up the drop-down ladder leading them into the attic. There they found an old radio quietly sitting on some rumpled blankets and decided to bring it downstairs with them, where they would place it on the fireplace mantle for a better look. The radio had an outer casing that was buckled shut, upon it’s opening, revealed the framed photographs of those well dressed strangers, seemingly from another time, standing in the courtyard as another life-line began in the old Victorian house.
The old radio would remain silent until the next to depart were chosen. They would know that they were chosen, then on the eighth month, the eighth day and the eighth year, they too, would also know instinctively what to do next as the clock then would strike at eight. The radio frequency and the pale blue light would beacon again to signal another arrival.
Its secret would remain held within until the next designated time for departure.
The chosen . . .
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