“Is he going to die?”
Clark looked up at the faces searching his eyes for an answer. “I don’t know. I just don’t know . . .”
* * * * *
Present-day Chicago, four hours earlier ~
Man, this is the life! It’s not every day you get to sit in Wrigley Field and watch a game. Sure, I love traveling to new worlds and meeting new species. Heck, that’s about as exciting as life can get, but once in awhile it’s nice just to enjoy the creature comforts of home, especially an all-American baseball game. Yeah, the Cubs are having another lousy year, but they beat the Cards this afternoon and now tonight they’re pounding ‘em again. That’s all that matters today–
That’s when it happened. Clark and the other fans were stunned to see the lights go out in the stadium. The iconic buildings across the street, with stands built on their roofs, went dark. The tall apartment buildings in the distance went dark. The entire city of Chicago went dark.
Not here too. Not here! New York is a mess. Sure, at first when the lights went out there last week everyone acted all helpful and community-oriented. We heard stories of people taking in stranded travelers after the airports and trains shut down, and how restaurants and bars generously handed out free meals. But after four or five days, when temperatures rose, water and fresh food started getting scarce, then violence set in. Massive violence. Now the news channels can’t get enough of the widespread chaos. They keep showing the same images over and over of continuous fighting and blazing fires.
Then over the weekend, when the power went out in Philly, violence kicked in right away. It was almost as if people were waiting for an excuse to cut loose. Now you can’t turn on the TV without seeing fires and fighting.
Clark snapped back to the present and impatiently willed his eyes to adjust to the darkness. A moonless, cloudy sky darkened the night, but soon the stadium became relatively visible. He stood and surveyed his section. For a brief moment, no one moved. Several cheers rang out as intoxicated fans joked about not paying the electric bill. Many seemed to have a mild fascination with the interruption, especially knowing that the game was being televised nationally. Back home, this was likely becoming a national news story; the ballgame forced to pause. Then, a chilling hush fell over the crowd. Gradually, one cluster of fans after another rose to their feet. Soon, the entire crowd stood, talking in animated tones, furtively keeping watch, and searching for reassurance in a sea of uncertainty. Even at half-empty, the normally sold-out stadium held more than twenty thousand anxious fans.
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