top of page
Tag Cloud
Featured Review

The Halloween Project 2023 - Story 2: Orbs

“This is my last recording. The transcript is being printed as I speak. If anyone finds this it

will be amazing since I don’t think there are very many people left. Not anywhere. Maybe a few

here in Iceland, but everywhere else…I don’t think so.

This won’t be very scientific either. I’ve logged in all my data and reports. They’re sitting

in my computer and I’ve emailed them all over the world. The problem is in the last three days I

haven’t received a single response from all my associates in every single field. I started with the

obvious disciplines; Meteorology, Geology, Climatology, and Atmospheric Sciences. Then I included

Botanists, Zoologists, Ecologists, Biologists. Nothing. Finally I branched even further: Analytic

Chemistry, Electromagnetics, even Physics, and AI. Dead ends. All of them.

No friends responded either.

A tiny cloud (that’s what we called them when it first happened, clouds) was seen in

Mongolia. It couldn’t have been farther away from Reykjavik. We’re talking north of China.

Some nomadic herdsmen were out checking their sheep and they came upon it. The

description of it, as I understand it, was that it looked like a tiny tornado, but rounder. It was

about six feet, top to bottom, and about five feet wide. It hovered above the ground, maybe

three feet.

Occasionally it would float to about twenty feet above the steppe and then settle back

down, just touching the earth. It swirled, slowly, then fast, then slow again. It was grayish, but it

would pulse with color, mostly a steely, cobalt blue, and then a copper color. That report was

always consistent: cobalt blue with flashes of copper. Even the photographs later on showed

that. Didn’t matter where they appeared; the colors were always the same. And eventually, they

showed up everywhere.

Native Mongolians began to observe this phenomenon, the small clouds. They didn’t

get too close at first. The reports, and I’ll be referring to them a lot, said the people kept a

“respectful” distance. At least for a while. The clouds looked strange but kind of harmless. A

weather anomaly. Something unique. Different. With global warming rising to new and horrific

heights with hurricanes, global continental fires, tsunamis, we all thought it was some kind of

aberrant offshoot. Hell, maybe it was.

In short order, the people began to toss things into the swirling cloud. That’s when

everything changed. Rocks, sticks, and then hats, other household items; cups, knives, forks,

small tools. We didn’t hear about any of this until much later. Everything would simply

disappear. Then one person, a sheep herder, took one of his smaller lambs and walked up

close to the cloud. You could do that. Walk right up to them. That’s when they were small,

remember. He took the lamb in his arms, standing just a foot away, leaned forward, and thrust

the lamb into the cloud.

Immediately, the cloud flashed with a sharp blue color, the lamb disappeared and pulled

the man’s arms in. The report was that he screamed and pulled back, but his arms were

missing up to his elbows. Just a serrated edge of dual stumps gushing blood to the ground. He

fell to his knees like he was praying, and then it happened. The swirling cloud moved toward

him, hovering just above his head and grew slightly larger. It descended slowly, head,

shoulders, remnants of his arms, trunk, lower extremities, feet. Then the swirl grew larger still,

perhaps six or eight feet tall, and it flattened, turning more into a ballish shape. The few

observers ran from the small hillside. Screaming.

Within a few weeks, there were no more sheep anywhere to be found in a twenty-mile

radius. People went missing. The cloud shape grew and grew. The residents, in a frenzy,

packed everything they could and moved. The word was they moved anywhere. Away.

About that time there was a second cloud sighted, and then a third, and on and on. Northern China, west into Russia, and they grew larger all the time. Entire populations of small towns were abandoned as more people went missing. The reports began to grow sketchy and then hysterical. Local television stations went down. And the clouds simply grew. Initially, the height of a basketball net 10 feet. Then a two-story building, and it just increased. 50 feet high, 100, 200 and on.

Of course authorities were called in. Scientists emerged from everywhere. At first, in

addition to major concerns, there was excitement. This was a unique phenomenon. Something

new. An apparently natural occurrence never before seen on Earth.

But they kept appearing. Not splitting or replicating, simply showing up. Always small at

first, then growing larger. Tibet, India, down through Vietnam, Indonesia, and then they jumped

to Australia. Western countries in Europe, the Western Hemisphere and Africa remained

alarmed, but distant. The clouds skirted cities and towns for no discernible reason at first. Later

it would all be very different. And then the name changed.


Someone on a New Zealand newscast used the word ‘Orbs’ and it stuck. By this time,

they no longer appeared to be cloud-like. They were much rounder in shape, always the same

colors; grayish, cobalt blue, copper. All living mammals were consumed by the orbs. Not grass

or crops or insects. Livestock and wildlife, from elephants to bears, rabbits to cattle all

were… absorbed. A cargo ship observed a right whale pulled and pulled, sucked from the water

, and disappearing into the funnel of the orb. And people. The orbs took humans.

By then they were larger. Hundreds of feet tall, the most gigantic, one in Bangladesh,

was the size of the Empire State Building. By now they had appeared in all of Europe, northern

Africa, migrated or appeared across the farthest reaches of the short distance to Canada and

Alaska and across the northern border of the United States.

There were efforts made to stop the orbs. Hesitantly at first, then with increasing ferocity

and desperation. Conventional weapons and missiles from tactical bombers and fighter jets all

produced little result. Nothing did, even those most extreme actions. Small nuclear warheads

had no effect. Countries that had stockpiled and not destroyed bacterial, biological weapons and

nerve agents turned those weapons on their own countries. Millions of humans died in the

attempt to destroy the orbs.

Nothing worked.

The orbs grew. And then, as if sharing a collective consciousness, they merged into

superclusters. The reports from Argentina stated that they were about fifty miles across. The

Eastern seaboard was basically silent. We all assumed the President of the United States and

most other government leaders around the globe had secluded themselves in underground

bunkers somewhere. Most satellite communication failed. Wi-Fi ceased to exist. All the social

media platforms disappeared.

It’s been four days since we’ve had any communication. We assume most orbital

satellites are dark. The “we” I’m referring to are the five other researchers here in northern

Iceland. Why the Orbs haven’t touched down here, we can only guess. No food, few people,

too remote. Like I said, it’s only a guess. We have supplies for a month or so. It’s not like we’re

in Antarctica. Our beer ran out yesterday. We’ve still got some spirits left and Malcolm, good

old Malcolm, has an assortment of marijuana gummies and tincture that he spirited away when

he arrived a month ago.

I guess we just wait. But I don’t know for what.

The Orbs, I guess.

bottom of page