A mist was rising on the deserted stretch of highway between Zuni and BI-25. The moon, shining bright and leaving a shadow on the ground. Me, working on our smoking engine trying to get it going again.
“It’s shot; we have to walk back to get some help,” I said.
“Wait . . . nah, my phone’s dead, how about yours, Mom?”
“No, mine died an hour ago and so did Dad’s.” “Well, guess we’re walking.” I said. “Um . . . do you hear something?”
“Yeah, it’s probably Osa and Kinky.” My dad said. Osa and Kinky are our two dogs we’ve had since I was young. Even at fifteen now, I still wonder how Osa must feel at her age. “No . . . it sounds like a whistling sound.” I looked in the air.
Something metal was falling from the sky at an angle. It was shining against the moon and our eyes followed it. Then, all of a sudden, it crashed right in Zuni. All the lights in the little village flashed off except a little flicker in the middle of the town that grew into a massive shock wave of vibration. I fell to the ground in a second. I pushed myself up, groggy and confused about what had just happened I got up and I saw a tragic sight. The dark night sky had turned into a glowing cloud of smoke. I started to hear again and my mom was crying for she knew that we had family there. We spent a while trying to gather ourselves.
It was almost dawn and a car was coming down the road. It was an ambulance flying past us. Soon we heard a screeching sound and metal scratching on asphalt. We turned to look and finally I got up and said, “Let’s go!”
We started to walk toward Zuni to see if anyone had survived.
As we entered Black Rock, a small community east of Zuni, we saw houses burning, something I sort of expected. My grandma’s old house was charred rubble and I felt a tear run down my cheek.
We reached the plaza area after passing through the streets of sorrow. I knew we were headed to my aunt’s house to see if she was still okay. We stopped to rest for awhile while I ran to get a drink from the gas station full of dead bodies lying scattered on the floor. After half an hour we got to the house. I saw the door wide open and ran inside to see if everyone was okay. “Hello? Is anyone here? It’s us!”
“Who? Erin! Is that you?” said a quiet voice in the back.
“Yes! It’s me. Are you guys okay?”
“Yeah.” It was my cousin T.K. and Auntie Bert.
Somehow I knew what was going to happen next. “Quick! Get out, let’s go!” I ran outside with them following behind. My parents stood outside and I told them too.
“Another one of those things is going to hit and somehow I know where to go and keep safe!” we walked in a hurry to White’s a little auto shop/car wash/hardware store, but still the size of a Giants gas station, maybe a bit bigger. Right in front of White’s was a grassy mound with a manhole cover on top. I saw a flat piece of metal by the White’s garage door and used if to pry open the manhole cover. “What are you doing Erin?” asked my mom, who was catching her breath.
“This is where we need to hide.” She gave me a puzzled look.
“Look it sounds crazy, but-”
“Of course it sounds crazy, you’re crazy. I’m not going down there forg-” “You got a better idea?” I snapped. There was a short silence “That’s what I thought. I’ll go first and you find me a flashlight in White’s, and hurry.”
I was right. The whistling returned. I helped everyone in there and followed after. It was dark and dry and roomy. I turned on the flashlight and looked around. Surprisingly there was a radio down here. I turned it on; it crackled, but no signal. Suddenly, a “boom” sound came from above, dust covered us and I blacked out. “Whoa! Is everyone alright?” I asked while coughing a little.
“Yeah!” they said almost at the same time.
When we crawled out, the sun was high in the sky and we were squinting from the bright light. A breeze was blowing dust around and two blurry figures were walking our way. They were small, and then became fuzzy. They were our dogs! How they survived I have no clue, but I’m glad they were okay. “Osa! Kinky! You’re okay!” I yelled out with excitement. The dust was clearing while we walked through the rubble that once was Zuni, New Mexico, and saw what was going to be a big change in our lives. We saw people climbing out of crumbled houses. A radio by a tree had tuned in on a station with a newsman talking about Zuni.
“Two U.S. missiles were accidentally fired today due to a short in a control box. Sources say the two missiles hit a small town in northwestern New Mexico, Zuni Pueblo. Emergency and military crews are headed towards the scene. We will tell our listeners more news when it comes in, Thank you.”
The newsman was right; police and other emergency crews were coming, we could hear their sirens. I just looked at the mess. We sat there till they arrived, and went home.