Dave didn't know he was lonely until his friends pointed it out. But when he gives in and tries an online dating site, something catastrophic happens - talk about a bad omen.
The Day Dave Broke the Internet
by Tara Tyler
Nathan howled in pain.
While they lied on the floor, Dave watched Tariq's brother escaped through a side door with its window broken out.
With a frown at Dave, Tariq ran after him. "Sorry, man."
Tires squealed, and they were gone.
Sharon and Dave rushed over to help Nathan who'd found a chair to plunk into. He was holding his arm, rocking back and forth in pain. Blood soaked his sleeve.
"They shot me! I can't believe they shot me! Was that Tariq?"
Dave couldn't believe it either. He'd never seen so much blood in real life, only in video games and movies.
"Yes, and his brother. They were looting the vending machines and whatever else they could find."
Sharon ripped Nathan's sleeve and looked at the wound on his arm.
"Well, it doesn't seem too bad. He just grazed you. You'll live. Dave, can you get me a towel or something so I can wrap this up?"
"I have a medical kit."
"We'll save those supplies in case something worse happens."
As Dave scampered into the kitchen, he wondered what could be worse than getting shot. The kitchen was a mess, completely ransacked with everything from the counters thrown all over. Dave found a clean dish towel and ran it back to Sharon.
Watching her work on his friend, Dave wondered if he was dreaming. How did this happen? Nathan got shot! Tariq always seemed so level-headed. What was happening? Dave was discovering that extreme situations revealed what a person was really made of. He hoped he could hold onto his convictions. He also hoped he didn't have to find out if he would.
Once Sharon tore up the towel and wrapped up Nathan's arm, the bleeding stopped. She spoke to Dave while she finished up.
"Thanks for covering me back there."
"Oh sure. It was a gut reaction. I hope I didn't hurt you."
She gazed into his eyes and smiled, warming him all over. "No. I'm fine."
She was wonderful and so calm in the intense circumstances. He admired her nerves of steel and felt closer to her with every passing minute.
Glancing at Nathan, Dave realized his friend was holding his own as well, much tougher than he expected. Even though he'd been shot, he wasn't whimpering about it. Dave felt like the slacker of the three and needed to brave up.
"So Nathan. What did you find out?"
"Huh?" He looked a little woozy as he watched Sharon clean up the remains of his bloody shirt.
"You came up to tell us something."
"Oh, right. Right! I was able to contact the local police. Their generators are working and their internet connections were reinforced like ours. They're broadcasting a general message to tell anyone who can hear them that they're working on fixing things and they should stay home and conserve their resources."
"That sounds promising."
"Too bad it's all lies to keep everyone from panicking. Things won't be back to the way they were any time soon. I also got through to some friends who told me what they know. Several cities lost their primary transformers which shut down some major power grids. Fortunately, rural areas farther out seem to be functional. From our combined calculations, the cities hit were New York, LA, Chicago, Miami and Dallas. Anything in a 200 mile radius of those cities was slammed and shut down."
"That's most of the country. Who could've done it?"
"Terrorists is the first assumption."
Taking in the new information, Dave cogitated over it. His strength was utilizing what was available to come up with solutions. And he wanted to show Sharon he wasn't useless. He wondered if those who planned the shutdown thought any farther than that. If they did, Dave and his friends would have to be on guard for organized terrorist activities as well as looters. He suddenly felt defenseless. He needed to find a gun of his own and practice with it. Plus, a safe place to plan a strategy. This was all so crazy!