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
He pushed Activate.
His tablet fuzzed. All the lights went out. In his apartment, across the street, and as far away as he could see from his window. Everything was dark.
Dave checked his phone. It was dead. He felt his way to the kitchen and got a flashlight, also dead.
Strange. Just weird. Looking out his window, he saw the whole neighborhood was dark. Someone must've hit a transformer. It was deep-cave dark. The only light shone from the moon. And it was unearthly quiet.
But why did his phone die? It was charging so that could've been a surge. But the flashlight?
He snapped his fingers and fumbled his way to his bedroom closet. On the top shelf, he found the shiny bag Nathan had given him for his birthday a couple of years ago. He told him not to open it unless something happened to the electricity and all his batteries died. It was an odd request, but now seemed to be the perfect time.
From the bag, Dave pulled out a two-way radio, another flashlight, and new batteries. He put the batteries into the walkie-talkie. It worked, so he tried it out, feeling a little silly.
"Hello? Anybody there?"
"Nathan?" Dave was surprised Nathan answered so quickly.
"Oh good. You kept the bag."
"Sure, thanks. So what's up? Is it dark there too?"
"Yeah. I wonder what happened."
Dave kept the mood light. "Well, all I know is I activated my dating profile and everything went black. Think it's a sign?"
Nathan laughed. "You what? Ha! Yeah, could be a bad omen, all right."
He tried his phone again. "I can't believe everything, even my phone is completely dead. How about yours?"
"Yeah, mine's dead too. But I have a crank generator. I'm trying to get connected and find out what happened, but I have a pretty good idea..." Nathan drifted off, sounding distracted.
Of course Nathan had a crank generator. Every apocalypse-prepared nerd had one. He probably had a specially protected room in his house filled with backup equipment. And though Nathan didn't elaborate on his theory, Dave had a feeling he knew what his extremist friend was thinking. Dave didn't buy into all the crazy Prepper fears. He bet a drunk driver probably slammed into a transformer or maybe there was a severe lightning strike. Though that didn't explain batteries...
He went over to the window and looked at the sky. No clouds for miles.
Nathan spoke up again. "Well, the internet isn't finding a way through either. I've tried several routers."
Dave wondered what the extent of the outage might be. "Want to check the server at work? It should be protected against a major power surge."
"Good idea. I'll meet you there."
Dave found some shoes and picked up the walkie-talkie and the flashlight from Nathan's bag. The bag must've protected the stuff in it from the surge, because the flashlight worked. He brought his phone, too but wasn't sure why. It was useless. Habit.
Before leaving, he looked around his apartment trying to think what else he might need. He had the strangest feeling he wasn't going to see his home again for a long time. Shaking off the weird vibe, he locked up and headed down the dark stairs to the parking garage.
When he entered, the vast, pitch black made him pause. It was an eerie dungeon, especially with the echo of his footsteps. He wasn't afraid of the dark, but bad things happened during blackouts. He clicked his key remote and nothing happened. So his car or the key fob was dead too. Then he remembered the electronic gate probably wouldn't work either. He'd have to walk. Good thing it was only a few blocks.