It spread like a virus. A plague. The simple, yet unsettling text message found it's way onto different devices owned by vast amounts of people. It was always the same message. Always. It didn't matter if it was on text, if it was on Twitter, if it was on Tumblr or even through email. It was always that same message before, eventually, the desolation of the Earth was fulfilled.
No one saw it coming. If it were brought up a mere few weeks earlier, the response would consist of laughter and slurs of stupidity, treated as some sort of sick joke they just wouldn't believe. Oblivious. Ignorant. Naïve.
Not everyone got the message. People vanished, disappeared, dropped off the face of the Earth whilst others were left on the cold empty streets, unable to fend for themselves as death started to pursue them, reaching for the end of the tunnel as the cold frosty air bit at their pale skin; almost transparent.
The people who did get it though, were unsure of what could possibly come. They were scared, helpless, lost. Children, teenagers, adults, and the elderly. They were unable to help each other.
No one could.
No one did.
No one would've ever thought it would happen so soon. No one would've ever thought it would happen the way it did. No one would've thought a simple, random text message would cause the apocalypse.
It was freezing cold on that particular day, the light blue sky that usually let the sun shine down on the city streets was cast over with dark, angry clouds. Rain fell. Rain stopped falling. Rain fell again. People dressed in layers from head to toe, visible skin turning bright red as the cold air nips at them, phone vibrating and ringing with messages from an unknown number.
No one knew what the cause of the weather was. It was hot days before that, and it still should've been, it was the middle of July. But everyone brushed it off, saying Mother Nature had plans, that it was just a normal day.
They were wrong.
It was Sage Carlott's 18th birthday. She walked through the nearly frozen streets, frail hands in her pockets in an attempt to block the freezing cold from getting to her fingers. Her dark brown hair fell in front of her face, blocking most of her vision, but made it easier for her to survive.
She gripped onto her constantly vibrating phone inside her pocket, buzzing with text messages every 5 seconds as she waited in agony for the late bus. Her deep brown eyes gaze around the bus stop, looking around the streets that were usually filled with people, finding just a few people out and about.
The bus came. She boarded. The bus was just as cold as outside. No one was on except for the bus driver. Shrugging, telling herself it was probably because of the weather, she ventured into the back, sitting down on the grimy felt seats as the bus started to move.
Taking her phone out of the pocket, she widened her eyes at the large number of unread text messages she'd gotten in just under 5 minutes.
317-723-5637 (118 messages).
Swiping the notification, she scrolled through all the messages the unknown number sent, the same sentence appearing each time she scrolled up.
317-723-5637: VISIT BADLANDS.
Sage was beyond confused. She hadn't given anyone her phone number in ages, nor did anyone tell her they were getting a new number or a new phone . The number didn't seem familiar to her. She figured, maybe it was just a birthday surprise.
Who is this?
The number continued to send VISIT BADLANDS for what seemed like 5 seconds, before it stopped altogether. Sage waits for another message, the text bubble popping up without the typing bubble showing before.
317-723-5637: YOU WILL NEVER COME BACK.
Sage was about to type something else, when the number started sending her even more random letters, catching her off guard.
It was eerie.
It was creepy.
It unsettled Sage.
She realized that the bus stopped moving in the middle of the road, and she had looked up to see if the bus driver was okay, but he was gone.
Sage's eyes grew with fear as her initials started spilling onto her screen, repeating over and over again in a constant manner, her stomach dropping with each vibrate.
Sage was close to tears, random letters showing up on her phone screen rapidly.
She felt alone.
She was alone.
There was no one on the streets.
There seemed to be no one in the city.
317-723-5637: P://.LEASE ST://.OP
317-723-5637: PL://///////EASE S.::::///T:::OP
It mocked her.
It sensed her fear, and it mocked her, whoever it was.
Whatever it was.
Leave me alone.
317-723-5637: L://.EAVE ME AL/////ONE.::
317-723-5637: J.::ULY 23//.:/. 1:99//:6
Her birthday. Sage felt light headed as she made her way off the bus, away from whatever was sick enough to do this. Her stomach dropped, revulsion clear in the air as she looked around the empty city streets.
Her phone buzzed twice.
317-723-5637: SAGE MARGO CARLOTT
317-723-5637: WELCOME TO BADLANDS