As he hung up, Dan's mind began to race. Could the powerful lightning have caused the Mexican and this deceased Frank Catcher to hallucinate? Could it have just been a case of lightning and thunder without rain, which was possible if there wasn't enough moisture in the clouds? But that still didn't explain the strange behaviour of the crowd. What was that shadow they talked about that they said grew and grew? Was it a mass hallucination of some kind? And, what about the missing jaw and the big toes in the deceased victim's body?
There seemed the possibility of this whole thing caused by a unknown force - something that, he was beginning to feel was out of his depth.
"Come on Dan, you've been watching too much X-files", he said to himself. There had to be a rational explanation for all of this.
Sergeant Green walked in. "There has been a homicide. Husband and wife were found dead late last night inside their home at Magnolia Lane, slaughtered. Two boys, one of them, their son, called 911. They reported seeing a tall hooded man looking like the reaper."
Great! Reaper! Devil! Just what this peaceful town needed. "Any clues on the motive? Anything stolen?"
"Nothing so far. But guess what was missing in their bodies."
With a chill up his spine, he knew what Sergeant Green was going to say.
"Jaws and the big toes." Just like yesterday's victim, Frank Catcher.
"All right, let's go. Let's see what Forensics come up with "he looked at Officer Melissa Clark who was at her desk.
"Can you check on the Mexican at the Memorial Hospital? I'd like you to have a word with him."
Just then there was a sudden bright flash of light from the window. He had not seen lightning that close before. It was so powerful that they felt blinded for an instant. "KKRRRAACK!! BBBOOOM!" a huge thunder clap, shaking everyone off their seats. The tall oak tree just across the Police Station lay uprooted.
At that instant, power went down.
"Get the backup power now!" he said.
"Sorry, chief, generator isn't working!"
"Flashlights aren't working either", another officer said.
"Phone lines are dead too."
He looked at his cell phone. It was dead as well. So was everyone else's.
What in God's name was happening?
He glanced outside the window. The sky looked pitch dark. It had to be only half past three. He looked at his watch. Great! His watch had stopped as well.
"All right everyone! Light up the candles. We don't know how many houses have been affected, but there is going to be a lot of panic in town. Green, let's go out and see what's happening. Clark, hold the fort while we're gone. If anyone comes in, try to keep them calm."
He got to their patrol car and keyed in the ignition. He twisted and turned, but it didn't start. "What the..." Of course, the car's battery was also dead. Whatever happened had neutralized all electric charges.
It was going to be a long night. He
thought of his wife Susan, and daughter Emily. His house was a few miles away, and he hoped that everything was all right
there, although he feared that it would be the same situation there as well.
"Chief, look", Green pointed ahead. A few blocks away, a group of about twenty people were walking towards them. He checked his holster.
Across the street, by the oak tree where the lightning had struck, he saw a woman staring emptily ahead. As he got closer, he noticed that it was Anita.