The voice cut through the darkness and Johnny Ghost opened his eyes. He was lying in bed in his room.
There was no-one else in the room.
He looked at the digital clock on the side. It read 01:18. He groaned internally. Just another dream… he thought to himself, as he turned over and tried to get some sleep.
Johnny sat bolt upright. That definitely wasn’t a dream, he was still awake.
What’s going on?
He tried to get a word out, but it felt silly. Finally he managed “Hello?”, barely a whisper.
Johnny frowned. Why should he trust the mystery voice? He shrugged, figuring that if he did what it said he might get some sleep. He hauled himself out of bed, still half-asleep, and trudged across the room and pulled open the door.
The door led out into the hall, across which Johnny Toast and some of the other members of the PIE team could be heard snoring. He continued across the hall to the stairs.
“I’ve been watching you.” Said the voice.
“Have you now? How fascinating.” Johnny remarked sarcastically to no-one in particular as he passed the landing.
Johnny reached the front door and reached into his pocket to pull out his keys.
His hand went straight down the side of his pyjama trousers.
Hmm. Pyjamas. No pockets.
Johnny grunted and reached over for the keys on the desk by the door. There was a satisfying jingle as he pulled them back and pushed the key into the lock, the tumblers clicking into place. The door swung open.
Johnny left the keys in the door and stepped out, barefoot, into the street. He walked into the centre of the road. And then he turned around.
On the other side of the street, was the figure of a man. A figure that looked vaguely familiar, though he couldn’t quite place it.
“28 days… 16 hours… 42 minutes… 12 seconds. That is when the world will end.”
Johnny just stared dumbly.
“Huh.” He finally said.
Johnny’s ears rang loudly as the world seemed to explode violently between light and dark. He clapped his hand over his ears in an attempt to block it out.
“…Sir! Sir, are you alright?”
When his vision and hearing cleared, Johnny Toast was standing over him, looking visibly concerned.
“Sir! Are you alright?”
Ghost sat up, squinting into the light, before turning over. “Mmmmm. Go away, I’m trying to sleep.”
Toast sighed. “Do you want a kick?”
“Would it give you any pleasure?”
“Nor me. So leave me be, alright? I’m having enough trouble getting back to sleep as it is. My bed feels really cold and hard.”
Toast sighed. “You’re lying in the road, sir.”
Johnny sat up and looked around. He was indeed, as Johnny had stated, lying in the middle of the road. There was a police cordon across the front of the PIE HQ and some men in hi-vis jackets were trying to get a crane up close to the house, where a large hole had appeared right in the wall of his bedroom.
“Did I miss something?”
Johnny Toast looked back at the pandemonium around them. “Let’s not worry about that now, sir. First things first, I really think we should get your arm looked at.”
Ghost frowned. “What do you mean my-” he turned to look and his mouth dropped open.
His arm was covered scratches and his sleeve was stained a deep crimson.
What’s more, the scratches spelt something.
28, 16, 42, 12.
And then Johnny remembered.
“Johnny” he said quietly.
“I think it’s time to step it up to red alert.”
Toast looked down at him in disbelief. “Sir, are you absolutely sure? It does mean changing the bulb.”
Johnny shrugged. “Fair enough. Blue alert it is.” He leaned forward before freezing.
“What is it?”
“I think I just had a brown alert.”
Toast frowned even more. “But sir, there’s no such thing as brown alert!”
“You won’t be saying that in a minute!” Johnny said as the ambulance team finally noticed him and carted him off. “And I was the one to alert you!”
TO BE CONTINUED