OK first one on the list for stories until the 31 so here we go and waring i wont car about you getting scared or anything like that also might contan swearing not sure though her we go
The town of Wheatley, Nebraska used to be a pretty lively place. Although its population numbered just shy of 500, it thrived off of the tenacious, community-oriented attitude of its residents.
Sweeping, golden plains grew a variety of crops that helped feed neighboring states. Every year, the Wheatley County Fair drew people from miles around to enjoy its rural attractions, fresh produce, and top-quality livestock.
Today, it's very well-stocked; two silos are dedicated to holding water reserves. While a backup power supply is available, Wheatley's town hall now has three generators should the reserve systems fail in the case of an extreme emergency. Sometime during the mid 1980's, the town's mayor at the time ordered a huge, underground basement to be built; the basement has enough room for 1,500 people, a six-month food supply, gasoline, its own two generators, medical kits, communication systems... essentially, it's a fallout shelter on steroids. In addition to the subterranean chamber, Wheatley's police force was doubled, their analog emergency communication systems were overhauled in favor of state of the art, computer-monitored alternatives, and its only church was torn down in an effort simply labeled "The Cloud Project."
Its name comes from a catastrophic and tragic series of events between May 14th, 1968, to June 2nd, 1969.
This time has no official name, but a handful of residents who lived through it refer to the period as "The Sweeping" or "The Great Blackout." On the morning of May 14th, at approximately 8:15 a.m., a series of thick, gray clouds covered the skies of Wheatley. This didn't arouse suspicion among the townsfolk, as May was the rainiest month of the year. In fact, farmers greatly appreciated this season, as the rain was beneficial to their fields. When one week passed, the clouds remained; light, gray overcast skies became dark with ominously asphalt-colored thunderclouds. The local weather station had predicted a series of heavy thunderstorms for that week, but it never rained.
By the time June began, Wheatley's City Council became worried. The clouds had not moved an inch, continuing to linger above the town like a beast around its prey. With each passing day, less and less sunlight permeated the ever-thickening clouds; the days became shorter, causing the temperature to drop to a high of fifty-five degrees Fahrenheit and a low of twenty. As the year went on and the sun shone for shorter stretches, the clouds grew so thick that it became impossible to discern night from day. Citizens were ordered to stay in their homes until more information was gathered about the conditions, and floodlights were placed over the fields and patches in twelve hour cycles to keep their goods preserved. A few days after the pitch black conditions settled in, all of the town's clocks began to go in reverse. It was the townspeoples' belief that time progressed as it normally would, but the numbers kept turning back; both analog and digital clocks regressed, and every device equipped with a time-teller followed suit.
At this point, the timeframe for the weather blackout becomes unclear. Opinions vary on how long after the clock reversal this occurred, but the police did make temporary contact with law enforcement from the neighboring town of Langford:
(Transcript courtesy of the Wheatley Police Department)
LPD: Langford Police Department, Sheriff speaking.
WPD: Hey, Tom. It's Ginsey.
LPD: Hey there, Bill. What can I do for ya?
WPD: Say, you know any folks who have come by this way?
LPD: To Wheatley? Can't say I do. I reckon the rain's been-
WPD: No, it hasn't been anything. There hasn't been any rain all week. It was in our forecast over a month ago and never came.
LPD: You talkin' about those thunderstorms that swept through back in May?
WPD: Yes, those. Instead of rainin' like normal, these big old thunderclouds came along and just... stayed there. Now, you can't tell day from night because it's so dark. If you think that's weird, get this: all of the clocks started reversin' on their own. At the warmest, it's about fifty degrees outside.
LPD: How long has it been that cold?
WPD: Since May, when the clouds came. It's stayed the exact same temperature until now, in June. I have the forecast records right here-
LPD: It's November... that storm happened six months ago.
WPD: There's no way...
LPD: What in the hell's goin' on, Sheriff?
*loud, bassy signature breaks connection*
LPD: Was that you?!
WPD: You heard that, too?! I thought it came from your end!
LPD: Alright, I'm sending over some of my boys to check things out. You stay safe.
WPD: I'll try.
According to records from the LPD, two squad cars containing two deputies each departed from the station at 2:16 p.m. on November 17th. One of the cars returned to the Langford Station at 3:02 that afternoon and reported what they saw. The officers, who declined to comment on their experience to the media, filed a report to the Sheriff that detailed what happened just outside of Wheatley's border. Upon approaching Wheatley, the policemen did not see the town at all; a gargantuan, choking void surrounded the town, leaving nothing more to the eye than the welcome sign that stood right outside of where the clouded abyss began. Parking outside of the wall, the deputies made a plan and returned to their respective cars. One squad vehicle stayed behind while the other went in; if they received no radio signal within ten minutes from the other car, they then knew that this anomaly was dangerous. Fifty-two minutes and ten radio calls later, the remaining officers were certain that their colleagues were swallowed up by the ethereal storm cloud.
Upon discovering this, the LPD attempted to contact Wheatley in vain; their communication systems were now out, taken down by the malignant force of nature. In Wheatley, a particularly brave son of a farmer was among the first to discover the communication blackout. With the consent of his father, he took the controls of his family's crop-dusting plane and flew it into the air to see how far the conditions stretched; the boy was a fully trained and remarkably skilled pilot in the Air Force. He knew that this plane didn't go very high, but he was certain he could fly above the skyline. While he did this successfully, neither the plane nor him were ever seen again. When the mayor learned of this, he declared a State of Emergency for the Town of Wheatley and enforced martial law; two of the police department's five officers patrolled the streets, armed with assault rifles to ensure that no one left their homes.
Thanksgiving and Christmas passed without celebration. None of Wheatley's residents could obtain the resources to prepare any of the typical festivities in this time of adversity, causing holidays to be overlooked in favor of survival. Families became entirely self-sufficient, putting together the resources they had to stay warm and well-fed as the blackness lingered above. By what was estimated to be early January, the only normal aspect of community life left was the church; every five floodlight cycles, law enforcement, via the town's loudspeaker system, would permit access to Saint Luke's United Church of Christ, the only center of worship for miles around. Services held at the church caused those who attended to become very tight-knit; in the midst of such misanthropy, the congregation, minister, and sanctuary itself provided a reprieve for many who suffered during the bitter winter months. Temperatures now ranged from a high of five degrees to a low of negative fifteen; during their routine patrols, the Nebraskan police officers nearly caught frostbite from the biting cold.
Around this time, flakes of black ash began to fall from the sky; the scraps of material had the consistency of wax paper, but the reflective properties of polished obsidian. The farmer, whose son had mysteriously disappeared with his plane, was still regularly tending to the livestock that lived in his shed. Not long after the material began to fall, the man noticed a change in his animals while going out to feed them; they were covered in the unknown substance, the black specks sticking to their skin like pestilential stickers. Unfortunately, he could not notify anyone before the effects of the precipitation became horrifyingly apparent - the animals charged him in a carnivorous rage, eating his flesh as he frantically cried for help. His wife, disturbed from her slumber by the sounds of the attack, went out to investigate. By the time the livestock had set themselves upon her, the two officers on duty had heard the commotion in the dead silence.
When the deputies got out of their car to investigate, the husband and wife rose from the ground, albeit they were... different. Just like their livestock, jagged scraps of the black dust had engraved themselves into the skin of the couple. The compulsion to eat flesh raged within them, causing the two to charge at the officers in a ravenous frenzy. Luckily, the lawmens' munitions proved superior, allowing the two to contain the infection and bowdlerize the town of the contaminated livestock. All that remained of the carnage were two sheep, somehow unaffected by the malignant properties of the hazardous ash. They were given to the church, where they were cared for by its preacher.
While the flesh-eating side effects of the ash were prevented from bringing Wheatley to its knees, another major problem arose; it had completely withered the fields, effectively destroying one of the town's main food sources. Portions of the black sediment had also made their way into Wheatley's water supply, the faucets of families across the town running black with thick, dirty fluid. Knowing that the ash could only affect the body if exposed to skin, the town lifted the state of emergency in light of the need for clean water and non-perishable food. Only being permitted to gather supplies if they were covered from head-to-toe, the townspeople headed to Saint Luke's en masse. There, the church was freely donating bottles of water and cans of food. For their members, the preacher provided blank, white face masks to keep them safe from the damaging properties of the poisonous downpour.
With the State of Emergency lifted, the church held its services with a greater deal of frequency. The floodlights had been shut down after the destruction of the crops, leaving no definitive way to keep track of time. The preacher at Saint Luke's took this as a sign; that when all order leaves the earth, the kingdom of Heaven will soon open its doors. Through his spitfire sermons and outre service prayers, he converted the innocuous, unassuming churchgoers into something of a cult. After this, the church went through a series of changes; their members smeared red crosses on the foreheads of their white masks using the blood from one of the sheep. A banner of cloth was also hung above the door that read this:
The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin. - John 1:7
Most noticeably, the church changed its very name; reincarnated, the small, white chapel in the middle of Wheatley became known as the United Temple of the Lamb. Soon afterward, the members announced that attending the regular service was a prerequisite to receiving crucial supplies. Due to the dire nature of the town's predicament, the forty percent that were non-members did not protest to the required worship. Though the ash still fell from the sky like snow, the newcomers noticed that the members never once removed their masks, even when safely inside. The services, as described by some of The Sweeping's survivors, were "shocking" and at some points "creepy." As promised, they received their supplies afterwards. Over the speakers, the church made an announcement following a brief period of absence: after two services of providing goods to non-members, the preacher and those who worked for the church vowed to go from house to house and give only to the members of the church. In order to prove their affiliation with the church, the member had to fly a banner with a Pro-Christian message. Some of the banners read patriotic adages, like For God and Country. Others bore religious phrases, such as Wash in the blood of the Lamb and you shall be purified of your sins. One non-member put up a banner in the hopes that he would be gracious enough to spare him something. When he answered the door, however, the preacher saw that the young man before him was not wearing the mask that all members wore. He was shot in the head without hesitation, the preacher and his assistants dragging his body to the church before continuing their supply run. The man they shot was an example to all; no one attempted to receive supplies, and no one was fed or given water. The police were powerless, as the church's numbers now outweighed theirs.
So commenced the death of Wheatley; after most of the town was starved out over the course of what has been estimated to be months, there remained forty citizens, excluding those who were members of the United Temple. Segments of the church's last sermon were recorded by the preacher, who seemed to believe his word was one of prophecy:
(Transcript courtesy of the Town of Wheatley)
Reverend: The time has come upon us; death falls from the dark sky, and daylight has vanished from the earth! So it was foretold in the Rapture, and so it happens in our own town of Wheatley. The Second Coming is near: Christ, the Lord our Savior, will part the black skies and vanquish the shadows! All moral filth and debauchery will be eliminated by His command, and we will ascend into His mighty Kingdom!
Reverend: It has been said before, friends: "no one goes to the Father except through Him," and through Him we shall go. Only the righteous and pure at heart will ascend, however. When this town bathed in sin, did you not tire of the alcoholics? The drug users? The prostitutes? The thugs? Miscreants come in many forms, and I have a proud heart to say that it is this church that anointed the soil and cleared the path for the Lamb of God. *tone drops* Though we have washed our hands of much of the filth, there are still unclean ones in our midst, sadly. Forty of the unholy swine remain.
Reverend: Oh, yes. It, indeed, is a shame; a shame that shall be extinguished by us!
Reverend: Yes, we shall cleanse Wheatley so that the Lord may look upon us! It is why we wear the mask, for the light of Zion is too pure for a mortal man's bare face. When we are lifted into the Heavens, we will bask in His light for all of eternity! After bathing in the blood of the Holy Lamb once more, it will be time to arm ourselves with the weapons we have in the basement and purge the unworthy heretics!
Crowd: *chanting* Purge the heretics! Purge the heretics! Purge the heretics!
After their final service, the church did take up arms against the remainder of Wheatley's population. All of the United Temple of the Lamb's fifty members, including its priest, marched on the town armed with shotguns, assault rifles, handguns, and one can of gasoline. Their first order of business was setting fire to the remnants of the fields, dousing the cracked soil with gas and watching it blaze with the dream of Holy salvation. When the police responded to the act of grand arson, they were hopelessly torn apart; ten officers, including the Sheriff, were eliminated in less than ten minutes in a gunfight with the church members. With the only presence of civil authority now gone, one of the church's members took the liberty of playing "America, the Beautiful" over Wheatley's speaker system, allowing the music act as a twisted backdrop to their planned massacre.
America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
House by house, the church began forcing residents from their homes. Instead of wasting their ammunition, the members chucked who they could into the nearby blaze. Some fell and perished in the flames right away, while others ran out into the street in the vain hope of being rescued from their blistering torment. Certain citizens were fortunate enough to escape the clutches of the sadistic clergy before being thrown into the inferno, running to their cars in an effort to escape the nightmare that Wheatley had become; those who were this lucky, as it happens, were gunned down with extreme prejudice. Smoke from the fields met ash falling from the clouds, creating a thick, black fog to further escalate the bellicose atmosphere.
And Crown thy good, with brotherhood,
Far away from the wrath of the United Temple, ten residents saw the carnage play out from a distance. As a group, they convened upon a plan of escape: together, they formed a barricade formation of vehicles. They came to the conclusion that being swallowed whole by the thick, black morass would be better than perishing at the hands of a bloodthirsty, extremist sect of Christians. Revving their engines as fast as they'd go, the band of townspeople ran over the religious zealots, killing ten and seriously injuring another five. The bodies of the church made a distinct crunching sound when they were passed over, causing the other members to reciprocate gunfire at the passing vehicles. The gray wall approached, and as the first car passed through the border... it came out on the other side. By some miracle, the line between reality and the alien, unknown physics of the gray clouds was erased, and the outside world was accessible once again. The drivers internally thanked fate as they sped toward Langford to inform the police of the new breakthrough. Through the speakers, the patriotic jingle continued to play as the church slaughtered the last of those who had not escaped Wheatley's borders.
From sea to shining sea!
Once the Langford Police Department knew of the situation in their neighboring town, they prepared a major assault on the church's forces. Calling in reinforcements from around the area, a battalion of fifty-five, riot gear-outfitted officers was amassed to combat the members of the United Temple of the Lamb. Arriving through the thick plume of gray mist that still surrounded the town, they entered into Hell on Earth; fields burned under a crumbling, evanescent sky as armed militants fired at them with everything they had. Guns blazed and both sides suffered heavy casualties, yet the ash continued to fall. When the gunsmoke cleared at last, the church was eliminated. The L.P.D., with forty-three of its officers left, retreated back to Langford to notify the government of the situation.
Towards the end of May, the clouds began to part over the small settlement. To this day, no scientist has been able to explain the weather patterns that persisted over the town of Wheatley, Nebraska. On June 2nd, 1969, at 11:15 a.m., the last of the black substance fell on the town. A media frenzy was halted by President Nixon in the form of a total media blackout. Any information that was released about the events in Wheatley would be traced back to its whistle blower, who would then be disposed of by one of a few unseen government agencies. The C.I.A. collected samples of the substance and submitted it to laboratories all across the country. It was later revealed that the substance did not match anything that was or is in the Periodic Table of Elements.
Life eventually came back to Wheatley; five of the ten original survivors moved back and began to help rebuild the damage done by both the church and the catastrophic weather movement. Everything is almost back to normal; the town now has a population of 448, its crop fields have been flourishing for years, and the weather has been nothing out of the ordinary ever since what some still call "The Great Blackout."
If you visit in May, you'll find black flags draped in the town's main square. At the edge of the fields that line Wheatley's entrance, little signs read Remember the Sweeping.