We know now that in the early years of the 21st century Bristol was being watched closely. As residents busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinized and studied from afar with envious eyes, who slowly and surely drew their plans. In the 19th year of the twenty first century, near the end of October, the mood was tense and the following events unfolded:
At approximately 8:50 Forestville time Tuesday night, it was reported that an object, resembling a caravan, crashed in the area of Witches Rock in Bristol. Arriving at the scene reporters noted a deep impression in the ground and plumes of smoke. The resulting crash was heard by a fisherman as far west as Forestville along Broad Street in a fishing haunt known by locals as the 72 Run.
Eyewitnesses reported multiple figures coming out from the shadows of the crashed caravan. They appeared human, all ages all sizes. The scene was indescribable. “My God it is the migrant caravan from Honduras!” one man shouted. Many screamed, many more fell to their knees and wailed, “Why God? Why?”
This became the most extraordinary experience. Words . . .
State police soon arrived and the gathered crowd kept their distance, ever mindful, ever fearful.
A man soon approached cautiously. He had a white handkerchief tied to a pole, a flag of truce. A woman, standing off to the side, yelled out, “Wait! Something’s happening. Good Lord the area is being overrun by…”
Within the hour, State Senator Henri Martin took to a ham radio, “Of the creatures at Witches Rock, I can give you no authoritative information – either as to their nature, their origin, or their purposes in Bristol. However, they are clearly armed with leprosy, smallpox and tuberculosis. It’s all too evident that they are merely here to take over, get social welfare benefits and steal IDs.”
According to Martin, shortly after 10:00 PM, the mayor’s office received a text. At least forty people, in the village of Forestville had their IDs stolen. “See it happens that fast,” he said.
Near midnight and I am atop City Hall; an air raid siren screeches warning residents to evacuate the city as more caravan’s approach the downtown area. Route 6 is hopelessly jammed. All communication is gone, no Wi-Fi. One bar, maybe two tops. Services are being held at St. Anthony’s. Below me Republicans are standing along North Main Street with signs, “We Told You So!”
A caravan is now in sight. Reinforced by multiple caravans. Will they release their diseases?
A bulletin was just handed to me. Caravans full of migrants are appearing all over the country, Chicago, Amarillo, Richmond, and even Afton, Wyoming. They approach like an invading army. In the distance, I see the City Council and they are running to the Pequabuck; all six of them dive in. The river takes them away. People fleeing but it’s no use. This is the end. They are 100 hundred yards away . . . fifty feet . . . a Dunkin Donuts…
Night has given way to morning and a sense of hope.
Setting out from City Hall and headed east, the occasional motorist passes. For two hours I wander down the Boulevard, crossing Middle Street to Pine Street to Route 72 and on to Forestville. Will I find the village desolate?
The hour is nearing midday and I make my way pass the post office. Crossing the Pequabuck I find it strange to see people strolling along the green in harmony.
Only a few hours previous, there was paranoia and fear. Nearing Manross Library I hear a baying dog and wonder, “Will it take the ravages of suffering and turmoil to put us back together?”
As autumns leaves swirl through the air, I turn my collar up to shield my face from a brisk, cold wind and continue my journey home.
For the Mercury and a certain coach.
Adaptation from H.G. Wells (novel) Howard Koch (radio adaptation).