Submitted by Staff

PALO ALTO: On Thursday night, May 17, the small town of Lake View was utterly destroyed by a powerful explosion from two colliding freight cars on the Consolidated Pacific rail line. None of Lake View's 129 residents survived the blast which leveled buildings in a 10 mile radius. Because of the devastation, we dispatched Correspondent Leslie Shepard to the area. Shepard, 27, a graduate of the University of Emmetsburg School of Journalism and three others from the Palo Alto Emergency Response Crew have disappeared without trace from the bizzarre and unstable area of what has become known as "Black 11".

Shepard's disappearance was discovered near 6 pm on May 28 when her motel determined that her room had not been used in 6 days. A Senior Third Eye Editor went to her motel in Old Town to continue the investigation. While his enquiries have gone unanswered by County and State Emergency Officials, he has uncovered evidence of possible industrial espionage gone awry.

Initially, Shepard went to Lake View after a controversy brewed over how the May 17 blast occurred. Palo Alto County Hazardous Materials Emergency Chief William Dues contended the violent explosion happened when a refridgerator car plunged through a liquid carbon polymer carrying tank car waiting on an adjacent siding. ConPac's Freight Operations Officer Bertram Arnold, however, explained that this tank car carried corn syrup and not a liquid carbon polymer. When Shepard's subsequent research revealed the disappearance of all destination and lading records pertaining to both cars, both officials refused to comment or to be interviewed.

Later, she and several members of Palo Alto's Emergency Response crew---acting on their own initiative---vanished. What follows is her astounding account taken from her recovered notebook of the creation of Black 11.

(May 20)  Tried using mini tape recorder to make notes. Damn thing won't work. Very odd-has new batteries. Will do it the old fashioned way.

Three days since the explosion. Lake View is a cinder. Not a single building stands, not a single stone stands atop another. Everything has been smashed flat like the burnt underside of a frying pan. Gray dust devils full of ash and soot swirl down the town's buckled main street. Like Hiroshima. A ConPac crane is busy removing melted steel rails from near the blast center.

(Later)  I was taking pictures of the crane when this guy in a brown leather jacket and mirrored shades grabbed my arm and told me to leave. The town was now under quarrantine, he said.

I was about to argue with him when the ground lurched upwards and sideways, knocking both of us down, and the damnedst crunching roared from below. I lost all sense of direction. Bolts of lightning shot up out of cracks in the ground and snaked all over us. We got up and staggered towards the road but only got about twenty yards when this huge black, glistening arm burst out of the ground and bashed us over! It looked like a human arm made of tar only it wasn't sticky-more like the skin of bull snake. It broke this guy's leg and went away.

We got to his jeep. The whole blackened mass of what had been downtown rose 200 feet into the air! The ground was rocking and juddering hard. By the time we'd gotten a mile down the county highway, it had grown another 200 feet and didn't look like it was going to stop. The guy got on his cell phone and yelled "Eleven has gone black! Eleven has gone black!"

He dropped me off in Old Town, he told me I never saw anything, never saw him, and that if I said anything, he'd fix it so nothing would ever happen to me again. Haven't seen him since. How considerate.

But this lump of black stuff-this Black Eleven-is now nearly 1000 feet tall and a mile long. It's night now and I can see lightning snaking all over it ten miles away! What the hell is it? Strong earthquakes all the time make the whole thing ripple in the moonlight. It's like watching fat old uncle Mitch napping after Thanksgiving Dinner.

(May 21)  Phoned EPA and FBI Regional in Minneapolis. Bad connection. EPA hadn't heard of the explosion; FBI said they were "looking into it". Hope they don't strain themselves. Weather behaving very strange. Storms blew up and rained like hell this afternoon. Couple of tornados formed and got sucked right into Black Eleven!

(Later)  TV blew out when I turned it on! Picture tube literally exploded! Glass everywhere. You can hear these little pops and clicks in the air from all the static electricity! My hair is impossible!---Just saw a stack of flourescent lights-the big long tubes-in a storage closet down the hall. THEY'RE GLOWING!

Drove out to Black Eleven after the rain let up. Sun peeking out. Damn car kept dying. Coaxed it out anyway. Could see the mound rippling and quivering for miles. Sickening. Like a dog's belly with a REALLY AWFUL case of worms. Whole area fenced off by some sort of black uniformed riot squad. Not military-too rowdy and not much discipline. Saw a black panel truck-read "CytoQon" underneath the paint in the sun. Biomedical outfit from North Carolina-Research Triangle. Turns out BIG Defense ties.

Will Dues hung up on me. Sounded like he was crying-real, real scared. Curious family background grandfather was infamous Amos Dues from Kossuth County-ran the "Home for Wayward Girls" near Swea Post Office.

Called ConPac-Arnold at conference. Hope he packed his fez.

(May 22)  Weird dreams all night! Like something's in my head talking to me, but I can hardly hear it. Woke up with a blinding headache. Keep seeing little shadows just out of the corner of my eye. The wind outside is howling! Windows rattling. Black sky with thick, dark clouds. Made it across the street to the library. Nice place-even though their lights are acting odd. They're flashing on and off in a timed sequential pattern! No idea what it means.

Last year, Science ran a paper by a CytoQon researcher on carbon-66 molecules used for bio-electric superconductor-a sort of artificial living generator. BE-zarre.

Heard weather report say "a record low pressure reading of .678 millibars taken over Lake View." Wonder if they even know about Black Eleven? Hell, it's got its own weather system! The wind is from all the air rushing into it!

Headed down to the thing again. Fewer troops at the fence, now. They look scared! Talked to one them. Name's Rich. Said a few of them ran off after finding a friend named Henry split open and burned about a 100 yards inside the wire. They haven't had a working radio in two days.

Might be able to get past them, tonight.

(Later)  Still windy! But no thunder and lightning. Just constant blue-black glow coming from Black Eleven. Everything glows as if it's under blacklight. I think there's a sort of hum, too, but it's so low pitched, I can only feel it in my belly.

My freakin' God a glowing ball of electricity just came out of the wall! It hovered over me and went through the other wall!

(Taped to the bathroom mirror, this is last thing Leslie wrote before leaving the motel and later vanishing with members of the HAZMAT crew) 

Ned at the Emergency Squad called. The troops on the fenceline are all dead-all split in half and burned. Ned wants to go see what this Black Eleven is. Am going with him. If I don't come back, call my office immediately and tell no one else.--Les

The editorial staff and publisher have been working round the clock to discover the fate of the three Emergency Response Crew workers and Ms. Shepard. Third Eye is willing to talk to any individual who may have any information on the whereabouts of these four people.  

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