by Maria Decembrino

March 15th 1953

I heard a loud explosion, as chaos erupted all around me. Almost 10 years after the end of World War II, getting attacked on American soil wasn’t something anyone ever expected, but what we expect occasionally takes a turn for the worst. I was in the very center of everything. I laid and looked up into the middle of the clouds made out of smoke, and watched as they formed a mushroom like structure made of flames and enveloped me. I wasn’t burning. What was happening, I wasn’t quite sure, but I knew devastation was taking place right before my eyes. I felt a pulling sensation and looked down just in time to watch my arm fly across the room, and then my body went numb. The pain had subsided and I was paralyzed, surrounded by the rubble of everything I had ever known. The walls of my living room no longer stood tall, the furniture had been ripped to shreds, and my family? They were gone. My body was so stiff, one wrong bend was sure to break me in half. My memory seemed to have escaped me as well. What had just happened? How did I end up here? And most importantly, why couldn’t I move?

August 3rd 1952

I immediately felt the heat on my face as I walked out of a building I don’t know the name of. I was blindfolded, and my location I wasn’t quite sure of. After about 10 minutes of walking, I felt my blindfold loosen and fall to the ground. I looked around, surrounding me was 20 feet high barb-wired fences with men in uniforms perched on random platforms as they aimed snipers in all different directions. I should have been nervous, but fear isn’t an emotion that I possess. I looked out into the distance searching for answers of where I was, but all I could see was desert and more desert. Well, aside from a small runway situated about a half of mile to the left of me. On that runway sat a small plane marked U.S Air Force, with a small black bus directly next to it. I had no recollection of anything before this moment, only the simple facts that some older lady, whom refused to tell me her name, had told me. My father was in the military, and had died when his plane was shot down about two weeks ago. His name I didn’t know either, nor did I remember what he looked like. And my mother, I guess she didn’t exist anymore either.

They told me to call myself Barbara, a name that didn’t quite seem right for me, but who was I to argue, I couldn’t remember anything up until this moment. I was now Barbara. I wasn’t alone; standing behind me were three more people, all roughly my age, whatever that was. There were two boys and one girl. They all stood around the same height. Both boys had dark brown hair while the female was a blonde. All three had a chalky pale complexion. Each of us was escorted by two men in suits and sunglasses. I considered introducing myself to the others, but I felt a hand on the middle of my back as I was shoved forward towards the runway.

We all boarded the bus and sat in silence awaiting the next move. No one had any idea where we were going at the time. We eventually arrived at an opening in the fence and exited the unknown location. I turned back to read a sign on the fence:





Area 52? What is area 52? Top secret? No trespassing? Then how did I get in here? Questions began flooding my mind, ones I would probably never know the answer too, and honestly didn’t care too much about, but one line on that sign kept nagging at me. Top secret research facility—what in the world does that mean.

We finally arrived at a small home situated still in a desert area. Looking around I could only see about four other houses all a bit of a distance away. I was sure of one thing, though, thanks to a sign along the road. We were in Nevada, wherever that was.

One by one we all entered the home followed by three of the unknown men in suits. There was a small living room with a sofa, coffee table, and a square box displaying black and white images. I was unsure of what exactly is was. Like I said, my memory is very slim. Some things I just knew somehow, most others I didn’t. To my right was a doorway leading to another room with a table surrounded by four chairs. Directly next to it stood a refrigerator, stocked with bottles of some unknown liquid. One man, we shall call him man number one, informed us that every day we were too drink two bottles and nothing else. That was our nutrition.

Situated between the living room and kitchen was a hallway leading to three doors. Man number two stepped forward and grab my hand, and the hand of the other female and led us to the door furthest from us. In it was two beds located on each side of the room with a dresser in front of each. Both were filled with clothing, however it was all the same. Simple blue jeans and white T-shirts. The door before that held a bathroom consisting of just a toilet. The first door we had passed was similar to my bedroom, except that was where the two males were instructed by man number 3 to sleep.

After being shown the house, we all ended up back in the living room. Man number one, who seemed to be in charged, stepped forward and began to recite a list of instructions for us to follow.

“You are aloud to go outside during the daytime, but you are not permitted more than 50 feet from the house. Everything you need is in this house, and someone will stop by every two weeks to restock the refrigerator. Once again. drink two bottles of the Fuel in the refrigerator; one when you wake up and one before you rest. If anyone stops by and begins asking questions, lock the door and do not let them in.”

We all gave him puzzled looks and he continued, “Trust me, its for your own protection. We have also provided you with a television to keep you occupied.” So that was that box thing is!

I have one last request. We ask that you record your actions and thoughts throughout the day in this.” He then went on to hand us a book filled with pages that contained nothing but lines throughout. I glanced down at it for a moment and when I looked back up, all three men were walking out.

We all stood in silence for about two minutes, no one had a clue what to say.

Eventually I spoke.

“I’m Barbara,” at least that is what I thought.

One by one everyone else shared their names. There females name was Elysia, and the men were Tolbert and Mallory. That was about as far as our introductions went. Everyone seemed to be in the same position as me, all their memories were gone, all they knew was what some lady had told them. This information consisted of their names and the fact that their fathers were in the military and deceased. Still nothing about anyones mothers.

A few weeks passed and we all began to grow closer. They became my family, the only one I truly ever knew. No one expressed any happiness nor anger, more specifically everyone seemed just content with everything. We spent most of our days just wondering and trying to piece our lives together. We played with a ball out front of our house frequently. We also spent much of our time watching the television, tuning in to see the next episode of I Love Lucy or The Adventures of Superman. Occasionally we would put on the Today show to get updated on what was taking place around us. There seemed to be a war going on, and talks of nuclear weapons. Still I felt no fear, nor was I interested. We were in America, no one could attack us.

November 19th 1952

We all sat in the living room watching another episode of I Love Lucy, when all of a sudden there was a knock at the door. Someone had stopped by three days ago to restock our refrigerator. We all stood behind Tolbert as he unlocked the door. We were greeted by a female holding a microphone.

“Hello,” she said.

Behind her stood two men holding separate cameras. We all just stared at them. After a pause of silence she continued speaking.

“I was wondering if I could ask you all a few questions about the experiment taking place?”

Thankfully, Tolbert spoke up with a confused look on his face

“We have to decline your request,” he said right before shutting the door and locking it.

We all just looked at each other puzzled. What experiment were they talking about?

Three days later we were all out front kicking a ball around. In the distance I could see a group of 4, whom appeared to be two males and two females. A car pulled up, and I watched as the three people who had appeared at our home a few days ago, step out of the vehicle and walk up to them. A few moments later the 4 people who lived there turned and walked into there house, shutting the door behind them. My curiosity kicked in, I had to find out what was going on.

About 20 minutes after the reporter and her camera crew had left, I decided to take a walk over to them. Tolbert, Elysia and Mallory tried to stop me, but I ignored their protests. I had to know what was going on. I knocked on the door of a home almost identical to ours, that sat almost a mile away from us. A girl with the same pale complexion as my family, answered the door.

“Hello, I’m Barbara” I said.

“Uh, hello, I’m Barbara too,” She responded.

What, she’s Barbara too?

“I live just over there, would you mind if I come in?” I asked.

“Sure” she said. “This is Tolbert, Elysia and Mallory.”

She introduced me to everyone else living in the house. Something didn’t seem right. Why were their names the same as my new families?

“How did you end up here,” I asked.

Barbara went on to tell me a story I have heard multiple times before. All of their fathers were in the military and deceased, they had no recollection of their past and were put in this home and given strict instructions. I was sure at that moment that something was taking place, but what exactly, I didn’t know. So I kept my comments to myself, and 10 minutes later I excused myself and returned home to my family, hoping I hadn’t been caught.

When I had returned home, everyone was waiting with questions. I informed them all that the family was similar to ours. I told them that they had family in the military, and were staying there for protection. I left out the fact that their names, stories and situations were exactly the same as ours. This information I kept to myself, because frankly I wasn’t sure what it meant, and I wasn’t ready to inform everyone else until I knew all the answers. I spent every day trying to piece together everything, it was all I could think about. I neglected to write this down in my journal, keeping my thought private. None of it made any sense anyways. We continued to spend our days, as we always had. Drinking two bottles of fuel a day, watching television and kicking a ball around. I was the only one aware that something bad was going on. I lived my short life in silence, keeping all secrets to myself. This went on up until the day, when all of my questions were answered. The day when I found myself paralyzed and frozen in time. The day of destruction.

March 15th 1953

We all sat in the living room, following the usual routine. The Adventures of Superman played on the television. Everyone was content. Eventually, we heard noise outside coming from overhead. As I glanced out the window I could see a plane circling above. The plane was marked U.S Air Force, and appeared to be the same one I had seen at that mysterious place called Area 52. I then watched as something began to fall from the plane directly overhead. Then the explosion happen.

There was a loud noise as everything burst to pieces, I laid in the middle of of all of it. My arm was gone, it had flown across the room due to the impact. I lay motionless staring up at the clouds of smoke and fire. The site was spectacular, but the result was devastating. I looked around as best as I could, but everything seemed to be destroyed. I was unsure what was going on, and confused as to how I survived. I was in the middle of it all, yet I felt no pain. “What is going on,” I thought? Time began to slowly pass, as I laid in the middle of rubble. It seemed like days, until finally the three men in suits and sunglasses showed up. I tried to speak, tried to move even just a finger, but nothing worked. I was paralyzed. I overheard man number one speaking to the other two.

“Operation Doorstep is complete, find all mannequins and shut them down.”

Man number three walked up to me and, with the flick of a switch, everything went black.