The Midnight Sun – By Nano112
For the safety of the families of the individuals I experienced this with, all names have been changed.
Last summer, while in a period of unemployment, I came across a job offering that instantly sparked my interest. I was browsing through a bunch of job listings on various sites (Indeed, Jobtrekker, the usual), when I noticed an ad posted by a security company.
“In search of: Bear monitor, Nunavut Trip, August 3-24, paying $4000.00”
Solid money for 3 weeks. I had always been deeply fond of the north and I had been waiting for an opportunity to really immerse myself in it, so I clicked the link.
I scrolled through the surprisingly few requirements
Minimum 2 years experience in a wilderness setting – Been backcountry camping since I could walk
Comfortable in isolated regions – Damn straight
Sharp eyesight – Meh, I got glasses but it’s a pretty low prescription, worth a shot
Firearm experience and license – Acquired my PAL a year earlier and had since spent a decent amount of time at the range
Quick to respond in stressful situations – I guess?
AWFA (Advanced Wilderness First Aid) Certificate is a plus – At least it’s just a plus
I figured I had a decent enough shot at getting the job, so I emailed my resumé to the contractor and went to bed.
2 weeks later I received my response:
“Thank you for your application, Adam You have been approved by our team and we will be in contact with you soon to discuss the job in detail.
-Justin Mclaughlin, NWSecurity”
Delayed and casual, the northern way.
During the weeks that followed I found out that I would be accompanying a group of radio and satellite technicians from the RCAF to a small station in Nunavut. This station was part of a network of monitoring posts across the Canadian arctic called the North Warning System, formerly the Distant Early Warning Line, North America’s house alarm for the apocalypse.
This immediately sent a shiver of excitement down my spine – as a history geek the DEW line was one of my favourite cold war defense systems; a network of small, isolated stations dotting across the arctic from Alaska to Greenland (with some in Iceland and the Faroes), operated by tiny crews in some of the harshest conditions on earth. Stories of men going mad in the isolated arctic tundra, seeing unexplainable things under the midnight sun, and spiritual encounters under the aurora only made me more enthusiastic for my new job. I’m a fear junkie, I like scary shit. At least I thought I did.
On August 3rd, I boarded a Canadian North flight to Iqaluit where I would meet the group I was supposed to guard from polar bears. My new job in the north was about to begin.
The flight was uneventful and stuffy, so I was relieved to exit the plane onto the grey landing strip, where I was greeted by the project leader, Captain Mackenzie.
“Justin told me to give this to you. You can sew it onto your jacket if you want.” He said as he handed me a little patch with BEAR MONITOR written in bold italics.
We walked towards the small, bright yellow Iqaluit airport, where I was introduced to the three RCAF reserve maintenance technicians, Dan Hammond – a tall, thin guy about my age (23), Karl Truman – a short balding man in his 40s with the most intense eyes I’ve ever seen, and Caleb Austin, another dude around my age, with black rimmed glasses and pale blonde hair. I felt a bit out of place with the four of them, all in their green fatigues, myself wearing a pair of old mustard stained jeans and my dad’s Grateful Dead shirt.
We walked back out onto the tarmac as a group where I met our live-in pilot for the next 3 weeks, Jean-Paul (JP), an older dude from Quebec with the thickest accent imaginable. He was a veteran pilot of the north and knew the tundra like the back of his hand.
“Ey salut les boys! Ready to go crazy for tree weeks?!” He yelled, nearly deaf from years of flying piston pounding bush planes.
We threw our hiking bags into the storage compartment of his twin otter, and soon after we were racing low above the rocky desert of the Canadian arctic. I was mystified.
Two weeks into the excursion, I was no longer quite as captured. The arctic landscape is very alien. It looks somewhat like a gravel pit that stretches for thousands of kilometers. At first this is deeply interesting to look at, but my job did not allow me to do much exploring. I was required to walk a similar path each day, and scan the nearby mountains for any hungry white dots that may have thin radio technician and loud frenchman on their menu. The team mainly went about their work quietly, and I began to feel the way so many before me had felt. Isolated. The grey tundra around me looked all the same from every direction.
The afternoon of the 19th, I decided to stray a bit from the old DEW station. As I descended one of the many hills in the area, I felt a low rumble under my feet, followed by a high-pitch buzzing sound that radiated through my skeleton and stabbed at my ear drums. I dropped my shotgun and fell to my knees, clutching my ears, my head pounding.
Then it just… stopped. Instantly. It didn’t slowly drift away, it didn’t become a quiet drone, it just stopped. The vibrating pebbles around my feet fell instantly to the ground and there was nothing to show for what had happened. I slowly stood up and looked around, disoriented, searching for the source. All around me the same, all around me grey tundra. I returned promptly to the station, shaken, and approached JP as he was readjusting the engine covers on the twin otter.
“Did you just hear that..? That loud buzz?” I asked him
“Da h-only ting ah ear mon gars is les esti moteurs from da planes ah flew years h-ago.” he responded in broken franglais.
“No rumble or anything?”
“Rien mon ami.”
I walked into the station to ask the technicians. None of them heard or felt a thing. I was certain I was beginning to lose my mind. Maybe this is what it feels like to go crazy in isolation.
That night we sat eating freeze dried dinners in silence, like we did every night, in the stilted cold-war era barrack – lifted 10 feet off the ground to keep nosy bears from peaking around while we slept. I was homesick and disoriented, and after finishing my helping of spicy sausage pasta, I turned in.
Hours later, I awoke in a panic to a pitch black room, soaked in sweat. A foul smell filled the air…
“Tabarnak!” I heard JP yell from his corner of the room
I could see the other men’s figures all sitting up in their sleeping bags, Capt Mackenzie visibly shaking.
Six grown men and we had all pissed ourselves while we slept.
As our breathing calmed I heard a faint whirring noise coming from my backpack. I pulled it towards me, fumbled inside for my headlamp, a shone it on the source of the noise, my compass.
Compasses do weird things in the arctic. They jump around a bit, they twirl slightly, they point in the wrong direction. The closer you get to the poles, the harder it is for a compass to find magnetic north. THAT, is normal
But my compass needle wasn’t dancing. It was spinning as fast as a propeller,, a red blur.
The glass on it shattered and the fluid it sat in leaked onto my hands.
Caleb spoke up for the first time since I had met him in Iqaluit.
“Hey, guys… why… why is it dark..?” he squeaked
I hadn’t even considered it. It’s always dark at night where I live. I was so used to dark nights that even though I had gone without them for 2 weeks, I hadn’t even noticed the most terrifying part of this rude awakening. I checked my watch. 12:01 am. The midnight sun was nowhere to be found.
Then the buzzing started.
In unison, all five men stood up straight, as if something had yanked them up, and in an orderly line approached the door, unlocked it, and began to climb down the ladder. I watched from the hatch as they walked into the rocky abyss. And that’s all I should have done. I should have fucking laid back down, and convinced myself that this was just an isolation episode. That I was having some horrible nightmare. Maybe then I wouldn’t have seen what I did.
But I followed.
I ran after them, fighting the pain in my ears.
“Hey what the fuck are you doing?!” I screamed.
They continued in their line, then slowly moved shoulder to shoulder.
I ran after them and reached out to grab Captain Mackenzie’s arm, when a piercing light erupted across the darkness, with a crack that shook the earth. I felt my teeth vibrate as the light formed a massive shape in the sky, as if the very fabric of space and time had split to reveal it. A colossal form hovered above us. Easily several kilometers tall it appeared as a stretched diamond of pure white light.
I will never forget what happened next. I will take this image to my grave.
The light directed itself towards the five men, and the second it touched them, their bodies snapped back. Their arms spread out, palms facing the sky, their backs bent over themselves, broken. They began to vibrate and contort. They moved like motion capture figures. Then with a roar that tore across the tundra, their flesh seared off and they were sucked into the diamond light.
I blacked out and awoke with a pounding headache outside the old DEW station. My watch read 12:02 am. It was bright as day out.
“What the fuck?”
I sprinted back, climbed the ladder and entered the empty barrack. Our sleeping bags were strewn about, items spilling out of my bag, and on the floor near my bunk, my broken compass.
As I stepped back, I felt a presence behind me. Spinning around towards the barrack window, I spotted a tall, smooth, black diamond shaped obelisk standing where the five men had become ash. A fraction the size of the object I had seen a moment ago, yet oddly much more unsettling.
For the next three days I did not move. I did not eat, I did not sleep. I sat at that window, bloodshot eyes locked on the black form, until I heard the beating of helicopter rotors. The military men who climbed out of the chopper looked awestruck at the object in the distance, before entering the station, escorting me to a seat, and taking off immediately.
Mental exam after mental exam, 28 different recitations to officials from the Canadian Forces, US Forces, NASA and the CSA. I spent the rest of my summer isolated in a facility that I could not place on a map, monitored every second. At the end of my brief incarceration I was ordered to fill out an agreement stating that I would never release this information. I protested but they assured me that within the year this would all become public record. They just needed time to investigate.
But now we approach the anniversary of this event. And nothing. No mention of this to anyone. I can’t hold this in anymore. I’m sure by writing this I’m putting myself in danger.
But you need to know what happened
You need to know about the obelisk that sits under the midnight sun.