Thursday, May 22, 2014

flash fiction challenge accepted #2

         When one first "bomb" hit the earth the object was too fast to be noticed by NASA and it landed at the South Pole so no one worried about the consequences. Within 48 hours the 24 hour news had moved on to something else. Three years later there was another that hit Australia near Perth. This one was larger and much of the land was destroyed and many people were killed in a instant. The U.S. and rest of the world did what they could but in the end there was nothing we could do but treat it like any other natural disaster we mourned, gave money and moved on. We all believed that everyone who died did and it would be the end of the story but two months later there were news reports about those who lived miles outside the impact perimeter getting sick. At first the international CDC couldn’t agree on a cause, some thought it was a new strain of the flu, others said it was a yet undiscovered illness connected to bacteria from the object and released into the air. The 24 hour news had their own theories of a secret terrorist attack, the Conservatives said the two governments weren’t telling the truth and the Liberals attacked the reports as fear mongering. 122 days later hundreds more were dead and still no real answers. Then it happened again in South America. This time it was closer to home and the U.S. government worried of the unknown went into action and closed its borders keeping out anyone who might become ill. All planes were grounded, all ships were stopped at every port. Nothing or no one could leave or enter the country.
       On December 31st we were counting down to a new year and celebrating a past one which kept us safe, cut off from the rest of the world and without incident. We woke up with hangovers and news that two more "bombs" with the speed of a meteor and the destruction of an asteroid had hit. One in the center of Russia and the other into the Mediterranean Sea. Now with much of the world affected and in a panic the U.S. and Canada had no choice but to work together. The President and Prime Minster had a joint press conference in which they made it MANDATORY for every citizen to IMMEDIATELY get check out by a doctor. Most, worried for their lives followed the new law, those who refused were discovered and taken from their homes never to be seen again. When we were woken in the middle of the night by screams coming from our neighbors house we ran outside and watched as the military and FBI handcuffed the mother and father and carried their young daughter to three black SUVs. The next day my wife and I went to the hospital.

    When we entered the E.R. there were already 40 to 50 people waiting for appointments. We made our way through the crowd and at the desk they handed us a three page form and, like at the DMV a number. When a doctor saw us he took a blood sample, a DNA swab and asked many questions. We answered each the best we could and when we were done a nurse told us we would get a phone call in the next 24 hours to tell us what to do next but now that we were in the new system the government would leave us alone. I don’t think either of us got any sleep that night.
When we got the call the nurse said we were healthy and could go on with our lives, which would include a new life in about 8 ½ months.
     The next seven months were normal, as normal as a world where half of its inhabitants had to wear gas masks all day everyday and the rest of us afraid to even talk to them. I was back at work as a high school science teacher and my wife was home with a cold when a warning from the new emergency alert system telling us of another "bomb" on a possible collision with Earth. We didn’t know where it would hit but this time we were prepared. I got my students to a designated safe bunker, made sure everyone got on their gas masks and called my wife. She said she was fine and with the help from a friend made it safely to another predetermined shelter. I asked her to put on her mask and I would do the same and we waited for impact. When we heard the alarm for the all clear we emerged from our shelters and the phones started ringing.
     It had hit Wyoming and a new kind of panic began. Although we were in upstart New York everyone around me started to cry and scream. I called my wife but there was no answer. I quickly told another teacher my situation and made it home as fast as possible. I ran through the house she was nowhere to be found, that’s when I saw the red light flashing on our land line. It was my wife’s friend telling me that she had gone into labor and to meet them at the hospital.
      The hospital was a horror show of those still in masks looking for frightened loved ones. I made it to my wife in time to see my son being born. He was so small and we weren’t allowed to hold him as the nurse rushed him to quarantine.
      The air is still poisoned but stable, now NASA can detect and destroy ALL unknown objects that is on a collision course with the Earth and at every meal we can take off our masks and eat in our new and improved underground panic dining room. So when I came home from work and saw my wife and now 10 year old son baking cookies for the school bake sale I knew everything was going to be okay.