This was originally posted Jun 10th 2008
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This prompt Comes from
The News From Poughkeepsie From Mur Lafferty
(Some of this is true.)
I never take into account how much that can go wrong in the block I walk to pick up my child from the bus stop. I always try to remember to take with me: my dog, a weapon, a camera, and my phone. When I forget these things, I often see things like vultures fighting over the territory that surrounds a roadkill squirrel, feral, puffy, white dogs that got free after they killed their owners, or glimpses of the black bears that wander our area.
I’m just glad the school buses still run after the apocalypse. Cause protecting my kid on the walk home is about all I can handle.
“What do you mean it happened last Thursday? I have a meeting this afternoon, and now you are telling me it is not going to happen?” Justin asked. He had rephrased the question three times now and had gotten the same response. It was obvious that Ruth was getting annoyed with him, but she was telling him was impossible.
“Justin, you are not listening to me. Last Thursday, the day that all the lights went out, that was pretty much the end of all the meetings” Ruth said putting her hands on his desk. “Look, the fact that this building is in tact is a fluke. The fact that you are still dressed for work is because you bumped your head when it happened and you have been sleeping for the last five days. You don’t have any meeting this afternoon, you don’t need to wait for IT to fix your computer, you don’t even need to check your phone for messages. It is over. The bombs went off all over the world. The best estimates are that fifty percent of the worlds population is dead already and another fifty percent of them will die in six months from radiation, disease and hunger. Justin, it is over.”
“Wait Bombs? You mean like the WMD’s?”
“Yes, now you are getting it.”
For the first time that he had real noticed her appearance. She was dirty, something that Ruth never would have been at the office. He looked around the office now, and saw that the few people that were there, were not doing the things that they normally did. Instead they were huddled in a corner talking, looking over strange bits of things that were scattered on someones desk.
“We survived a nuclear attack, that is what you are telling me?” He said finally.
“Yes. We are far enough out here that we were not hit, and there is not direct fallout coming to us. We even have power, but we don’t know how long that will last.”
“Because, there is no one to bring the fuel to the power station, when the coal they have is gone that is it. So they have been rationing it.”
Justin, instinctively reached for his cell phone and looked at it. There was signal to his surprise.
“That won’t work unless you are going to call someone right near here. Our tower was damaged but Josesph and Micheal were able to repair it, not that it has done us much good, without the whole system, and the satelite links all you can call is local.” John from IT said.
“Look Justin, we are all really happy that you are awake. We understand that you are confused but, we are trying to plan our next move, where to start getting food when the power goes out for good that sort of thing. So unless you have some pretty good ideas, your questions are going to have to wait” Ruth said.
“So you lied to me” Justin said with a smile.
“You told me there was no meeting this afternoon.”
“Yeah, I guess I did.”
“So who is in charge, what is the topic, who is attending? Did any one bring doughnuts I am starved.”
“Listen, this isn’t like the old meetings.”
“Oh relax Ruth, without some normalcy we will all go nuts. Does anyone have a working PC? We can put some slides together” He said walking toward he group in the corner. No one replied. “Ok then, lets just get a chart so that we can draw things, I have lost most of my presenting skills with the advent of powerpoint, but I will do my best.”
They all stared at him as if he where crazy. And maybe he was, but he didn’t care. Without something to hang onto he was going to go totally over the edge, and that the moment this was the only thing he could think of.
“Joe, where is the meeting?”
“Oh this will never do. Did you say the whole building was standing and safe?” He said turning to Ruth again. She nodded dumbly. “Good, tell everyone that we are going down to conference room two.”
“You can’t!” Susan from accounting said
“The Children are sleeping in there.” She said.
“Oh alright, I had not thought about that being single myself. Alright, what room is available?”
“I think conference room four will work.” Said Peter. “Three has broken glass and one all the lights are out.”
“Ok four it is then. Ruth, go tell everyone who is going to be in the meeting we are going to meet in conference room four.”
“But…” she protested
“But nothing, just do it. Are there going to be any visitors?”
“Yeah we have some of the people from the town council, the ones that lived further out.”
“Ok then, we will need name tags. The last thing people want is for someone not to remember their names.” He stopped his dervish of activity for a moment and thought.
“John, what is the meeting going to cover?”
“Supplies and things like that, who has what, and how many people there are, and what we should do about it.” He replied
“Good, then what we need are some lists.” He thought for another second, “Ok John, I want you and Joe to get a list of everything we have here that might be useful, don’t leave anything out, you never know what we might need. right Down to mops and brooms.”
“We going to be sweeping the radiation up Justin,” Joe asked?
“No, but you never know what we might need.”
It turned out Justin was right. The meeting was very much like every other meeting they had all been to. there were those people that were there just to be some where, and those that had things to contribute, there were even those, who it seemed came just to be a disruption, and for them it was good that Justin had taken charge. When it was over they had lists of things to do, and people knew what they were going to be doing.
Within a week things seemed almost normal again, power was only used to keep the refrigerators running at the grocery stores, the lights on at the clinic and the gas stations running. People went to work every morning, albeit for most of them, not doing what they were used to. Things were starting to look at bit better. The supplies that we did have were being rationed and for the time being things looked ok. You had to carry more with you than you used to, just to walk to the school bus with your kids, but things were really getting back to normal.
That was before they started to go out on recon missions, and discovered that we were really alone.
Last Htursday by Jeffrey Hite is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at greathites.blogspot.com.