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Short Story: The Day of the Nuclear Attack
Monday Morning 6 A.M.
The blinds are closed, but the sun is peaking through and the alarm goes off. It's 6 a.m. on another sunny, Monday morning and all is normal in the world. Of course it's another rough morning knowing there's a long work week ahead, but you suck it up and move forward.
The typical routine has already been well established. Your spouse has prepared breakfast for the kids while you're washing up. After about 15 minutes you come downstairs, turn on your mini kitchen TV, and watch the morning news. But before you become fully entranced by the screen, you give a light affectionate kiss to your beloved.
You also greet the children as they're finishing up with their pancakes and orange juice. Meanwhile you grab some cornflakes for a quick morning meal. Everything seems right with the world although watching the news would make you think otherwise. Still, the tales of murder, thievery, and misfortune feel unusually calming because they aren't eluding normalcy.
There's always a sense of worry whether the kids will be alright, but it's never an overly concerning problem because it's beyond our control. We just have to pray that it'll be an average Monday morning where they'll learn a little, you end up having a productive day, and your husband or wife does the same.
It may be mundane and boring but everything seems perfectly natural, and there is nothing to fear today.
Or is there?
7 A.M. The Sirens Roar
As the clock ticks closer to 7 a.m., you begin to chow down a bit quicker because you know they'll be the inevitable traffic jam going to work, and the last thing anyone wants is to be late.
You hurry the kids as well, giving them their packed lunches, grabbing the appropriate school supplies, and sending them off to the bus stop. Suddenly the clock strikes 7 a.m. and you hear a piercing sound......
It's the sound of a loud siren from both the outside and the TV. The entire family seems a bit shaken up, but you've heard this noise before and assume it's just another test and nothing more. The sirens continue on for a few minutes, and you're hoping they end soon because there's a noticeable worried look on the faces of your children.
Finally the noise stops and everybody takes a breather, but you glance at the TV screen and start to see words scroll across the screen. You hear a robotic voice begin speaking in a familiar tone that you've heard every month when they do their emergency alert system tests.
But this time you hear something entirely different....
- This is the Emergency Alert System....Please Stand By for Further Instructions.......
What's going on? Why didn't they say they were performing another monthly test like they always do? The queasiness in your stomach deepens and there's this severe, unsettling pain the entire family is getting.
Everyone was staring at the TV set with no movement and sound. We were all waiting to hear what the next message was going to be, and something didn't feel right at all.
The Worst Message You'll Ever Hear
It felt like we've all been waiting for hours to hear the next set of instructions. We had no idea what the message would be as everything seemed perfectly normal. What could have been the danger out there?
We looked at one another but refused to say anything. The anxious feelings continued to swell along with tiny drops of sweat pouring down our foreheads. It was akin to getting a phone call that a loved one had passed away, but this time no one had a clue what was going on. We were about to say something until we heard the beeping again.
The news image faded and we saw a blank, black screen. The tension continued to deepen as we continued to wait and see what was going to happen. In that instant everything felt like an odd dream where I'd wake up knowing none of this was real. Yet nothing felt more real than those last 10 minutes, and it was absolutely terrifying.
The blank screen began to fill with words with the main title jumping out letting us know that this was a message from the federal emergency alert system. The same robotic voice began to speak once more and words continued to fill the previously blank space, and we read.
- This is a message from the national federal emergency alert system.........Several dozen nuclear warheads were seen heading towards the United States with unknown origins.......Computer data shows that the final destination of these missiles is to be within the vicinity of the United States.......The exact locations of where the weapons will strike are unknown............
In those next few seconds there was utter disbelief in the faces of my family. None of this felt real anymore. Was this some kind of a sick joke, was it really happening. The message continued on....
- According to our data, the warheads are expected to arrive within the next 20 minutes to said unknown locations......We have identified that over 15 nuclear bombs have been released and all are heading towards the United States.....Please seek immediate shelter.....Find a fallout shelter as soon as possible, bring necessary food, water, and supplies.
- If there's no fallout shelter within your immediate location, get to the lowest floor of your house and basement and take cover under sturdy surroundings. Place as much insulation between you and the outside as you can. Stay in your fallout shelters until safe levels of radiation have been established....Please stand by for further messages....
We just realized that in a matter of 15 minutes our whole world could be over. We live in the suburbs of one of the biggest cities in America, Chicago, and have no idea where the nearest fallout shelter is.
All of the sudden we hear horrifying screams from the outside as people panic and rampage on the streets screaming "We're All Going to Die!!!". We heard cars crashing, people throwing furniture, and the cries of children. Everything we once knew to be normal less than an hour ago was only 10 minutes away from ending.
We didn't even a basement to try to protect ourselves, but what would be the point. If one of those bombs hit Chicago, then we'd all be killed. My family fell to the floor and began to cry and hug as the inevitable was about to happen.
I didn't know what to do. Should I call loved ones, should I just stay here and hold my family, should I try to go somewhere and make a run for it? The fear, the panic, the anxiousness, and everything else hit me all at once, and I fell to the floor as well.
The Last Goodbye
I laid on the floor, and my family hugged me tightly while I was at a loss for words. I still thought that maybe this was all a dream or a cruel joke. I believed I would wake up soon and everything would be back to the way it was. I had never imagine my life ending this way, I never thought something like this was possible, and I couldn't ever imagine how it would feel like.
I said a few words to try to comfort everyone and told them that maybe we'd be okay and none of the bombs would affect us. I did have some hope myself that those 15 bombs would head far away from our region and that somehow we'd be okay. This was until one final message came on the screen with the familiar beep and sound I now dreaded with a passion.
- This is the Emergency Alert System.....We have identified a few of the locations of the nuclear warheads.....The warheads are expected to directly impact within the next few minutes.....The locations include: New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, Dallas, Seattle, San Francisco, and Chicago.....
This was all I needed to hear, the rest of the message got lost as my fears continued to rise. I felt so sick when I heard the word Chicago that I became nauseous and on the verge of throwing up. My family's tears began to stream once more, and their cries were audible this time.
I myself began to feel this unrelenting emotion spur out of me and tears streamed without myself even realizing. There was no more hope this time as we were a mere 10 miles away from downtown Chicago with a nuclear warhead a couple minutes away.
The panic outside grew every minute, and I began to hear gunshots and yells of terror. This was Armageddon to us and all I could think of at that moment was why. This wasn't a movie or a television show, this was reality and this is what the real world is capable of.
My family squeezed me tightly, and I returned the favor. As we all hugged, they all closed their eyes as I glanced out the window. The skies were blue and crisp, I still saw the birds flying, and the sun was shining beautifully. Then I saw something dark in the sky barely visible.
It was getting closer, and I finally knew what this meant. I too ultimately glanced away from the window and shifted my head towards my family. I slowly closed my eyes, said a soft prayer, and told them how much I loved them all.
Seconds later there was the sound of an incredible explosion and the brightest light I would ever see......and then.............