I wrote a little on a writing prompt last night, so that’ll be my Day 10. I’d say this little exercise was a big success–I wrote every day but one (because I was sick). I’ve got the seeds of at least two stories that I can develop.
Prompt: Story starter: Sometimes you don’t know who your real friends are until you survive a nuclear holocaust. This is unfinished, and really doesn’t have the pacing necessary for a flash piece, but here it is.
Friends Like These
Sometimes you don’t know who your real friends are until you survive a nuclear holocaust. This depends, of course, on a few of those friends surviving said holocaust. If at all possible, I suggest ensuring that this unfortunate situation doesn’t happen. The friends surviving, I mean. Have fun with your holocaust.
The night the bombs fell, I found myself in the company of three people. Alan, who’d been a roommate all through college, and Lana, a co-worker at the technology firm I’d been working at for the past four years. The third was this guy Jeff, Lana’s boyfriend. I’d met him once or twice and taken an instant disliking. He was one of those small-talk guys who would ask how you were without bothering to wait for the answer. Jeff talked about sports a lot, to the point where he would actually get depressed—seriously, like observation-room depressed—whenever the Cowboys lost a game. He referred to people as “bro.”
When the first of the mushroom clouds blossomed in the horizon, I immediately thought of Alan. Which seems odd. Why not my parents? Or my ex-girlfriend, with whom I had claimed to be interested in a reunion? My cousin Brett actually lived just a mile or two away, much closer than Alan. Why didn’t I think of him? Brett was even an outdoorsy type. Good with a rifle and a tent.
I never saw Brett again. Or my parents. Or my ex-girlfriend.
Instead, I grabbed up a backpack, stuffed it with some canned goods and a loaf of bread, and headed out. I forgot the can opener of course. Brett wouldn’t have forgotten the damn can opener.
My car was dead, along with every other vehicle cluttering the road. I stopped to stare at all the cars on the road. All had been disabled by the nuclear EMP. Thousands of refugees staggered alongside the highway. In the distance, a dark cloud approached, low in the sky. Was that fallout? Was it radioactive dust? The remnants of a mountain pulverized by the most brutal of mankind’s weaponry? I had no idea, but I didn’t want to know.
So I trekked in the opposite direction from the dark clouds. For a little while I walked beside the crowd of refugees, but where the highway split, I headed a different direction. Nobody seemed interested in going downtown, which made me wonder if I was headed straight for the next bullseye. But Alan’s apartment occupied a downtown sky rise. I trudged on, determined. I think I was a little crazy at this point. Shock, I guess. Give me a break. The world was fucking ending.