This week’s Free Write Friday prompt:
Let’s leap into the future with a time & place scenario.
The year: 2063
The place: An underground bunker
She pulled me with the last bit of strength she had into the bunker. We stumbled and fell onto the floor. I was breathing heavily, my chest hurting as I greedily inhaled the oxygen. The door slid closed behind us, trapping an arm that was trying to prevent its closure. The sound of the wailing sirens were cut off, as were the cries of those who had not made it. I looked at Marla, distress in my eyes as I thought of those who were left outside.
“They had to close the doors. If they didn’t, none of us would have a chance of survival.”
As my breathing became easier, I became aware of the sounds that now surrounded me. Ragged breathing. Soft, mewling cries. People calling out names to see if their loved ones had made it. The lighting was dim but I could see that many were unsure of what the next steps were. There were people sitting on the floor with expressions of shock on their faces. Others were holding tight onto the children they had managed to bring into safety. We had theoretically practised this drill so many times: at school, at the workplace, on the day set aside each year for such an eventuality. We had seen images flicker on TV while occupied with the routine of our day. But nothing had prepared us for this. None of the laughter and gaiety was present that our drills brought on. This was no holiday. Instead the reality was slowly sinking in that we had been attacked, and that our lives would never be the same.
We had not believed that someone would fire the missiles that would destroy our city, our lives, and the habitation that we depended on for survival. We had trusted that those ruling our nation would ensure that war would be avoided. We had trusted that those in power would think of more than their own egos and their own desire to be proven right.
But now we had to believe. Someone had pressed that button. And we were here in this dim-lit bunker with those who had managed to reach the place that had been assigned to them. Marla and I got up slowly. We began to walk among these people we would be living with until the all clear to go outside again was given. Many ignored us; some looked at us with fear in their eyes. I was looking in particular for the one who was supposed to tell us what to do; the one who would guide us through the weeks of underground life we had to survive. I was looking for the answers to the questions that were beginning to come to my mind.
I was drawn to the big screen on the wall showing the flickering images of what was happening outside. Men and women were standing in front of it, watching with glazed eyes, the destruction happening in front of their eyes. Our enemies had not sent missiles to burn the buildings. Instead the weapons they had sent were insidious. I saw people gasping for air, sores forming all over their bodies. I saw the lawns and the flowers wilting and turning brown. I saw people screaming and clawing at their own bodies. Tears ran silently down my cheeks. Outside life was being squeezed out of the living and I mourned its loss.
I turned away from the screen, bringing Marla with me. We had to move on and get to the business of living. We had to move away from the habit that had been encouraged in our society: we had to move away from the screen that deadened our desire to move, to act, to live. We had to find out who was running this bunker. Where were we supposed to stay? Where was the water and food? Where were the animals that were supposed to be here already? Where was the soil and the seeds for planting? What jobs would we be assigned to? Who was in charge?
We moved towards the entrance of another room and walked through the doorway. In here we saw some others who were also looking for some guidance. They had also left the crying and shell-shocked people in the greater room. Suddenly we heard the door close behind us, enclosing us in the small room. A hologram appeared before us, startling us with the following words:
“You have been chosen to lead those in this bunker. By entering this room, you have shown the desire to search for solutions. You have set yourself apart from the herd. It is up to you to ensure that this group survives life underground until it is safe to go outside again. By our calculations you will be here for a lifetime. You are the ones who need to ensure that humanity and all life survive.”
What do you think will happen after the hologram’s statement?
© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013