2032: The End Chapters 1-6Phil Olson / Actions & Adventure
2032: The End
By Phil Olson
Copyright notice: All rights reserved 2017.
The devastation was fast and sweeping. All at once from the Atlantic Ocean, The Pacific Ocean, and The Gulf of Mexico the Russians fired simultaneously from more than two hundred nuclear-powered subs with over three hundred nuclear non-nuclear weapons of mass destruction. Not a soul knew the attack was coming. The first explosions occurred on Long Island and in Los Angeles and Seattle. Within a few seconds, cities from Los Angeles to New York, Omaha, and Houston were ablaze. The initial explosions killed nearly fifty million people, and the resulting fallout killed another fifty million people. Survivors near ground zero had to don radioactive gear. This was World War 3; the war to end all wars.
The United States’ response was just as brutal. Because they did not know which enemy had attacked, they launched heavy retaliation against every country they had considered enemies. They shot more than fifty nuclear and non-nuclear missiles into China and more than one hundred into Russia and the Middle East. Most countries unleashed their entire arsenal during the attack. Nuclear or not, the results were devastating for everyone on the planet. Within days, the world joined the United States as a wasteland.
Josh and Whitney were enjoying the last few bites of their dinner while the kids were out in the backyard. They were playing on the elaborate play area Josh had built for them a couple of months back.
“Josh we have to figure out which middle school Jacqueline will be attending. We’ve got less than a month before school starts.” Whitney was explaining.
“I know honey, I know. She wants to go with her friends. I’d like it to be close by.” Josh said thoughtfully. “We need to go tour a couple of schools. I know a lot of her friends are going to Chemawa but that’s quite a drive when we have a middle school practically in our backyard.”
“Well I just know we need to get on top of…” Whitney trailed off as plates rattled on the walls and windows shattered.
Riverside was about fifty miles east of Los Angeles, but the simultaneous explosions were so powerful the couples conversation came to an abrupt end. The kids came running, screaming in sheer terror. Josh was already at the bottom of the steps leading into the backyard.
“Daddy, daddy what’s happening? Is it an earthquake?” Jacqueline, their oldest daughter, asked.
“I don’t know sweetie but I don’t think so. I’m not sure what it was but we’ll head inside and check the news.” Josh said as reassuringly as he could muster.
Josh and Whitney had no idea what was happening yet but hustled them towards the house nonetheless. As they reached the door, the ominous howl of the emergency siren began. Whitney and their three kids froze, Josh ran back into the house to turn on the TV, but the only broadcast was a message scrolling across the screen: please stand by. we are currently experiencing technical difficulties. Josh could feel his pulse in his forehead. Panic had set in, he suddenly felt stuck.
Whitney, bewildered as she was, was just outside the door trying to comfort her children. However, when she looked up at the skyline to the west, she lost control. She could not move. She motioned toward the house; silence had overcome her.
Back inside Josh was fiddling with the radio trying to pick up the local AM station. He was finally able to get a weak but audible signal from a station with which he was unfamiliar. The anonymous, deep-throated voice sounded distant but the news he was conveying hit close to home.
“We have received reports that numerous major cities have been hit with an array of weaponry including; nuclear, biochemical and conventional weapons. At this point, the enemy or enemy’s identities are still unknown. Nonetheless, America has retaliated with brutal and unforgiving force against any foe that may have had the capacity to pull off something of this nature. Our defense system was immediately set to strike Russia, North Korea, Iran, and China. Nevertheless, today, there can be no winner, folks. The entire world is on fire. I have the unfortunate task of bringing the stories of destruction to you from across the country and now, apparently, the world.”
Josh clicked the radio off and ran to the back door to find his wife and children. He flung the door open in a rush, almost knocking Whitney and the kids off the back steps. His wife’s face had never been so pale; it was almost ghostly. As he looked to the west, immediately, he understood. The skyline had turned a burnt-orange, blood-red hue, as if the entire coast were on fire. He grabbed her face and turned it so she was facing him. Even so, he could see the destructive reflection gleaming off her eyes.
Josh remained as calm as he could. "Whitney, do you remember that emergency kit we put together last year in case of a wildfire or major earthquake?"
"Y-y-yes" she said. She suddenly snapped to attention. "What's happening, Josh? Wh-what the hell is happening?"
"I need you to stay calm right now. I need you to go to the shed and get that emergency kit while I go grab as much as we can take with us in the car."
"I need to know what's happening. I can't stay calm! What were the explosions? Why is the sky on fire?" She was screaming.
Josh spoke hurriedly. "We're under attack, and it's bad. I don’t know who or why, but I do know we are. So, go get the kit, bring it to the car, and have the kids ready to go. We need to try to beat any fallout from the explosions. Now!”
She knew he was serious and out of patience, so she quickly ran to the shed to grab the emergency kit. Then, she got their three kids, Jacqueline, Lydia, and Jesse, in the car and waited, scared and crying.
Josh was back in the house gathering up some clothes, a lot of extra canned food, and as much clean water as he could. He clicked the radio back on while he was getting everything ready.
“I’ve been told by my producer we have some pictures from survivors. There will be a few seconds of dead air while I look at these.” Josh heard the host in the background say, “Oh…Oh, Christ, what? How am I supposed to go back on the air to explain what I’m seeing right now?” Josh also overheard the producer telling the host his mic was still on. The host came back on several seconds later. “I’m sorry, folks. I have just seen some pictures from New York, Los Angeles, Houston, and Omaha. The destruction is horrific. It is indescribable. The brave souls who took these pictures have probably succumbed by now. I have never seen anything like it. There are no words to describe it. So, excuse me, but I will be blunt about this. Some of the tallest skyscrapers at ground zero are nothing but dust. Structures outside the immediate blast zone are a twisted wreck. Landmarks are gone. Bodies that did not turn to dust litter the now barren, ash covered, landscapes. It is complete destruction and…oh, man, the other cities are just as bad. There are reports of millions dead—”
Josh turned off the radio. He had heard enough.
Josh met his family in the car. Whitney sat motionless, eyes wide staring straight ahead. The children were shaking uncontrollably gasping in between sobs. He got behind the steering wheel and sped out of his driveway, down the block, around the corner, and toward Interstate 91. He hopped on the interstate a few minutes later and headed east, figuring the mountains might still be safe. The Rockies beckoned.