Gems

Our years here had been dark and dismal, but great grandpa’s caution had ultimately saved our lives.

I could barely remember the world before the end. I’d only been eight when they told us about the asteroid. They’d tried to divert it, but failed. A large part would still plummet to Earth. We’d mere hours to act.

I remembered Da, hurrying me through the evergreen bushes with fragrant pale pink blooms and the narrow crack into the cave. We’d huddled together, waiting for the end. The expected impact would be very far away, in Africa or Asia, but the ground still trembled, loose rocks skittered over the floor. One of the stalactites cracked and crumbled to the ground. I cried in Ma’s arms, sure we were all going to die.

There began the longest, coldest winter known in modern history as a massive dust cloud obliterated the sun.

We were the lucky ones. Great Grandpa had been one of the first survivalists. He’d predicted the end of the world, whether it be from nuclear warfare, the collapse of the economy or, as we’d experienced, a natural disaster. He’d passed what he’d known to his son, who’d passed the knowledge to Da. They’d all prepared. The cave had its own natural water source, filtered through the limestone. We had a generator, batteries, medical supplies and enough MREs to feed an army for a year. Bunks were set up in tiny cabins so we would stay dry when rainwater dripped through the rocky ceiling.

There we stayed for nearly eight years. Da and Uncle Jeff went out sometimes to check on the conditions. But now we needed to leave.

Fear shivered over my skin and down my spine as we stepped towards the entrance. Da pushed aside the barrier and I squeezed through the crack into the outside world, to be bathed in a pale winter sunlight, welcomed by a riot of pale pink and deepest green. The heady fragrance of the camellias was overlaid by the scent of fallen leaves.

The world as I knew it was starting anew.

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Eric Radcliffe
Eric Radcliffe (@eric-radcliffe)
8 months ago

Hello Carrie, The first thing that comes to my mind is the strong sense of despair in the story but also the hope at the end. Nature has this gift within her that she shares, her beauty and resilience. Wonderfully expressed in your story Teotwawki. I enjoyed your story – Thank You -Eric.

Emily O'Leary
Emily O'Leary (@emily-oleary)
8 months ago

I love the hopeful feeling of this piece! So well written as always, you can picture the scene as you read, feel the anticipation as they re-enter the world!

Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof (@christer-norrlof)
7 months ago

To re-enter into the world after eight long years of hiding and waiting, through vines and smell of camellias, is a beautiful vision, Carrie. Your story is, at the same time, dystopian, optimistic and poetic. Well done!

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Lydia E Atzemian
Lydia E Atzemian (@lydia-e-atzemian)
7 months ago

To be honest i rarely find the patience to read a whole text as my attention span is quite embarassing; however i read the entire thing and I didn’t even realize it. Work like yours humbles me. I have so much to learn.

Susan Dawson
Susan Dawson (@susan-dawson)
5 months ago

I had to look up “MRE”, but at least I now know you were all well fed, though probably emerged with rickets. I hope he had remembered to lay on Joe Wicks on video to save you coming out with ready meal flab.

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Katy Bizi
Katy Bizi (@katy-bizi)
5 months ago

Hello, could someone inform me of the meaning of TEOTWAWKI and MRE or direct me to a site that gives more information about them? I’ve liked the story so far, but I think that, if I learn these definitions, a new light will illuminate this piece of art and it will help me understand it better.

Katy Bizi
Katy Bizi (@katy-bizi)
5 months ago
Reply to  Carrie OLeary

Oh, I understand. Thank you so much for explaining.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
1 month ago

I admit I also searched for the definition of MRE and TEOTWAWKI, a good thing I found it in the comments. It helps me understand the story better. You pictured the whole story well in my mind, Carrie. Excellent. I liked it so much.

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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
1 month ago
Reply to  Carrie OLeary

You’re welcome, Carrie.

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