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)
1 month 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)
1 month 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)
1 month 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)
1 month 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.

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8

Bait

It takes a real talent to tell a story in ...
  • 2 months ago by Eric Radcliffe

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4

Endure and Sing

Inspirational piece. Am glad you picked the rat to be ...
  • 4 months ago by Leena Auckel

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4

Endure and Sing

Such a sweet tale – and with a good moral ...
  • 5 months ago by Fuji

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4

Vows

I must admit it was the picture of the church, ...
  • 6 months ago by Fuji

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3

A Magical Tour

Lovely story, Leena. There really is nothing more magical than ...
  • 4 months ago by Carrie OLeary

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3

Afterlife

Beautiful Emilia, my eyes are a little misty after reading ...
  • 4 months ago by Sandra James

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3

Endure and Sing

Wow! This is a good story! Really good to read ...
  • 4 months ago by Lyric The Great

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2

A Paranormal Pandemic

Well done Emily on getting First – Eric.
  • 2 months ago by Eric Radcliffe

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2

Traffic Jam

Your story really reflects on the world today, so many ...
  • 2 months ago by Carrie OLeary

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2

A Paranormal Pandemic

I agree with all the other comments, Emily. This is ...
  • 2 months ago by Fuji

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2

A Paranormal Pandemic

Love this Emily, nice and tense throughout, culminating with that ...
  • 2 months ago by Carrie OLeary

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2

Crimson Rose

I like this haiku Katy – always they question what ...
  • 2 months ago by Eric Radcliffe

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2

Endure and Sing

I’m really glad to hear that! Leena Auckel did an ...
  • 3 months ago by Katy Bizi

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2

Endure and Sing

Hi Katy, it really does add an extra dimension to ...
  • 3 months ago by Eric Radcliffe

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2

Endure and Sing

In my neighboring country Denmark, we have the classical storyteller ...
  • 3 months ago by Christer Norrlof

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2

Where She Belonged

Don’t we all find refuge in a good book and ...
  • 3 months ago by Leena Auckel

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2

Where She Belonged

You took an all-too-common painful occurrence and gave it a ...
  • 3 months ago by Susan Giles

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2

Where She Belonged

I like the concept of home here. Well crafted ending.
  • 3 months ago by Susan Dawson

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2

Where She Belonged

At times all we need is a corner in our ...
  • 3 months ago by musing mind

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2

Where She Belonged

Great story, all that negative intensity of an unhappy home ...
  • 4 months ago by Jay Vaananen

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