The Ballad Of Dale Johnson

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: October 09, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: October 09, 2017



It all started on July 4th, 2253. A day I’ll never forget. My name is Johnson, Dale Johnson. I am one of the last survivors of what’s left of Earth. It all started about 40 years ago when I was 47. In 2253, the Earth was widely overcrowded, with a population of 25.5 billion all of the natural resources were drained completely. With no resources to make their product, manufacturing plants shut down and people panicked. The United Nations tried to inform everyone that it was going to be all right, but many didn’t listen. Around the world, various mobs formed. They robbed stores, set fires, and vandalized buildings. With the widespread panic, the fire department wasn’t there to put out the fires. The multiple fires spread to all corners of the planet and burned down all of the forests and vegetation. The bright blue sky turned a dark black as a thick cloud of smoke blocked out the sun almost entirely. As darkness ensued it caused even more panic. Everyone ran into their houses, slamming their doors shut, and many were never heard of again. The streets developed into “no man’s land”. People were afraid to go outside of their houses fearing that they might get robbed of what’s left of their food supply. Lucky for me, my neighbors and I had a very good relationship, so we decided to team up. There were seven of us total. The team was me, my wife Gertrude, the two neighbors who lived across the street named Rob and Marilyn, the one that lived to the left of me, he’s named Danny, and the two who lived on the right side of me, they’re names were Bill and Bonnie. When all of the chaos started I kept my wife in the house and I ran to all of my neighbor's houses and since I was the oldest out of our neighbors I took the lead role. I devised a plan of digging a tunnel system through our subfloor under each of our houses. With the tunnel nobody would know that we’re working together, also we would have access to each other’s houses without going into the open. While we were digging I had my wife on watch duty to make sure it was safe. And once we all got the tunnels connected I went through and told everyone that we needed to have a meeting at my house as soon as possible.


Once everybody arrived we decided to establish some rules.


  • Rule #1: Never split up unless it’s an emergency.

  • Rule #2: Nobody can join the alliance without a vote. The person(s) wanting to join must be approved by at least ? of the members. The same rule applies for evictions.

  • Rule #3: If someone dies their items left behind will be distributed among the remaining members.

  • Rule #4: Do not kill anyone unless they are a threat to you or others.

  • Rule #5: Respect all members of the alliance, even if you don’t like them.


After the rules were set we all disbanded and we back to our own homes. We all blocked every single door and large sections of our windows in all of our houses. For the next few days, we all stayed inside, traveling through tunnels when necessary, for a couple of days.


Suddenly, somebody started banging on my front door.


I ran to the tunnel and yelled, “Somebody is banging on my door! Come over here and help me out!”


I then walked towards my front door, grabbing the pistol that I keep taped under the kitchen table in the process. When I started talking down my barricades my neighbors came through the tunnel and were ready for anything. I finished taking down the barricade and opened the door very slowly. When I looked out there was a man standing there.


“Hello I’m Joey Gase, I was sent here by the Homeowner’s Association located in this neighborhood. I’m here to tell you that here in your neighborhood there have been many houses set fire to and for your protection we have established a safe location for everyone to go to.”


“Where would that location be?”, I asked.


“At the local supermarket. You can come whenever you feel that it’s best for you.”


“Ok thanks for telling us, we’ll go down there when we feel its necessary. Bye.”


“I hope to see you guys down there.”


As I started to close the door, there was a shrill sound in the distance. I stood there for a second, letting my brain attempt to process what that sound could possibly be. When I couldn’t think of anything I turned and asked everyone if I wasn’t the only one that heard that sound.


“No, I heard it too,” Gertrude replied.


Before I could ask anyone else if they heard it, there were screams from down the street.


“Stay inside. I going to see what’s going on.” I told everyone else.


When I walked out onto the street I saw a truck down the street with four dudes in it. I didn’t know what they were doing there until one of them grabbed a flamethrower that was behind a shield and starting torching one of the houses. I sprinted back to my house with fear in my eyes.


“What’s wrong?” Gertrude asked me.


“They’re torching houses! Everyone go back to your houses and get anything you think you need!”


As everyone ran back to their houses I got behind the frame of my front door and waited. The truck made its way down the block all I could do was wait. How could I stop them? At that moment, I really didn’t know. They torched the house to my left and then came up in front of my house and lit it up. I stood up out of my hiding spot and I fired my gun at the truck, but with the shield on the truck, it really didn’t work. Now my house was on fire. I darted through the house towards the tunnel grabbing anything I thought that I would need in the process.


“Gertrude get in the tunnel!” I screeched across the house. There was no response. “GERTRUDE, WHERE ARE YOU?” I ran around the house looking all over for her, but I couldn’t find her. For my own safety I got into the tunnel system and went to the neighbor’s house on my right and I got out of the tunnel. When I got out I could see that the house was on fire also. I started looking for a way out. The front door was on fire, no escape there. The backdoor was blocked off from part of the ceiling that caved in. That left only one way out, the window. I backed up as far as I possibly could and then I went for it. I sprinted as fast as I could towards the window and I dove straight through it. Everything went dark.


When I woke up everything was blurry. I had a massive headache and ringing in my ears.


“Dale, are you awake? Somebody asked.


“What? Where am I?” I replied back in a cracked voice.


“We’re at the supermarket where the man told us to come. We found you laying in the neighbor’s backyard passed out with a bag next to you. We decided for your well being to bring you here. A man was nice enough to drive us here with you laid out in the back of his truck.”


“What time is it?”


“About six at night.”


“I guess five hours out isn’t that bad.”


“Its been three days.”




“Yeah, we were starting to get worried about you.”


“Has anything happened in the past three days?”


“Nothing much, the only thing is that most of the world is in complete anarchy and the death tolls are rising.”


“Oh really, that doesn’t sound like much to me AT ALL.”


“Also, the man in charge wanted to talk to you as soon as you woke up.”

“Where is he at?”


“He should be in his office located in the back of the customer service area.”


“I should probably go see him now. Don’t want to keep him waiting any longer than I already have.”


I then got up out of my makeshift bed and headed across the store to the customer service area where Gertrude told me to go. On my way there I was looking around the store. There were at least 40 people up and down each aisle, all without homes. I could make out who some of the people were, but most I didn’t know. Once I arrived  I knocked on the door and walked in.


“Hello? Anyone here?” I asked.


“Yeah I’m here and who are you?” The man asked back.


“My name is Dale Johnson. I was told to come here.”


“Your Dale Johnson?”


“Yes, I am.”


“Come with me.”


The man got out of his chair and we started walking towards the back of the store. We walked for about two minutes and we came upon the freezer.


“What are we doing here?” I asked.


“Oh, nothing.” He said with a weird tone in his voice.


“Seriously, what are we doing here?”


He then opened up the freezer, tazed me, and then threw me in.


“What are you doing!?”


He then stopped and looked at me and said, “This is for your own good and you’ll thank me later.”


When the effect of the taser wore off I got up and tried to open the door but it wouldn’t open. No matter what I tried it wouldn’t budge.

In my defeat, I did what any reasonable person would do when they were facing their demise. I layed down on the ground and cried. I couldn’t believe what had happened in the past seven days and I just let all of my held up emotions out. I layed on the floor of the freezer for what seemed to be an eternity, but it was probably only four to five hours when I heard this odd sound coming from the outside. I got up and pressed my ear up against the door. It was this high pitched whistle sound, one like I’d never heard before. I kept getting louder and louder, but I still couldn’t tell what it was.


All of the sudden there was this ear piercing boom and the ground started shaking like there was an earthquake. The freezer was shaking so badly that the walls were starting to tear themselves apart. Cracks were opening up in the walls. When everything settled down, I could see daylight through the cracks in the freezer walls. I located the biggest hole I found and squeezed through it. The entire landscape around me was leveled. All of the buildings were demolished. I knew what exactly went on. While I was in the freezer a bomb was dropped on the entire city, leveling it completely and killing everyone, but me.


I knew that there was nothing left so I started walking in one direction to see what I could find. After about a mile and a half, the effects of the blast were starting to diminish. After five miles I came upon a farmhouse with a visible well a the top of the hill and a barn across the road from it.


I opened the creaky front door and peered into the house. There was nothing special about the house on the inside, but on the outside, I found a cellar door. In the cellar was a bunch of canned food and SEEDS! I could now have my own reliable and renewable food source! I now had everything I needed to live. I had food, shelter, and water.


That is where I will leave my story, “The Ballad of Dale Johnson as I like to call it.” I have now lived in the farmhouse for 40 years doing what I need to survive. Most of the natural resources are gone, billions are dead, and cities are completely gone, but the most shocking part is… all of this could've been prevented.

© Copyright 2018 Scott Reusch. All rights reserved.

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