Sundown

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

Featured Review on this writing by Sue Harris

Cover image: pixabay.com.

Sundown

There had been nothing different about the setting sun, nothing to give us a clue of what was to come. Some say the governments knew, that they’d kept quiet so as not to cause a panic, but I reckonwas ed to have been as caught out as the rest of us.

The first day the sun didn’t rise was brushed off with various explanations. An ash cloud, the weather, an unexpected and prolonged solar eclipse. However, when it became clear that this was not a local phenomena but a global one, alarm bells began to ring.

The newscasters had brushed it off as just a day. The following morning, we had been assured, the sun would be up there in the sky and everything would be fine. I couldn’t have been the only person that picked up on their skeptical delivery, which was then replaced with one of false jollity. They didn’t believe it and I really wanted to be able to ask why.

If only we’d have had some advance warning. Honestly, I’m not sure it would have made any difference, unless it was at least a decade in the past. Humanity has proved itself to be slow to react. I mean, you only have to think back to the virus outbreak that went through four waves and killed millions before it came under any kind of control. Even now, it had not been completely eradicated from the global population.

That, at least, took time to cause a panic. The sun, or rather the lack of it, created hysteria within two days.

Questions were asked and scientists struggled to come up with the reason for the sun’s disappearance. What we all wanted, no, needed to hear was that it would be back, and quickly. Did they find any answers from the space station data? Could the high magnitude telescopes find out where it had gone?

With every passing day the temperature had dropped. In both the southern and northern hemispheres it with not even the faintest glimmer of light. I guess I could have considered myself one of the lucky ones, for it was winter for me; I had fuel in to last at least a few weeks. Even so, it was freezing indoors. I ed the newscasters to tell me that many, many millions were dying of hypothermia. Not that the news told us anything for long for all too soon there was an information blackout.

Did they all instantly take in the scale of the consequences? I know I didn’t. No sunshine meant no crops. Even the ones that could have survived in the subzero temperatures would not grow without the sun. And the cattle? Well, they either froze where they stood or dropped to the ground, victims of starvation and cold.

My food and fuel is running low. Even so, I know there are those out there that would gladly kill me for what little I have. I’ve seen the occasional lights in the darkness, and I’ve dreaded living to see this moment, when they are clearly headed my way.

My drapes are closed, but the fire burning in the hearth might give me away if they see the smoke coming up from the chimney. It’s too late for me to do anything about that now, for if I try and damp it down it will smoke even more.

My best hope lies with the possibility of them not noticing the house at all. It’s only small; there are plenty of bigger buildings around, I’m sure. I crouch down in a corner and mutter under my breath: ‘Please, just go. Please!’

The thump against the door is made with such force that the whole building shakes. The second thump is nowhere near so strong, but the wood of the door frame splinters apart and I feel the rush of cold so intense it hurts.

There are two of them... no, that’s wrong. There are three of them, the one that enters behind the others carries a lantern. I crouch down into the shadows and try to disappear as the intruders begin to toss my few possessions around. They are only interested in one thing: food. They are going to be bitterly disappointed with what they find for, in spite of my stringent rationing, there is barely any left.

I can hear them pulling open cupboards, can hear the curses. That’s good isn’t it? They are going to think that this place has long since been abandoned. Only they’re not, are they! The fire that is still giving off a glow is going to give me away.

I chew my lips and tremble as I watch two of them enter the room again. Where is the third?

That question is answered when I feel a hand grip my shoulder and pull me roughly from my hiding place.

Look what I’ve found?” The voice is rough, harsh, rasping and the man’s breath is fetid.

Food?” One of the others moves closer. “This? This is nothing but skin and bones!”

Can you find anything better? You know, beggars can’t be choosers. Didn’t your momma ever teach you that?”

There’s a knife. I feel it’s sting more than see it, and my one remaining hope is that they make my slaughter a quick and humane one.

 

 


Submitted: June 22, 2020

© Copyright 2021 hullabaloo22. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:

Comments

Mike S.

Mankind is definitely slow to react, look at the Trump supporters, it's still 1652 in their world--excellent, Hull!

Mon, June 22nd, 2020 8:08pm

Author
Reply

Haha! That's true. Thanks, Mike.

Tue, June 23rd, 2020 11:29am

Tammi Fitzpatrick

I like this a lot! Scary!

Tue, June 23rd, 2020 12:11am

Author
Reply

Thanks, Tammi. I'm a real fan of apocalyptic and dystopian fiction.

Tue, June 23rd, 2020 11:31am

moa rider

Aw gee Mama Hullabaloo, that's an unpleasant ending! Usiangue

Tue, June 23rd, 2020 3:37am

Author
Reply

Mass extinction on a global and all species level. Thanks, Moa.

Tue, June 23rd, 2020 11:34am

Sue Harris

Ooh, apocalyptic or what... brilliant story, Hully. A disturbing ending but not beyond the realms of possibility. Great writing!

Tue, June 23rd, 2020 6:21pm

Author
Reply

Thanks so much, Sue!

Tue, June 23rd, 2020 11:58am

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