Mondays...

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
What would the world be like without electricity? David is an ordinary person with an ordinary life, so when he wakes up one morning with no electricity, he may not be able to handle it.

Submitted: December 12, 2014

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Submitted: December 12, 2014

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I wake up to the warm sun bathing my face, and a gentle breeze flowing through the half open window. Breathing deeply through my nose, I take in the peaceful bliss of the morning and  -

Wait a minute . . . the sun?

My eyes snap open. The sun is out. I look at my alarm clock, and it’s black. When I look on my watch, the hands have stopped at exactly 9:00. Cursing silently under my breath, I jump out of bed and pull on my clothes as I run around my apartment, trying to get my stuff together.

I make myself a bowl of cereal, but as soon as I put the first spoonful in my mouth, warm, sour milk coats my tongue, making me spit it back out in the bowl.

Perfect.

Reaching the end of what little patience I have, I toss the bowl into the sink and turn on the faucet.

No water. Of course. The power’s out. I guess I’ll just come home to the smell of rancid milk.

Whatever. If I’m going to be late for work anyway, I might as well take my time getting there. I grab my bag and tie and head out to where my car is. As I get in it, I fasten my tie around my neck and breathe deeply through my nose, putting the morning behind me. I need all the patience I can muster to keep myself from bashing my boss’s head into the wall when he gets after me for being late. Again.

When I turn the key to start my car, I hear a little clicking sound, but nothing much happens. I try again, but still, it doesn’t work. I close my eyes and lean my head back on the headrest, trying to keep myself calm. It doesn’t work. I end up hitting the steering wheel repeatedly and slamming the door as hard as I can when I get out.

I think I’ve officially reached the pinnacle of the worst Monday in the history of Mondays.

Looks like I’m walking.

Once I get outside, the sun that I embraced so willingly this morning seems too bright and overwhelming. As I walk, I grumble curses under my breath, wishing I could just go back home and veg on my couch while I pig out on leftover pizza that’s most likely starting to putrefy. There’s surprisingly no cars on this road, which means it’s probably around 11 and everyone’s at work.

I tighten my coat, shielding myself from the icy breeze. Normally, I like the smell of the crisp, autumn air, but today, I’m in no mood to appreciate anything. Everything is just a nuisance.

Only the sight of the two men at the end of the road could snap me out of my self-pitying stupor. One is holding a gun to the head of the other, but neither of them are shouting or fighting. The one with the gun to his head is just standing there, sobbing quietly with tears streaming down his face. They look like they’re talking, but I can’t make out what they’re saying. Instead, I duck down behind a car before they can see me.

My mind is just a jumble of thoughts for a second, but then I get the sense to get my phone out and call the police. I try turning it on, but it won’t work. The screen just stays black.

Seriously? Out of all the things that could go wrong today? This?

Then, I hear the gunshot, making me jump. My heart is racing, but I can’t bring myself to move. I’m like a statue. Motionless. Thoughtless.

After what seems like forever, I lick my dry lips and peek around the car, my shaky hands offering little stability. I only get a glance at the body, but even that is too much; I double over and throw up.

The man with the gun is gone, so I use the opportunity to run away as fast as I can. As soon as I get to the main strip, I see tons of cars parked in the middle of the road, like everyone just disappeared during rush hour traffic.

What in the world . . .

Then I remember, the car I ducked behind was stopped in the middle of the road, too. A chill runs through my body. I have the sudden urge to call my girlfriend, Anna, to make sure she’s okay and to figure out what’s going on. She's a journalist, so she would know. I don’t think there’s ever a moment in her life when she’s not checking the news. Except possibly when she’s sleeping, but even then I’m sure she has some weird telepathic connection to CNN.

On the way to her apartment, I walk through the middle of a sea of cars. All the shops are closed and vacant. This almost seems like the rapture. Everyone's disappeared, leaving cars in the middle of the road. But people have had the foresight to clear the streets and lock up the shops. If something like the rapture did happen, people would be freaking out. This just looks like everyone decided to drop their lives and go home. 

I don't know if I believe in that rapture stuff anyway. I've never been much of a church person.

As I walk up the stairs of Anna's appartment building, I consider going to church. It sounds like a good idea now that it feels like the world's starting to end. My mom's always liked it, but I thought it was just because she's a housewife and needs things like church gatherings to give her life a little bit of excitement.

I find Anna's apartment, and knock on the door. Normally, she calls to whoever’s at the door, but I hear nothing from inside her apartment. My heart starts racing faster, fearing the worst. I knock harder and faster, not wanting to stop, and feeling a rising panic. I almost don’t hear the rattling of all the locks on her door over my knocking. It’s weird, though. Anna doesn’t normally use all her locks. She’s altogether too trusting.

The door opens and Anna flings her arms around me before I even get a chance to say anything.

“Oh my goodness,” she says into my chest. “Are you okay? I was so worried.”

I pat her back awkwardly to comfort her, not knowing what else to do. She's squeezing my arms to my sides, so it's not like I can really hug her back or anything.

“What’s going on?” I ask her.

She looks up at me, and then hurries me into her apartment, shutting the door behind us. Then, she grabs my hand and pulls me into her living room. She jumps on the couch and sits on her knees the way she does when she wants to tell me some dramatic story. I sit down next to her, bracing myself for whatever she's about to say. To get my attention, she puts her hands up in front of her, palms facing me. 

“Last night,” she begins, the way you would say 'Once upon a time' to a little kid, “it was so weird. I don’t even remember how it happened. I was sitting here watching the news and the reporter started talking about the war with Russia.”

“That war’s been going on for years. Does it even still matter?”

“Of course it does. Don’t you pay attention to anything? We found out that Russia was trying to make a device that would do something. I forget exactly what it was. I thought it was just a rumor. It’s been going on for months. Then, last night, the reporter said that Russia was threatening to use that device. She was explaining how it supposedly works, it uses electricity to kill mass amounts of people, but before she got any further, the power went out. Even phones, cars, anything.”

I’m struggling to wrap my mind around all of this. I remember this morning when I looked at my watch. It was stuck at 9:00. Is it possible that the device was detonated at 9:00 and made my watch stop right then? I don't remember what I was doing at 9 o'clock last night. I struggle to push past the fogginess of last night and remember, but then just assume that I must've been drinking. 

I push that out of my mind and try even harder to comprehend what Anna's telling me. 

“Do you think Russia could’ve done all that?” I ask, referring to the electrcity going out.

“What? No. Weren’t you listening? It uses electricity. My guess is that the U.S. cut all forms of electricity so that the Russians can’t hurt us.”

“Doesn’t that just cause more problems?”

“That depends on what the device did. Maybe they thought this was the lesser of two evils. I’ve been thinking about it, and I think they’ve been lying to us about what's going on with Russia.”

“Why would they lie to us?”

“It’s the only way this could’ve happened. I think that what’s actually happening is - “

She’s cut off by the sounds of screams coming from next door. We both jump. Then, she looks at me with a horrified face that I think I would’ve understood better if I knew what she was going to say next. It doesn’t really matter now. I just don’t want to die, which, from what I’ve been through so far today, seems very realistic.

Anna jumps up and starts for the door, but I grab her wrist.

“Don’t go towards the door,” I say.

Before she has the chance to argue, I pull her away into her bedroom. She’s about to protest, but then we hear the front door open. The air becomes heavier, and the silence pounds in my ears. Then I realize why Anna’s first thought was to go to the door: she never locked it after she brought me inside.

Before we lose another second, I pull her into the closet and sit with her. We hear someone going through the kitchen, dropping things and throwing things around.

It’s okay, I tell myself. He’s probably just some guy that thought that the power outage would be the perfect time to raid empty apartments. He won’t hurt us. He won’t find us. And even if he did, he would probably run away to avoid getting caught. It’s okay.

When I look at Anna, she’s peeking through the crack in the closet doors. She seems more calm than I would expect a girl to be. I’m freaking out on the inside, and she’s watching the man tear her home apart. Her hand flies over her mouth, and she shakes her head in disbelief.

I hear footsteps getting dangerously close to the closet door, and I reflexively move farther into the closet. I accidently knock over a box of shoes, making tons of noise. Anna looks at me with a look of panic on her face, and then the door swings open. All I see is a hand reach in and pull her out by her hair. Her screams ring through my head, but I can’t bring myself to run out there to save her.

I don’t want to die. I don’t want to die.

I curl up in a ball and cover my ears, trying to drown everything else out.

I don’t want to die.

All at once, the screams are gone. I don’t even want to breathe for fear that something bad will happen.

After what seems like forever, I slowly crawl over to the door of the closet and peek around it. She’s in the living room, but all I can see from this angle is her hand laying in a pool of blood.

Without even thinking, I scramble to my feet and collapse beside her. My hands are shaking uncontrollably, so much so that I struggle to even lift her into my lap.

I can’t form any full thoughts.

She looks up at me, and I try not to look at any part of her but her face. Partly because of the shame that I could’ve prevented whatever the man did to her, and partly because I don’t want to remember any of my last moments with her besides the sound of her voice.  

“David,”Anna says in a hoarse voice.

“I’m so sorry, Anna,” I say, my voice choking and tears pricking the back of my eyes.

“I’ve thought about what my last words would be,” she says, forcing a smile. “I never knew I would have to use them so soon.”

“I’ll get you some help.”

“With a phone that doesn’t work? Don’t. Stay with me.”

“I can’t just sit here and do nothing.”

“Then do something.”

“What am I supposed to do? I can’t help you.”

“Marry me.”

“What?”

“If you need something to do, marry me. Say ‘I do.’”

Tears fall from my eyes, and I let out a sob.

“I do,” I choke out.

She smiles for real this time. “I do, too. I love you, David.”

“I love you, too.”

“Then we’re married. And not even in death shall we part.”

 


© Copyright 2020 Anna Grettle. All rights reserved.

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