What is happening and why am I the only one that doesn't seem to know?

Is This War?


Eve rushes straight towards me, her face is streaked with tears. When she collides with me she almost knocks me off my feet. This is not the Eve I know. Normally so perfectly turned out, so fashion-conscious, she now looks upset. No, upset is an understatement; she looks almost crazy.


Tell me it’s not true, Alec! Please!” She is struggling to get the words out while holding back the sobs. I don’t know what to say ‘cause I’ve no idea what she’s talking about.


Other students are beginning to arrive. Some of them look kind of stunned or shocked. Some, like Eve, are clearly upset, and many of these are quite openly sobbing. What is going on? I’m obviously missing something!


Eve grabs a hold of my arm and tugs me towards a couple of girls just coming in through the gates. “Kara will know!” Eve is dragging me along with her. “She’s smart. She knows everything.” Eve turns towards me and says with such seriousness, “She’ll know if it’s true!”


It might seem really dumb, Eve, but I don’t have a clue what you’re going on about. I have no idea why so many of you are upset.” There, I’ve said it. Let her think I’m a total moron but at least now she might tell me what’s up.


You really don’t know?” Eve stares at me through her red-rimmed eyes. She looks dumbfounded, incredulous.


I shake my head. There’s no point denying I’m an idiot, because that’s what that look of hers is making me feel like.


They said on the TV that....we are.....” Here Eve finds it hard to carry on. It must be pretty serious.


Come on, Eve, it can’t be that bad. It’s not as if we are at war or something!”


I watch as the colour drains from Eve’s face, but at least she’s got her voice back. “But that’s just it, Alec! We are!”


My jaw drops. We can’t be! I’d have heard about something as calamitous as that. There’s no way I wouldn’t know. “Come on, Eve. You can’t be serious. Someone’s just having you on.”


Well, Alec, if they are it must be a pretty large-scale joke. Look around you.”


And there’s all the evidence there that Eve needs to back up her words. That explains the quiet, subdued crowd, the only real noise being sobs and shouts of denial. It doesn’t make sense though. How could I have missed it? And even more to the point, how could it be happening? It’s impossible! It’s 2017 and countries like ours do not have wars on their own soil.


Eve lets go of my arm and rushes the last few feet towards Kara on her own. I watch their exchange. I can see Kara’s face, the pinched, strained look; I can see Eve’s posture slump in defeat.


It can’t be true. It defies any kind of logic. But it seems like I am the only one who hasn’t yet accepted it as a fact.


There is a far off thrumming sound. It is coming from a distance, in the air. The sky is blue with white fluffy clouds – the sky of a kid’s picture book, I think. But that noise is getting nearer, there are things up in the sky, as yet as small as insects, are growing much larger by the second.


Helicopters! Loads of them! Too many for me to count at any rate. And they are all flying in formation.


It is just as though a switch has been flipped. We panic, we run, we dash towards the doors. But the doors are locked, don’t move no matter how many of us are pushing on them. Students scrabble to get right up to those doors, only to find themselves crushed and trapped by others equally desperate to get inside the building.


Why are they locked? They are always open way earlier than this and we can see some of the staff cars are parked in amongst those of the students. What are they playing at? They must hear us, must know we are stuck out here in the open like sitting ducks.


We split up and go in all directions, trying to find an open fire exit or any other way of getting inside. The building is secured. We have absolutely no way to get in.


Almost directly overhead now, these helicopters are not like the normal ones that buzz around occasionally in the sky. No! These are menacing, threatening, intent on doing us harm. We scatter in all directions. Guys fall, girls trip. I grab hold of Eve by the hand and race towards the cover of the trees.

We are almost there, have almost made it to the comparative safety of having somewhere to hide. Almost but not quite.


The helicopters hover, the bullets start to fly and then the bodies of our college mates begin to hit the ground.

Submitted: January 26, 2017

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Add Your Comments:


Mike S.

You know, if you'd have asked me before the election, I'd have said there's no way this could happen. Now, it seems possible--a fine write, hully!

Thu, January 26th, 2017 8:58pm


Thank you, Mike!!

Thu, January 26th, 2017 1:01pm


Nice one .

Thu, January 26th, 2017 9:02pm


Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it!

Thu, January 26th, 2017 1:07pm

Lionel Walfish

Wow! That's about as scary as it can get!
Well written, Hully !

Thu, January 26th, 2017 11:41pm


Thanks Lionel!

Thu, January 26th, 2017 11:42pm

unmasked delusions

Good job. I liked the part where you described the helicopters (the part with the blue sky like a picture book) it made it really surreal. Reminded me of this verse:

"For when they say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction will come upon them, as labor pains upon a woman with child; and they will not escape." -1 Thessalonians 5:3

Fri, January 27th, 2017 5:59pm


Thanks, unmasked. It was the picture that inspired the story, really. The childlike sky with the helicopters seeming to suddenly appear. I'm really glad you enjoyed it and thanks so much for commenting!

Fri, January 27th, 2017 10:04am


I was expecting a punchline of some kind to make this a comedy, so this story actually disoriented me, lol. I like it though, nature doesn't care whether you're at war, it'll shine on nonetheless.

Thu, May 11th, 2017 7:34pm


Glad you liked the story, Reagle. I sort of go through phases with the humor and this wasn't during one of them!

Thu, May 11th, 2017 12:39pm


I have read your short story. I got so into it while at work that I hardly got any work done. Lol. Until now, I only knew of your poetry skills. I love how descriptive you are and your word play. I enjoyed it very much.

Thu, June 1st, 2017 12:38pm


Well, thank you very much, jaylisbeth. I wrote short stories for quite a while before I even attempted poems! I'm glad you enjoyed the read and thanks so much for taking the time to comment!

Thu, June 1st, 2017 5:42am

Aira crimson

That was depressing but very intresting I coundn't stop reading.

Sat, June 24th, 2017 6:35am


Thanks for reading, Aria, and for taking the time to comment!

Sat, June 24th, 2017 1:37am

Serge Wlodarski

Scary and sad because it has happened and will again. Good one.

Wed, July 5th, 2017 11:02pm


Thanks, Serge. It's becoming more and more a real fear of mine.

Thu, July 6th, 2017 12:34am

Mark Reece Healey

Nice story! I was hooked. Unfortunately, what you describe is very realistic and if I can picture the scene and characters in my mind, then that is the foundation of a well written story...which you have clearly achieved. Great work.

Thu, August 10th, 2017 4:01pm


Thanks for that, Mark! Glad you enjoyed it. It's getting a bit too true to life for my liking at the moment.

Thu, August 10th, 2017 9:02am

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