The sudden illumination in the dead of night was our only warning.
Nuclear missiles plowed into major American cities, and those massive metropolitan areas overseas, and reduced the global population by millions in a sudden onslaught of savagery.
Washington, New York and most of California became ghost towns overnight. Political parties, lobbyists, and other charlatans were reduced to ash. In the aftermath of what is known now as Global Nuclear Winter, survivors tried to piece together what remained of our lives.
I am one such survivor, and this is my story. I’m known as Denny, mainly because I was found unconscious in the burnt-out ashes of a Denny’s restaurant.
On that chilly day in March when the attacks occurred, I was finishing up my shift at the local dairy. I’d punched out early, the next shift waited in the breakroom and watched the news. One of them nodded at the screen and said, “Whatcha think about this war over there, soldier boy?”
“I don’t. It ain’t none of my business.”
“They are running people over in the streets, G. Shooting ‘em in their houses. You do anything like that over there?”
“Nope,” I grunted as I walked toward the door. “I pumped gas. That’s the extent of my heroics.”
“You wouldn’t know which end the bullets come out of a gun, would you?”
The other men laughed and made guns with their fingers and gestured like I committed suicide. I pushed the door open and turned to face them.
“Nope. I don’t know a thing about it.”
“Well, beat feet, loser.”
“See you boys at midnight.”
I walked across the dirt parking lot to my dirty blue Nissan pickup and drove to my cabin way out in the woods. My shift ran from midnight to ten p.m. Once home, I showered and laid across the bed. The call of the sparrows filtered through the screen of my bedroom window. It didn’t take long for me to drift off to sleep.
The flash of white light woke me, along with the resounding crack and the alarm blaring from the television set.
“Breaking news, major cities were targeted today by unknown forces. Washington took the first hit, no one knows how many survived or if the government is still intact. Other areas of strategic importance were also targeted. California, New York, Colorado, and more reports are coming in. Stand by for further details.”
“Jesus,” I muttered. “My kids…”
I grabbed my rucksack from the closet and shoved clothes in it, along with toilet paper, wipes, and all the ammunition I had for my weaponry. My Pelican gun case held my AR-15, modified with FAB Defense accoutrements and a Mossberg 590 with a Surefire flashlight attached to it.
The television announcer came back on, his eyes darting furtively from the paper to the camera. He looked as if he’d seen a ghost.
“Um, reports are coming in that the highest seats of government are no more. Prepare yourself for further attacks. The strike on Washington was nuclear, as well as New York, New Orleans, Detroit, Chicago, and Baltimore. There’s no sign of life from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Bunker down, hope for the best, and pray someone comes to our aid. This is…”
The television went dark, and silence fell upon the once great United States.