Aftermath

Aftermath

A Story by Lea Sheryn
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The day after a bomb is dropped

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Aftermath

By Lea Sheryn

 

Dreary--it was the only word I could think to call the scene that greeted me once light began to dawn in the eastern sky.  What had been a typical suburban neighborhood was now reduced to a pile of rubble.  Yesterday daffodils showed their happy yellow faces in window boxes up and down the street.  In the mild spring afternoon, Johnny from across the street had mowed the grass in front of his house before stepping next door to do the same job for the Widow Montgomery.  He was a good conscientious boy who looked out for anyone on the street who needed a helping hand.  After the bomb had dropped shortly after the midnight hour�"when everyone was fast asleep and unsuspecting of the oncoming   catastrophe�"I worried about Johnny.  Had he been able to find a place of safety or was he just another casualty of this senseless war that had been going on for the last six years?

 

Funny how things happen.  The house I share with my wife and two children appeared to be unscathed but Johnny’s house directly across from us was annihilated along with the Widow Montgomery’s and several others that made up Elm Street.  How ours had survived while others hadn’t was a question that hung in my mind.  Only one other house, near the corner, was still standing.  It belonged to Mr. and Mrs. Pitt.  We weren’t on speaking terms with them.  It had been brought to my wife’s attention that the children had been using their driveway as a turnaround for their bikes when they rode on the street.  Ginger told me in confidence that it wasn’t so much the bikes as it was Marvin and Marcy.  “You see,” she stated with contempt in her voice, “Mr. and Mrs. Pitt are childless.  They’re jealous of the twins.”

 

I should attempt to check on the Pitts, I thought to myself as I continued to gaze out the large picture window onto the street of rubble.  Under the current circumstances, it didn’t matter about the ongoing dispute between neighbors.  What concern were bikes and turnabouts at this point?  Searching for survivors should be the first objective, whether we liked each other or not.  With this thought in my mind, I reached for my cell phone to see if I had their number listed in my call log.  Blank.  The black screen showed no sign of life.  It took a moment to register that the connection must have been dropped as soon as the explosion had occurred.

 

Walking along the street or sidewalk would be a treacherous activity.  The pavement looked as though someone had attempted to create a jigsaw puzzle and failed.  Sharp shards of concrete and tarmac dramatically jutted up in odd directions all over the place.  Walking or driving was out of the question.  Unless a tank came by, there would be no movement on the street.  We were isolated from even our closest neighbor. 

 

“Daddy!  The TV’s broken!” Marv shouted from his usual place on the couch in front of the flat screen television.  “I want Sesame Street!” Marcy wailed.  Sitting on the floor leaning against the couch, she beat her feet on the tiled floor.  “We always watch Sesame Street NOW!”

 

Before I could respond, Ginger strode in from the kitchen.  “Will you look at my phone, Bill?” she asked as she handed me the device.  “I need to text Cynthia to ask how mom and dad are doing.”  Under normal conditions, my wife never spoke to her older sister.  Their love/hate relationship had grown out of a childhood filled with sibling rivalry that extended into their adult lives.  According to Ginge, Cyndi had always been the favorite; Cyndi claimed the opposite to be true. 

 

Since the world had started to turn upside down when the dreaded war had come to our shores several weeks ago, their messages were pretty much constant.  The parents, an elderly couple who insisted on sticking with their rent control apartment in the city, had been struck by the pandemic caused by the release of an unpredictable plague-like strain called Quantric.  It had spread through the cities it had been dropped on like wildfire.  Some people found a quick relief in the form of death while others wasted away at a much slower rate.  Ginger’s parents were taking the lingering path hence the reason for the newly formed sisterly communications.   

 

“Do something, Bill.  I have to talk to Cyndi NOW!” Ginger screamed as she began to lose all sense of control. 

 

“I’m sorry, sweetheart,” I gave the dreaded reply.  “There’s nothing I can do.  The explosion cut off all communication.  We have to hang in there until the military sends in a vehicle to get us out.  The roads are gone too.”        

 

“You have to!  Don’t you understand me?  I have to talk to Cyndi.  It can’t wait.”  Grabbing the phone from my hands, my wife began frantically jabbing at the screen as though the force of her fingers would make the device come to life.  Finally admitting defeat, she flung it toward the wall where it smashed into pieces before falling to the ground.

 

What was wrong with my usually calm and reliable wife? I wondered as I stared at her in amazement.  Buckling at the knees, she sluggishly sunk to the floor.  Tears flowing down her reddened face, she ran both hands through her abundant red hair then stared wide-eyed at the large clump that came away in her fingers.  Horrified, I watched her as though from a great distance.  Hair loss�"the first sign of Quantric!  The simultaneous screaming of the twins who were now standing on either side of me slammed me back into reality.

 

WAR!  Why did we have to get into this dreaded war?!  After all, it wasn’t really our fight.  A simple squabble between two nations had turned into an all-out conflict that encompassed the entire world.  When the enemy purposely dropped deadly viral strains and bombs on cities and suburbs where innocent people dwelled, it was out of control.  There was no humanity in such actions.  Now our lives were turned upside-down.  The quiet little village we had moved to ten years ago to escape the violence of city life was gone and our beloved family was about to be torn asunder.  How I hated WAR! 

 

“Hello,” a voice called from what seemed to be a long distance.  As though in slow motion, I turned my head in the direction of the sound.  “Hello?  Is anyone alive in here?” 

 

“Yes,” I finally managed to call from what seemed a million miles away.  “In here.” 

 

Three men in combat uniforms stepped into the living room.  Although the room seemed awkwardly crowded, I felt relieved to see them.  With military precision, they took control of the situation.  With a tenderness I never expected from soldiers used to warfare, the three men helped my wife to the waiting transport vehicle waiting beside what was left of the sidewalk.  The medic who was traveling with them suppled her with oxygen and a warm place to lie down while he assured her he would get her to a hospital as quickly as possible.  Marcy and Marvin were handled with as great care as Ginger was while I brought up the rear under my own steam. 

 

Much to my surprise, Johnny from across the street was already onboard along with the Pitts.  How glad I was to see them all safe and sound although saddened to learn we, along with the Widow Montgomery, were the only survivors on the street.  Johnny explained how he had found the elderly woman beneath a pile of rubble where her house had once stood.  Bravely, he had stayed with her until our rescuers appeared.  The Pitts were not so gratefully.  Keeping their faces long and their eyes hard, they commenced to complain about the cramped quarters in the military vehicle and how they had been inconvenienced in a million different ways by both the explosion and the handling the received by the soldiers. 

 

“And keep those two brats away from us, if you don’t mind, Mr. Stevens,” Mrs. Pitt announced as she clutched her patent leather purse close into her lap. 

 

The tone of her voice set me off.  As much as I would have liked to have kept my cool, I couldn’t resist speaking out.  “You should consider yourself lucky to be alive, Imelda Pitt.  Marcy and Marv are the last thing you have to worry about.  Just look at us.  Of the entire neighborhood, only eight of us survived.  You were fortunate to be amongst us.” 

 

Before she could say anything to rebuke my statement, the vehicle we were riding in took a tremendous jolt.  Shouting could be heard all around us along with the sound of glass breaking and the crackle of fire.  “Looters!” one of the soldiers announced as he entered our compartment.  “We’re in for a bumpy ride.  A group of them have climbed aboard and are attempting to breach the portal.  We’re going to plow our way through.” 

 

A bumpy ride wasn’t the half of it.  With crying twins and grumbling Pitts, not to mention worry about Ginger’s and Mrs. Montgomery’s conditions, we finally made it to the safety of the nearest army base.  Although we were all hospitalized, we were all survivors.  On my wife’s request, my in-laws were transported to the same base and kept in isolation until the evil strain of Quantric was eradicated from their systems. 

 

Although the hated war still rages on unnecessarily, we are all located in a place of security and under military observation.  How long it’s going to last is hard to tell.  We were all exposed to Quantric and went through a traumatic experience, but we survive and thrive.  I would say we were all as satisfied with the circumstances as could be permitted but, alas, the Pitts will never be satisfied with anything no matter where they are.  They still grumble every time the twins go near them but…such is life…especially life in wartime.     

© 2019 Lea Sheryn


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Featured Review

Wow. The description and realness of the dialog is amazing. The whole scene is something I fear will happen in my lifetime. I catch myself sometimes looking at my Son and my grands and asking God to please not take them before he takes me. He granted that wish when I used to pray it as a child over my Dad. I asked him not to take him before I was married and had kids of my own. He didn't die until I was thirty-six and had three kids. War scares me more than anything and with the things that are happening in this country right now that have contributed to what's happening in Syria sickens me. That could be us and maybe it will be soon. I liked your story very much, I just hope it doesn't become our reality.

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Lea Sheryn

1 Month Ago

Thank you, Rhayne. I think we all have to be serious about war. It's unpleasant for all involved, .. read more



Reviews

I quit after the first fifty cliches. What a doozy

Posted 1 Month Ago


Lea Sheryn

1 Month Ago

I didn't waste my time reading yours. Way too boring.
CLR9

1 Month Ago

I wouldn't either. Porn is more fun
well i`m afraid this is just a prelude to the real thing,,you painted the turmoil well

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Lea Sheryn

1 Month Ago

I think we're headed in that direction. As Billy Joel says We didn't start the fire, we didn't ligh.. read more
 wordman

1 Month Ago

you`re welcome,i guess we need different avenues to write about
Lea Sheryn

1 Month Ago

I think so. I'm all for trying different things.
Wow. The description and realness of the dialog is amazing. The whole scene is something I fear will happen in my lifetime. I catch myself sometimes looking at my Son and my grands and asking God to please not take them before he takes me. He granted that wish when I used to pray it as a child over my Dad. I asked him not to take him before I was married and had kids of my own. He didn't die until I was thirty-six and had three kids. War scares me more than anything and with the things that are happening in this country right now that have contributed to what's happening in Syria sickens me. That could be us and maybe it will be soon. I liked your story very much, I just hope it doesn't become our reality.

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Lea Sheryn

1 Month Ago

Thank you, Rhayne. I think we all have to be serious about war. It's unpleasant for all involved, .. read more
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Vin
the effects of war and human rage is well depicted here. i wonder how you connected with such a subject!

Posted 1 Month Ago


Lea Sheryn

1 Month Ago

Thank you for your review. This was a story request from a friend.

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Added on October 11, 2019
Last Updated on October 11, 2019
Tags: war, bomb, drop, day, after

Author

Lea Sheryn
Lea Sheryn

Sarasota, FL



About
I love to write! To have the ability to put words together to express myself is an ability that I cherish. Working for years to strengthen my talent, I am a self taught Word Weaver. Up until now, I.. more..

Writing