Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Challenge 22: The day after the bubble

Jack was running up the stairs, but they just kept going. Michael and his team were in the room at the top, and that they had less than thirty-seven minutes to activate Project Genesis and pull the bubbles down over Christchurch and Lincoln before the missile hit. Her parents were at home, they didn't know. It didn't matter if the bubble didn't work.

When she finally got to the top, no one was in the office. She was alone with several computers, which should’ve been okay, and several other machines which made no sense to her. But when she turned to the first computer, it had no keyboard and all the monitor showed was a big red dot flashing on a black screen.

She dug her cellphone out of her large canvas bag and called Michael, but it was Simon who answered. "I’m just out of Lincoln – I’ll handle things here," he said. "You've got to work out what to do in Christchurch. It’ll be okay!" He was saying something about power sources but his mobile cut out and there was an engaged tone. Jack knew the missile must’ve hit, and the bubbles weren’t up. The beeping got louder, and Jack wondered if it was the interference from the missile.

She panicked for a moment when she woke up, but figured Simon must’ve messed with her alarm clock again. Jack never had crazy dreams when she woke up to Shaun and Geoff.

“Shit, Simon, I had the most awful dream you were dead,” she mumbled, rolling over, before she realised Simon wasn’t in bed and remembered she’d changed from the radio alarm last night because Shaun and Geoff and Radio New Zealand had probably blown up along with everything else. The bubbles didn’t connect, and most of the Lincoln team didn’t make it, and she hadn’t had parents for seventeen years.

Moaning a little, because it sometimes made her feel better, she extricated herself from the bed and stumbled into the living room, where Simon was sitting on the sofa with his arms around his knees. “You could’ve come to bed,” she said very quietly, so he wouldn’t hear, and perched on the other end of the sofa, watching him carefully. Simon unwound himself and stretched his neck. “I don’t mean to make it difficult – I know you want to help, but it’ll come right by itself.”
“Don’t you want to talk?” she settled back a bit.
“Not yet. Look, we’d better eat all the stuff in the fridge first. I think there’s a bottle of milk left – is that okay for breakfast?”
She ran after him, into the kitchen.

Word count: 440

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