General Fiction posted January 14, 2022

This work has reached the exceptional level
first person flash fiction

Never Saw It Coming

by giraffmang

They never saw it coming. Too busy with their perfect little lives. Too busy to press pause and look up from their phones, i-pads and other trappings.
The first sign we saw of things going wrong was the smoke on the horizon. Followed by the flames. Next came the sirens, sound slithering across the plains at night like scalded snakes. We saw it all. Unaffected, separate, isolated from the fall. They used to look down on us. Called us weird and a cult. We were okay. We had been stockpiling for years. High up here in the mountains. Yeah, sure cold in the winter when the gas ran low for the generators. The caves were dank and wet. Our huts were prefabricated shells, but it was an all-right existence away from the throes of the modern world.
We saw the planes come down. We heard the gun fire. Imagined the looting, the pillaging. Was there rape too? They used to call us lawless when we refused to live by their rules and their constraints. Now they had become truly lawless. It just went on and on. Some of the youngest of our group ventured down to the town late one night to see what was going on. As usual, keeping to the shadows and not drawing attention to themselves, just as they’d been taught. Folk knew we were here, but we weren't exactly inviting or advertising, you know?
The youngsters came back with stories of looting, fires, fights, and worse. The authorities had lost all control. No computers, no phones, no food, and things were getting worse. I took the decision to strengthen our boundary walls and increase the patrols. We had plenty of ammunition and enough food to last out for a couple of years. However, this was based on our current numbers. I gathered the members together and spelt it out for them in no uncertain terms.
No fornication. If we were to survive there could be no more arrivals, whether self-inflicted or infiltrated. Strict rationing to be enforced immediately. Everyone would have to take part in sentry duty. Male, female, and child. The inexperienced would be paired with a regular. No unauthorised leaving of the compound under any circumstances. No lights at night. It was only a matter of time before they remembered we were here, and we didn't want to send out any invitations. All the members weren’t happy but they could see what was happening out there just as well as I could. Not happy, but they acknowledged the need and my words.
It was about five weeks later when we had our first encounter. We watched their approach all the way across the plains and up the foot of the mountainside. I doubled the guard, issued the ammo and we sat back and waited. Eight men stood on the front boundary line and two women. All of them motionless, anticipating the order. Knuckles white against the trigger guards. Sweat cascading from their brows. This was what we knew was coming from the moment we set up our community seventeen years ago. As soon as they were in range, I gave the order and every person on that line took aim and fired. Both men dropped. Dead. Job done, no regrets on our part. This was about survival.
The tremors started and never stopped. At first hardly enough to cause a ripple in a glass of water. By the end of the week, the land began to crack. The plains split in two. The mountain fractured. We watched in horror and then that was when the realisation set in. All we had prepared for was of no use. Yeah, we lasted a bit longer than the others, but this was biblical. End of Days stuff.
There was a lot of fornicating that night and then we sat, watched, and waited. After all, in the end, when all is said and done, and the end of the world is upon you, what can you do but wait?



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