The Damage was Done

Submitted into Contest #60 in response to: Write a post-apocalyptic story triggered by climate change.... view prompt


Drama Fantasy Thriller

I wrote the date in my journal, but it may as well have been the same date since December thirty-first of 2021. The world hasn’t changed, and, in many ways, it feels like it no longer turns on its axis.

The skies are steel gray. They never change, and the sun never breaks through. I saw this coming, and I ordered cases of Vitamin D. Still, even vitamins have expiration dates, and I wonder if the synthetic sun will do me any good next year. Of course, I also wonder if I even need to worry about next year.

That’s a sobering thought. I’m only sixty-three years old. And yet, despite being in good health until just two weeks ago, my life expectancy has dropped dramatically. The media predicts that anyone over the age of fifty may not live to see the end of this decade.

Frankly, who wants to? Really. The world is no longer what it once was. I think I can pinpoint the downfall to the worst presidential election in America’s history. The incumbent wouldn’t step down despite the fact he lost the election. The new President and his party wanted to end the problem, so they tried to bring in the military. The military wouldn’t take any part.

So, the Patriots of the American public decided to take matters into their own hands. The bloodshed and mayhem went on for months. In the end, the incumbent President remained in office.

Why? His followers had more guns.

That was when America went downhill fast. When a suitable vaccine for the pandemic wasn’t found, well, perhaps I should clarify: they said they found vaccines. And as each one was identified, approved, and the process of inoculating the population began, within four weeks, people began to die. No one knew if the vaccinations wiped out natural immunity built or if the virus continued to evolve and overcome any medicinal powers our society could throw at it.

Without a strong economy, the ill-will caused by policies put in place by a mentally unstable leader, America fell. It crumbled behind the façade it put forth for so many years. After the almighty American dollar fell in the international marketplace, China called in their loans. Whatever was left of the economy crashed. It was worse than the beginning of the Great Depression, and America’s citizens faced third-world conditions.

And while politics, economics, and science failed to offer any solutions, Mother Nature threw all of her might at the globe. Still, mostly, her fury was saved for the U.S.

The Hurricane season of 2021 saw ten category two storms hit either the Gulf Coast or the Eastern seaboard. Louisiana lost over one-half of its landmass to the water, and there were no beaches to speak of from Northern Florida up to New York.

Tornados, too many to count, roared through the mid-west, killing over three-thousand people and destroying tens of thousands of homes, businesses, and highways. There were no longer any direct routes across the country. The mid-west offered no thoroughfares, and the interstate system was defunct.

In mid-2021, the government was overthrown by a huge Coup d'état. The Democratic party was in charge again, but they weren’t any match for the far right when they mounted their revenge. Marshall law didn’t work, leaders and police were killed on sight, and people cowered in their homes. Going out meant being prepared to fight for food, water, clothing, and basic necessities.

Unless you owned a gun, you were at the mercy of the thugs who walked the streets.

My pen is paused over the date. October twenty-ninth, 2022. It’s my sixty-third birthday, and there will be no celebration. I haven’t talked to any of my children or grandchildren, with all cellphone towers gone in over nineteen months.

My husband of over thirty-seven years was shot down in our front yard two months ago. He was draining the rainwater we’d captured in buckets, and when he wouldn’t give it up to one of the marauders, they shot him. It took me three days to bury him, but I can see the marker I made for his shallow grave from my front window.

It’s a good thing I have lace curtains, though. I can’t move the curtains back for fear someone will discover me. It’s just the dogs and me in the house now, and the only reason they no longer bark is that we took out their voice boxes last year. We simply couldn’t have their barks alert the outside world to our location.

When I went downstairs yesterday, there were only two jars of pickles left. The smoked meat ran out over three months ago, and the system I have to obtain water now is defunct. A drought has hit the Pacific Northwest.

Somehow, in a region known for the excessive number of days of rain it has each year, we are experiencing a drought that rivals the ones in northern California. And so, fires are raging.

The smoke has hung over my city for almost three months. It is trapped by the low cloud cover we’ve had for over a year. I couldn’t go outside even if I dared to; the air is caustic.

My dogs are lying at my feet, and the warmth of their little bodies gives me some comfort. I take two small biscuits from their stash and break them in half. They’ve gotten used to these tiny bits of love. Their lives have changed drastically, too. I can see their fur falling out because they are so malnourished.

I know it’s almost time. I have to face my final fears. I’m not even sure why I’ve held on since my hubby was gunned down in our yard. Maybe I wanted to believe that one of my kids would’ve been able to make their way home. Perhaps I want to survive more than I dreamed.

I know how to do it. I stockpiled over three hundred of my blood pressure pills. If I take just the right amount, I can lower my blood pressure until it’s non-existent, and I will simply go to sleep.

But what can I give to my dogs? I want to let them die in their sleep, too. How can I possibly find a drug that will just let them drift away?

Surely, there must be something. My only caveat is that it is not painful.

I think it’s time to go on a scavenger hunt. I’ve waited through the past months to do this. I’m going to search every drawer, every pocket, and every nook and cranny to find something good to eat. Maybe I’ll also find a solution to my problem.


Wow. I’m in luck. Dave had a huge Hershey’s bar in his old jacket. I’ll give the dogs as much as they want, and I’ll use a few squares to chase down the pills.

Happy Birthday to me.

September 25, 2020 08:25

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Elle Clark
18:03 Sep 26, 2020

For someone who says they don’t want to dwell on what the future could hold, you sure have dwelt on it in quite a lot of detail! I really hope you’re not a prophet because all of this sounds entirely plausible. I think your main character gets a bit lost in the backstory you give. I don’t really have time to connect and empathise with her because she’s only in it for part of the story. That said, I do really like that she’s not a twenty year old woman trying to fight the gangs or save the world. It’s nice to see a story from the perspect...


Mustang Patty
02:55 Sep 27, 2020

Thank you very much. I appreciate your comments, and when I rewrite, I'll make sure the MC is more present.


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Matthias V.
13:30 Sep 26, 2020

Wow, I really enjoyed the language in this one. Hopefully, you're not a fortune teller and this doesn't happen 😣. Thanks for the nice read.


Mustang Patty
15:39 Sep 26, 2020

Thank you.


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Dawood Abbasi
03:22 Nov 20, 2020

A good story with fancy ideaa woven into an account of life.


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Safiya Tahseen
09:24 Sep 26, 2020

I totally loved your story.It is perfect in everyway possible the content,the grammar,the illustration.Very well written.I genuinely wish someday I'll be able to write as good as you do.Please read my story too (it's my first one ever) and guide me through the errors I've made in my writing.Thank you.😊


Mustang Patty
10:12 Sep 26, 2020

Wow - that was a wonderful comment and a great review. I would be more than happy to read your first story. Remember to keep writing and be as bold as you can, ~MP~


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