She didn’t want to go to work today. She had a meeting at 8, deadlines by 9 and had a host of meetings, phone calls and emails to answer. But she had to go, and just as she was pulling into work and entered the building….. For 7am it was bustling with too much activity. Usually tranquil till about 8:30am she was startled by the noise.

What was happening?

“Haven’t you heard?” said her co-worker Evelyn. “We should have listened! We should have listened!”

“Listened to what?” she said. But just then Evelyn ran into the control room and she and her morning co-host were trying to inform everyone and at the same time keep things calm.

And today of all days I listened to a cd on the way to work. Then she heard the report. Aghast she turned to her computer. Acid like rain was on the East Coast – people were trapped in what was left of their houses. A giant 150 mile wide tornado was devouring the Midwest and a wall of water 100 feet high was about to hit the west coast. She had never done so before but she panicked.

She wasn’t about to die at a radio station. 

For years everyone had gone back and forth and joined into 2 camps. Climate change was a problem. Climate change was a fallacy. You were either in one camp or the other. The fallacy people had held the facts at bay. But now there was no denying it. The climate WAS changed. It had changed in a most certain way. At first the storms seemed a ‘little’ stronger than normal. At first the extreme weather seemed like it was just that – a one to two time thing. But now? Now the earth bore down in full despair with 15 inch rain storms. Cold and Hot swings that could never be understood. Strong tornadoes that no one could survive, and  rising oceans.  

Why no one had listened seemed like the big question of the day. Accusations flew. But by this time it was too late. Much too late.   Everyone was looking skyward to see what would come next.

Just when things couldn’t get worse, or so they thought. Small round silver spacecraft they called space balls started to arrive. The balls would stay 100 yards above the earth and their long legs would stretch down to walk along the earth. They were farming humans for food.

A group of people had preplanned for the inevitable. They weren’t preppers per se. But they had been trained in weather and others just had the common sense. Some people are born with it you know.

They built an underground world.

After a few years things in their underground world seemed to become ‘normal’. Or as normal as they could. They devised a set of unbreakable rules. There were only 6. But the MAIN one was to never, ever go ‘above’ ground. No matter what. They were now to live underground. A few years passed into many and now it was 20 years. The young children knew no other world.

But there were stories about how great it had been. The blue sky. The warm sun. The rainbows. Oh it had been a most beautiful world. No denying it. And no denying there was no one to blame but themselves. They should have listened. Listened to the warnings and to the people trying to change policies to help protect the earth, the atmosphere, and themselves.

It all seemed so stupid now. Why hadn’t they listened?

The young people heard the stories and could only imagine how beautiful it was. Although they weren’t supposed to tell the stories, Julie couldn’t help but daydream about them. She wanted to keep the stories alive. But she didn’t dare to tell the others. There was only one little one she would tell the stories to. Her nephew Caden.

Now 12, Caden was a curious boy . Every day he would beg Julie to tell him more. He let it slip one day. He was coloring a rainbow and his mother wondered, how do you know that? His mother told Julie the stories needed to stop. Caden would want to know more and as they all knew it was forbidden to go above and look skyward.

But Caden had to know. You mean there’s a whole WORLD OUT THERE? Plus a universe beyond? He dreamed of the day he would be able to go above and look skyward. He had to make it happen. How bad could it be? Maybe the others keeping them here wanted to so they couldn’t go above and ENJOY things like rainbows.

2 more years went by. That day was like any other. Caden was going to Julie to hear one of her amazing stories. But this time Julie told him that she knew of a trap door to the above world. “What? You knew this whole time and didn’t tell me?” Caden said. “Please oh please I want just ONE look.” “Just one.”

“Just one look and it can be really just a ‘peek’” said Caden. He talked his aunt into showing him where the trap door was. Caden wanted to look skyward more than anything.

Going above was unthinkable, only to those who had witnessed the earth’s downfall and the space balls. But the younger people didn’t know.

Caden should have listened.

But it didn’t happen that way. 

That night, late. He snuck to the trapdoor. He had planned this for months. He wanted just one look at the “milky way’. 

He climbed the long, long white steel ladder with pipes on each side to grasp. He got half way and thought he heard something. It was just the night watchman – he was getting lax in his duties. He stopped and held his breath. Only a few steps from his goal. 

Caden had heard too many of the good stories and not enough of the ones that eventually became reality. But what is reality anyway? He was headed up the rest of the ladder. 

As he neared the top he took the key from his pocket to unlock the padlock. Getting that key had taken him months of planning and a few untrue stories that he hoped wouldn’t be back to haunt him.

“Let’s do this” he said to himself as he turned the key. Putting all he had into it Caden started to open the trap door. To the world above. So he could look skyward. Just once. 

And then it happened. Just like he’d imagined.

As he looked skyward. Caden saw a rainbow and gasped.

Having harvested most of the humans the space balls were gone. But another group of people were bringing Earth back.

And Caden thought it was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.

March 05, 2021 22:44

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Anyta Freeman
09:46 Mar 18, 2021

The introduction to this story is very good and then I feel it reads like two separate stories which are not coming together as one. There has to be an easing of her present (first two paragraphs) into the people living underground for years! The writing is not clear enough to me as a reader. Maybe the story should just be about Caden and the underground people which I understood and liked. In the first part of story there are some sentences that need good editing in order for the writing to flow. I love the ending with Caden seeing the ...


Barbara L
18:43 Mar 18, 2021

Thank you so much for your input Anyta! It's very much appreciated!


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Barbara L
18:43 Mar 18, 2021

Thank you so much for your input Anyta! It's very much appreciated!


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Barbara L
00:26 Mar 19, 2021

Thank you so much for your input Anyta! It's very much appreciated!


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