4 comments

Science Fiction Fiction

Austin Conners                                                          04/18/3002

To: Julia Conners

Subject: Recent Events


Julia,


I hate to tell you this way, but you’re a hard person to get a hold of. While in the field yesterday, repairing one of the fertilizers, that flash came, and it shorted out dad’s pacemaker. He died sometime after one this morning. There will be a wake Friday night and then the funeral and burial will be held Saturday if you can fly back.


Love,

Austin


Reply  Forward




Julia Conners                                                                          05/02/3002

To: Austin Conners

Reply: Recent Events


Austin,


I cried my eyes out when I got the news about dad. I feel so bad for missing his funeral. I was in the ICU for a week and didn’t even think to check my personal emails while in recovery.


On the day the sun dimmed, I was on the freeway doing a good eighty miles an hour when there was a flash and the car locked up. Everyone’s car locked up. The screeching was horrendous. The crashing was worse. I heard it right as I blacked out. I looked up footage during recovery and the whole highway was littered with crushed and battered cars. I was lucky to make it out alive, although I may never walk the same.


Things have been horrible here in LA, Austin. People rushed out in a panic and bought up all the necessities like toilet paper, food, and blankets. There has been some looting and fires in the streets. Police forces are outnumbered and having a hard time containing the chaos. I tried ordering the things I need online so I wouldn’t have to go back out, but all the online stores are out of stock. I’m just going to wait out the madness. Hopefully it doesn’t last too much longer.


How are things back on the farm? Kate and the kids doing alright? How is mom handling dad’s death?


Love you,

Julia


Reply  Forward




Austin Conners                                                                       05/30/3002

To: Julia Conners

Reply: Recent Events


Julia,


Sorry for the late reply but we are under power usage restrictions since the whole county is solar powered. I hated to hear that you had to go through so much trauma on top of learning that dad died. I’m glad to hear you’re better now and up moving around. Keep yourself safe. City life was never for me, and I don’t know what the appeal is for you. There is a place here on the farm if you ever want a safe place to live.


Mom grieved for a couple weeks before she got dressed and told us she was ready to move on with her life. We offered her a room with us at the main house, but she insisted on staying at the old farmhand's place. She said that is where all their stuff is, and she isn’t ready to change everything around.


Kate and the kids are doing as well as can be expected, I mean we’re all scared. How do you tell children who are barely old enough to know what the sun is that the sun is dying and what that means for us? We did our best with it, but they still seem a little confused. To them, it’s just wintertime.


The crops died due to a couple of freezes back in late April. Even in May we haven’t gotten out of the fifties all month. I took a job at Farmer’s Wholesalers in town. It’s a meager wage, but it gets us by. I built a greenhouse out back and planted herbs and vegetables. We also have what’s left from what Kate canned last fall. Shelves are stocked with ammo. I expect to do a lot of hunting this winter. My ax is sharp and has been put to work. I spend the evenings filling the log pile. That old wood stove hasn’t been used since great grandad died, but those things never stop working. We are going to need it.


It’s weird, sis. Every time I step outside, I feel like I’m walking under one of those black lights we had as teenagers. It’s just an eerie soft glow, maybe the equivalent of two full moons, and it really plays with the eyes, makes me feel like I’m in a dream. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it.


How are you doing? Are you getting around any better? Has the chaos subsided?


Love ya,

Austin


Reply  Forward




Julia Conners                                                                           06/11/3002

To: Austin Conners

Reply: Recent Events


Hey Bro,


I know you never understood the appeal of city life, but its where all the action is. There is always something going on, always something to do, always someone to meet, and I love that. But it’s not the same anymore. Yes, the chaos has subsided, but it went to the other extreme. The bustling city and all its attractions garner little attention from anyone. Many popular hangouts and eateries have closed down and boarded up. I doubt I’ll ever see them again.


We’re under an energy usage ordinance too. This is a city where you would see the finest sports cars and the most luxurious SUVs driving down the streets. Now, with charging costs being so high, people are opting for motor scooters. I even purchased one to get around. The richest of the rich, however, still have their limousines.


I know what you mean about the sunlight these days. I find myself praying for overcast, but then it’s like evening. Have you stepped out at night to check out the moon. It’s gray now, like an old nickel. It doesn’t reflect the light like it used to. I miss its reflection on the ocean’s water at night.


Smart of you to plan ahead for the winter. I ought to start doing the same, see if they still sell gas heaters, get me a subzero sleeping bag, that sort of thing. I don’t think it will get as bad here as it will in northern Missouri, but seventy degrees is cold to us. People are running around in sweatshirts in June.


Love,

Julia


Reply  Forward




Austin Conners                                                                       07/05/3002

To: Julia Conners

Subject: Mom


Julia,


Mom passed away yesterday afternoon. It was pneumonia. She had a little bit of a cough the day before when I talked to her, but she said she was okay. We went by yesterday so we could all go see the fireworks display and I found her on the bathroom floor all purple. I really hope you can make it here by Saturday. First dad, and now mom, all within a few months. I’m stretched thin.


Austin


Reply  Forward




Austin Conners                                                                        07/27/3002

To: Julia Conners

Subject: Thank you


Hey sis,


I wanted to thank you for making the trip and staying a week to help get things sorted through and donated to charity. I don’t think we could have done it without you. Kate enjoyed the girl time. She doesn’t see her friends anymore. They all married and moved off. The girls loved having Auntie Jules around to play with. You were always the imaginative one. I wish you would take me up on my offer to move in. The girls can double up and you would have your own room. I will see to it that we have plenty of food for the winter and we stay warm. I think its going to be better for you in the long run. Personally, I think the government and the media aren’t telling us everything. The leaves on the trees are already changing colors. That’s probably due to the lack of sunlight, but the days started growing shorter before the summer solstice. If the sun is dying, and losing strength, it only makes sense that its gravitational pull has weakened too. That means that we are either drifting away from the sun, or the Earth’s axis has been altered, or both. If that’s the case, even in LA you could freeze without a place to build a fire and starve without being able to hunt. Just think about it.


Love ya,

Austin


Reply  Forward




Julia Conners                                                                           08/01/3002

To: Austin Conners

Reply: Thank you


Big brother,


I’m always here when you need me. I enjoyed seeing Kate and the girls again. It’s hard to believe that Abby is already seven. She is so tall now, and that little Emma has to be the cutest little monkey since her sister was that age.


I appreciate your concern. I appreciate the offer. But my home is here. My job is here. What would I do there? I left because I was bored. I need excitement and entertainment in my life. I love you, but we are two extremely different people. If things get too bad, you’ll be the first person I contact. Until then, keep the emails coming.


Love,

Julia


Reply  Forward




Julia Conners                                                                          09/09/3002

To: Austin Conners

Subject: Hello from LA


Hey Bro,


It got dark at four o’clock today. There might be something to your gravitational pull theory. It started snowing today around ten in the morning. By the time there was a quarter inch on the roads people were sliding all over the place, wrecks everywhere. Even those with the big fancy SUVs couldn’t stay on the road. They have never driven in it and were scared to death. They should have just stayed home.


Our energy usage ordinance has been tightened like a hangman’s noose. With the exception of refrigerators, no electricity can be used between the hours of 8 am and 6 pm and 10 pm and 5 am in residential areas. This includes central heating. I’ve got two gas heaters and a surplus of gas. I have my heavy-duty sleeping bag and extra blankets. I keep myself stocked up on snack foods, which have gone up in price. Meat is out of this world expensive, and produce is nowhere to be found. I’m also stocked up on batteries for flashlights and lanterns. I actually have a library card now and read at night. The only thing I watch on TV anymore is the news. Sounds like there’s a new breadbasket down around the equator somewhere and there might be a fight to see who controls it. Just what we need, another war.


Tell Kate and the girls hi for me. Give them my love.


Julia


Reply  Forward




Austin Conners                                                                       09/29/3002

To: Julia Conners

Reply: Hello from LA


Hey Julia,


3:30 pm. That’s the time the sun went down today. Never have I ever known it to go down that early. It’s been snowing for three days now. We got our first snowfall on the last day of August. It hasn’t gotten warm enough for it to melt, so it accumulates one snowfall on top of another. We’re almost to three feet.


Emma has been sick for a week now. She hasn’t been able to keep down any food. Where I was working closed for good. Farming is no longer possible in this part of the world. So, I had to find a doctor who would see her for free while we get government assistance approved. I found one doctor who would see her. All he said was to keep her hydrated. Easier said than done. Kate is worried we are going to lose her. I reassure her that we won’t, but I fear that myself. She’s pale and thin, very weak.


I spend my days hunting, sometimes coming home empty handed. When I do get something, it looks emaciated. A lot of soups and stews have graced our tables. We are all looking a little thin, but we’re not starving. I keep replenishing the wood every evening. I think we burn more than I can cut. We no longer have power restrictions because the grid ran dry earlier this month. The whole county is out of electricity. I still have gas in the tank for the tractors and the generator. Once this snow lets up, I’m going to see if some of these commercial lots will let me plow for a little money in the pocket.


I’m glad to hear that you are safe, warm, and healthy.


Love ya,

Austin


Reply  Forward




Austin Conners                                                                        10/31/3002

To: Julia Conners

Subject: Happy Halloween


Hey sis,


Hope you’re doing alright. Daylight’s Savings Time is just a couple days away. Can you imagine the sun going down at 2 pm? Snow update: we are at four and a half feet. Light flurries right now. Yeah, snowshoes weren’t something that sprang to mind when I was trying to prepare for this. I did manage to make a pair out of plywood out in the shop. They help. I found a doe that died from the cold, and I wouldn’t have been able to drag her back without them. She’ll give us meat for a while.


My idea to plow snow fell through. With no electricity, no one is opening their businesses. Things were switched to solar fifty years ago. Nobody has been mining coal. Gas reserves aren’t what they used to be. Buildings aren’t equipped for either of those options anyway. So, I guess there is no need to make money if there is nowhere to spend money. I guess I could order online as long as I have gas for the generator, but that will only last so long.


I guess you figured out we didn’t lose Emma. She still cannot hold down solid food, so she is on a liquid diet that has given her some strength and all her coloring back. She was playing with her sister today, but she tires out easily. She definitely has a vitamin D deficiency. We all do. We’re lethargic, not as healthy as we once were, and Kate goes through depression. Times are hard, but we are pulling through them together.


Wish you were here,

Austin


Reply  Forward




Julia Conners                                                                             11/14/3002

To: Austin Conners

Reply: Happy Halloween


I was robbed! I’m still freaking out. I came home from work and my door was busted open. They took my heater, my sleeping bag and blankets, batteries, flashlights, food, and tore the place upside down looking for God knows what. The cops say it is doubtful that they will ever catch whoever done it, and even more unlikely that I will get my stuff back. I’m at a hotel tonight. Tomorrow I’ll buy more stuff and have new locks put in, but I’m hoping that maybe I can come stay with you for a week over Thanksgiving. Would that be okay?


Love,

Julia


Reply  Forward




Austin Conners                                                                        11/26/3002

To: Julia Conners

Reply: Happy Halloween


Hey sis,


Thank God you weren’t home and you’re safe. I’m telling you; this is another reason to leave the city and come stay with us permanently. That sort of thing doesn’t happen out here. Yes, we would love to have you if you can still make it.


Love ya,

Austin


Reply  Forward




Kathryn Conners                                                                     12/31/3002

To: Julia Conners

Subject:


Your brother is dead. Our home was invaded. He tried to fight them off and drive them away but there were too many. Austin took a bullet to the heart and died instantly. They took over the house for three weeks, enjoying its warmth, eating our food, slapping around my girls, and taking their turns with me. When the food was gone, they moved on. I recognized one from around town. He lives in that trailer park outside of town about two miles down the road. The sheriff says those boys will spend the rest of their days behind bars for what they have done, but I don’t feel like that is justice enough.


There’s going to be a funeral in a few days for Austin if you can make it. If you do, I want you to take me and the girls back with you. I cannot stay here any longer. The nightmare of the past month is bad enough, but I can’t hunt or chop wood. The snow is up to my waist. I have no way to support and protect these girls alone. Please, I’m begging you. Get us out of here.


Love,

Kate


Reply  Forward




Julia Conners                                                                           01/03/3003

To: Kathryn Conners

Reply:


Kate,


My heart is broken. I don’t know what to say other than I’m on the next flight out. I wish I would have checked my emails sooner, or that the cell towers were still operational, because I curse myself for missing Austin’s funeral.


LA is turning into another Anchorage. There is no electricity here. Most people have moved out of the city and those who have stayed are unseemly. I was about to take Austin up on his offer to move in with you guys when I got your news. What would you say to selling the farm and moving to southern Florida? I know it’s not the same Florida it was a year ago, but it might be a good place for us four girls to start over. I hear they haven’t gotten a flake of snow all winter in Miami. What do you say?


Love,

Julia


Reply  Forward




Kathryn Conners                                                                    01/04/3003

To: Julia Conners

Reply:


Julia,


That sounds like what we need. Let’s discuss the details when you get here. You’ve given me hope. Thank you.


Love,

Kate


Reply  Forward

January 08, 2024 13:16

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

4 comments

Alexis Araneta
15:20 Jan 15, 2024

Oh no. :( I'm so sorry for the whole Connors family. I loved the format you used. Very imaginative. I also loved your descriptions. Amazing job with this.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Trudy Jas
17:15 Jan 14, 2024

Well thought out. Beautifully told. A painful glimpse into a bleak future.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Anna W
20:53 Jan 09, 2024

Oof, a bleak picture of a future without the sun. the format of telling this story through email was so interesting! Thanks for sharing this story, Ty!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Michelle Oliver
08:09 Jan 09, 2024

What a horrible prediction of the future. Your story is told so well through email messages. The terse almost emotionless retelling of facts punched home the horror of the situation. I get the impression now, that nowhere is safe. Thanks for sharing this dystopian story.

Reply

Show 0 replies

Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in the Reedsy Book Editor. 100% free.