One Long Sunday – Short Story

The fan moved the still air, around the bunker. Since the crash of 2025, air had become a precious commodity. The irony of the wind generator running the fan in the bunker to circulate the stale air wasn’t wasted on Harper.

The problem was the air that turned the wind turbine wasn’t worth breathing. Since the world had destroyed itself, the atmosphere contained chemicals. Chemicals that even the most robust living organism couldn’t survive.

Still, the filtration machine cleaned the air and the fan circulated it throughout. The air smelt stale and it was always hot, but breathing it couldn’t kill you.

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Everyone else in the bunker had died, Harper was the only one left. She wasn’t even sure anymore how long she had been there. She knew she came in as a teenager and now her hair was greying. Her Mumma had gone grey in her 40’s, which put the year at approximately 2050.

One year ago her last mum died, that day she stumbled on the journals. Hidden at the back of the bunker in the storage hut. Twenty separate journals detailing the end of the earth. Detailing where humanity had gone so wrong. Her mum an avid writer, had kept meticulous notes.

Harper had trouble remembering, the lead up to the great crash. She was a teenager, too busy with the latest make up craze, than what was happening in the world. Her mum’s had told her some of it, the journals filled in the gaps.

Harper was unsure when exactly the destruction of humanity started. First, the earth and its creatures suffered. Rubbish piled up everywhere, even in the oceans, the marine life died. Territory battles started over the seas and the last remaining fish. These increased as civilians took to the streets to protest their governments’ inadequacies. Governments voted for by the people, were doing exactly what they wanted.

The military was stretched in two directions. Fighting the civilians they were born to protect. Whilst, fighting the other countries over the ocean occupation. Neither battle was won and millions perished. Shot with the bullets their taxes paid for or starved to death. The final crash came when a mad businessman, put in charge of the USA, pushed the red button on his final day in office. His last fuck you to everyone that opposed him.

The three of them had only just made the bunker in time before the bombs landed. Then the wind that powered the turbines destroyed the rest of humanity and planet earth. A small proportion survived in bunkers like these, but Harper had no idea how many and where they were.

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Not that the journals were all doom and gloom, some detailed how her parents had met. How against all odds they had fallen in love and had her. One journal titled the seed guy, detailed the other half of her genetics. She had burnt it without even reading it. She had two amazing parents, genetics meant nothing to Harper.

The last journal her Mumma had written, detailing parts of the story from her perspective. Not being able to deal with the death of her soul mate, she succumbed five years later to a broken heart.

Life had been good, her parents had told her stories. Re-enacted films for her, made her laugh. Harper’s life had been filled with laughter and love.

Sunday’s before the crash has always been her favourite day. The three of them shut up indoors having fun. Harper’s life had been one long Sunday, no work, just her and her parents.

Harper was brought out of the journal by the silence. Silence what did that mean? The fan had stopped. The background music of her life had ceased. She stumbled down the corridor to try and see what had happened, as the lights went out.

Mumma had taught her how to fix things. Always the practical parent. Her mum had preferred to hit things with a hammer, so was always banished to the kitchen when anything broke. Mumma and her had fixed most things together. Learning on the job Mumma had said.

Rooting in the draw she found the candle and lit it. Looking at the range of dials on the panel, Harper’s heart stopped when she saw that there was no power. The turbine outside had stopped. Mumma had checked the turbine every day. Harper had found her against the dials when she died. Not being able to face the room again, Harper had forgotten to check the turbine. Everything was shutting down as the year of reserve power was gone.

The realisation hit her immediately, she would need to open the hatch and go outside. After all this time she needed to enter the world. What was the worse that could happen? She would join her parents again.

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Collecting a few belongings and her favourite diary she made for the door. Releasing the latches she pushed open the door. Taking what could have been her last breath, she stepped out.

Harper coughed, her senses were on fire. The air smelled sweet and clean. There was no wind. The turbine stopped turning because the winds had gone. Five minutes later Harper realised she was still alive, the air was clean. The wind had blown the chemicals away. Everywhere she looked sparks of life were beginning.

Seedlings were sprouting as they had in the bunkers Polly tunnel. Life was starting again on earth. As Harper strode out, determined to find others, her mind went back to the last lines in Mumma’s journal.

One day sweet girl you will need to leave here and go out into the world. Don’t be sad, you will take us with you in your heart wherever you go. Then, sweet girl, it will be your turn to find your soul mate. We love you.

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