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Rated: E · Short Story · Sci-fi · #2087209
Following a nuclear holocaust, is it ever safe to go outside? A Dialogue 500 Entry
The Meltdown

“Why keep staring at that screen, Scott? After two years, nothing has changed.”

“The snow has stopped. It’s probably safe to go out.”

“Good. We’re running out of milk. Why don’t you stop by the 7-11 … Oh, wait, there’s no 7-11 or any stores!”

“We’ll have to go out sometime or risk turning into Morlocks1.”

“We prepared for five years for a reason.”

“Yeah. That was our credit card limit.”

“That’s my point! If there was life out there, trust me, someone would be banging on the doors looking for payment.”

“Look, Grace. We knew we couldn’t stay in here forever. It’s time to see our brave new world.”

“To what end? We’re safe here.”

“From what? We don’t know what’s out there.”

“There’s been no radio …”

“… because the EMP fried all the electronics.”

“NO! Maybe in a year …”

“Grace, honey. The days of playing it safe melted away with everything else. It’s not going to get any better than it is. While I’ll admit that curiosity brought our species out of the trees and took us along a path that led to this calamity, it’s also what continues to drive us.”

“Curiosity killed the cat.”

“No, it was our own stupidity and our inability to conquer hate.”

“Please. Not the Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live speech.”

“No, dear. Not this time. I understand your fear since it mirrors mine. I just don’t think that it can rule our actions. The worst has happened and we’ve survived. Now, it’s time to live.”

“You snuck your little speech in anyway, didn’t you.”


“Why now, though?”

“Why not? Besides, I’ll be in constant contact. The walkie-talkies were protected and should work.”

“I still think it’s a bad idea, but go on.”

“Can you hear me?”

“Yes, Scott. Be careful!”

“I’m opening the outer door. Wow!”

“What do you see.”

“Birds! They’re big, deformed … and I’m just kidding you. They look normal.”

“You son-of-a …”

“Don’t talk bad about my mother. If it wasn’t for her paranoia in the 50’s, we wouldn’t have had this shelter. It just looks like a winter’s day. It’s actually … beautiful.”

“What about the town?”

“Nothing but piles of rubble.”

“Okay. Your curiosity is satisfied. Come back in.”

“One moment. Grace, check out the monitor.”

“What is that?”

“It’s a snowman! I built it just for you.”

“Really? You are crazy!”

“Not at all. I did it for science, too.”

“What kind of science needs a snowman?”

“We’ll know it’s time to come out for good when it melts. A meltdown tooketh and now a meltdown will giveth.”

“You are nuts!”

“Maybe. Okay I’m heading back in. Dig out that bottle of wine we’ve been saving. I think it’s time to celebrate.”

“Don’t be too long or there may not be any left.”

“You always knew how to motivate me!”

“And Scott …”


“There’s only enough wine for two. Leave Frosty outside!”

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An entry for "The Dialogue 500
Prompt: You and your spouse have survived a nuclear holocaust in your bomb shelter and you discuss leaving its safety to investigate outside.

1 Morlocks ~ a humanoid species, created by H.G. Wells, which is descended from humans, particularly low-class underground machine operators. They are subterranean, and prefer dark.

Word Limit: 500
Word Count: 499

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