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Rated: E · Short Story · Nature · #1761038
Robbie reveals the truth to his mother.
Flash fiction.

Prompt: I wouldn’t have believed it even if my own mother had told me!

WC: 500

"For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.” Matthew 24:7

I stepped through the doorway of my townhouse for the last time, the place I called home for ten years. I gave a backward glance and walked away, not bothering to shut the door. There was no reason to. I knew I would never return.

I drove west through the gray dawn, leaving Cambridge and my tenure at MIT. Most of the faculty and students had already left, joining the mass exodus out of the city.

Three days and several rest stops after leaving Massachusetts; I arrived at Rugby, North Dakota. A thick dust was blowing in from the southern plains, mixing with volcanic ash, creating a farraginous cloud that draped over the city, turning the day into night. In the dimness, mothers clutched babies close to their sides, while holding hand-drawn signs that read: ‘The End Is Near’. Ragged men shouted from the street corners, “I’ll work for food.”

I turned north, leaving the deplorable, over-crowded conditions of Rugby behind me. I wondered. Just how safe is the center of North America.

When I arrived at my parent’s diary farm; I was overwhelmed by sadness. The green pastures and cows were gone, victims of the 2011 worldwide drought. My father’s orchard consisted of blackened trunks with leafless tentacles dangling in death throes.

I entered my childhood home, my house of refuge, and found my mother sitting in a rocker reading her bible.

She looked up. “Robbie, you’re home.”

We hugged and I wiped away her tears. “Where’s, Dad?” I asked.

She nodded toward a bedroom. I couldn’t believe the sight I saw lying on the bed. My robust, active father was now a sick and broken man. I wouldn’t have believed it even if my own mother had told me! She didn’t need to explain. Dad’s expressionless face said it all. He had given up hope.

Later, Mom and I sat on the porch.

Normally, the autumn air would have been inviting, brisk, but comforting. The heat was unbearable, the stagnant air hung like a blanket of dense smog. Mom finally asked me the dreaded question.

“What’s happening, Robbie?”

“Things are changing far below the earth’s surface, Mom.”

It broke my heart when I saw the helpless look on her face. My mother, the bravest of women, a true believer with an unbending faith in God, was frightened.

“Well, Mom.” I hesitated, undecided whether to be truthful or lie. I chose the truth.

“According to my research, we will experience an apocalyptic winter solstice in December. Solar activity will influence earth like it’s never done before in recorded history. Earth’s crust will crumble and disintegrate.”

She held my hand in hers and we prayed.

Overhead, the Aurora Borealis danced across the black sky and now and then, the ground would heave and shudder and the old house groaned, sending a message of impending doom.

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