I wrote this piece a little while ago, I didn’t like it when I first read it back but now I kind of do, so I thought I’d share. It seems apocalypse fiction has been on my mind lately, as I wrote my Wall piece and shared that last week! Let me know what you think in the comments below:
David Isle was a man who liked to be prepared. In fact, back before the EMP, he was what was formerly known as a ‘prepper’. But David Isle also had a tendency to brag and he liked to tell everyone he knew about his ‘fail safe’ plan, for when society crumbled and those things we take for granted now, such as electricity and clean water, ceased to exist. To most, David sounded insane, but he wasn’t wrong.
He’d lean in to whoever sat close enough down at the local and explain in detail how his kitchen cupboard was stacked floor to ceiling with tinned goods that would last him years, that he had one room dedicated to dry food in his house, how he always bought an extra pack of toilet rolls when he went to the supermarket and that he had a special device that could take all the impurities out of dirty water.
What David Isle didn’t realise though, was that while those listening to him would roll their eyes and call him a nut job when he went off on a long spiel about his self-sustaining vegetable patch on his kitchen window sill – which consisted of lettuces curated from the off-cuts of shop bought ones and a tomato plant that he’d kept alive for three years – they actually remembered everything he said when the EMP hit.
Once they were over the initial shock of never being able to tweet about going for brunch again or share funny cat videos with each other on Facebook, they quickly marched round to ‘crazy Dave’s’ house and demanded he help them out.
Three days after all the electronic devices died, when trains ground to a halt and airplanes fell from the sky like sick metal birds, the supermarket shelves were empty. The local newsagent had never been so popular, as people in desperation rushed into those small shops up and down the country to purchase everything they could get their hands on, even those three month out of date flapjacks you usually find on the shop counter.
David Isle had underestimated just how many people he’d divulged his plan to and all those long forgotten friends and family members from over the years crawled out of the woodwork when they ran out of toilet paper.
Society crumbled completely in two weeks, people were rummaging in dustbins, looting shops on the high street (yes, even the electronic retailers, carrying out 40 inch plasma TVs that would never work again) and breaking into homes to attack those inside and take their belongings. David had a plan though, and while his lawn filled up with angry people who wanted to take his tins of beans from him, he hid behind a shield of iron and locks.
Bars on the windows, installed back in 2004 when he had first read about a Government plan for a zombie apocalypse, prevented intruders from simply smashing the glass and getting in – although one guy did spend a whole day with a hacksaw trying to make an entrance until he finally gave up. And a double front door, the one on the inside being a metal design, stopped people from entering that way too.
Everyone in the neighbourhood knew what David had been doing for the past 15 years and they wanted a piece of it.
“Dave! My son has nothing to eat!” one woman cried through the letterbox for three days. Her voice was muffled by the metal door but Dave could still hear her and he sat in his armchair, clenching his jaw wishing she’d go away, without even being able to play his favourite artist Phil Collins on the highest volume to drown her out. He’d warned everyone about this. Hadn’t he? They knew something was coming and he’d told them to prep but they hadn’t listened.
He considered handing out some items when their cries got too loud but he was always afraid that if he opened the door he’d be overpowered and all his hard work would be taken away from him.
It wasn’t until he heard them on the roof that he thought perhaps he should have learnt to share.