Now that my short story has been printed and published I figured it’s about time to share it on here! I hope you like it
“Quickly Alessia! You don’t have time to pack – we have to go!” my mother yelled. I hate it when she yells.
I wipe the beads of sweat from my forehead onto my sleeve which was still slightly damp from the reminisce of my previous wipe.
I roll onto my toes to grab the final tin from the back of the cupboard. Mushy peas. Great. My hopes of surviving the next couple of days rely on various goods including baked beans, kidney beans, coconut milk and… mushy peas.
“Alessia!” my mother snaps.
“Mother!” I snap back.
“We have to go!”
“Go where mum? Where are we going to go?”
“The city… for pickups” she said full of false hope.
“Right yes, the British government are really coming to the rescue, they couldn’t even leave the EU! You seriously think they would be able escape the end of the world?”
I look to my mother who was now staring at me blankly. I could see that all the purpose and importance had drained from her. She no longer had authority and power over me, she no longer had a routine or ambitions for the future. All she could do was pray that someone, and apparently that someone was the government, was coming to save us. Life was no longer as we knew it. It’s from that realisation that I predicted why her eyes began to glisten and her blinking speed to increased significantly.
I fill up a final water bottle and put it in my 65-litre hiking rucksack and hand my mother one for hers, which I had also packed.
“Let’s go” I said hiding a groan, bending my knees as I bounce the rucksack onto my back.
Everyone else in Edinburgh seemed to have the same idea as my mother. The whole of the Royal Mile was crowded full of anxious people awaiting further advice and instruction. We had all received the same message about an hour ago: Evacuate. It is time to go: the end has come.
I watch the hysteria increase and resonate throughout the crowd. We all knew it but chose to ignore it. No help was coming. We are on our own.
I reassuringly squeeze my mother’s hand and I look her straight in the eye. I wait for her to focus on mine and I say to her seriously and calmly; “we should head north.”
“Alessia. We should wait. They might come.” Then with some final hope she said with a weird mix of excited doubt, “the government might issue some more advice?”
“What’s left of the government you mean?” I said
“That’s not helpful. They might have cars, or lorries, or… or something. They can take us to safety”
I haven’t seen cars since I was a little girl, probably about eight years ago. They had all been destroyed in a final attempt to save the planet. Everyone had ignored the pleas to reduce transport-based emissions so the enviro party issued a law for all cars to be destroyed and their parts recycled. The importation of diesel and petrol were also prohibited. But it was too late, for the last eight years climate change just continued to increase rapidly. Winter became unimaginable and summer became hotter than ever.
Six months ago, Australia’s wildfires became so extreme and uncontrollably that it is believed that it reached all over the country. Everything burnt down to nothing. But there has been no communication since it first started and it is assumed that its because either that it all got destroyed or that everyone is dead, or both.
Europe was next, the storm is said to be as damaging as a hurricane and as frightening as the World War II bombings. The storm has brought about a new sort of oxygen compound that contains too many toxins, sort of like the smog in the early twentieth-century. No one knows for sure, it’s all speculation, but those who have gotten near it have died. And now this smoggy air cloud was heading for England and Scotland.
It’s been four months since America was flooded and submerged, thought to be the result of the final polar ice caps melting.
“Let’s get the bikes” I say. “The bikes, Mum. We can get as far north as possible and then when we hear that the storm has it the Channel Islands and then Cornwall, we can head up nice and high in the hills and hope for clean oxygen up there”
“But help might be coming” she protests
“Who is coming to help us? The government? The Russians? No. And if they do, where are they going to take everyone? The whole world is collapsing. Nowhere is safe”
“Alessia, we have to hope”
“I’m trying Mum. I’m hoping there is hope in the mountains. I’m hoping we can make it that far. I’m hoping there we can find a bothy or use the tent I packed and ration ourselves on what we have with us- ”, even if that is mushy peas, I think, “-for as long as possible and hopefully make it through the next few days”
“But what if help does come, and we miss it?”
“There is no help!” I yell causing the stirring of the anxious people in front of us to panic even more. I continue regardless; “When are you going to get it into your head that no one is coming to pick us up in a space ship and take us to another planet.” I pause, waiting for her to listen properly. “We are stuck in the mess of humanity’s own destruction”
I pull on my mums’ hand and drag her silently back to what was once our house and there I pull out the bikes from the garage.
After one final glance back at Edinburgh, I put my hand on Mum’s shoulder and try to reassure that we are doing the right thing: “There is no planet B Mum”.