Prompt provided by Writer’s Digest! 500 word max. “It’s 50 years in the future, and the world is at war. Luckily, when the nuclear bombs dropped, you had a bomb shelter under your house to hide out in. When your monitors tell you it’s safe to go outside a year later, what do you find? Who is still alive? Have the plants and animals been affected by the radiation? What will you do now that the world has totally changed?”
The hatched door creaks as I push it open. A cloud of green dust flows into my once sterile bunker. I frantically begin swatting my clothes to get the soot off of me, incase it had remnants of radiation. It’s unnerving being outside for the first time in a year.
The dust settles and lying before me is a jungle of gargantuan trees. The trunks are as wide as a house and as tall as the Chrysler building. From the sounds of the bombs exploding while we were in the bunker I expected absolute decimation. Not a lush forest.
I can hear the pangs of my daughter’s feet climbing up the metal stairs of the hatch.
“Daddy! It is safe?” She asks excitedly. Before I can even answer, or stop her, she runs into the open air and spreads out her arms like a small bird. She lifts her face to the sun and closes her eyes, soaking it in. It relieves me to see that the year in confinement didn’t break her spirit.
“Easy now Lis,” I tell her. She lowers her arms and stares up at the trees.
“Dad…where did these trees come from?” She asks in amazement.
“Your guess is as good as mine, honey,” I say walking out and standing beside her. “Wait here.” The nearest tree is only ten feet from Lis and I. I approach the base and look up into its canopy of branches. It would take thousands of years for trees to grow this large. How did a forest of them show up in a year’s time?
“Dale!” My wife, Lily, calls from the top of the stairs. “Dale! The radio’s working!” Grabbing Lis by the hand we hurry back down into the bunker. We haven’t heard anything in over seven months. We thought we were alone.
“…plant life seems to have been affected by unbelievable spurts of growth. We have heard across the waves that there are now trees in North America estimating over 2,500 feet. There are forests of grass in the Europe well over 1,000 feet…” The man on the radio crackles through the speakers.
“Well, that explains a lot!” Lis says smartly. I give her a warm smile and tousle her hair with my fingers.
“It explains the constant noise up above us,” says Lily. “I’m amazed the roots didn’t break their way into the bunker!”
“…No word yet on how animal life has been affected by the radiation. Please stay within the safety of your bunkers until further notice…” The man continues. He’s interrupted by a loud clang from the top of the stairs followed by a deep growl.
We forgot to close the hatch door.