The Flash. Short Story.

So writing stuff down is supposed to be a good way to get your thoughts in order and I really need to get them all in order because what I’m thinking makes no sense but it feels right. It sounds crazy, I know. I’ve no proof but I know I’m right. I know I sound just like every other screaming lunatic out there, but this is different.

Ok so it’s about one hundred and eighty days since the Flash. Wait, I should explain the Flash, shouldn’t I? In case you’re the only person who never heard of it. Or maybe you’re reading this in the future and the Flash is just some weird little footnote in history. Well, I guess if this is the future then I’m wrong. Unless, after everyone who was here first goes on and then everything here just disappears. Poof. Wait. I’m getting distracted. This is starting to feel a little disjointed. I’m going to start again.

The Flash occurred at 12.01 P.M GMT on the 23rd of October, 2016, everyone saw it. A bright, blinding flash that lasted what seemed only a second. It didn’t matter where you were or what you were doing, you saw the flash. If you were asleep, you were jolted awake, if you were in an office with no windows it looked like the lights exploded, but everything was fine. No broken glass, no injuries, no radiation. No one had any explanation for what the Flash was. The only thing we knew was that everyone had seen it. It was big news for the first few days, then it died off until it became nothing but throwbacks or fluff pieces. “Was the Flash caused by ALIENS!?” “12 things you did after the Flash” “Recreate the flash in your very own home for only 129.99, great for parties!”

Most people just moved on with their daily lives, including me, I mean, what else were we supposed to do? All the talk of terrorists and nuclear war, everyone thought that it was an attack, or it signalled one. But nothing ever came of it. At least not yet. The world moved on. No one really noticed, not even I noticed until I looked back at stuff, but the talk of terrorism and war kind of died down afterwards. I can’t say it for sure or not, but I think it was because everyone saw the Flash and knew with complete and utter certainty that they were going to die and there was nothing they could do about it. That kind of feeling is intense, I’m sure you’re all aware. I think it put things in perspective for a lot of people. Of course you have your cults, worshipping the flash as a sign of a deity come to earth, or believing that it was aliens or something. I don’t think it was aliens, I don’t think it was a god. I think it was all out nuclear war. I think that I and everyone else here, is dead.

I know. I know how absolutely batshit crazy that is. Just, finish reading and think about what I’m going to say.

First of all, someone in your life is gone. It’s happened to everyone and ok, it happens all the time, but don’t you think it seems a little odd? Sure, some people moved away and lost touch, but more often than not they were big parts of your life before, not just acquaintances that could drift away. Some have simple gone missing, this is mostly true with minors, those who couldn’t just simply move away, those who needed an explination for why and where they were going. The others, well they always moved away without any real fanfare, a few tearful goodbyes and they were gone, never heard from again. You think of them every so often. Not much, usually just a fleeting idea that you should call them, but you never do. I’m sure that at the holidays you’ll send them a card, maybe even receive them in return, but if you ever actually try to call them they will never answer, if you try to write they don’t reply. It’s not just them either. Then there’s the third kind, the ones that have an all out blow up. They start some petty argument that definitely does not seem petty at the time. Then, before you know it, everything has spiralled out of control and they never want to see or speak to you again.

I have talked to people and it has always been one of those. Dissapearance, fade away, or relationship ruining argument. I think those people, the ones that disappeared and never came back. I think that they were the ones who survived the attacks.

The first time I realised something was wrong was when Christy came back. Christy was my best friends fiancée. She dumped him, spectacularly, I mean the full ten yards. Destroyed his car, burned his clothes, even let his dogs out as she was leaving. Bitch.

I, like everyone else had been shocked. She had always been a nice, level headed girl, not prone to big freak outs. She was always lovely to everyone. Whatever, she was obviously hiding some severe issues. We brought him out, we got him drunk, I remember this bit very well, he even went home with a smoking hot brunette. I know this for a fact. I know because he was staying with me for a while and the next morning I cooked breakfast for them both and I made sure he got the bonus points for the cooking.

Two weeks later everything was back to normal. I woke up one day and Frank wasn’t in my apartment, the spare room was empty. I assumed he slipped out during the night and moved home or something like that. No big deal. Then I met up with him for lunch a day or two later and ask him how he’s doing. He looked at me then, a little weirdly, and told me he was great, why? Now, obviously he didn’t want to talk about it, so I didn’t pry. A few minutes into the conversation he mentions the upcoming marriage. I tried to gently remind him what had happened, but he was incredulous, then angry. I figured maybe he just got back with her and was embarrassed by the whole thing, that he just wanted to forget about it. I couldn’t though, I remember how much of a wreck he was and I didn’t want him to go through that again. I rang all our friends, thinking that we should have some kind of intervention or something, but none of them remembered the break up either. Eventually it was passed off as some weird dream and it was easier just to go along with it. But I didn’t forget. I started paying attention. As time went on people started showing up in lives again the reason that they left was forgotten about entirely or just glossed over and life moved on like nothing had happened. I think we are the originals, those wiped out first in the blasts and the ones who return, they survived initially but died later due to sickness or radiation or starvation.

Now, this all sounds crazy, but the next thing, well, everyone can try it and see for themselves. This will prove it to you. Are you hungry? No, just think about it. Don’t think about the big lunch you just had, don’t think about the snack you were reaching for, just stop and think. Are you actually hungry, at all? I wasn’t. I realised after I had to work through lunch to get some work done, when I finally clocked out I headed for the nearest sandwich place because I knew I was starving. Every time I worked through lunch I went to this place and I always went straight there without deviation, I needed something, anything to fill the gnawing hole in my stomach. I was walking there when I stopped at the lights. While there I remembered that I had left some files sitting out on my desk and they were supposed to be put away. I ran back to the office, I didn’t want to get reamed out the next morning. I put everything away, sighed, yawned, then went and got the bus home.

At about nine I realised I hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast and that I had completely forgotten to get my sandwhich. I knew I should have been hungry, but I just wasn’t. I had a small snack, expecting to wake my stomach up and then find myself needing to eat everything in sight, but it didn’t happen. I didn’t feel any better, I didn’t feel any worse. I just figured I was stressed.

The next morning I was running late for work so I skipped breakfast, I worked through lunch again and found that I wasn’t hungry. At all. Sure, I could eat if I wanted to, but those signals, the ones telling you to stop and refuel just weren’t going off. So I stopped eating. Just to see how long it would last. I didn’t eat for a month. I didn’t lose weight, I didn’t feel sick or pass out. I was fine. I stopped drinking water after week one. No ill effects.

At the end of the month I was getting truly afraid, so I ate some food. It didn’t hurt, my stomach didn’t groan for more, I didn’t throw up. I gave myself a few days of eating to be sure I was fine, then I headed to a buffet. I filled plate after plate and not once did I feel full. I still didn’t feel hungry, but no matter how much food I ate, I was fine. I knew, knew that I should be throwing up from eating too much or just shitting my brains out, I knew there simply wasn’t space in my stomach for the fifteenth plate, but it never happened. I reached twenty five plates before I stopped. Each one filled to the brim with everything on offer.

I don’t know what we’re supposed to do here, just live out our lives? Perhaps this is Heaven or some kind of protective feature of our minds. I think we all died six months ago, I think that flash was from the bombs dropping, from our lives being ripped away from us. I think that each and everyone one of us is dead. I don’t know what it means, I don’t know why, I just know I’m right.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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