Tag Archives: apocalypse

The Submariner’s Dream

Let me tell you the account of trying to bring light to a Friday Fictioneers story this week. I had an idea I liked and wrote the story this evening. It came out to 119 words and I couldn’t reduce it without sacrificing vital parts of the story. So I wrote another one, which I liked even better. That one came out at 128 words and again, I didn’t want to sacrifice any of it. So I wrote a third story, which luckily came out to 100 words. That’s the one below, but if you want to read the other two, I’m going to post them on my blog tomorrow and Saturday. This week’s picture is thanks to Claire Fuller, the author of the award-winning novel, Our Endless Numbered Days.

copyright Claire Fuller

copyright Claire Fuller

The Submariner’s Dream

I dream the alarms sounded. I ran to battle stations, shoving past fear-sweating men in claustrophobic hallways.

I dream they waited for me at the missile room door. I had the keys. Buttons were pushed, codes entered, access granted: all perfect protocol.

I dream the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine” lilted around us as we shot our world-ending payload out into the frosty Arctic night, leaving us empty, spent.

I awake, feeling hollow. I go to the bridge.

“Any contact yet?”

The captain shakes his head, despair in his eyes.

I take two more pills and sleep.

I dream the alarms sounded . . .

5 Annoying Things About the Apocalypse

copyright Joe Owens

copyright Joe Owens

It was the end of the world in a few hours. Yep, no doubt about it. The news had confirmed it and they were never wrong. Half the population was cowering and the other half was making fun of it or partying.

She clicked on a comedy site link: 5 Annoying Things about the Apocalypse.

  1. We’re never going to be able to make a movie about this.
  1. We’ll never be able to eat up all the canned beans in our fallout shelter in time.
  1. Game of Thrones will never, ever be finished.
  1. Bruce Willis really dropped the ball on this one.
  1. Despite all our pop culture about the apocalypse, absolutely no one saw this coming.

Cassandra looked sadly over at her sandwich board lying by the door, The End is Nigh scrawled in her spidery handwriting. She opened up her blog where the last entry: WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE! sat with no comments and no likes. It had been posted a week before the news of the monster asteroid had been announced.

The phone rang. “Hey Cassandra, let’s go out with a bang!” her friend said. “A group of us are going over to the bar to get drunk.”

“It’ll be closed,” Cassandra said.

“No it won’t. Come on!” Her friend hung up.


Day 219 – Friday Fictioneers

copyright Douglas M. MacIlroy

copyright Douglas M. MacIlroy

Day 219

My iPad is a telescope, turned backwards: the world tiny, but terrifyingly clear. 

It’s a biology experiment, they say. But of course they wouldn’t tell me if it were psychological.

Most websites are blocked except CNN and BBC. Suspicious.

Horror constantly splashes across my screen. The sudden economic collapse and ensuing conflicts. The European epidemic killing millions. Famine, War, Pestilence.


I can leave this cave anytime. The blinking green button winks at me seductively.

I want to end this madness and go outside and see it was all just a test. But I’m afraid it’s not, so I stay.


Private Darkness

Private Darkness

Felicity prided herself on her unflappability, and yet she was still shocked, one night, to see the moon being eaten away slowly, as if a gargantuan turtle were nibbling on the lettuce leaf that was the lunar disc.

“The moon is disappearing!” she screamed.

“It looks the same to me,” a passerby said, glancing up. “Full moon tonight.”

No one else say it. They insisted the moon was full even as Felicity watched the last silver sliver disappear from view. She watched the stars go dark as God’s spilled inkbottle continued gobbling up the sky.

The next day, the sun did not rise. The streetlights went off at their normal time and Felicity groped her way to work, using her phone as a flashlight. People eyed her strangely as they strode by.

From then on, she lived in a world of darkness and time became only a number on her watch. She began only going out at night, when artificial lights were lit. One evening, she was walking to the store when she heard someone scream, “The moon! It’s disappearing!”

Felicity smiled. It may be the end of the world, but at least she wasn’t crazy.

“Anything is bearable, when one does not have to endure it alone.”   – R.W. Guy

Apocalypse Climb

This is a true story, as evidenced by the photographs. But you know me: I can’t help dramatizing things a little.

Apocalypse Climb

I saw a preview of the apocalypse this past weekend as masses of humanity pressed together, fighting to ascend (and then descend) a steep, rain-soaked path of tumbled rocks. The horror, the horror…

Apocalypse Climb

Koreans love them some mountain climbing and they love them some autumn colors. And considering that everyone loves them some weekend, going mountain climbing on a Saturday in Korea in the fall is like a perfect storm, especially in the rain.

The sky was overcast when I left the house in the morning. I couldn’t find my umbrella, but I had a magic talisman that prevented rain. At least, it rarely rained when I was carrying it and I believe strongly in the principle that correlation implies causation.

I got to the mountain (which is also a provincial park) and as the bus passed long lines of cars parked along the side of the road, my heart sank like a bowling ball in a banana souffle. It was, as the Chinese say, a mountain of people, a sea of people. If zombie hordes wore expensive hiking gear and preyed on autumn leaves, I would have been in a George Romero film.

The rain started as a fine mist about halfway up the mountain. By the time I got to the park’s famed Cloud Bridge, the path had bottlenecked and so we all stood in the rain, shuffling forward at a snail’s pace until I finally reached the bridge. I looked down at the path 250 feet below me and saw the winding, ant-like column of hikers abandoning the mountain.

I saw a sign saying the maximum number of people on the bridge was 200. Not that anyone was counting.

I saw a sign saying the maximum number of people on the bridge was 200. Not that anyone was counting.

I gave up the idea of going to the peak. A cloud had sat on the mountain as if it were snuggling into an easy chair and after the bridge was a treacherous metal stairway, over 200 feet high and as steep as a ladder. I wasn’t the only one who decided to cut the trip short and head for the cable car station nearby for a quick trip to the bottom. The trails were choked with sodden hikers, some with expensive cameras, jewelry and nice purses, all picking their way down the slick rocks. I felt like we were refugees from some disaster.

Apocalypse Climb

The group on the left are the ones who climbed under a railing and swarmed down the rocks to cut in line on the main path.

“All it takes is one person to slip…” I kept thinking.

There was a two-hour wait for the cable car, nowhere to sit and nowhere particularly warm. At least the view was pretty.

Apocalypse Climb

I got home four hours later and soon the apocalypse was only a distant memory. It’s amazing what a hot shower can cure.

Apocalypse Climb

Gotterdammerung – Friday Fictioneers

copyright Jan Wayne Fields

copyright Jan Wayne Fields


We couldn’t face New York City sober, so out came the last of the whiskey and we danced a frenzied, forgetful dance on the deck of the last fishing boat in the Atlantic.

Around 6am, the boat entered the Narrows, the AI effortlessly navigating the spidery, rust corpse of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

Belle crawled to the railing and peered ahead into the darkness. “There’s hope, right? Deep down in the subway system. People could survive.”

I nodded, took another drink.

The sun rose and Belle suddenly laughed and pointed. “She’s still there, torch held high. There’s still hope after all.”

Why it’s bad to destroy the earth

At the end of the previous story, the planet Earth was left stuck in the headlight of a Galacto-class Starhopper. This was not an ideal situation, by anyone’s standards. The planet had stopped spinning and so one side was being blasted with the light of a thousand suns, while the other side languished in the inky darkness of deep space. It was safe to say that no one was happy.

Many people were still alive, however. Against all probability, the atmosphere was hanging onto the planet like a leech. People huddled in their houses as the most horrendous and random weather erupted all over the globe. Torrential rains, followed by howling winds, snowstorms, hailstorms, and a whole Zeus-tantrum of lightning afflicted every country. And yet still, in America, mail carriers fought their way along their routes, grimly muttering under their breath, “Neither snow nor rain nor planetary destruction…”

Spinning the Earth

On a much larger scale of existence, Groxhhelin the Prosaic and his cousin, Bob the Normally Unpronounceable were sneaking the Galacto-class Starhopper back into Groxhhelin’s father’s space hanger. Joyriding a vehicle that could use a solar system as a go-kart track was exhilarating unless you got caught. Then it was suicidal, and not in a quick, painless way either. Groxhhelin probably would not have even dared if he had known the sort of mood his father was in.

Groxhhelin’s father was called Blyz the Round and Furious and he was both of those attributes to an astonishing degree. At the moment when Groxhhelin and his cousin Bob were quietly locking the door to the space hanger, Blyz was screaming and storming around his laboratory like a jilted tornado. There was a glitch in his system—there had to be. He had looked through the Ultra-scope but the planet that he was studying was not there. The readout said it was the right place, but . . . no planet. Empty space greeted his gaze. Blyz the Round and Furious did not like setbacks. And just as he always did when he needed someone to vent at, he called his son.

Groxhhelin and Bob came into the lab a few minutes later. If Blyz had not been so preoccupied, he would have seen immediately that the two boys were trying to hide something.

“What’s up, Dad?” Groxhhelin asked.

“The planet I’m studying isn’t where it’s supposed to be,” Blyz said. “Now, juggle.” He tossed several beakers and a microscope to his son. Groxhhelin was an expert juggler and anytime Blyz felt sad or just brain-smashingly angry, he got Groxhhelin to juggle for him. It was his regular form of therapy.

“We hit some planets today,” Bob said. Groxhhelin kicked him, but it was too late. Blyz was glowering at them.

“What do you mean, you hit planets? Did you take the Starhopper out?”

“Yes,” Bob said before Groxhhelin could stop him.

“I told you never to touch that!” Blyz screamed. He started opening drawers, cupboards, and cages all around the room.

“Aw, come on, Dad. I don’t want to get sweaty,” Groxhhelin said, but it was too late. Blyz started tossing things at him: an office chair, a rabid weasel, a lit Bunsen burner, and a handful of sand, just for good measure.

“Now, where did you go in the Starhopper? Did you go near system 4302.2?”

Groxhhelin was sweaty and panting, trying to keep everything in the air and unharmed. “I . . . I don’t know really, but—okay, okay, we went there,” he added quickly as Blyz lit a welding torch and got ready to throw it towards him. “We hit a couple planets and had to use their sun as fuel to get back. Sorry.”

Up went the welding torch and a half dozen pieces of lab furniture. Blyz accidentally threw in a jar of Evapo-Rub as well. It hit the flame of the welding torch, melted and sprayed all over, causing the other objects Groxhhelin was juggling to be pulled out of existence in a sudden thunderclap. There was a sudden, awkward silence.

“It cracked the headlight,” Bob said from underneath the workbench where he was cowering. “It might still be in there.”

“It’d better be, for your sake,” Blyz said.

Several minutes later, the three of them were in the hover-cart, floating in front of the huge headlight of the Starhopper. There was a hole in the middle of the light and something dark inside.

“It’s so small,” Bob said. “I could use it as a soccer ball.”

“I’ve been studying this planet for twenty years,” Blyz said. “It has something amazing and utterly unique in the universe. We need to be extremely careful getting it out. Go get that bucket over there.”

“What is so special about this planet?” Bob asked. He got the bucket and held it for Blyz.

“These people eat a lot and have thousands of different kinds of food,” Blyz said. “Now, carefully.” He reached in and pulled out the planet Earth as gingerly as he could. His finger smashed Mount Everest down to a small hill and his other palm crushed the entire Amazon rainforest. He set the planet down into the bucket.

“But we have hundreds of different foods too,” Groxhhelin said.

“No, your mother just puts it in different colored bowls and tells you it’s different,” Blyz said. “In reality, we have three foods: regular gruel, extra calorie gruel, and gruel-light, for when we’re just feeling peckish. People on this little planet though . . . I’ve been studying them for years and barely know anything about their foods. We could learn so much from them. I’ll show you what I mean.”

They walked back to the lab and Blyz pulled a round flat thing out of a side compartment. “This is what is called pizza,” he said.

Bob took a bite of it. “It’s just gruel.”

“But it’s flat gruel,” Blyz said. “And round. Anyway, this is just my first attempt. We need to get this planet back into space before it dies.”

“We used up their sun,” Bob said, in case anyone had forgotten. He was absentmindedly dribbling the Earth back and forth with his feet. Blyz hit him on the head with a microscope.

Groxhhelin and Bob were given the task of putting the much-abused planet back into space, preferably in a place where the inhabitants would not all instantly freeze or burn to death. It was not that Blyz trusted them in the least, but more that he was deathly afraid of going out into space. So, after several hours of detailing every grotesque punishment he would inflict on them if they failed, he wished them luck and sent them out.

Blyz had selected a system that had a similar sized sun and room for another planet. Groxhhelin drove the Starhopper (with permission this time) out and carefully maneuvered Earth into place.

“It’s not spinning,” Bob said. “Should it be spinning?”

“Hold on, I’m still fine-tuning it.” Groxhhelin had his tongue out, a sure sign he was concentrating. He reached out with a robotic arm, grabbed a continental shelf and gave the planet a spin.

“Now it’s going too fast. Every day will be five seconds long,” Bob said.

Groxhhelin punched him for being annoying and they had a bit of a tussle for a while, but eventually they got it pretty well sorted out and headed for home, buzzing a few black holes on the way.

*         *         *

Miraculously, there were still some survivors on Earth and they did not freeze or burn up in their new location. It truly was a whole new world though. All the stars were different and astronomers got right to work making up new constellations and thinking up names for the nearby planets.

As well, since Groxhhelin never got it totally right, every day now had 35 hours in it, which was perfect for all the people who complained that there were never enough hours in the day. Earth’s productivity went through the roof, as did its party culture, which could now party for fifteen hours straight every night. The year turned out to be about 1000 days long now as well. This meant that the life expectancy was now about 30 of the new years, but it took three times longer to get there. People now started school at two, got married around ten and retired around twenty. Senior citizens could say they were still young, even as they hobbled around with walkers and talked about the good old days of a decade before. And so everyone (at least the survivors) were happy.

On a side note, Blyz never did figure out how to make any actual different foods, but he did write a cookbook called 1001 ways to Disguise Gruel. And so, he too was relatively less furious.


Just grin and bear it awhile :)

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