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Dystopia: A Short Story

Updated: Dec 12, 2019

by Sara Parker


The day all humanity over age 21 disappeared was the day the world fell into chaos. The older generation tried to take command, teens and young children tried to enjoy their newfound freedom, but mostly everyone was just scared. Those who could, flocked to the cities. That’s where the resources were. Money wasn’t important anymore. Power and survival were coveted. Sadie was there when it happened, a brief moment when every circuit in the world seemingly shorted for a second. Afterward, every person over age 21 was gone.

Everyone remembers where they were on that day. For Sadie, she had been working after school as a waitress. A smart looking diner for the smartly dressed businessman would probably be a good way to describe it. Sadie was quick with her job. No standing around for her. The customers always had something more important to rush off to. None would choose to speak to the 17-year old waitress who had as much experience at a desk job as a kindergartener just learning to read.


The kitchen was always hot. Sadie was used to it though. She had always been proud of knowing how to traverse around all the movements of the cooks and other servers. It was a wholesome feeling, one that she took pride in. The dining area was much more stark and cold, with quiet strangers who just wanted to get their food and leave. Which is what it felt like when everyone was gone.


Everything went black. Pitch black. Then came the quiet. When the lights flickered back to life, the world seemed to have paused. Other servers around Sadie’s age, or maybe a few years older, were standing around an empty room. Except for one customer, a toddler crying in a high chair. An older co-worker, who was working as a restaurant host to make his way through college, quickly snatched up the child and cradled him until he stopped crying. That was when Sadie’s mind shot to her younger brother, barely nine, and all alone. No one knew it yet, but the disappearances would soon take the whole city down with it.


The power was out again throughout the whole city. Sadie hadn’t seen an adult yet since the power first went out and it worried her. Once she was safe in her mother’s apartment with her younger brother, Taylor, she called up Cody, her best friend and close confidant. He met them at the front door in less than 15 minutes. For the next 12 hours, that was where they stayed, holed up in the apartment waiting for help to arrive. To their dismay, it never came.

It didn’t take too long to decipher what had happened. Internet was down, children wandered the streets of the city, everyone was confused, and there wasn’t an adult in sight. No one knew how it occurred, that was a problem for later. At the moment, the most important task at hand was how to get food. At least that’s what Sadie concluded.


“I’ve always wondered what it would feel like to have kids rule the world. I still haven’t decided if it’s a good thing yet,” Cody pondered.


“That’s the problem!” Sadie exclaimed, “People are going to start to figure out what’s going on. And where’s the first place they’re going to go?”


Realization dawned on Cody. The city was a perfect place to go. It was where all the resources were.


“We need to get outta here.”


A plan was set in motion. Cody had grown up flying airplanes with his father. Their family was obsessed. Cody had always known that flying was for him as well. He dreamed more than anyone else and was so focused on the future of his flying career that he was only a week away from testing out of high school, so close to escape. Maybe this was his chance, his chance to see the world. If he was being honest with himself, he saw this strange occurrence as a perfect escape.


It was a race to the airport. No planes were leaving at that time, of course. Those that were supposed to come never came. Taylor cried. Sadie wept silently for the few that never made it to the ground. Cody was the one with the positive attitude. He encouraged them to move on. He and Sadie had determined that they were to move south, away from San Francisco, where it was warm and the winters are not as harsh. The Rockies were too much of an obstacle, and Northern California was much too cold. Sadie wasn’t as big of a fan of the plan as Cody was.


“South means Los Angeles,” she tried to reason. Cody wasn’t having it. They were sitting ducks on the eerily quiet asphalt. They had driven all the way to a small little airplane, where Cody began unbuckling the straps that lashed the wings to the ground.


“We have to get out of here first before we think about anything else.” At that, the city lit up.

It was on fire. The fire, they would later learn, was caused by a group of rowdy children playing around an electrical plant. To the small group, however, this was terrifying. Cody rushed Taylor into the backseat, and went on to perform the quickest and most thorough preflight he had ever known. Settled in the pilot’s seat, he went over charts briefly with Sadie. She had seen them before and was somewhat familiar; hopefully, she would have an idea of where they were going. They left in the dead of night, a fire raging behind them, headed south blindly and in a daze.

📷

Nina was a mother before the rest of the adults disappeared, in a sense anyway. She was always the one looking after the younger children while the adults were busy. At 19, she was in between. She still didn’t think of herself as grown up. She could never be, it wasn’t in her likeness. It was why she loved her island, American Samoa. She was originally from America, but her ancestors were Polynesian. She moved there when she was very young, and could barely remember her old home in Washington.


She first got the call in the middle of the night. She had made a sanctuary for wandering children who didn’t have any siblings to care for them at an abandoned radio tower. A camp was set up and a lookout for the older kids was stationed there for protection. That was where Nina got a transmission from the mainland, a plane requesting to land and take up shelter on the island in exchange for supplies. She desperately wanted to say “no,” heaven knows they didn’t need anyone extra on the small island, but they also needed material for survival. She knew she had to agree, but was nervous to tell anyone else for fear of judgment, and with tensions high, judgment could mean death.

📷

It’s funny to be the ruler of a whole continent but to be the only person on it. That was Sanjay’s thought process anyway. To be the only human heart beating at the bottom of the world was a thought he wanted to avoid. He laughed to himself. He could do whatever he wanted. His mind wandered to his parents. When they first arrived, he had proclaimed that he desired a pet penguin. That desire was turned down quickly. Sanjay smiled at the thought.

Both of his parents had been scientists. His mother was American and his father was Indian. They met doing research on climate change, studying the effect of ocean temperature change in Australia. That was where Sanjay had grown up for the most part. They bounced back and forth from India and America later in his life. He only kept in touch with one of his friends, a boy from America who continued to send letters despite Sanjay’s strange situation.

There was still no doubt, Antarctica was amazing. Sanjay had some crazy experiences in the land down south in the main port closest to Chile. He could do just about anything he wanted and never felt like he was closed off. A favorite pastime was to play himself off as a cool and suave character that looked Indian, spoke English, but acted like an Australian. He couldn’t help to worry, though. He was running low on food and more importantly mental stability. This eventually led him to call someone he hadn’t seen in years, another boy his age, on a frequency only to be used for emergencies.

📷

Cody got the emergency call the morning the three of them, Sadie, Taylor and himself were to leave for American Samoa. A kid Cody hadn’t heard from in about a year was now on the radio with him.


“Sanjay, weird to hear from you man, how have you been holding up?” Cody was at a loss for words. What do you say to an old friend contacting you during the apocalypse?


“I’ve been better, but hey, I’ve got a whole continent to myself,” his voice was tired, as if he’d just run a marathon, but was trying to cover it up.


A light flicked on in Cody’s mind. Sanjay didn’t have anyone. And worse, he was probably close to death’s door, or insanity, whichever came first. “Hey I don’t know if I can help you man, but what do you need?”


“I need to get out, Cody. I’m in the middle of nowhere. Get a coast guard ship, plane, satellite, something! I don't want to die down here...” Cody could hear light sobbing on the other end while Sanjay repeatedly whispered the same phrase, “I don't want to die down here.”


The next moment, Cody shook Sadie. She bolted up, startled. Cody spoke quickly, “Sadie I need you to do something, and I know I’m asking a lot, but I need you to get a ship down to Antarctica to get my friend, Sanjay.”


Sadie, awake for only a second, sprung into action. “This is Sanjay, Your American/Indian/Australian friend? I thought you haven’t heard from him in like a year.”


“Sadie, listen, he needs help.”


“You’ll have to take Taylor to American Samoa, I’ll get your friend.”


It sounded crazy, all of it. To have come this far, to be flying across the ocean racked Cody’s nerves. To leave Sadie with an impossible task, but she knew she could do it. She had to or else Sanjay would disappear with his parents. This was it, the real test. She would travel for months, meet others in similar situations, nothing quite as radical, maybe some who didn’t make it, those who cracked under the pressure. She would track down an old coast guard ship and press on towards Antarctica, to find Sanjay barely a shell of himself. He finally exclaimed when she found him.


“Welcome to my continent, our export is ice,” he smiled jokingly. His voice cracked, and chapped lips broke into a smile. It was nice to see another person for the first time in what seemed like forever. Despite never meeting all Sadie could do was hug him, and she knew they were going to be okay.

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