Created Sat Jan 27 03:18:40 UTC 2024 by Amelia Bjornsdottir (she, they, he)
I wonder what it’s like to live in range of a nuclear explosion that somehow damaged nothing on the ground and didn’t directly kill anyone either, but sent out radiation and fallout, and possibly an EMP so some computers are broken or functioning weirdly (Ethernet broken, exempli gratia). Nobody sheltered in place, which struck you as odd. Everyone around you tells you you’re nuts for scrubbing your potatoes, when they never did before. Everyone tells you the meat is fine, but you’ve geigered the sheep and they’re spicy, and you’ve gone vegan despite being an antivegan, because of the rads in the meat and milk. You’re crazy for wearing a respirator, Eamon, knock it off. There’s no dust anywhere. You cut your lawn turf up and put it in a leaden box until it decays and you can maybe consider using it. Mercifully, your compost pile is fine, so you spread that and grow crops in that. Nobody stops you. What a silly drgn, cutting up its lawn like that to find “cold” soil, whatever he means by that. But you’re gonna be a very skinny dragon in a year, because 0.1 acre isn’t enough for one woman for one year. Don’t be stupid, they tell you. Don’t be stupid. Meanwhile, your geiger counter is buzzing (because you replaced the speaker with a buzzer to avoid alerting the normality police) like you’re in the fireball itself. You feel more or less fine, you suppose, but that’s only because you’ve been wearing the respirator, and your leaden togs, and filtering your home air, and it’s still hotter than it used to be, and you suppose your little half dementia syndrome is related to that.
Meanwhile, hospitals are overloaded with casualties of chronic radiation sickness. But everything’s fine, right?
you wish you could make them understand. You wish you could show them you aren’t insane, that there’s things they can do, if only they knew or cared they had to do them.
You only want the best for them. But they don’t care. They don’t want to care. They can’t care.
Everything goes in the decay box until you can be sure it’s safe enough.
You work on the computers your neighbors bring to you. Sometimes, the ethernet cards or wireless cards are fritzed. Most seem fine other than that. Some are actually broken. Mostly the desktops, especially if they had plastic cases. They don’t seem too fazed, even though it all happened at once, at the same time the sun got a little too bright in the hills.
You start to think you’re crazy. And then you pull out your geiger counter. It’s still ticking faster than it used to. It’s safe in your house, but you want to go the opposite direction from the fireball if you can. You figure you’re better off in town, helping people figure out that there’s been a blast.
You’re the only one taking it seriously.
It feels like a nightmare dream. But it’s reality. You’ve tried to wake up. The clocks that still work have the right time, more or less (you cannot hear WWV, which you used to be able to). The computers that still work still have the right time, again, plus minus a couple seconds.
You’re the only one who isn’t crazy. And the rads are slowly driving you crazy.
Eventually you decide to skip town, though you don’t know where you’ll go. You take some seeds with you, and you buy more at the first farm shop. You leave behind respirators, filters, and a working radio, with an illegally high power setting, and a cobbled antenna.
“You can reach me on shortwave USB or CW, or if I’m in range, VHF. I’m listening for my callsign, which is […]. Obviously the cellphones are hit and miss, and I’m not taking mine with me anyway because it doesn’t work. The thing that didn’t happen fried it. Even if I hated you before, I hope you’re going to be okay. Please wear one of these. You’re welcome to come and go. Just don’t lock the shack. I’ve planted potatoes, turnips, and shallot onions. Let some of the onions go to seed if you can. Use the meter, if it emits too much screeching clean it until it doesn’t, or discard it in the lead box. Try Mackenzie town if you want to see my face.”