Sunday, February 3, 2013

Remember That Story?

It's a long while ago now, but back in June-Julyish last year I posted about my conversion to reading on my new Kindle. On a similar literary theme, the PS of the post mentioned a 500-word story competition I entered at a similar time with the first line "Dad was flabbergasted when he heard the news", which was run by the children's books section of the Guardian newspaper. However, I couldn't publish for reasons concerning the story being elsewhere on that pesky ol' web. But I was quite proud of my entry, even though its theme, the possible end of the world, was not as topical back then!

So anyway, while I was in Sri Lanka, I read a very curious and helpful follower's comment on that post. They said, "so give us the story then!!". I had completely forgotten about the contest  (which I sadly lost to a very annoying, in my opinion, story about a girl stealing jewellery from a beach or something), but I vowed to tell you guys the story when I got back home and didn't have any elephants, monasteries or New Years to blog about. But now the results have been announced and my yarn is free to be published on this site. So here it is. And it is 500 words, I promise, count if you want. And I made a conscious decision to change the colour to differentiate between it and my normal blogging.

Dad was flabbergasted when I told him the news. And, to be absolutely honest, you can’t blame him really. I felt exactly the same way when the morning radio was cruelly interrupted by the strange voice. It was a beautiful yet supercilious female tone, reminiscent of the authoritative commands aliens hear through hi-tech communication devices in sci-fi movies. But all thought of heavenly cinema afternoons was thwarted when I heard what this mysterious woman had to say:
“People of the Universe, I, representing the official masters of fate, announce that, after many conferences with the supreme masters of every aspect of life, a unanimous decision has been made to return the Earth to how it naturally was. All life forms will end life in approximately 24 hours 46 minutes. Thank you for your cooperation.”
Dad’s immediate reaction when we heard the rerun was to blame me. Typical.
“Cassandra Perry, what were you thinking? Recording ridiculous speeches like this and wasting your father’s time! I should never have got you that voice recorder!”
“Dad, no. There really was a weird lady talking about the world ending. Honest.” I said unconvincingly. 
“Fine, then,” Dad replied, slightly sarcastically. “What d’you suppose we do, Miss-I-Live-In-Fantasy-World-So-Trust-Me-On-This-One-Perry?”
"Run away.” I said, as persuasively as possible. “Far away. Major disasters happen in thriving metropolises, and nowhere else.” I must point out that although I said that so cleverly, the core facts were mostly gleaned from alien movies. Given the situation, they seemed the best thing to trust.
“Alright. But don’t blame me if it all turns out to be a waste of time.”
News spreads like wildfire, and soon the extended family was coming on our Great Expedition. Mum’s Notorious Panics were in full swing, and Dad was hastily assuring her that “It was all Cassandra’s idea”. My little sister Naomi was shouting from upstairs:
“Cass, can I take the television?” 
“Don’t be silly, Naomi! Where would we plug it in?” I replied. 
And there was still trekking through the woods to come. The packing was calm in comparison. Naomi was constantly complaining of feet “literally falling off”, non-outdoorsy aunts stumbled over pinecones, my fashion-crazy cousin had torn her best jeans and Dad was sighing with dramatic discontent. I seemed to be the only one who got anything out of it. But the revelation I did eventually have benefited everyone:
“Dad, none of us is really having a great time. We’ll all die in a matter of hours, we must enjoy life while we can.”
Dad stared in disbelief, but the moment was short-lived. Soon everyone around us had heard the new edition of my Brilliant Idea and was nodding vigorously.
So here we are, with 23 minutes left. But it’s been a great five hours. We’ve relaxed, chatted to one another, had a last visit to our favourite places and, best of all, haven’t had to suffer Naomi’s pestering. Maybe it’s sunk in now. Would you rather exert yourself or enjoy yourself for your final hours?

Oh, and by the way, here's a funny cartoon I found while randomly searching the end of the world on Google Images (note: This image is not mine). 

-DP :)

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