Yes, It Happened
Sometime in the Near Future
A blazing flash lit up my home office followed instantly by a distant, wall-shaking explosion. “Holy shit!” I leaped from my chair and hurried to the window. Everything on the street seemed normal, until my eyes lifted to the horizon. A huge mushroom cloud rose over Washington DC. “Oh, my God.” I mumbled in disbelief.
It could’ve been a Hiroshima photo--a slender stem and an angry bubbling cap. “Oh my God.” I mumbled loudly again. While the Capital stood twenty-plus miles from our Virginia home, my wife, Martha, would be at her K Street office finishing her second coffee.
Staring at the towering cloud of horror, questions raced through my speechless mind. Martha? Our kids? War? With whom? Why? Washington DC nuked? My heart pounded; my mind exploded. This can’t be. I needed answers.
I headed to the kitchen TV. Nothing but snow on the local channels. I tried CNN. A pale newscaster held a phone tightly to his ear, the other hand covering the mouthpiece while speaking softly to the camera. “We’re getting reports that a nuclear bomb has been detonated in Washington DC. We’re trying to get more information.” His voice crackling in disbelief.
“No!” I yelled at the screen while digging my cell out my pocket. No service. I grabbed the landline and punched in Martha’s number. Silence. I called our kid’s school. A busy signal. What to do? Get the kids? What about Martha? I thought, as I looked at the distant mushrooming cloud. Maybe she got to an underground bunker? There must’ve been a warning. Who did this? I turned back to the TV. The announcer continued pressing the phone to his ear, listening.
Then a pounding on my door along with the familiar voice of a condo neighbor. “Augustus, you there?”
I raced to open it. Phil’s terrified eyes locked on mine. “Someone nuked Washington! I can’t believe it.”
“I can’t. . . . I don’t know. I need. . . .” Words tumbled from my lips, broken and fragmented, much like the new reality outside the window.
CNN interrupted us, the announcer’s voice shrill and panicked. “It’s been confirmed that Washington DC has been struck by a nuclear weapon, maybe two of them. The strongest part of the blast hit just south of the Capitol, but everything, we think, within a ten-mile radius of the White House has been completely obliterated. We’re predicting death tolls in the hundreds of thousands. As of yet, we have no information regarding who could have done this. And there