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Between the Fire and the City

by on August 24, 2015

Meg Atomic had been searching for weeks, but there was no one left to save anymore. She had tried, digging through rubble piles, crawling into shattered buildings. She hadn’t seen anyone. Not for the last time, Meg wondered if she should just hang up her cape.

She walked down the broken street towards the distant river. The city was gone, but perhaps there were survivors in the suburbs. Capes like her had never worked the suburbs. The bad guys were in the cities; everyone knew that. The Malevolent Med-Student? City. Titanium Walrus? City. The Rogue Jaywalker? Definitely city. Meg had worked the city with her family, and stayed in the city when she set out on her own. She snipped that thought off as soon as it appeared. She couldn’t think about her family. Not now.

When Meg came in sight of the river, she realized she had a problem. The bridges were gone. The wreck of a giant robot sprawled amidst one. The other was just gone. It could’ve been the Disintegration Beam, or the Kaboominator. Either way, she couldn’t get across. Meg had never learned to swim, and she wasn’t nigh-invulnerable, like her father- snip. The river was out. So the suburbs were out. She kept moving.

She passed the alley where she had saved her first person. It had been a standard mugging. The guy had wandered into a dark alley hoping to find a shortcut to a theater. Then the usual: a group of punks had emerged and threatened violence. Meg could still remember her heart going at trip-hammer pace as she dropped in and told the robbers to back off. They didn’t. She blasted them, then left them for the police. Her parents had been so- snip. Meg left the alley. No one was there now. She kept on.

Meg had forgotten the city layout. It was a mess anyway; so many streets had been torn apart, ripped up, or flung sideways. But now, she turned a corner past a pile of shattered building and stopped cold. The park. The burnt shadows where – she tried to cut it off, to walk away. But the thoughts she had been suppressing all day came rushing back. Meg saw it again.

It had been a Wednesday. Wednesdays were never lucky for Meg. The bad guys had finally figured out that they could take over the city a lot easier if they teamed up, and despite their colossal egos and psychotic personalities they had actually made the team work. They staged attacks at different points across the city, forcing her family to split up. Then, having divided, they conquered. Meg’s father, the Captain, had died with the second bridge. Her siblings had followed, one by one. It had come down to her and her mother, right here. Then it was just her. In blind tear-stricken fury, Meg Atomic had dropped the mental restraints she had worked so hard to build and unleashed the most powerful blast she could. She had taken out the bad guys. The city had gone with them. So had most of the state. The rest of the world followed later, in the chaos of muddled intelligence and terrified world leaders. Then Meg had lost contact with everyone else.

Now it was just her, Meg Atomic, standing alone in the dead ash of a vaporized park, surrounded by the city she had sworn to protect. She swiped at her face reflexively, but she had cried out a long time ago. Then she turned away.  If just one person had survived, maybe she could find them, and maybe she could apologize. There were a few areas of the city she hadn’t reached yet. Meg kept walking.


From → 8. The Megverse

  1. Oh, the ultimate making of the bed. Poor Meg Atomic!

    • Yes, and now she has to lie in it, pretty much. (Also, I’d forgotten that L’Engle had written a story about a nuclear war too, with alternate timelines and all. I may have to reread L’Engle, possibly after Brandon Sanderson.)

  2. Jennifer G. Knoblock permalink

    Bravo for the suppressed emotion in this–the repetition of “snip” is so effective. And this image: “so many streets had been torn apart, ripped up, or flung sideways.”

    p.s. your Twitter feed over there tempts me to sign up, just so I could follow you.

    • I was hoping the repetition would work. Sad isn’t usually my genre, so I was slightly out of my usual zone here.
      I’m only just new to Twitter myself; it’s an interesting place, for sure. There’s the Pope, the CIA, cats, more cats, a meteor, Weird Al…

  3. I love how you used the shot of espresso prompt. I agree with Jennifer – the repeated snip was very effective.

    • The espresso prompt just worked for me this week; I’d been thinking about something post-apocalyptic, and then I read that on FB, and away went the muse. 🙂

  4. Wow this one feels much lighter than “A better place than this”. I’m guessing Meg went incognito after the apocalypse? This is indeed pretty promising.

    • Yes, I will probably have a Dramatic Revelation post later, but suffice it to say that, for obvious reasons, by the time of “A Better Place” Meg doesn’t want to make it too obvious that she’s the one who exploded the world. 🙂

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. A Better Place Than This | Hypothetically Writing
  2. And Lightning, With Its Rapid Wrath | Hypothetically Writing
  3. Aftermath of Fire | Hypothetically Writing

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