Author: Bob Freeman
It was always 10:43
His classy watch, each beat synched with the atomic clock in Colorado, was stuck.
Scientists warned about the hole in the sun, the X-class magnetic burst.
No one paid attention.
“But the flaming telegraph wires in the mid-1800’s!”
He didn’t remember the ancient Morse code he learned in his youth and saw no reason to worry.
The electric car purchased to help the environment didn’t know Morse code either.
The couple lived a few miles from town, not off the grid, but at the far end of services in their quiet retreat, a nice place for retirement.
Now it was quieter, with no power and only a wood stove for heat and cooking.
Water came from a nearby creek, schlepped up the hill, filtered, and boiled to remove the residue of their upstream neighbors and their failing septic tanks.
They were more fortunate than most, still young enough to handle the rough living, and reasonably healthy for their ages.
Solar power was an option, but the north-facing hill and installation cost never made it from their to-do list to to-done. They could get by with batteries and an emergency, hand-cranked radio. A gas generator would have been nice, but gas needed electricity to pump and distribute.
Promises of power and normalcy could be years away. Until then, the options were to move into town and find a cold, tiny apartment or tough it out with the surrounding forest community.
The scientists chimed in. “It was a 500-year solar event,” conveniently forgetting how to do math.
Earth’s dominant species would do as they always do, wait for the disaster to peak, pick up the pieces, and start over. The couple would wait until age, infirmity, or boredom forced them to leave. After all, they had at least another 300 years, more or less, to prepare.