The End by Madison Harvey

Journal Entry #1:

The year of 2026 was the last for the United States. Russia sent nuclear bombs on the south coast and Washington, D.C. That morning, everything changed. Most pershied, and the ones that didn’t, went into bomb shelters located miles underground.

That’s where I ended up. I have been here for 576 days 13 hours and 36 minutes….. 37 now. I was one of the lucky ones. We lived out in the country, where my deranged grandfather built an underground bunker. Originally, my great-grandfather started it, but once he passed grandpa took it over. 

There was a latch, covered with fake grass, in the middle of the old barn on the far side of the property. The stairs take a while to go down, and the door to the bunker was extremely heavy. The inside resembled a cave. The walls were slick and sharp rocks hung overhead. 

That day, grandpa didn’t survive. He went back for grandma’s ashes, and Dad locked him out. Claiming that he wouldn’t have had enough time to run back, the radiation was starting to kill the grass on the hill. 

Now, it’s just me, Mom, Dad, and my brother, Cain. The first days were hard, but over time, it got easier, and we learned to live underground.

As technology advanced, grandpa improved the bunker. He wanted us to be prepared for any possible world-ending scenario. He installed solar-powered electricity, so now, even without the sun, we have electricity, but we only use it when we really need to. Not only was there enough food to keep us alive for 20 years, but there was a garden that had a faux sun that still grew plants.

That’s what I’m in charge of, keeping the food consistent. 

I really miss meat though.

Signing off,

Bex.

Journal entry #2:

579 days.

I’ve stopped counting the minutes. I don’t think we will ever leave.

Mom says, “we have to stay here, probably for the rest of our lives, the outside world isn’t safe anymore.”

I just want to feel the sun on my face, not a solar powered lamp. I am 17 years old, and I can’t even experience what normal teens are doing. I know that somewhere in the world people are out and about, living their lives. 

Maybe sometime soon.

Bex.

Journal Entry #3:

583.

Cain broke the lamp. 

It took me a whole day to finish fixing it, I hope it didn’t affect the plants all that much.

Bex.

Journal Entry #4:

The plants are dying.

Bex.

Journal Entry #5:

601 days.

10 days since the plants started dying. None are thriving. All of them are dying, I have no clue what to do. Mom suggests ,”we don’t need to worry. We just need to remove the dead plants and plant new ones.”

Dad chimed in saying, “we might as well pull out the whole bedding and put in all new plants.”

But they don’t understand, we will be out of food in two weeks time if we pull out all the plants. I’m going to tell them.

Bex.

Journal Entry #6:

Mom and dad pulled up the bedding. They didn’t LISTEN. And now I have to plant all new seeds. It’s not possible for us to survive off of nothing. I am so aggravated at them.

Bex.

Journal Entry #7: 

616.

The calendar on the wall says it’s May 26. I bet it looks so pretty outside. The birds chirping and the flowers blowing in the wind. But inside, we are faced with no food. And yeah, you read that right. 

No food.

Mom says we will figure something out, and Dad thinks the plants would grow faster. It isn’t like they know we have nothing. I have no clue what to do. I can’t help but think this is my fault. I’m supposed to be in charge of it, and I let Cain break the main source of keeping them alive. He’s only three afterall. 

Bex.

Journal Entry #8:

I begged to go to the top. Maybe the radiation was gone and the sun was out. It might have never gone away, we just always assumed so. The history books were filled with information of what happened after a nuclear attack, and that was one part of information that didn’t have a clear answer. 

They said no of course. Even though, since we’ve been down here, we’ve never eaten a fair share, we are expected to starve. 

I guess, I’ll have to do things myself.

Bex.

Journal Entry #9

620.

I formed a plan:

  1. Wait until everyone is asleep
  2. Pack a bag with water, clothes, and a blanket
  3. Quietly make my way to the door
  4. Open and close the door swiftly. So if they hear it, they will be to afraid to open it again and get me back
  5. Go up the stairs and out the latch
  6. Live normally again

Yeah…. that last one might be pushing it.

It made me antsy all day. I know I’m safe here, but it doesn’t matter where I go, there is a large possibility I am going to die.

And I don’t want to do that down here.

It was 11:58 when I left my ‘room’. I waited to put my shoes on until I made it to the door. I never would have thought I would be leaving here again. I can’t help but feel terrified. I put on my shoes, turned the latch to the door, and pried it open. 

I heard the running of feet, but I was too far gone for them to catch me. I stayed on the stairs to sleep. I wanted to see the world in light, not darkness.

I’m finally going home.

Bex.

Journal Entry #10

Grandpa is still alive. He was in the middle of cutting wood. He always wanted to get a head start on it. He explained how the radiation was such a small amount, that it didn’t cause that much of an affect on people. He stayed inside for close to two years, just to be safe, even though the radiation would have seeped through into the house. 

There was no dead grass on the hill. I explained to him what Dad said.

“That good for nothing son, only cares about himself!” he exclaimed.

And I had to ask him the most obvious question, “why didn’t you come down and tell us the outside world was ok?”

“The latch is on the inside, I had no way of getting in,” he explained. “Why did only you come up?” he asked.

“We ran out of food. And I wanted to see the outside again, so I took the chance.”

“That’s very brave of you, Bex,” he told me.

After that, I climbed down the stairs to tell the others of what I discovered. Grandpa joined me, so they would believe me. 

 Bex.

Journal Entry #11:

781 days since the nuclear attack.

We are ok, for the most part.

Bex.

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