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It's The End Of The World

as we know it

By A.N.TiptonPublished 2 years ago 8 min read
It's The End Of The World
Photo by Sanjay Ajayan on Unsplash

Anya looked over at her younger brother, Jude, as he slept. A small shiver of moonlight lent enough light to dimly see his face. Dirt marred his peaceful cheeks, highlighting how innocent he looked. He was only ten years old, and may the Forgotten Gods help her, because she struggled trying to keep him innocent in the desolate world they now inhabited. It was an impossible feat these days. They say that disaster brought out the good in people, the coming together in community. Anya wondered where those people were right now?

A lone howl in the distance echoed over the barren land, as she huddled in the lean-to they constructed out of junk, broken boards, and dusty cardboard boxes. From the outside, it looked like a bunch of miscellaneous junk. The inside held enough space for her and her brother to lie down and sit up. Jude stirred, a whimper escaping his tired body. Anya placed her hand on his back, making soothing sounds. The bones of his spine greeted her hand as her stomach clenched in pain, crying out for sustenance. She forced herself to ignore the pain. She only had one stale breakfast bar and a half canteen of water left. She was going to have to go out and forage for food. It was a tiring balance of making sure she was healthy enough to keep Jude healthy and alive.

Who thought that at eighteen she’d be a single mother to a ten-year-old in a world destroyed by the greed of men? Not Anya. She’d sometimes imagine herself graduating high school, going to prom, and finally dating Tommy Burks, the bad-boy, basketball star at her old high school. She imagined getting manicures and pedicures, going with friends to get overpriced, over sweetened coffee, and fighting with her mom about curfew. Now she was dirty, tired, hungry and responsible for her brother. Her lifeline. Her purpose. She clasped the heart-shaped locket, a Mother’s Day gift from Jude and her to their mother, who had in turn placed it in her hand before she forced them into the bunker. There wasn’t enough room for her mom, and the group almost didn’t take Anya and Jude, but her mom and begged and pleaded, desperate tears rolling down her face.

“My locket for good luck, by the Forgotten Gods, may it keep you safe. Take care of your brother, Anya. Remember, I’ll always love you. Be strong. Be brave. I believe in you,” she had whispered fiercely through her tears and stepped back as the door was shut and locked. The people were crammed in the bunker like sardines. Later, they heard the horrifying sound of the storm. It sounded like nothing Anya had ever heard, like the world was screaming in pain and rage as the world as they knew it, ended. Or was at least forever changed.

They existed in that bunker for days on end, wondering if there were other survivors. Others did survive. The dregs of humanity, Anya thought. They stayed as long as they could with the people from the bunker, but in the end, safety disappeared there, too. Anya didn't like to think about that.

Ironically, the enemy didn’t use nuclear bombs. No, they used a messed-up version of Mother Nature. Weather Warfare, they called it. It seemed that the various governments had been toying with technology that controlled the weather, to help global warming, they said. But they ended up using it for war. Go figure, humanity. Sending random fires to forested places, killing the trees and wildlife, pushing people out of their homes. Disastrous hurricanes and tsunamis along the coast lines. Massive tornados over the flat lands. Massive earthquakes, tumbling cities to rubble. Killing millions. Destroying everything their path.

Mother Nature was not a happy camper, Anya mused. She retaliated with her own backlash of storms, tsunamis and heatwaves. Probably because humans were nothing but a metastasized cancer to her, spreading too fast and needing to be eradicated. Anya didn’t blame Mother Nature, not really. Humanity really did a number on her. And now the world was demolished into rubble, electricity and supplies scarce. The remaining of humanity forced to turn to scavengers, fighting for scraps.

Sometimes at night, like this one, Anya secretly wished that she hadn’t made it. What was the purpose of living, when your life became a daily struggle of survival? What future could she possible give her little brother that wasn’t full of war and strife?

Jude whimpered again, which almost covered the sound of muffled footsteps outside. Anya tensed, grabbing her military knife out of her pants pocket from an army surplus store she had found. The shelves had been practically bare, but luck saved her this knife, barely sticking out from under a bottom shelf. Jude shifted again and she shook him awake, covering his mouth. He stiffened as his wide eyes shot to Anya’s. She put her finger over her mouth, telling him to be silent. He nodded and stayed still.

“There’s not much out here, just a bunch of junk,” a gruff masculine voice said in quiet tones, but seemed loud in Anya’s ears.

“There might be something useful in all of this,” another man’s voice said, and this one seemed younger.

Another howl whipped through the deserted landscape.

“That one sounded close,” Mr. Gruff said.

“Damn feral dogs,” the other cursed.

Anya and Jude didn’t move a muscle as she saw Jude’s chest rise and fall in a faster cadence. She placed a calming hand on him, gripping the knife in the other. And she prayed, to the Forgotten Gods who abandoned humanity in its last days, that they wouldn’t be found. Nothing good came of being found. She didn’t want to become a breeder, or a slave. And they would take Jude and force him into one of the militias. It seemed the depravity of humanity had worsened in the aftermath of the forced natural disasters.

“Woman,” the older one quietly barked. “Come gather some of these metal scraps.”

Anya heard the others rummage through the junk. She shrank back quietly, trying to cover her and Jude under some cardboard. The lean-to moved and they froze. The scraping of metal hit Anya’s ears as a bigger shaft of moonlight entered their hidey hole. Anya’s hand hurt around the grip of the knife, her body tensing as flight or fight adrenaline flooded her bloodstream. Everything became crystal clear, time slowing. A pair of sunken, pale green eyes peered in the hole, widening slightly at the sight of Anya. The woman’s shock turned to fear, the same fear Anya was feeling. The woman went to speak just as Jude shifted. Her eyes flicked to him, and her mouth shut. There was something so melancholy and broken in the woman's eyes. She had lost someone, perhaps a son. All three were in a state of frozen shock, just waiting for the hammer to fall.

“You find something?” the younger male called out.

Anya could see the thoughts behind the pale green eyes, weighing their choice of speaking out or maintaining silence. Anya’s eyes didn’t deviate from the woman’s as they came back to Anya. Time slowed down to seconds, no milliseconds, as their fate rested on a stranger’s voice. The woman blinked, the decision made, as a sense of resilience and a little rebellion unfolded in her pale green eyes.

“Nah, just more garbage,” she said, her voice coming out meek. But her eyes, they held another story. A story of survival, and things that could never be unseen.

“Well hurry up, woman, we don’t got all night,” the gruff one cursed.

Anya mouthed the words, Thank you. The woman glanced at Jude again, as if to say, it’s because of him, as she carefully and quietly moved the metal back into place, covering Anya and Jude in total darkness. They huddled in the dark silently for hours, ears attuned to every sound. The trio didn’t tarry long, collecting a few odds and ends, Anya guessed. Her instinct was to get up and move right after the strangers left, but she forced herself to stay in hiding. She broke off a third of the breakfast bar and gave it to Jude, telling him to take three small sips of water from the canteen.

He pointed at her, eyes narrowed. She broke off just a nibble of the bar to eat and took a single sip of the tepid, stale water to appease him. She pretended it was the raspberry sparkling water her mother would buy for them.

There was no sleep for Anya and Jude that night. They'd have to find a new hiding spot. Even though the woman stayed silent, Anya learned not to trust others the hard way. She gripped the heart-shaped locket, stealing strength and courage from the inanimate object. She focused on her one purpose. To keep Jude safe, to keep him protected, whatever the cost. Just like her mom did for them.

Small pinpricks of light pierced inside the lean-to at random spots indicating the sun was rising. It was already warm inside, letting Anya know that today was going to be another scorcher. She gathered their things in the worn knapsack as she peered out of the makeshift entrance. Something on the ground caught her eye. It was a word, scratched in a spot of dirt.


Anya’s heart jumped at the one word, and she had no doubt who scratched the words in the baked ground. Anya kissed her mother’s locket, thankful for the good luck it brought, as she scrubbed the words away.

“Time to go, bud,” she told Jude and they ran.

To where, Anya didn’t know.

Writing Dystopian was new for me. I needed some inspiration, so here's a little playlist that helped me get into the mood.

Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed and please Heart or Share - Tips Optional ;) For more of my work, click here.

© 2021 A. N. Tipton

Short Story

About the Creator


I am a Writer, a Lover of Books, a Mother & an Usui Reiki Master who loves to read & write & all things Universal. Words move me, inform me, inspire me.

Find me at Twitter: @iambeauty111

© 2023 A. N. Tipton

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