Chapter One The End Begins
Tuesday was day five of our vacation. We’d arrived at our cottage outside of Killarney Ireland, it was everything we had hoped for, and we were finally getting use to the time change. Being early risers in the states was finally translating to Ireland. It was just a few minutes after 7 am and both Erin and I were ready for the short drive to the cafe.
When one is on vacation they don’t turn on the TV and they don’t look for a local radio station in the car on a short drive. Traffic was unusually light though. Yesterday we’d headed for the cafe an hour or so later and there were plenty of cars on the road ahead of us, but today driving on the wrong side of the road was much easier. Parking was a snap too. We managed to pull into a street spot just few spaces up from the Lir Cafe in Killarney.
The day before I’d waited in line for 10 minutes to get a decent coffee. The people at Lir Cafe were pretty nice. Today no one was in line, and the few people inside were gathered around a TV close to the ceiling in the back of the room. There was a news cast on I could tell, but this was vacation I didn’t much care. My only annoyance now was that the barista was watching the news and not making her way back to the counter to get my order. Erin took a chair near the window and was glancing out towards Muckross.
Finally the barista noticed me. The look on her face though. Wow; that was some kind of look I thought. She was in near tears. Did their president die or something I wondered? She walked slowly towards me behind the counter. I’m so sorry, she said. That’s ok I replied. I figured she was sorry for taking her time to get back to my order. You are from America right, she asked? Yes I said. She applied a Catholic like cross gesture across her chest, then looked back to the TV and said, so very sorry sir, we’ll pray for your friends and family.
This is that moment in a time when your hair kind of stands up on the back of your neck. You get a sinking feeling in your gut. There is clearly something going on you don’t fully understand. That was hitting me like a brick right now, and I didn’t get it. I looked over at Erin who was still enjoying a beautiful blue sky out. Then I glanced back to the TV and saw an older gentlemen turn towards me and walk towards me. The girl, he said looking at the barista, said you are from the States? I said yes. He looked down at the floor. He was local I could tell by his voice, and he looked back up and said, really sorry. This is the worst day ever. He placed his hand on my shoulder, it was an endearing gesture not hostile. We’ll pray for you sir, he said. What’s happened I asked?
Oh my God, the barista cried out quietly, you haven’t heard? No I was getting anxious what happened? Oh my Lord, the man said, your country son, your country has been destroyed overnight. What I said? The man turned back to the six or so people under the TV. Flip it to the emergency channel for the statement he blurted out. This man’s from America he needs to see the statement. His hand still on my shoulder, he looked back at me, and said they have a 60 second repeating statement on the government station. Someone on reached up and flipped the channel. I didn’t hear the last few words as we walked up to the TV. The audio went dead, and then he said here it come, and a simple newscaster began talking.
At 4 am Dublin time and midnight on the east coast of the United States nuclear detonations occurred across the country. Prior to this the United States suffered a complete power blackout believed to be done by a computer hack. The nuclear detonations happened simultaneously and have blanketed the entire country. Irish and British military services tell us there were no signs of missiles and suggestions are the weapons were inside the United States when detonated. They were not dropped or launched. Parts of Canada and Northern Mexico are impacted and fall out is not expected to be a concern for the Islands and mainland Europe. By all appearances no place in America’s mainland was left untouched. Similar explosions have happened on Hawaiian Islands and populated areas of Alaska. Defense minister reports are also noting nuclear explosions have occurred in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. They are reporting these explosions occurred in areas where it was believed American Naval fleets operated. There is also reports of fighting at military installations in the Middle East where Americans are stationed. Government officials in Ireland are declaring a national emergency and urging all businesses to close and all personnel to return to their homes.
The message stopped, and then began to repeat. Very sorry, again the man said, and my heart was so loud I could hear each beat. I turned to look at my wife who was looking back at me with a hint of concern on her face. I was uncertain what to tell her. My life was flashing before me. The regular news cast came on and reported violence in Berlin and Norway. The reporter didn’t say at military bases or what but said American forces appear to be the target.
Thank you, I said to the small group of people, all were guiet. I walked back towards my wife. What is it, she asked, is it another 9-11? It’s worse I said. What happened she said, looking back to the TV. Sit down I said. She followed my request. The US has been attacked by nuclear weapons. The country we know, our home, our lives, its all upside down. They say the entire country has been hit. They said the weapons blanketed the US. They also said our navy has been attacked on the oceans. There is fighting going on at US military bases. Erin, I said, we have to make some quick decisions.
Chapter Two is Here
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