Thursday, July 14, 2011

Entry #13

An Innocent Sun
by Bill Lapham


Mary Kate and Jane Tammerville did everything together, even before they met. They were identical twins dressed today in pony tails, tee shirts and jeans.

Barbara Tammerville, their mother and lifelong farm girl, usually called them by the same name: Marykate’n’jane, like ‘dot com’ was supposed to follow. They were driving the family car to visit their grandmother in town when they heard three shrill tones on the radio:

“This is a special broadcast on the National Emergency Broadcast Network: A solar flare has detached from the sun and is headed toward Earth. It will strike our magnetic field in eight minutes. The consequences for humanity are unknown but thought to be dire. Stay tuned to this station for details.

“Finding a deep hole to hide in will result in your baking like a potato in a microwave. Standing outside will likely fry you like an egg on a hot griddle. The odds of anybody surviving are slim. Good Luck to all.”

Mary Kate slowed the car to a stop on a dirt road. They were surrounded by farmland: corn, soybeans and cows. The sun looked innocent, high in its blue dome. They weren’t sure whether to get out of the car or stay put.

“Does this mean we’re going to die, Mary Kate?” Jane asked.

“I think so, Janie.”

Jane put her arm around her sister. They were both shaking like frightened kittens when the sky turned orange and black.

Mary Kate put her hand to the windshield.

22 comments:

Aimee Laine said...

So what happened?? I'm totally sitting here waiting for the end! I wanna know! How did they feel seeing the change, what with their long-sisterly relationship? :)

Mikki said...

A death wish for an Olson twin? ;-)

I love your twist. Twists can be difficult to incorporate, especially in so few words; you pulled your technique off seamlessly. Now you do realize this is pleading for expansion, right? I have to know what happens to that world.

Thanks for sharing!

pegjet said...

"The sun looked innocent, high in its blue dome."<--such an original way of describing the sky. Well done.

Maybe I'm a dark person, but I think this story ended where it should. Her last glimpse of life was her hand. After that, she wouldn't be; that's how I understood this story. I liked it.

Jade L Blackwater said...

Excellent details. A sad and complete portrait.

Cath Barton said...

Live together, die together. Good piece - I like the ending.

SzélsőFa said...

the ending takes us right where the inpiration photo was taken - only there wouldn't be anyone to capture that moment, neither anyone to look at that photo at all...
a great tale told well. it still rings in my head.

Precie said...

So sad...but at least they have each other, right up to the very end.

Peter Dudley said...

I generally like this very much. But the science of it is a little distracting to me. How did the authorities find out about a solar flare like that right when it happened? In any case, I like the way you've described the girls. I think you've got two interesting characters, a terrific setting with a really interesting radio guy, and a strong event. You could build a plot around this.

Aniket said...

"like ‘dot com’ was supposed to follow" cracked me up.

Nice premise here. I could be friends with the radio guy. Hell, I could be the radio guy. ;)

fairyhedgehog said...

Such a sad story! I like to think the radio guy was wrong and it doesn't end there.

bluesugarpoet said...

When a solar flare will destroy the Earth, it seems right to say whatever you want on the radio. :) Touching piece!~jana

Dottie (Tink's Place) said...

Not sure what to think...how did the radio announcer know about the baked potato or frying....yet wants them to stay tuned in with only 8 minutes to live. lol. Irony.

Dottie :)

Old Kitty said...

I find comfort that they were all together - forever. Lovely story, thanks for sharing, take care
x

mcwhittle said...

A wonderful tale in 250 words...lets your imagination carry you the rest of the way.. Excellant

Richard Levangie said...

I love how some people can tell a tale in so few words, and you did so nicely. The science guy in me knew it couldn't happen this way, but I'll usually suspend disbelief for a good story.

Thanks for sharing!

yamini said...

This piece had everything. It made me feel good about the twins, cracked me up when u mentioned the 'dotcom' thing, and then slowly it went dreary..
The ending reminded me of the starting of movie 'THOR'..

Great narration. Loved it!

Chris Allinotte said...

From your introduction, I wasn't sure how old they were at first. Then, after you mention the mother, I got confused when it was Mary Kate driving.

However - once I sorted out who was who, I really enjoyed it, and the tableau that emerges at the end is a powerful one.

Col Bury said...

Your story has all the right ingredients, Bill, and the last line captured the photo perfectly (I saw it as I read the sentence).
Good stuff.

Regards,
Col

Linda Ryan-Harper said...

I'd completely forgotten about the photo and therefore could not sense any contrivance (and I mean that in a good way). All I could think was I really ought to get busy digging an underground shelter. Because, I've read enough about disaster in the last couple of days to make me justifiably paranoid, but thankfully not War of the Worlds hysterical—yet. The writing here is tight without forfeiting the human element and the plot moved forward incredibly well.

JaneyV said...

Bill- I love the narration here. It has a real documentary feel to it. As someone who is fascinated by twins (I have them in my entry too) I love that you have captured their indentical-ness through that short description by the mother. It seems fitting that two people so connected as they entered this world should go together at the end.

Aidan Fritz said...

This has a couple spots where your sense of humor and timing are spot on (I hope you intended that otherwise, I'll feel bad at finding a dark story like this fun.) I liked the descriptions of the name & the radio signoff good luck to all.

jason evans said...

I do wonder what that moment would be like. The hand on the windshield strikes me as authentic and mundane. Just how I would imagine the real end. Pacing was especially strong.