This is the winning entry in the Word Cloud July 2018 flash fiction competition. The brief was to write about a severe weather event that leads to a discovery – I think she nailed it:
They said we were the lucky ones. They lied. The lucky ones were those we lost on Day One, the day the supervolcano ripped the seams of the world apart. The day the rest of us were condemned to death in slow motion, defenceless against the icy temperatures that crept across continents and horrified in our hopelessness as we watched the earth stutter and fail.
At first, we waited. Waited, child-like, for those who could tell us when normal service would be restored. Waited until the golden haloes of sunlight we depended on faded until light no longer filtered through the layers of pyroclastic cloud. Waited even as we were cast into perpetual shadow. Midday became a memory when everything was twilight.
Leaden grey skies blended with bleak grey buildings and hunched grey people stumbled through invisible grey streets searching for hope. There was none.
Silence enveloped the world. The echoes of our dying planet hung suspended in an atmosphere of decay, and the insidious scent of death permeated everything. Ash and acid rain fell steadily, laying waste to the plant life and contaminating our drinking water. With no alternative, we poisoned ourselves with every mouthful. Mountains wept in cascades of rust-red and silver, and the wind carried Nature’s song of mourning until it too, died.
We sleepwalked through an existence like the state between sleep and wakefulness until each time we slept it was in the hope that there would be no awake.
They said this was the worst natural disaster the world had ever known, but they lied about that too. Nature had nothing to do with it.
Safe in their underground haven with no world left to govern, only they know what did.