Dystopia: The Beginning of the End


Chapter 1

“Breaking News”



“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
Benjamin Franklin


September 6


Awakened by a loud beeping sound Dez lay blinking at the ceiling. It was still early and the sound was so loud, it felt almost as though it was some kind of loudspeaker chiming about important news from the other room. It was that telltale sound emitted by the TV when someone, somewhere decided it was an emergency and broadcast announcement was destined to cast a shadow over the morning coffee. None the less, it woke her with a start and there was no way she would be able to go back to sleep. Rising from the bed, she grumbled in a barely audible tone, “I will never understand how the hell he can go to sleep with that annoying box droning on in the background.” Matt often fell asleep with the TV on and it annoyed her that he was always forgetting to shut it off.

Today, the noise that practically made her want to grit her teeth was to be her alarm. Still groggy, she crawled out of bed, sitting on the edge of the bed she rubbed her eyes. Trying to shake off the sleep she was feeling as though she’d only just gone to bed. Standing up she glanced over her shoulder at him sleeping silently through that God awful sound. She complained to herself, “How freaking hard can it be to set a timer on the damn thing?” Stumbling over her own feet while searching for her slippers lost in a heap of rumpled clothing strewn haphazardly on the floor. Realizing she was still grumpy about the TV, she shuffled her feet and mumbled, “Since I’m not getting any sleep, I might as well make coffee.” A small half smile emerged showing that she wasn’t really as mad as she’d seemed. She headed toward the kitchen, tripping again on the rumpled clothing before stumbling through the bedroom door making an inaudible comment back towards the pile.

Though she really wanted to sleep in, trying to remain in a foul mood just seemed pointless after the wonderful evening they’d had the night before. She stood filling the coffee maker, not really paying attention to it. Standing there going through the motions like she did every other morning, mindlessly doing the morning task. Her thoughts were elsewhere and hadn’t even bothered to check the TV.

When the beeping of the emergency broadcast system sounded, it was usually to warn of severe storms lurking on the horizon. Kentucky could have some serious thunder storms that would produce tornados from time to time. She remembered last night’s weather forecast. The weather channel predicted a cool front would move in that evening and with it came the possibility of severe storms, she assumed it was just another weather announcement.

She stood blankly staring into the coffee can, it seemed almost as if she could not remember how to make a simple pot of coffee.  She was still waking up, her thoughts wandering somewhere into the day’s adventures. There were a few important meetings she had to see to, her lawyer being one. Even in the distracted moment the mornings were her best time of day. She always enjoyed fixing the coffee just as Matt was getting up. He never failed and she liked his dramatic show of gratitude, feigning he was about to die until he had coffee in hand.

The morning coffee was very much a part of their waking up ritual. She would usually brew a pot before waking Matt. Savoring a few moments each morning when they would sit together, watch a little news, and share with each other the day’s plans. A much-enjoyed ritual, it was what she saw as their ‘Alone time’, and often mused, it was the highlight of her day.

The emergency broadcast system sounded again. She jumped as though she’d been zapped by electricity; nearly flinging coffee all over the kitchen, her moment of reflection gone in an instant. Standing, coffee can in hand she looked around as though trying to place the noise. Realizing what it was she raced for the TV she exclaiming, “Shit, it’s going to wake Matt.”

Today, however, the news was not about the weather as she’d expected. The words in the ticker stunned her awake like a slap, all at once she felt shaken. She stood in astonishment staring at the news line scrolling across the TV. “Ebola virus has been confirmed at hospitals in the following six U.S. cities. New York, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Denver, Sacramento and Detroit… Please stay tuned for an official announcement.” After which it only repeated the same scrolled message. It took a moment for it to sink in, snapping out of her trance and turning quickly, she ran to the bedroom, forgetting all about their coffee entirely.

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