Authors: Chrissy Peebles
APOCALYPSE – UNDERWATER CITY
Part 1 of The Hope Saga
Copyright © 2012 by Chrissy Peebles
Edited by: Autumn J. Conley
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.
To: Autumn Conley. Thank you so much for everything. You rock!
I’d often dreamt of a normal life, but sadly, that wasn’t what fate had in store for me.
Where do I even begin? Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?
My name is Sky Hammons, and this is my story. It’s actually quite like my name, because it is a tale of hope, faith, and new beginnings—like a bright, blue summer sky. Or at least that was what I’d wished for, back when I was naïve and clueless enough to believe it. I really wish my journey could be summed up like that, and at first, it seemed like that might be the case. But then that bright sky darkened, and things fell apart. As if Chicken Little’s fears were coming true, my blue sky shattered. They say “The truth will set you free,” but I can’t say I believe that—at least not anymore. In my case, the bitter truth shook me to my very core. I never would have imagined that life could be so cruel or that people could be so deranged outside of an Alfred Hitchcock script or some awful horror movie, but I learned one thing: Never, ever believe what you’re told.
I’d been hand-fed lies since birth from my so-called government, and like a mindless drone, I’d happily believed every fraudulent word of the garbage they spew
ed. Maybe I just wanted that warm, fuzzy feeling; their lies comforted me and allowed me to sleep better at night. After all, who doesn’t want peace and hope and goodwill and all those other things splattered in snowy glitter all over the front of Christmas cards?
When I got a little older and started to take a good, close look at the world around me, I began to challenge the world I lived in. I began to realize it wasn’t all marshmallows and unicorns and Norman Rockwell paintings, and I started to ask questions. I’d always hoped for a bright future, but little did I know that absolute terror was lurking just around the corner. As I dug into the unknown, I was confronted by my worst nightmare, but before I get too far ahead of myself, let me get back to the beginning.
I’m a survivor, living in a post-apocalyptic world. Sure, everyone thinks an apocalypse has to do with zombies or war or some sort of epidemic of biblical proportions. Nope. It wasn’t fantasy or make-believe or international disagreements over oil prices or gun control or something that scares Sunday school kids into saying their prayers every night. Much more frightening than all the doomsday scenarios we could imagine, it was a real-life natural disaster that eliminated humankind from the face of the Earth.
Years ago, a giant asteroid, twenty-five times more powerful than the biggest nuclear bomb, slammed into our planet, destroying the atmosphere and killing just about everyone. It was almost a mortal blow, but some survived. A giant asteroid? Really? Sure, it was the stuff of science fiction, a horror story people used to imagine back in the days when screaming hordes panicked over
The War of the Worlds
radio broadcast and fled their homes. But it wasn’t just a Hollywood imagining like
. The simple fact is that asteroids are very real. They exist. They’ve been hitting the moon for centuries, and we all know about the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs sixty-five million years ago. Asteroids are not a myth, like zombies and Godzilla. Those big rocks are all too real, and when one collided with our planet, we all learned just how real they were.
Of course, our brilliant meteorologists and scientists and space gurus had spotted the asteroid; in fact, they spotted it a year before impact, so we all knew it was out there, floating in our direction, like a big iceberg threatening to take down a luxury cruise. What we didn’t know was just how wrong those leading scientists were about its path of destruction. All of them swore it would miss Earth completely—all of them except my grandparents, whose much wiser calculations gave them a year to prepare. My mother wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for them, but thanks to their genius and initiative in creating a glass habitat at the bottom of the ocean, she was saved, thus giving me a chance at life. They named our underwater fortress
, which means “miracle,” and that was exactly what it was. It was comprised of 100 biodomes in which people could live, work, and farm, all surrounding a large, central biome. The subaquatic community could survive anything and everything, from a hurricane to a nuclear war, and everyone hoped it would be a safe place to stay until the asteroid disaster was over.
Unfortunately, most of society treated my grandpa like Noah; no one would heed his warnings about the impending disaster, and most dismissed him as some sort of nut.
While everyone laughed, my grandparents went straight into action, and they secured donations from several wealthy benefactors to support their efforts. They created and constructed a glass city on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, covering an area of 700 acres, complete with technologically advanced controls to handle environmental concerns like air supply and humidity. They even employed very capable city operators to monitor life support systems, air composition, temperature, and humidity in the central control dome.
The truth will set you free? Maybe, but in our case, the truth had only submerged us under the sea. I was just glad that my grandparents knew it, or I wouldn’t even be here to tell you about it.
Year 2015, near Miami, Florida
Beyond two high pillars stretched the Command Center
, bustling with personnel and equipped with a full array of blinking panels, consoles, maps, and charts. In the middle, a contingent of people watched a giant monitor, as big as a billboard. The images changed continuously, showing various sides of the asteroid that loomed above Earth.
My grandfather looked at the huge monitor in horror. “It’s happening,” he whispered, “just like we predicted.”
“Harley,” a scientist said, “the asteroid’s a mile wide, and it’s coming in at 30,000 MPH. There’s no way around it. We’re looking at a global catastrophe.”
My grandfather studied the readings carefully. “I’m afraid you’re right about that. From the looks of these readings, the collision is gonna have an impact ten million times greater than the bomb that hit Hiroshima. We need to put out the evacuation warning immediately. Is everyone in place?”
“Just waitin’ for your signal, Chief,” said a brunette woman.
“Good,” my grandfather nodded. “Sound the alarm, folks…and this isn’t a drill. This is the real deal.”
“I’m on it,” she said.
“It’s gonna hit New York City,” another said. “The force of impact will flatten everything from Washington DC to Boston.”
“Then what are we waiting for?” my grandmother said. “Let’s get to Asha.”
A scientist’s jaw dropped as he peeked over the thick rim of his glasses at the huge boulder that was about to smash into our world. “This is the story of Noah all over again. Nobody believed us. They just…everyone laughed and ridiculed us, and the press called us idiots and fanatics. But we…they…we were right all along. Oh my
gosh,” he stuttered, nearly paralyzed with disbelief and fear. “We were right, and they’re all going to die.”
“Of course we were right. I never doubted my calculations for a minute,” my grandfather said. “If only they would have listened to me.”
“We’re going to die right along with them if we don’t go now!” my grandmother shouted.
Another scientist slowly stood. “This is even bigger than we anticipated. It doesn’t look like the ocean will be hit directly, but surely there will be unprecedented tidal waves to contend with.”
“You mean…like a tsunami?” one asked.
“Yeah! What if the glass city doesn’t hold up?” another frantically questioned.
“Then we’re all doomed, and it’ll be the end for all mankind.”
My grandmother squeezed my grandfather’s hand as she stared at the huge piece of space debris that was about to literally rock our world. “May God help us all.”
Those who’d chosen to believe the truth rushed to Asha and quickly got settled in, just as they’d practiced seemingly hundreds of times. The inevitable crash occurred just moments later, heating the atmosphere to temperatures that quickly ignited raging forest fires, cooking and incinerating anything and everything on the surface. Intense blasts of wind and gas swirled. So much dust, rock, and debris had been thrown up into the air that the sun was almost invisible, and in the darkness and confusion, most living things on Earth died. Years later, even when I was born, the survivors still couldn’t return to the surface. The global climate had been dramatically affected, and we all feared the worst—that our feet or our lungs would melt if we even touched that boiling surface or dared a breath of that toxic air.
The strongest and bravest eventually returned to the surface and worked hard to rebuild, to create a survivable environment for the rest of us. We named
our new surface city
, which means “life” in Latin. I couldn’t wait to leave Asha and see our new, glorious metropolis. The air had finally become breathable, and the land was slowly healing. We all knew we had a lot of rebuilding to do, but everyone was up to the challenge. It was decided that we’d come up a few at a time, and our chosen president, Dante Marcellus, created a list of the order that the adults would surface. Those of us who were younger would leave Asha on our eighteenth birthdays; on the first of each month, they took anyone who had a birthday the following month, along with any adults who were on the list. I was so excited about my turn. I had longed to see the surface of Earth, to feel sunshine, and to breathe fresh air since I’d spent my whole short life underwater.