This is a member contribution by Joe Coll for America: 28 Weeks Later, a creative writing contest inspired by Rachel Haywire’s stream-of-consciousness Substack article, Finding America.
Find out more and submit your piece here.
The screen is cracked, but it is charged and seems to be working. So much for the indestructible case you bought on Amazon.
There’s an impulsive need to know more followed by a flash of memory, and then disgust. You toss it out of your bedside window much to your sister’s shock.
That thing nearly killed you, or more accurately your obsessive need to know what the fuck was going on in real time nearly did.
There is a sense of shame: your attention should have been on the road.
Wait a minute…why the fuck are there 2 suns out there?
You try to get out of bed but your sister stops you; you haven’t used your legs for some time and are weak. She helps sit you up and you get a glimpse of the street below.
People are cleaning up what remains of what you can only assume has been a fair amount of civil unrest. But it seems peaceful and co-operative. It looks like the whole town is involved. Somehow that MAGA hat someone is wearing that you hated so much doesn’t look so offensive anymore.
“What the fuck is that?” you say, pointing to an almost cartoon- but more ghost-like looking second sun.
“It’s a supernova, a star called Betelgeuse exploded. It happened yesterday…Well, technically, it happened 642 point 5 years ago.”
You find yourself wanting to grab your phone but remember its current location. You pause, take a deep breath and are overwhelmed by emotion; it’s real and raw.
You feel more in the here and now, everything seems more here and now, more than it ever has been. Has your sister always had that many freckles? For sure, but now you really see them.
“Please, sis, tell me more…”