SNEAK PEEK: Apocalypse: Diary of a Survivor by Matt J. Pike

Apocalypse: Diary of a Survivor by Matt J. Pike

 

Available Now!
Available Now!

SYNOPSIS

 

“I guess it was inevitable – the end of the world we know – the end of humanity.

Finding out early was a gift, surviving impact night was a miracle, living to tell the tale, well, that was the price I will pay, forever.

There’s no going back now.”

Award winning author*, Matt Pike, takes you on a journey to the end of the world and beyond, as told through the eyes of an Australian teenager, who records his experiences day by day in a survival diary. From the social chaos in suburban Adelaide in the lead-up, a night of total global catastrophe and the aftershocks as community and humanity crumble around him – the world changes forever. What’s left is a place where the conditions can kill you just as easily as the other survivors.

Everything our teenager relied upon for survival in the pre-disaster world falls apart – utilities, community, environment – the only things that can keep him alive are his resources and resourcefulness.

*2013 Global Ebook Awards: Gold Medal – Teen Literature Fiction for Kings of the World

 

EXCERPT

 

Other books by Matt J Pike:

Kings of the World

2013 Global Ebook Awards: Gold Medal, Teen Literature Fiction

Available at:

Amazon UK   |  Amazon US

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Big thanks to Lisa Chant for her editing skills – check out her hilarious novella Shark Ass if you get a chance. Also thanks to Lisa Smith, Steve Grice, Derek Pedley, Wayne Bosch, Jan Pike, Michael Owen-Brown and my three kids Sophie, Sam and Abby.

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My youngest daughter, Abby, has Rett Syndrome. Part proceeds from the sale of each and every book I sell will go to finding a cure. Thank you for your support.

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Wednesday, April 10, 2014

So it’s 5am and I’m not even close to tired, even without the Red Bulls. And I’ve started a new diary. I tried writing all this in the old diary but I was still writing this post over April 27 so I pretty much screwed the whole thing up. Anyways, I’ve started it all again in this notebook Auntie Sarah gave me for my birthday. It’s perfect, because I can start the new entries whenever I want, which could come in handy… if I live through the weekend… if anyone does.

Man, I’m rambling. I’ve just read everything back and it’s crap. LMAO… sip of Red Bull… that’s better. Doesn’t even make sense to me and I wrote it for me… hence the whole diary concept.  Weird, everything’s weird. I feel numb, like the last four hours have been some strange out-of-body experience. It’s like I know every move I make between now and Friday can and will make the difference between me living and dying. For some reason I know the rock’s not going to kill me… can’t explain why, I just know. It’s like I feel I’m destined to survive… and to document it. Goddam it, that’s what I’m gonna do.

Hahaha… still rambling… Snickers… Red Bull chaser (not the best combo it has to be said). Deep breath… think, think.

Before I go any further I’d better explain why I’m even writing this.

12.14am: Finished the shift a bit late (that plonker newbie, Toby, held us up again). Jen was on tonight… damn! Officially the only person who can make a Drakes uniform look hot. She totally caught me pegging her out too. And she smiled. At least I think she did. It could have been her ‘what are you staring at, freak?’ look, but I’m taking it as a smile.

Anyways, when I got home the last thing I could think about was sleep, so I cranked up FIFA14… for a change 😉 Ended up playing a few games against ProGunner95 – he’s some Yank kid I’ve been playing online for years. All was cruising along pretty well. I was up four games to one (and he pulled the W out of his coight) when he broke the news that would change my life, everyone’s life.
He took a call from his bro… in the middle of the fifth game (I was up 2-0, but I digress) and that’s when all hell broke loose. He dropped out of the game – so not cool – but then he sends me an invite for a private chat a few minutes later.

He told me his brother worked at some observatory – Near Earth Asteroid Tracking (NEAT) program – and they’d just discovered an asteroid heading towards Earth. Yeah, Earth. And it’s a big one too. Well they weren’t entirely sure of the size because they’ve pretty much only just confirmed its trajectory, but it was epic.

Like I’ve said I’ve known ProGunner95 for years and he isn’t the sort of guy who would make up something like that, like ever. But still I didn’t believe a word of it. I mean asteroid, right? This ain’t a bad sci-fi film here, this is real life. Asteroid strikes don’t happen in the real world, they happen on screen or on dinosaurs, end of story.

I tried the ‘yeah, real funny’ approach, I tried the ‘whatever’ approach and the ‘get stuffed’ approach. But he didn’t back down, he was solid. He had either turned into the best BS artist I’d never met (except online) or he believed what he was telling me. Let’s just say he convinced me enough to believe he was convinced.

Maybe his brother was stirring him up?

‘No way,’ he says, ‘my brother’s got me phoning half of north America after I stop talking to you. This is his job, there’s no way he’d do that, besides, he’s a straight-out nerd, it’s just not in his make-up.’

Now I officially start thinking this is, well, at the very least, plausible. Aside from everything else, there was something in the tone of his voice that was pretty convincing – like there was genuine panic and more than a dose of pissed-off-edness at me for not believing him. He also used a few technical expressions that seemed beyond a 16 year old from New Mexico called Deacon (no wonder he prefers ProGunner).

That was pretty much the extent of our conversation. He was off to contact all his rellies, then buy supplies – a shipload of supplies. He reckoned I should do the same.
But of course there was a parting grenade or three before he left.

Boom#1 – There were just over three days to impact. Three days!

Boom#2 – The NEAT program is supposed to pick up things like this up well in advance. Apparently it’s not unusual for asteroids to get this close to Earth before they are detected, but it is very unusual for one of this size. They’re embarrassed as hell and are still investigating theories as to why. They would normally expect at least several weeks heads-up, sometimes months. Not that it would make much difference – his bro reckons we’re pretty much screwed… there’s not enough time for any Bruce Willis Armageddon heroics.

Boom#3 – He wasn’t sure when the public would find out but it wouldn’t be long. Maybe not so much of a boom just yet… but that little nugget will explode soon enough.

If it’s true all hell’s gonna break loose.

1.30am… ish: Then that was it, ProGunner95 dropped offline and I was sitting there in the FIFA game lobby listening to the crap wannabe anthem music with my headset on, completely stunned. I reckon I sat there for 15 minutes – could’ve been five, coulda been an hour. I just let the info wash over me.

Plenty of things went through my head…

Three days? Three tiny little days. I had tickets to the Crows match on Sunday, was gonna be my first game for the year. Lucky it was only against the Saints.

The guys at the NEAT program were embarrassed? Fail! You get embarrassed when you put the wrong price tag on the soy milk at Drakes. When you miss an object on a collision course with Earth, and that’s your one and only job, that’s not embarrassing, that’s an epic screw-up. Didn’t the Japanese used to jump on their own swords in situations like this? Why did that tradition have to die out? That seemed like a perfectly nice tradition.

Still, embarrassed or not, if it’s true we’re screwed.
I thought of Mum and Dad, down in Tassie on one of their roam-the-forest fests. So annoying … worst of all they’re completely non-contactable. Not even sure if that part of Tassie is in 4G range or not, and it doesn’t matter, because the group they went with deliberately left their phones behind. Getting back to nature and all that… dumbasses. Oh no, couldn’t even just take their little devices with them and flick them on at night just to see if, I don’t know, THE WORLD IS COMING TO AN END.

So stupid. I’m tempted to leave a message on Dad’s mobile to tell him exactly that but I resist… for now.
Then it hit me. If this was true – and my gut was starting to tell me it was – then I’d probably be one of the first people in the world to find out. Pure dumb luck, but I’d take anything right now. And there’s no question I was definitely one of the first people in Australia to know. In some weird way I’d been given a gift… I’d been given a good as chance as anyone to survive.

2.15am: I hit the web. I started with all the major news sites. Nothing mentioned. I check facebook, twitter – nothing. I check out the NEAT website – still nothing. Not even in their latest news section! Apparently inevitable global catastrophe is not as important as January’s open day. FFS. Still, clearly out-of-date and unimportant info in the news section makes me think it’s still more than possible this is real.

I did find out NEAT have an Australian branch at Parkes. So now I’m not the only Aussie to know. I wonder if they’ve told family and friends, and if they’re told others in turn. Each second I wait I lose my tactical advantage. If it’s true… I still have no actual evidence.
I do a quick flick around the interwebs for large asteroid strikes. There’s heaps of info on massive asteroid strikes in the past and how much of an impact they’ve had.

Bottom line: not good for Earth inhabitants.

There was also some CGI video of what damage an epic asteroid would do. Not sure where it was from, some National Geographic series, no doubt, and someone had put the vision to a Pink Floyd song. Haunting is the best way to describe the end result. Now, I’m pretty sure this thing was 10 times bigger than what’s heading our way but, basically, it incinerated everything. EV-ER-Y-THING! The Earth became a fiery ball of death. If this happened, nothing would survive.

It’s all a bit overwhelming to be honest. I mean, to think something like this might actually happen (not that big hopefully, but still)… in three days. I decide to focus on things I can control for now. I figure the number one priority is food. Most shops open anywhere from 6-9am, depending on what you’re looking for. The whole world might know by that time, so my window is now.

It’s time for a servo run.

4.30am: I’ve just unloaded the car with my first load of supplies. It’s amazing what’s open this time of night – equal only to the variety of freaks who inhabit these venues in the hours before dawn. Particularly in the city… ewww. It’s the early hours of Wednesday morning people! WTF?

I guess the amusement at the sad-acts was offset by the need not to make eye contact and then completely undone by the ridiculous prices I was charged. I probably paid the desperate druggie premium of 50% on every long-life food item I bought. Ouch. I’m glad it’s not Armageddon every day – I don’t have deep enough pockets.

So the bottom line is about $600 down and a whole lot of canned bland in hand. I kept the receipts, but I don’t like my chances of getting a refund if this is a hoax. I’ll be sending the bill to ProGunner95, that’s for sure.

5.30am: Finally loaded the supplies in the cellar. ‘Supplies’. Listen to me, five minutes into this and I’m starting to use army speak. What a try-hard. For the first time tonight I’m starting to get tired. But I can’t sleep now, the (proper) shops will be open soon, plus I want to check out the morning news.

I did another sweep of the web and didn’t find anything on the normal news sources… weird. But there were a couple of posts on news-sharing sites about ‘asteroid rumours’ – made me feel not totally insane. There was also a Facebook group. It’s called I’m gonna survive Asteroid 2014DM3 – geez – now this thing has a name. I join up to the group and post it as my status saying, ‘I heard this is legit… link’. I felt guilty not posting anything when I first found out, but since I’m still not 100% convinced now – and definitely wasn’t then – I was hardly going to make an ass of myself online. But I’m happy with this contribution; it’ll keep my friends informed. 2014DM3 is also starting to trend on Twitter. If this is a prank I’m not the only one falling for it.

I wanna hit the shops again soon but after that – assuming this thing is real – I’ll start making some calls.

I had a few minutes to kill before the 6am run and decided to check out some survival websites. It’s amazing what’s out there really. It seems there are a bunch of folk who spend way too much time thinking about situations like the one that’s about to happen. Well, maybe just the right amount of time, in reflection. Still, I got some good ideas – things I’d never have thought of myself.

8.30am: Another two runs down now. I hit the Cash & Carry store for some buy-in-bulk action. I managed to buy about three times as much as I did on the service station run and it was cheaper! Still, I did kind of miss the deros.

I dumped it all in the front lounge before I went back out to the local Coles, which opened at 7am. I got there about 7.30am. I got serious this time and took Dad’s 4WD. It probably doubled my storage capacity, which meant I was able to plough three trolleys full of stuff in.

I did my best to clean Coles out of anything that was nutrious and had a shelf life of over a year. I reckon I’ve managed to bag myself enough food to last at least 12 months too. Not bad for a morning’s work and 18 months’ worth of savings 🙁

This was the first time I started to get some strange looks. Mostly from the staff, especially when I was on to my third trolley load. Funny really, because I had been observing people all morning. I was thinking how odd it was that I was on a mission to give myself a chance at survival yet everyone around me was blissfully unaware anything was wrong. Part of me felt guilty as I looked at them drudging along with their normal lives, knowing things were about to turn upside-down for them. But then what was I going to do? Say, ‘you might want to buy a bit more than that… actually it might not matter as you’ve probably only got three days to live, why not do something interesting’.

I finally got called-out by the check-out chick – not one of the cute casuals, one of the bitter old full-timers. She’d obviously seen me go through on my past two loads and was getting carpel-tunnel scanning my bounty. ‘What, is the end of the world coming or something?’ she said.

I couldn’t be bothered lying and I didn’t have time to go into the details but I said, ‘yeah actually, there’s an asteroid coming, we’ve only got three days to live’.

The expression on her face changed about seven times as she processed my comment and punched in the total to the register.

Eventually she laughed. ‘Well you won’t be needing all that food then’.

I couldn’t be bothered progressing things further as I swiped my card and entered my pin. ‘Stress makes me hungry,’ I said as I left.
I’ve been monitoring the morning shows as I unloaded the goods. Finally I caught a mention of the asteroid, it was about 8.45am. They cut back after an entertainment update (the usual meaningless tripe) and Karl said something like, ‘One out of left field here, a rumour’s been circulating the internet about an asteroid that is supposedly on a collision course with Earth. And I thought 2012 was supposed to be the end of the world,’ he laughed with little support from his co-host.

They may not have been taking it seriously, but I was. Before I realised what had happened I dropped the carton of spaghetti in tomato sauce cans on my foot. %*%($@*#&!!! Anyways, he went on as I hopped and swore. ‘Now, I’m sure this is a hoax but it must be said there is a groundswell of chatter across many social networking and social news sites. We have been trying to get some official word but it appears no one is commenting. Lisa.’

His co-host used her sincerest concerned tone. ‘It is unusual, isn’t it? More worryingly, the prime minister has called a last-minute press conference for 10am AEST this morning with no indication of the topic.’

Karl continued with something like, ‘It’s a similar story in the US, with the president due to speak shortly before the prime minister.’

Then Lisa finished with, ‘Now we don’t want to be seen as spreading any undue panic, but we are choosing to report these events to keep you informed. It’s important to stress at this point the press conferences and the rumour may be unrelated, but in our experience it is unusual.’

‘We’ll keep you up-to-date should the situation change in any way.’

Then they went about their regular business, but you could tell they were at least rattled. Something big was definitely up.
That was the first time my heart sank. I don’t just mean the expression (which I find a bit naff), it really felt like it sank. It was like in one instant the realisation of the scale of what was happening here hit me hard. This was very real.

I had to sit down and let the feeling wash over me for a minute. I started thinking about my mission and within seconds a wave of adrenalin seemed to equalise the craziness inside and I was ready to continue. Time to start calling people.

9.30am: Well that was pretty useless.  Johnno – asleep, Jamie – asleep, Macca – asleep, Hardo – asleep! Only Boof answered his phone… and he thought I was taking the piss. Until I made him turn the TV on and watch a news update – they’ve now got a countdown to the president’s press conference.

The others will get the message soon enough… what a way to wake up. Still – that’s probably hours away for them!

President’s speech – 9.40am: I was so bloody tired when I watched this I could barely take it all in. But I’ve got the feeling this will be on high-rotation on TV over the next few days.

There were hundreds of journos at the press conference, clearly everyone knew this was serious. When the pres walked out the camera flashes went crazy. What he said was a blur for me but I got all of the basics…

  • There is an asteroid heading towards Earth K
  • It is called 2014DM3… hmm exciting. 2014DM3? It’s got no ring to it at all. Ya kind of expect something, I dunno, epic. But 2014DM3? Really? Can’t we give it a proper name like they do with cyclones? Or like call it by the impact date… like a 9/11 kind of thing? It probably seems stupid, given I face a high chance of being pulverised into atoms, but I would’ve at least liked it to be caused by something with a cool name.
  • Well, whatever you call it, it’s about 4-5km in diameter – read: freaking huge, which means it has the potential to send us the way of the dinosaurs.
  • As of this moment there are 65 hours, 11 minutes ‘til touchdown! That makes it just after 2am on Saturday morning!
  • A bunch of different countries (with space capabilities) are planning to intercept the rock – to either destroy it or divert its path.

Which all sounds good, but the pres was talking about things like planning times and launch windows and… well, to be honest it sounds like they’ve all been caught with their pants around their ankles. My best guess is there’s stuff-all they can do but they want to make people feel better by thinking they are doing something. There are a few teams having a crack – NASA, The European space agency, Russia, Japan and China. I certainly won’t be counting on a last minute miracle from any of them!

3pm: I had intended to sleep but the fact the news is out in the open changed everything. I figured every man and his dog would be lining up for food. But once the basics were covered they’d move on to survival gear. If Adelaide misses the initial impact and blast concussion and tsunamis and whatever else, then there’s the potential for complete loss of power, communications… so much I can’t even remember it all… some ‘experts’ have even predicted an ice age.

Bottom line: Survival = self sufficiency.

So I’ve been busy hitting camping stores, hire stores all sorts of things. I’ve got, among other things, a portable power generator (Dad’s already got a 40 amp one hooked up to the house, which we also take camping, but I thought it couldn’t hurt to have back-up), a radio transmitter/receiver (just in case normal communications fail), a bunch of knives, cold weather clothing and three can openers (I’m not getting caught short there).

I also grabbed about 30 water cooler bottles and some resealable lids. I figured I’d better cover my arse in case access to fresh water becomes an issue.

So I was feeling pretty good when I got home and unloaded my new toys, even though my credit card is officially maxed-out. Thank god I have access to Dad’s in-case-of-emergency card, I’m pretty sure this situation activates the card into use.
Every TV station has gone to 24-hour asteroid coverage – that didn’t take long. I was going to watch while I figured out the radio and generator but it was all too difficult to concentrate. Clearly sleep was the No.1 option.

I have this thing now that I can’t be wasting a second, and sleep seemed to be wasting a whole lot of seconds. When you may only have 60 hours to live, eight hours sleep seems like an indulgent waste. So before I hit the hay I sent a whole bunch of interesting stuff I found on the internet to the printer. That way I didn’t feel so guilty.

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Thursday, April 11, 2014

6.30am: Fourteen hours! I’ve slept for 14 of my last 60-odd hours and I feel guilty as hell. But I also feel fantastic for it. As I load up on Weetbix for breakfast I flick around the networks to see what’s happened. Plenty is the short answer.

They are counting down to the first of the rocket launches. It’s China’s attempt, due in 45 minutes, they’ve packed their ship full of kickass explosives. They hope the thing will detonate alongside the asteroid and knock it off course enough to alter its trajectory enough to miss Earth. We’ll see.

The other missions are all locked and loaded with launch times across the next 12 or so hours. The last, and I guess the most likely to succeed, is NASA’s attempt, which is due for launch around 8pm our time. Basically they’re trying everything else they can first and if all fails the Yanks are gonna nuke the hell out of it (something tells me ego has something to do with them having the clutch play in all this).
Back on the home front, it’s clear my luck in finding out about this thing early has already paid dividends. There are epic queues for food, drink and other supplies. I do feel slightly guilty looking at the footage of desperate people shuffling along endless lines just to get basic supplies. But then again I’m not giving up what I’ve got. I mean, I hope it doesn’t come to it but it could get down to a case of survival of the fittest – and he who is well fed is fittest. At least that’s how I justify it to myself.
I’ve got about 30 messages on my phone but I’m struggling to get through to message-bank. I’m guessing the system is in overload. Figure I’ll try again later tonight when the demand is lower.

I hit the internet – man oh man – that was running slow too. I could almost hear the distant sound of a dial-up modem! Anyways, there were so many emails and messages on Facebook for me. I decided to dedicate the next couple of hours catching up with what was happening in the world and getting in touch with as many friends and family as I can.

7.15am: Four words: China. Rocket. Epic. Fail.

Holy explosion, Batman. The first attempt to intercept 2014DM3 ended in catastrophe when the Chinese rocket made it about 2/3rds of its own length into the air before stopping and descending to the ground. It all looked pretty harmless and slow-motion until the rocket started to collapse in on itself. Then there was the most almighty of explosions as rocket fuel and explosives ignited everything. Wow. They’ve shown it from several different angles now and, well, nothing else to say but, wow.
I don’t think anyone within 20kms of the blast has eyebrows anymore.
One down four to go, I guess.

The boys are meeting up tonight at seven to watch the European space agency launch then have a few drinks until midnight when the NASA rocket blasts off. I think I’ll join them, I’m going a little crazy with my own company.
Also, there are a bunch of parties happening on Friday night to count down the final hours.

I’ve spent so much of my time working out what I need if I’m to survive I hadn’t thought about what will probably be the most important part – what I’m actually going to be doing at impact time. I figure spending the moment with people I know and like is as good a way as any. I mean, I could hide in the cellar but I’m not entirely sure how much that will increase my survival chances. If impact is anywhere near Adelaide, I’m screwed anyway. And, as time goes by, the idea of spending the final moments with people you know becomes more attractive.

I’ve already got nine options on the table through friends and family. I’m leaning towards the party at the Jameson’s. Mr Jameson said he thinks my folks would probably prefer I went there anyway, and he’s right, they’ve been good friends for years. A bunch of the usual families will be going, so I’ll know a heap of the kids there too. Plus, the Jameson’s place is kickass, it’s got awesome views of the city and they always throw sweet parties. Lock.

My bro sent me a message too. We’ve hooked up a Skype call for 2pm – I think that’s before dawn in London! It’ll be bloody good to talk to him again.
Still nothing from Mum and Dad though.

10.30am: The human race is now one from two as Japan successfully launched their rocket. It’s pretty much going with the same tactic as the China one (minus the whole launch fail), hoping to deflect the asteroid from its Earth-bound course. Contact with 2014DM3 is due just after lunchtime tomorrow, about 12 hours before the asteroid hits Earth. Some experts are saying even if the mission delivers, 2014DM3 will be too close to the Earth to affect its trajectory enough to miss. The Japanese team think it will work.

It’s kind of annoying not really knowing who or what to believe. It’s not like I can do the sums myself – they don’t teach space maths at school. I choose to go with the ‘believe it when I see it’ strategy and keep planning for the worst-case scenario. Having said that, the Japanese scientists looked far more credible than the professor speaking out against them – if that’s anything to go by. I mean, I back white lab coat over brown cardigan any day.
They’ve also trained some telescopes on the asteroid and are getting a better picture about why it may have eluded detection. For a start, it’s not an asteroid but a comet, and then it’s not even a comet but a dark comet. They all sound the same to me, but asteroids basically lurk in the inner solar system and are more predictable, with shorter orbits. Comets can come from way, way into the outer solar system and have orbits of tens of thousands of years, maybe more. Trickier to spot, but comets usually carry plenty of ice, and when they get closer to the sun, they heat up and produce a big tail – easy to spot.

But, of course, this bad boy is a dark comet. It’s pretty much burnt off all of its ice from a previous orbit (or orbits) of the sun and it’s just left with a dark, lifeless nucleus.

So, they reckon this thing would’ve been spotted a while ago, but – here’s the thing, they measure asteroid/comet size by the amount of light they reflect. I thought they just zoomed in on a big telescope or something! Sneaky dark comet hardly reflects any light at all, which would’ve massively affected how big they thought it was, it’s orbit – everything.

But it gets better, well worse really. They’ve got a couple of potential findings that MAY have been 2014DM3 in their database but none of the trajectories add up. They now think there’s a big chance there was something that altered its direction. The main theories are a collision with another object or, as it came closer to the sun, an internal well of ice heated and exploded, causing a reaction and a change of direction.

These theories are both backed-up by the recent visual of the asteroid (erm, comet). It looks almost peanut shaped – penny farthing even. There’s a big chunk out of the middle. It’s also spinning around on itself, which is unusual.

When they finally identified it and realised how big it was and where it was headed – then it became DEFCON1. Apparently there were a number of days between discovery and the official announcements – and the announcement only came as those scientists in the know started telling family and friends and the word was getting out.

So basically, the whole thing is a series of ridiculously unlucky events and political balls-ups. Sounds like another day in life really.

 

Uncle Mark Facebooked me, he’s insisting I join the extended family on crash night. I think he feels responsible for me now that Mum and Dad aren’t here. He’s contacted me three times already, so I don’t think he’s gonna take no for an answer. I tell him I’ll be there and I don’t even feel slightly guilty that I lied.
In local news: Apparently people went crazy in the city last night. There were people out partying everywhere – taking their last chance, I guess. Police were struggling to keep control as things got really wild. There were 12 people killed in fights. Twelve! That’s three years’ worth of violence… in one night. There’s also been at least that many murders in the suburbs. Police say they’re doing their best to cope and have told everyone to remain calm. What is wrong with people? Are people settling scores or just getting too far out of control? Either way I’m not going into the city between now and Friday night – that’s for sure.

I’ve dropped the security shutters and made sure all the gates are locked – just to be on the safe side.

12.30pm: So, I figure I have five meals left between now and impact so I’d better make the most of them. I mean, people who get sent to the electric chair get one last meal… and they’ve usually killed someone. I figure I’ve done nothing wrong so I deserve at least five last meals.

My first last meal was a no-brainer. Indian. From the little takeaway place at the Black Forest shops – it’s a bit of a hike from Trinity Gardens but it’s the best takeaway in town. Plus, the first four places I tried weren’t open. They do awesome Indian! We used to live near there and I was a regular. Dad doesn’t like it so much as he says he can almost taste the cholesterol, which was kind of a selling point for me. I completely skipped the entree and went straight for double mains. Lamb Vindi and Rogan Josh with a token serving of rice and two cheese and garlic naans. Bliss.

Shops are shutting left, right and centre – but those that are staying open are making a fortune! I realise this could well be the last take out I get so I’m gonna savour it even more.

God, it was good. It took me half an hour of eating to get three quarters of the way through.

 

I figured I deserved it as I’d spent the last couple of hours hauling Dad’s wine collection out of the cellar to make room for the last of the food cans. I’ve also converted Dad’s study into the water room. I’ve moved his desk up against the wall and filled up and capped all of the water bottles.

Jason’s bedroom will be converted into my war room. I’ve had the printer working overtime pumping out everything and anything that I think might be handy or relevant should I survive impact. I’m using the scattergun approach here as I have absolutely no idea what I could be facing – conditions, communications, anything. So as ideas pop into my head I jump on the net and print out any information I can find.

I’m also torrenting like a mad man. I’m downloading a bunch of survival TV shows in the hope I might get some useful information out of them. Man v Wild, Surviving Disaster, Doomsday Preppers and Dual Survival – wow, there’s far more out there than I thought.
Fiona J facebooked me earlier. She wants to give me something so she’s coming around at 4pm. Weird, it’s not like I talk to her that much at school, I’ve got no idea what it’s about but it’s a bit of a pain because I’ll have to hide all of the supplies I’ve acquired – so that means double time on getting everything into the cellar.

On the news front the army have been called in to monitor crowds queuing for food. Apparently, things are getting ugly since they decided to limit the amount of items people can purchase. They’ve also announced a midnight curfew in the city tonight so there’s not a repeat of last night. The army will be patrolling there as well.

Apparently a few trucks carrying food to the shops have been hijacked, so the army are also riding shotgun on all food transport. It’s going to slow the distribution process down, they say, but the shops will stay open to the last minute to make sure as much as possible gets out.

It sure doesn’t feel like Adelaide any more. Everything’s going crazy. People are going crazy. Murders, riots, army intervention – it’s like everything that made us civil is starting to unravel, and quick. It doesn’t take much to project forward to how things could get after impact, if we make it that far.

Maybe I need a weapon?
2pm: Finally got to chat with my bro on Skype – awesome meets sad wrapped in weird. Poor bugger has tried to get a flight back from London since the news broke, which has proved pretty much impossible. Time’s run out now so he’s stuck there. We just chatted about stupid stuff we did as kids – I laughed so hard. Until the end that was. When it was time to say goodbye I couldn’t help myself I blabbered like a baby, so did he. I hadn’t seen Jason cry since Grandpa died.

When it was over I just sat there with my head in my hands wondering if I was ever gonna see him again. That thought’s not easy to deal with… in fact I’m not sure I even can deal with it. It’s just too… monumental. And don’t even get me started on Mum and Dad. I kinda just sat there and let it all overwhelm me for a few minutes, then I slapped myself in the face a couple of times and got on with things.

I’m not sure whether being in a big city like London is a good thing or a bad thing for Jase. Obviously nowhere’s good if it’s ground zero! But a massive city like London; with so many more people competing for resources. What happens if the food dries up? What happens in winter? London winter… eww.

I think I’ll take Adelaide. My figuring is that it’s big enough to have ample supplies of everything you need but not too big that it’s removed from the environment around it. Even where I live you can be in farm country within 15 minutes. That’s gotta be good, doesn’t it? Yep, I’ll keep telling myself Adelaide is not too big and not too small… it’s just Goldilocks right for an epic catastrophe.

 

There are real doubts emerging about the chances of a successful rocket intervention of 2014DM3. I can’t say I’m totally shocked. It’s really interesting. Though – if you watched the mainstream media, you’d think we have 80% chance of success, but if you do any decent research on the web I reckon you think those chances are more like 10%… at best.

 

2.30pm: So, Russia successfully launched their rocket, making it 2 of 3 for humanity. I wonder how many people around the world watched the launch? Probably everyone who has access to a TV. If collective willpower could contribute, these rockets would take off without the need for fuel. You could actually hear cheers from the neighbours when it got airborne. I even gave a fist-pump.

 

3.30pm:

Just got back from doing a run for paper and ink cartridges. I’ve been working that printer into the ground, I’m surprised it hasn’t blown up… seriously. I also bought a bunch of folders and dividers and plastic sleeves ‘n’ stuff. I figure if I actually survive Saturday morning I can sort the reams of stuff into some sort of meaningful order.

At this stage it’s just about getting info on paper – in case the net goes down. I’ve printed everything… everything I can think of. Locations of key storage facilities in the area, survival guides, stores that might have useful bits and pieces. I even found a couple of ‘maker’ sites… they’re hilarious. They’re these community sites where people make cool stuff from everyday objects. Well, when I say ‘cool’ stuff, some of it is actually quite average, but there are some real gems in there – everything from purifying water to making antibiotics. I loaded up the printer queue with about 80 things that have potential value. Like everything, it’s a bit of a crap shoot to know what, if anything, I’ll be faced with, but better to be over-prepared, I say. I’m not really concerned about the paper wastage right now – any global warming problem we face will be less like a gradual 2° rise in Earth temp and more like a freaking rapid 2000° one.

 

4.45pm: Fiona J. OMG. Fiona freakin’ Jordon. Just had one of… no, scrub that… the hottest… and weirdest… experience of my life. When I answered the door she was wearing one of those sexy little summer dresses. With the light flowing in from behind her you could almost see the outline of her hot, hot body staring back. I’ll never forget that vision. Anyways, we kinda just looked at each other for what seemed like 10 minutes. And by the way she was looking at me I knew she didn’t want me to sign her yearbook or anything.

Eventually she stepped into me and whispered, ‘I’ve always wanted to do this’. What, what? She has? She could’ve maybe just said something about it! Before I knew it we were getting into it right there in the doorstep. She has really soft lips, or soft kisses, or something… it was a real turn on.

To be honest I’ve always had the hots for Fi to the J. But she was just one of those girls you knew was destined to achieve far more than anyone else in our grade and she pretty much knew it too. She also had this massive vibe that she’d only date older dudes. Either that or study always took precedence over the social side – none of the guys stood a chance. Until today 😀 But she’s hot – so many degrees of hot. And as I discovered not as straight down the line as I had imagined.

After a few minutes of making out she turned me around and asked to see my room. I led her there but I’ve gotta say she led everything else. Unbelievable. I’ve never had sex like that before. It was as if she was on a mission to play out all her fantasies while she still could and for some reason she decided I was the guy to do them with.

I just went with it. Not the hardest thing to do really. She clearly had strong ideas on what she wanted and I just went along with it. I played my part, happily, being the lover she desired. And once we got into it things just clicked. It was pure… in some weird way… just pure desire. Honestly, this stuff does not happen to guys like me. In fact I don’t think stuff like this actually ever happens in the real world. Fortunately, at least for this moment, this isn’t the real world…. this is the end of the world!

It must have been the best part of an hour before it got weird. Not in a bedroom sense (I don’t think I’d find too much weird there) but in a totally messed-up sense.

A car horn started beeping out the front, impatient at first, then incessantly. Eventually Fiona swore, got up and puts her clothes on. I told her I wanted her to stay a while but she tells me she has to leave because her boyfriend is getting annoyed.

Um, boyfriend? As in, waiting out the front of my house in the car while she sleeps with me, boyfriend? Well yes, apparently so. She tells me when she found out about the asteroid she wanted to break up with him. But he wouldn’t let her go. So this – I mean, I – was their compromise.

I walked her to the door and have one last kiss before this Commodore revs hard then beeps the horn. I certainly didn’t stare at the dude in the driver’s seat but he definitely looked early-twenties at least. I’m sure he sneered at me but I resist the urge to flip him the bird, no point kicking someone when they’re down.

Fiona whispered, ‘thank you’, and left.

 

6pm: My second ‘last meal’ has been dedicated to the wonderful people of Italy and their magnificent invention, the pizza. It is also dedicated to the wonderful people of Australia, who took this humble Italian cuisine and Aussified it by asking the question, ‘what happens when you put on more than two toppings?’ We collectively said we shall create such a pizza, and we shall call it ‘Supreme’. Maybe it’s a nod to our convict heritage that the only times you hear the word Supreme is in association with the word ‘Court’ or the word ‘Pizza’.

Whatever the back story, it was bloody beautiful eating. I just sat and watched the live coverage of the US rocket launch. Currently we’re 2 and 2 at the moment after the European’s effort went the same way as the Chinese one. It looked good early as it cleared the launch pad but it wasn’t long before it started leaning to the right, just a bit at first, then a bit more. Before I knew it I was watching the TV on an angle – like a golfer trying to will his wayward drive back on to the fairway. Within seconds the thing was nearly sideways and I think mission control hit the self-destruct button cos for no reason it exploded. Another 1000 space workers on this world without eyebrows methinks. To be fair to them, they were battling strong winds and had it not been an end-of-the-world scenario they would’ve delayed the launch.

So that leaves us with two chances of hope in the air and the US effort about to set sail. At least that’s the official picture. But I’m half watching the coverage and half surfing the web on my iPad and there are so many sources of info saying there is no chance any of these rockets will succeed. Now, I can smell some looney’s conspiracy site from a mile away – but there are so many credible sources of info emerging and quotes from some seemingly very creditable sources it’s a bit hard to ignore. Not too much coverage on it in TV land though.

Can’t say I’m totally surprised by it all. They’re not going to want anarchy in the final days. I mean, people are already going crazy enough without totally losing hope.

Back on the ground in the USofA things aren’t looking good for Operation: Final Shield – yeah, I know, they called it that :S

As was the case with the Europeans, the weather is not playing ball, in fact, it was worse. The thing is, the Americans will be carrying a nuclear payload and I don’t think anyone wants to press the go button and be responsible for nuking their own soil.

They were trying to move forward the launch time because the weather is deteriorating rapidly – apparently the original midnight (our time) launch time will now be gale force winds. The result was a lot of staring at launch pads, delays and, in the end, Operation: Final Shield becomes Operation: Fail Shield. It will sit on the tarmac collecting rain and rust and not take part in any earth-saving activities. It’s pretty deflating, actually. For some reason I just assumed this one would take off. Maybe my mind has been manipulated by too many bad US-centric save-the-day movies, but that just adds to the feeling.

 

7.30pm: Well, the printer is backed up with a bunch of things to print from the net and I’m gearing up for a games sesh with the boys. They’re all bringing around their big screens and Xbox and we’re gonna system link some serious Call of Duty action. I’ve reconfigured the lounge and dining room so all six TVs can line up along the far wall and, when we start playing 3 on 3, we will switch the setup across to the dining table. It’s a bit weird as part of me is feeling really guilty* for not dedicating tonight to preparing for tomorrow but then part of me needs to do it. What if this is my last chance to see all the boys together – or play games? I’d rather go out with one more epic games sesh under my belt than a few more hours of prep. At least the printer will make me feel less guilty.

*Guilt – I seem to be using that word a lot these days!

 

There’s a new star in the night sky tonight. Its name is 2014DM3. It’s sitting low in the western sky – you could see it for about an hour after the sun went down. It wasn’t as bright as I expected. I assume I was looking at the right one – I was probably looking at Venus or something.

 

2.30am: I rock – that’s all that needs be said of how many ways I powned the boys tonight. I was so good I almost felt sorry for how stupid I made everyone else look. Almost. Great times – and it just made me realise how much a good headshot is like a work of art. Johnno brought a carton of Pale Ale around, Boof had a bottle of bundy and Hardo brought around the VB – but we let him in anyway.

 

I’ve just kicked the last of the boys out and the place looks like the asteroid has already struck, but that’s OK – it was so worth it. #epicgamessesh

It did get kinda weird towards the end – we actually started talking about meaningful stuff – yeah, I know – about how we felt about the potential end of the world. I mean, we don’t talk about things like that – ever. Generally, the fear of dying came up – not the dying itself but the missing out on all the living people like us should be looking forward to.

It definitely hit home hearing the boys talk about it. I guess I’ve pretty much gone into a shell on the subject, I s’pose. It’s a coping thing, they’d say – not talking about it and all that. I just break the hours down into what I need to do and, now, what I want to do. Maybe all of which is a cunningly designed thought process by my subconscious to spend no time actually thinking about what’s coming at all. And I’ve heard people talk about it and the potential impacts – but that doesn’t count because it’s people on TV – experts in this, professors in that – just generally old people. But this was people I know well, who are going through all the same… feelings (grr) I am. Hearing them talk about it all made me realise how nervous and shit-scared I am.

Anyways, when the boys left I jumped back online for a few more games – shooting random newbs made me feel so much better. #ignoranceisbliss

****

 

Friday, April 12, 2014

9am: D-Day.

I just got up, feeling nasty. Whose stupid idea was it to drink beer anyways? And BBBBs? Well, that was just a really bad idea. Note to self: when your friend’s nickname is Boof and he comes up with an invention called Boof’s Bundy-Bomb Beers, you don’t have to try them. Any ‘good ideas’ from a guy who accepts being called Boof should be, on the whole, ignored. BBBBs – Just applaud his creativity and move on. It’ll keep him happy. And whatever you do don’t have one… or another… or another. My tongue feels like it’s covered in moss.

There’s a really strange feeling hitting me right now. I’ve done just about everything I needed to do to prepare. At least I think I have – I could always buy another can opener – you can never have enough, right? The thing is, my plans have kept me so busy just preparing this, buying that and whatever else, I really haven’t spent too much time dwelling on what it all means; what’s potentially coming. It started creeping in last night but today it’s hit big time. It’s like my mind has found this way of deliberately not letting itself be exposed to the enormity of tonight.

I’m feeling like there’s this overwhelming sense of emotion just lurking under the surface and if I allow myself just one second too long thinking about it I might burst out crying or punch the wall or something. I’m toey. I’m so God-dammed toey. Arrrggghghghghghg!!!!!

Need a distraction.

 

10am: Distraction found. I’m now the proud owner of a hydroponics system. All I need is a bit of electricity for light and a bit of water to grow and I’ll have myself an inside market garden. All it needs now is my green thumb… ahhh – and there’s the chink in the armour. 

It was hilarious at the store. I mean, I looked like death-warmed-up this morning and between that and my age, and judging by the people that run the place – there’s only one particular plant they thought I’d be growing and it doesn’t produce food. But it does make you hungry. Oh did you see what I did there with the jokes? Good irony, me.

PS – I’m putting this purchase in the ‘luxury items on Dad’s credit card just in case’ category.*

PS – my third ‘last meal’ was Maccas’ breakfast. Once again I blame the BBBBs. It’s actually getting harder to find takeaway places open. I figure they’re running out of people prepared to spend potentially a large chunk of the rest of their lives on minimum wage. But Maccas was flying the drive-thru flag with pride and I obliged.

They say people are splitting into two camps on the whole work issue. The majority have just dropped it and aren’t going back until this is over (probably applies for a good result only) and others, particularly those in the service and emergency services industries, are trying to remain on. There’s an ad campaign encouraging people to ‘do their bit to help keep the world moving’. I heard Maccas are giving their staff crazy bonus money for working, which probably helps.

 

*I really miss Mum and Dad. I would love just at least a phone call. Just to be able to hear their voices again. To hear Mum tell me she loves me and for Dad to say he was proud of all the things I’d done to plan for survival. God, what’s happening to me? Did I just write this? I’m seriously an emotional wreck today.

 

11am: I messaged Fi to the J earlier to say how blown away I was by yesterday’s catch-up (I used more eloquent words, by the way). And how much I’ve always liked her too. And to wish her all the best and that I was thinking of her. I figured if I was having all these gushy feelings then I may as well focus them on her.

Anyways, she texted back just then with a long post about when we met and the moment she realised she liked me and what I meant to her etc. This really has come out of nowhere, but hell, it makes me feel good. She’ll be the first person I call if this thing ends and everything’s alright.

 

11.30am: I keep coming across one absolute must basic rule from every survivor website. They all say I need a bug-out bag and a bug-out plan. The bug-out bag is a pack with items you need to survive, just in case your home becomes compromised. You fill it with the sort of items that will get you through a few days so you can grab it and go at a moment’s notice. Where do you go? Well, that’s supposed to be the bug-out plan – a detailed idea of what to do when things hit the fan, as they say. This is where everything falls down as I have no bug-out plan whatsoever. I don’t know where to go if my house is destroyed and I survive.

So I’m going to make a bug-out bag, pack it with a week’s worth of food, a knife, a torch, a change of clothes, water and whatever else I can think of. I’m going to take it with me to the Jameson’s. I just hope I don’t need it.

 

3pm: I was really starting to weird myself out just hanging around the house so I decided to go for a drive. And then it occurred to me I should spend what could be my last few hours driving past all the places that had meant something to me. So I just cranked up the Js on the radio and went a-drivin’.

I started at the first house I remember living in at Cowandilla,  then the primary school around the corner where I went until year 4. After that it was out to our next house at Glandore, then out to Magill, Trinity Gardens Primary, Norwood/Morialta High, then a cruise up The Parade where I worked at Cibo and past the oval where I watched the Redlegs, past Adelaide Oval where I watched the Crows and just a bunch of other random spots where I’ve hung out with friends, had little moments of love, or some other memorable experience.

It really helped, it did. What do they call it on the talk shows? Closure? Ahh! Closure – I can almost hear the American accent as I write the word. I was giving myself some of this fancy closure stuff, I think. If it does all end tonight … well, then I can consider myself pretty lucky with the life I’ve lived. I can consider all the openy* bits… closured*.

*These are words because I say they are.

 

4.30pm: Well, it finally happened and I don’t know what to think. Mum and Dad phoned. Someone finally alerted the crazy middle-aged hippies hiding in the Tassie forest that they should perhaps pick up a freaking newspaper and find out there have been a few changes since they left the civilised world.

It was such a shock when they did call I balled my eyes out on the spot. It was Dad. Typical Dad too – almost zero pleasantries (he’s always a bit awkward like that) he had a list a mile long of things I needed to do to prepare. I think I impressed the hell out of him when I said I’d done most of them. For the record he didn’t say he was proud of me but I could tell it from his tone of voice. If anything he was a bit taken aback by what I’d done, and I think I detected a tone of disappointment (under the pride) – almost as if he felt he was no longer needed. That might just be my spin on it but I’m gonna take it as a huge compliment nonetheless.

Mum more than made up for things in the emotional department. That was hard to cope with. I can’t remember much of what was said – apart from a lot of ‘I love yous’. But hearing them that was equally fulfilling as it was distant. It was so good to have that moment but it wasn’t them in the flesh. There were no over-embracing cuddles, no annoying lipstick marks left on my cheek, no scent of perfume … just the words. The words and the tears.

Dad finished up things by telling me their plan to get back to Adelaide. Approximate itinerary and approximate ETA. When Dad says approximate he usually means within 15 minutes or else it is a fail. He’s also got a contingency plan if he can’t get in immediate contact, and a list of things for me to do if I haven’t heard from them within 48 hours of the event. He made me write a whole bunch of things down. By the end of the call I was feeling pretty good. Good to hear from them and looking forward to seeing them on the other side of all this.

They were also pretty happy I’d chosen to go to the Jamesons’ tonight.

 

There are widely conflicting views about where the comet’s impact point will be. The experts are saying the unpredictable spin and the unstable nature of the shape make it difficult to determine. Many are saying the object will break up as it enters our atmosphere. If it doesn’t, the opinion is it will strike in the Indian Ocean. It’s a good thing in some ways – no direct impact destruction – but the tsunami it is likely to create will be epic. Anything up to 1000 metres high! That, coupled with the gases ejected, into the atmosphere will cause total chaos.

If it breaks-up however, that’s what the experts find it impossible to model. It could explode in the upper atmosphere sending debris across half the world, it could break in the weak point down the middle and create two massive problems instead of one (landing, well, no one knows). Basically, it seems about as certain as a weather forecast!

 

So, the Russians have lost their rocket. Great. They lost contact about an hour ago and believe it has had a catastrophic fail. They are saying the chances are it was struck by some debris, probably created by the comet, but they’re not sure.

 

****

 

IMPACT NIGHT:

Goddammit! Holy crap. Swear words – all the swear words, in alphabetical order, then backwards, then random, then finishing with the F one, in a number of variations. I’ve just got to write now, I’ve just got to get it all down. Every last second of the last few hours – everything. I’m buzzing, massively buzzing, and the thoughts and the memories are already starting to get confused and I need to put them down. I just feel this urge to recall every last detail – it’s like if I don’t write it here then it will all be completely forgotten.

OK diary – prepare yourself.

 

6.30pm: It was a perfectly clear night – thank god. I would have been pissed off if the end of the world came and I couldn’t even see the glorious show that would probably bring about my demise.

The air was thick and sounds seemed to travel forever. It was slightly muggy too – unusually so for Adelaide, but it kind of added to the eerie anticipation you could sense everywhere. The noise of dogs barking and birds calling penetrated the thick air. I wonder if they knew their fate, more power to them if they didn’t, I say. I’m jealous.

I know, I know my words are a bit ‘bad romance novel’, but I can’t think of any other way to convey the ‘vibe’ of the night. And it’s the best I could come up with – so bad romance novel it is. Deal with it, diary.

When I arrived at the Jameson’s house there would’ve been about 60 people milling around. I needed to be busy, distracted – I was immediately glad I came – I just had a sense this was the place I was supposed to be. Mr Jameson – Steve – had set-up the big TV on the second floor and he had two smaller TVs on the balcony. It was a great set-up because the house over-looked the city, from the foothills to the sea, so you could see almost endless suburbia, the looming asteroid and get the latest destruction countdown broadcast at the same time.

I knew more than half the people there. There were six families who hung out with the Jamesons and Mum and Dad on a regular basis. Most of the kids were about the same age too – I guess it was the closest I could feel to family. There were a few others I didn’t know, but I was happy enough in their collective company. Most importantly Jamie and Scott were there – they’re both my age and even though they go to private school, they’re alright. I’ve known them for years so I definitely felt comfortable.

The TV was fixed on the Channel 9 broadcast, which had plenty of crosses to NBC in the US and the BBC and Europe. They also managed to get a feed from the International Space Station – either shots of the approaching rock or a birds-eye view of the doomed Earth below. They were the hardest pictures to look at. The Earth looked smaller from that view – smaller and completely vulnerable.

The rest of the broadcast made it feel like an event, like something to watch, not something that would soon impact on us all. In a way it took the edge off the reality we were facing – it was, well normal. Normal like when you see the coverage of an earthquake, or like how they covered the floods in Queensland.

Normal… just too frickin’ normal.

 

So too was the gathering – at least in the first couple of hours. Once everyone had been introduced and settled in, the drinks started flowing and if you didn’t know it could’ve been any night. Occasionally you’d get a look, a look that said ‘this is it’, but for the first little while it remained unsaid. Scary.

 

Mr Mochizuki was hilarious. He’d dressed head to toe in Japanese colours, much to his daughter’s embarrassment. He was there to barrack for the Japanese rocket but it also made everyone else smile. He’s so funny.

 

I snuck off with Scott and Jamie a plate full of BBQ food and a few beers and we hammered the Xbox in the rumpus room – a bit of FIFA. Close games too – they’re both pretty good.

 

Of course my plan was to stay completely sober. I needed the edge and I knew not being drunk may well be the difference between making it and not. But at some point along the way I thought screw it and helped myself to a Pale Ale or two. The peer pressure may have gotten me over the line but I’m OK with that. I figured a couple of drinks to keep me calm couldn’t hurt.

 

I’ve got to give the TV stations credit for still broadcasting through this. They are people with lives too. Apparently they asked for volunteers and they easily had enough responses to go ahead. I think the fact that, apart from maybe Perth (with the tsunami), Australia seems like it will dodge the biggest bullet tonight. I guess they assumed everything would go to plan.

 

9pm: After a while we joined the masses in the lounge room and on the balcony. There had been a massive shift in atmosphere in the hour or so we were away. The general hubbub of dozens of people talking and laughing at the same time was gone. The TV had been turned up and that was about the only noise to be heard apart from the odd whisper.

I drifted away from the boys for a while and just watched the coverage. It was full of experts and crosses and infographics and updates and recaps… it was pretty riveting, to be honest, but at the same time completely useless. They were so fast in bouncing from one important bit of information to the next you felt massively informed, but when you stopped and analysed what was being said there was nothing new. I mean, they had an official ‘guestimation’ of where the impact would be. But that area was huge – thousands of square kilometres of the Indian Ocean – and that info was old news; nothing we didn’t already know. It was the same with everything – already stuff we’d heard before just being said by a different expert or analyst. The only things that was really new was the numbers on the countdown clock, which was permanently on the bottom of the screen. They were new numbers, small numbers. Scary Numbers.

Despite the lack of anything substantial or new, it was really hard not to watch. But there was a point with a few hours to go I just got a little claustrophobic or something and felt the need to get out of there for some Me time (capital ‘M’ because I’m important). I swiped a couple of Paleys and headed down to the back of the Jameson’s garden.

 

9.30pm: The Jamesons had a nice little spot past the swimming pool where no one ever goes – it used to be an awesome hide-and-seek spot when I was younger. There’s this little wooden canopy with grapevines all over it and beyond that was the side of the shed where there’s a little bench. I just cleared away a few spiderwebs and sat down.

I really couldn’t see too much of the sky from there, but that was OK. I could hear noises from the party, and from other houses in the area. There must’ve been something pretty wild going on down the street as there was screaming and laughing and doof-doof music cranked to 11. Good on ’em. I was just happy to have a beer and a reflective moment and, in a way, the noise of their partae was all the company I needed.

It lasted about five minutes, but it’s what came next that will stay with me as long as I have memories. Alyce, Scott’s older sister, came up with two more Pales in her hand. She only said two things to me that night, the first one being, ‘There you are’.

Then she sat on the bench beside me and kissed me. I mean this is Alyce – three years older than me Alyce – what? Of course I didn’t complain one bit as I’ve always had a little kid crush on her and I figure it’s better to end existence with a moment like this than a little more self-contemplation!

After a while she took me by the hand and lead me around the back of the shed where she pushed me up against the bricks and kissed me harder. I could see what was happening – she was the hunter and I was her prey. I could see it happening and I wanted it more. God it was hot. Her hands wandered and so did mine. Then she kissed my neck, down to my chest, then stomach and then… wow!

OK sorry, this is getting more Mills & Boon than before and it’s actually really awkward to write about but it was such a big part of the night and something I don’t want to forget. I’m doing my best to embrace the Mills&Boonedness.

Now, I don’t much about her boyfriends in the past or anything but I do know she knew exactly what she was doing. I mean it wasn’t just good – it was phenomenal! I can remember thinking, in the moments my mind ran off on random tangents in the middle of it all, that maybe it wasn’t even us doing this. Maybe we were just characters or actors playing our roles. I guess we kinda were. I s’pose normally we’re driven primarily by what people would think of us if we were caught – maybe now it’s changed to being driven by what we’d think of ourselves if we did nothing. Other people’s judgment may never come. Tomorrow could be nothing – there was nothing to lose.

Eventually she guided me away from the wall and she leaned up against it, facing the brickwork. Then she spoke again – the last thing she said to me – ‘I want you in me’.

It was my turn now. I played with her under her short skirt, through her knickers. I could feel how turned on she was just as she had felt me. Then I glided her g-string down and pressed myself up against her – in her.

OK – here’s the bit where I admit it was awkward at first trying to … erm… dock… that position ain’t easy. But once I could get off of my tippy-toes and the docking was complete I was away.

I’m thinking to myself how ridiculous this is all getting – I mean two girls throw themselves at me in two days. I’ve gone from Mr Average to Ladies’ Man in the space of 24 hours. I have doubled the amount of people I’ve slept with! And not just doubled – had the two hottest encounters of my life. What the hell?

It’s the moment, the enormity, the pressure, the infiniteness, the rock – all of which makes you want to explode or do something completely freakin’ crazy just to know you did some living on Earth while you had a chance.

And, in these moments, we’re just people playing a role in someone else’s final screw-it-all moment while they play a role in yours. I don’t think I can ever fully explain it. It’s just this understanding it was a moment we were drawn or destined for. And that it had to be perfect with absolutely nothing left out – no room for blushing, no place for regret, no time for doubt – just a total obsession to make one unforgettable moment.

And it was unforgettable.

I’ve just got to live long enough to not forget it for as long as I can.

 

When our moment was over we kissed on the bench a little more before she gave me one last look – a mission sexily completed look, an entirely satisfied look – with a hint of lonely and lost – then she left.

I sat down for a couple minutes more, had some of my beer, toasted the air for the previous 20 minutes and headed back.

 

10.30pm: When I got back to the party my absence had been noticed – I just told Scott and Jamie I needed a bit of time. Not sure I looked Scott in the eye directly at any point.

Mr Jameson also came over to chat at some point to see how I was feeling. He’s a really nice guy. I know it would’ve been tempting to play a bit of Dad substitute – like Uncle Paul had tried – but Mr Jameson’s too smart for that. It was on the level of a peer, I s’pose, which made me feel pretty happy to talk. Not that I had much to say. I just told him about all the things I’d prepared and how the house was set up should we survive the night. He said I could sleep the night if I needed to. I had really intended to go home tonight but it gave me something to think about at least.

 

The rest of the moments between then and the impact were a bit of a blur. I know I had chats with just about everyone I knew. There were a lot of well-wishing adults offering me any help I needed until my parent got back. Some of the younger kids pestered me long enough that I played a few games of table tennis with them. It was alright actually – they needed the distraction and I did too. Of course I didn’t let them win, hells no. I did the decent thing and smashed them.

There’s not really much else I remember from those couple of hours in the lead-up apart from joining everyone upstairs and watching the coverage. I remember the groan when the Japanese last hope rocket went the same way as the Russian one – Mr Mochizuki took it pretty hard (a couple of people gave him a dirty look, which I thought was harsh – it wasn’t his rocket). Another thing that stands out to me was not a moment but the general vibe. As minutes passed you could sense the fear growing. The talking all but stopped, the laughter was long gone, families started to migrate together… this was just waiting… there was nothing to do but watch the countdown clock and pray.

I got lost in thought again. I thought about my brother in London and my parents and wondered what they were doing at that moment. I thought about all my preparation and wondered if I’d missed anything. I thought about Alyce and the shed, Fiona J and the visit. I thought about my life. I thought about the rock. I thought about death. I watched the clock.

 

****

 

 

The moment

2am: I’m doing it – I’m gonna write the words down – and it’s probably the most predictable quote from any eye-witness to an epic event – ‘it was like a scene out of a Hollywood movie’. Sometimes I reckon on-the-ground news crews aren’t allowed to go back to the office until they’ve recorded saying it. So I feel so dirty for saying it, but the thing is I can’t think of any other way to explain what I witnessed. It was epic.

In fact, I think I’m going to retire the word epic from my vocabulary now. No future event will ever come close to what just happened. Nothing else will ever be truly epic.

The countdown reached zero. There was confusion on the broadcast as they were following the comet’s entry with the satellite camera and when it hit the atmosphere there was an almighty flash of light somewhere above the Indian Ocean. The flare blinded the lens for a few seconds. But we hadn’t been pulverised into the Earth’s core – we were alive. Everyone cheered and I bellowed so hard tears came to my eyes. I was a-freakin-live!

The commentators were fumbling to relay some meaningful information. Mr Jameson was telling everyone to shut up while he turned the TV up to maximum volume.

But then the night sky lit up bright as day. A ball of glowing fire appeared to our right – it came in from the northwest and just kind of floated past us, right over the city, headed southwest. It looked impossible in so many ways – night became day. This heavy rock just hanging in the sky. It was spinning end over end, with a large jiggered edge sticking out. It must’ve been ripping past at incredible speed but everything seemed so slow motion. It almost looked peaceful, gentle, but it was here to bring chaos and pain. For so many reasons it was impossible.

No one spoke. Everyone just stared in silence at the rock and the vapour trail until it disappeared out of sight high over the hills. The whole thing couldn’t have lasted more than 5-10 seconds – I think I snapped a few decent pics on my phone, but I wasn’t aiming, just firing blind.

A few seconds later an explosion ripped through the Adelaide plains below – then another. I looked out to see two big plumes of debris billowing into the night air – one down near the airport and the other somewhere between Flinders Medical Centre and Marion Shopping Centre – someone reckoned that was Mitchell Park. Then another small rock went sizzling over our heads – very low and very quick. Surely that impacted into the hills somewhere? Shit got real at that moment. Things had gone from a news story to an event, to a light show, and now, a catastrophe. Underneath those dust clouds there are probably many people dead.

There was panic and whimpering and cuddles and ‘I love yous’ and nervous breathing and swearing – lots of swearing – then things went quiet. Everything and everyone except the TV broadcast on the balcony went quiet. I realised all eyes were glued to the screen.

The TV guy said something like, ‘it seems as if the bulk of the comet has struck the southern most reaches of the Bay of Bengal. Hopefully those in low-lying areas of India, South-East Asia, Africa and, most importantly for us, the West Australian coast, get to higher ground as a matter of urgency, if you haven’t already because of the threat of tsunami. We’re getting reports of large fragments of debris breaking off from the comet. Reports are sketchy at the moment but it looks Australia is in the firing line of some of these smaller fragments. We are hoping and praying for the safety of all Australians and will be keeping you up-to-date with everything as it unfolds.’

I couldn’t help but think, ‘that was a smaller fragment?’ How big did the actual thing look when it impacted the Indian Ocean? And the damage… What on Earth is to come?

There wasn’t much talking for the next few minutes – just watching for updates on the TV. They seemed painfully slow, but it was difficult, I suppose. Any eyewitnesses to the event were probably fried by the blast impact, or killed by tsunamis, or poisoned by toxins or some such thing. And the camera in space really only showed a mass of blinding light.

Then we started hearing reports about Melbourne – that the massive rock that bulked past us had landed near there. Real close. No one was hearing anything from any Melbourne media outlet – signals had died. And the potential for bad news was high.  Just the thought of Australia’s second largest city getting hit was scary.

That’s when things got really fricken’ real.

That’s when some guests start wailing, some were consoling each other, there were kids clinging on to parents for dear life, other people just stood or sat in stunned silence. Some started manically working their phones – presumably trying to contact people in Melbs. I don’t think they had much luck – the phones were all but dead most of the night. Some, like me, just watched the TV.

The Melbourne angle was getting some weight behind it. We started hearing some reports about a more specific impact site – near Frankston on the Mornington Peninsula. I’m pretty sure that’s an outer suburb of Melbourne – and if was the rock that we saw floating through the sky earlier – then Melbourne looks like it’s pretty much screwed. Wow. Melbourne. MCG Melbourne. Footy Melbourne. Wow.
It is hard to recall exact times between events on the night but it was several minutes before the shockwaves hit – that could be 7, could be 15 – I’m just not sure. But when it hit, it hit. There was like this subtle little breeze hitting from the Adelaide plains all night but it started getting stronger and fast. When standing upright became a noticeable challenge that’s when the noise began. It started building beyond the hills behind us – louder and louder. Seriously loud. Then louder again – jet engine loud. Then an explosion of wind and debris and rocks and trees came barreling over the lip of the hills.

 

This shockwave – presumably from the Melbourne impact – turned into a cocktail of lethal floating objects that just hit the top of Mount Lofty and kept going up and out. It launched objects high in the sky above us – further propelled by the vicious sea breeze that’d swept off the plains. I’ve got a feeling we got very lucky here – no debris seemed to rain down on us – it pushed over our heads on to the plains below. It was kinda like we were standing at the peak of a giant breaking wind wave (breaking wind wave – that’s a bit awkward). Like we were in an air pipeline or something, just in the perfect part of the barrel that held its shape just long enough to protect our arses.

It was surreal. The wind hitting us from city side was strong but tolerable, while overhead this crazy blast of energy pushed all sorts of objects well over our heads and onto the city below. I saw a couple of cars go overhead and that was enough for me to head inside. I pushed my face up to the lounge room window and continued watching. I kept an eye on my house as I had a distant view of it from the Jamesons’. It seemed OK, for now.

The shockwave probably unloaded for a few minutes but it slowly subsided after the initial front. The TVs had gone dead – just showing static. But as the winds calmed, panic set in. Mr Jameson called for everyone to calm down and he started getting everyone involved in making a plan of action. It was short-lived though. As soon as he got everyone in a more positive frame of mind there was another big explosion outside. It was distant, but large, the house shook with its force. Again attention turned to the view of the city below. A huge fireball leaped out from the Parkside area. Then, as everyone was trying to work out what could’ve caused it, a fiery ball rock or something about the size of a truck came into view from over the hills and buried itself beyond the city in the western suburbs, then another one from the same direction hit out Salisbury way in the north.

A smaller fireball – not sure what to call those things – landed a couple of suburbs away to our left. It took out a couple of houses before something exploded – presumably a gas line or something. I swear I felt a wave of heat. There were more fireballs that could be seen off in the distance. I figured all this was emanating from the Melbourne impact, which didn’t bode well for anyone closer than us – 800km!

I got distracted so much by the light show and taking a few pics, I nearly missed the really bad news.

Someone pointed out the sea was receding. Fast. With the conditions that night the water just looked like a black slick, with the moonlight dancing off the distant waves – now all partly obscured by the dust of the shockwave. I hardly noticed … until there was no moonlight glimmering at all. The water drew out of the area fast – real fast. That could only mean one thing – tsunami. Now, I know enough about geography to know that lil old Adelaide, hidden as it is up St Vincent’s Gulf had no direct line of sight with either Melbourne or the Bay of Bangal – there was hundreds of kilometers of water separating us from the Southern Ocean. I’m not sure if there was another impact spot or the world’s seas had been distorted so much by the impacts the whole thing was going crazy like a giant washing machine. Either way it wasn’t good.

That was the moment I remember thinking there’s no chance I would survive. It just seemed every few minutes another disaster played out in front of me. I’d be scared stiff, braced for the worst, watch the horror unfold, survive, start to adjust to what I’d seen – then something else bigger and badder would happen. I mean, what next?

I don’t think I was the only one hurting either, no one spoke – we just consoled and braced for more pain.

The gulf looked nearly drained from our distant view in the foothills. I felt for those beachside – something big was coming and there was no way to get out of its path now. I’m not sure if this was the case earlier but I noticed the cars backed up on both Anzac Highway and Port Road – obviously the word was out to GTFO.

Then I saw the wall of water. It came in fast. ‘Wall’ probably doesn’t cut it for a description, but I can’t think of any other way to describe it. All I know is when it hit the shoreline I was looking at Glenelg – the only real beachfront buildings of any decent size are at Glenelg. And the wave just swallowed them all. It ate them and kept going.

I’ll never forget the screams from the people around me at that moment. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to describe them properly either, but there was something in the tone of peoples’ wailing that changed from an ‘against all hope’ scream to a ‘there is no hope’ scream.

It was horrible to watch but I couldn’t look away. The wave rolled through the west from the south, over Marion Shopping Centre, past the airport, up Anzac Highway, across Port Road, further and further in until it hit the parklands. And it didn’t stop there – it just kept on rolling straight into the heart of the city. It was only then I started to realise my house was in jeopardy. This was not part of my survival plan, which required my house and all the things I’d collected in my house to survive with. If the wave got as far east as Trinity Gardens I was screwed.

I saw a couple of buildings collapse in the CBD, along with the light towers and one of the grandstands at Adelaide Oval – definitely won’t be seeing the Crows play this weekend :S When it hit Fullarton Road my heart was out of control. I think I actually held my hands together and started praying.  I think I remember saying ‘please, no, please, please, no’ over and over again.

Most of the people at the party were from the eastside – we were all praying for the same result. The wave’s momentum seemed to slow once it hit Fullarton Road. Someone pointed out that the incline increases east of the city as you head towards the foothills. And it was true – no sooner had the water hit the bottom of the Parade at Norwood it peaked and slowly started withdrawing back towards the beach.

‘Here comes another one’ someone said. I swore.

The first wave had probably rolled back to the airport when the second rolled over the top. It was hard to tell if it was bigger than the first one or not. It reached the Parade again, this time pushing up as far as Osmond Terrace before falling back. I breathed hard and thanked whomever I was praying to as that was only a few blocks from Portrush Road – and only a few more from my house.

Another random fireball ploughed into the retreating water. Watching the fireballs didn’t have the same impact anymore – whoever lived where that thing landed was dead already.

There was a bit of a mixed bag with the rest of the waves – the next few fell well short of the eastern suburbs before a couple more massive ones rolled right up to the foot of the Parade again. Once they retreated, the worst was done – the high watermark was set.

New Adelaide took shape in front of us. The west utterly destroyed; the north plains similar; southern plains gone too – not sure about the fate of those the other side on the hills down south. But for those in the Adelaide hills behind us, and judging by the force of the blast that sailed over our heads earlier there’d be little to nothing left. All that remained livable – at least by the looks of it – was a crescent shaped band of suburbs in the shadows of the hills.

We just happened to be in the right place – far enough from the sea not to be affected by the tsunami, close enough to the hills to be shielded from the blast winds and lucky enough not to be dive-bombed by comet fragments or fireballs or cars or trees or God knows what else.

I looked at the snowy TVs, hoping their signal would come back so I could find out what was going on. Mr Jameson was trying to find a radio signal without luck. I tried my phone – no signal, no internet. Instead I went and grabbed another beer and stared at new Adelaide.

 

MattPike

AUTHOR BIO

I’m an Aussie, father of three, who loves to write. I have an unhealthy obsession with sci-fi, video games, fantasy football and good comedy.

I love writing Young Adult stories that can be enjoyed by teens and adults alike. There’s something about the how much a person changes during that period of their life and how much it shapes their future that I find appealing. I also need to weave humour (humor) through my work – my writing just doesn’t feel ‘right’ without it.

My youngest daughter, Abby, has Rett Syndrome. For those not familiar, it’s a neurological condition that affects mostly girls. Typically, they develop ‘normally’ for 12-24 months before regressing and losing the ability to walk, talk and use their hands in a meaningful way. They require constant care for the most basic of tasks and raising a child with Rett Syndrome is a team effort. I donate part-proceeds from each book sale to find a cure for Rett Syndrome

 

Website URL and social media URLs:

http://mattpike.co/

Available at Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Apocalypse-Diary-Survivor-Matt-Pike-ebook/dp/B00LGBN1G2

 

Sneak Peeks are our way of helping readers find new books and authors and get previews. Please share and/or comment! Thank you!

 

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