Paul Butters Paul Butters
Recommendations: 3

Suggest - "Don't panic," the newsreader says. But I do. (Make it ALL present tense. Don't mix tenses).

Paul Butters Paul Butters
Recommendations: 3

Very dramatic. But should it be, "The television GOES blank." ? "My mind IS too shocked..." ??? (Wrong order here but see what I mean?).

Paul Butters Paul Butters
Recommendations: 3

PS I'm NOT suggesting you use caps here. Just highlighting for you.

Paul Butters Paul Butters
Recommendations: 3

Suggest - "She sounds very upset." \ "There is nothing I can say to convince her."

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She had a friend.

Okay...a repeat, but one that has meant many things to good luck in your thinking!  It is all real by the way!

‘Don’t panic’, the newsreader says.  But I do. 2 comments

The television goes blank. My mind is too shocked to believe what I hear. Am I dreaming?  I’ve had many before. Dreams predicting all sorts of disasters.   I jump from my chair and turn on the radio.  Nothing but static!  I look about me, everything seems the same. Wake up, I will myself.  But I have not moved.  I look out the window.  Everything looks normal.  I glance at my watch. 1 p.m.  Have I heard right?  The newsreader’s doomsday voice still echoes in my head; 2 comments

     ‘We interrupt this program with an urgent News Flash. We have just been informed that there is an Asteroid heading towards earth which is expected to hit the eastern coast of Australia within two hours!  Our officials tell us ‘Don’t panic!’ It may only hit the areas 300 km. radius surrounding Port Phillip Bay.  Due to this urgent News Flash, our usual programmes will not be screened for the rest of the day.

    The phone rings.  It is my elderly mother. ‘Have you heard the news?’
    ‘Yes. Is it really true?’ I ask her dreading her reply...

    ‘I think so. I knew something like this to happen sooner or later. With all those experiments they have been doing. Why can’t they leave things alone.’ She sounds very upset.
    ‘Mum. You have to come here straight away and stay with us so we can at least be together.’
    ‘I can’t. It would take me nearly two hours by public transport and I am not prepared to leave my home of fifty years. I have three other children besides you’ she reminds me.
    ‘But I am your first born child.  Your eldest. Please come.’
    But she stubbornly refuses and tells me to pray for a miracle, finishing  off by saying,
    ‘I’m staying here. Remember I will always love you no matter what. When all else fails, pray.’
    There is nothing I can say to convince her. 1 comment

    Today is Friday the 13th of September.  I sigh with relief.  Someone is playing a joke.  Not a very funny joke either, yet it did sound like another of my vivid nightmares.

     I recall the time I dreamt that the loud rumble outside my home was a mini earthquake. The length of our street had caved in and the sky was alight with fireworks.  My skin had strangely started to peel off in thick layers.

     I also remembered that during the Millennium celebrations at Southbank, perhaps due to the doomsday predictions of Nostradamus, I had witnessed the Yarra River collapsing. The water disappeared leaving the Yarra bed dry and cracked as in a draught.

     How could I ever forget the tidal wave from the bay, which ferociously swamped and uprooted houses.  It stopped at our double-storey home on the hill, three blocks from the sea, but not before claiming the front wall. I was spared from being drowned, but was left defenceless, with the wind threatening to drag me from the exposed first floor.

     Fortunately I always woke up from the dreams.

     I check the power in the house. It is working, yet the television and radio were still silent. I rang the three people closest to my heart. My husband is not answering his mobile phone.  My eldest daughter, Rachel, is still at work. She too has heard about the Asteroid, confirming my suspicions, and is preparing to return home immediately to be with her family.

     The void in my stomach begins to fill with acidic fear.  It feels too real. But then so do all of my dreams.  I manage to contact my other daughter, Emily on her mobile phone.  She is in her car about an hour away.  The traffic is chaotic but she too promises to return home as soon as she can after hearing it on the radio.

     It is now 1.15 p.m.  I am still living my nightmare. The hopelessness of the situation fills the emptiness inside me. I smell a pungent odour. My skin feels sticky even though I’m shaking.

     There is so much to be done. I am wasting precious time not knowing what to do next.   Voices and thoughts race around in my head like a merry-go-round, spinning out of control. Don’t panic!  from the newsreader. Pray!  from my mother. Don’t panic... Pray...pray...pray.  

The dizzy pounding sends my head in a spin as now other words rise to join them, I don’t know from where. Don’t panic...Be prepared...Gather your loved ones...Not possible to escape... of wisdom; Inevitable, unstoppable; acceptance a must; make do with what you have; In God and fate we trust. It was all too much for me.  Dear God help us all.

     Suddenly, I feel an inner calm and know what I have to do. When all else fails one can always fall back on prayer. Those words finally penetrated my numb brain. Please God, HELP ME!  It was more of a demand than an actual plea.

     For the next hour, I make more phone calls. I scan memorabilia and precious collections.  Somehow they don’t mean so much to me anymore. I do some deep soul searching and try to make peace within.  I still found it difficult to accept that this is happening.

     2.15 p.m. Both my daughters have returned home as has my husband Robert, full of concern and ready to protect his brood. Our immediate family is now complete. We go upstairs to the kitchen. We talk, hug and even laugh, not knowing what would happen next.

     Hopefully, I will wake up!  

     We discuss Asteroids.  Rachel my scientist daughter explains, ‘If an Asteroid was headed for earth, it would destroy a large area and population within moments. The impact would cause an earthquake and fiery sparks when it shattered. It would fill the atmosphere with smoke and dust. The heat would be intolerable. A tidal wave would destroy the rest of the area.’

Rachel, always the worrier, begins to panic as her own realisation sinks in.

     ‘I can’t stay here. I have to escape.  I don’t won’t to die.’  She is clinging to our hands and pulling us towards the door.

     Emily begins sobbing noisily, trying to escape our clinging hands as well. She too, pulls us towards the door. We try to keep her close to us.

    ‘Calm down!’ said Robert.  ‘We are all together.  Isn’t that the most important way to be?’ He reassures them as best he could.  With calm partially restored, we continue to discuss our feelings.  We have never before felt so close as a family until this very moment.  Why did it take this bombshell to finally do this?

     Between tears, we bare our souls and relieve our conscience with disclosures of untold misdemeanours and unresolved conflicts.  The wasted precious time of the past. The petty matters, so unimportant now,  that blinded us to the truth. We even talk about mundane topics like missing appointments and unpaid bills. We feel sad at the thought of never seeing family and friends again. Yet we live these moments in spiritual harmony.

     It is quite amazing that with all the advanced modern technology of the twenty-first century, we had not been forewarned and given the choice to leave the country. With only two hours of warning there isn’t much anyone can do. I console myself that perhaps it’s just another of my lucid dreams; a dream within a dream. Wake Up!  I will myself.  But I am.  I am still standing in the kitchen surrounded  by my family.  It feels surreal.  I await my fate in resignation.

     It is nearly 3 p.m.  Suddenly, I hear a familiar distant rumble, which becomes deafening. There is static crackling beneath the kitchen floor. The room fills with ghostly darkness.  I look to the window as the sky suddenly brightens with eerie fireworks. The heat is intolerable.  My skin begins to peel and I see a wall of water rushing towards us ...    

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