Short Story: A Cataclysmic Event

Lightning snaked across a black sky. Thunder cracked nearby, rumbling asphalt and concrete. The highway was abandoned– not from the late hour, but rather from the cataclysm most were still coming to grips with. Bethany and Robert were two of those few whom recognized at least some part of the cataclysm’s effects. They wandered along the highway, terrified and lost for action otherwise.

Rain was ready to unleash hell on them, fueled by the flashes back-lighting Beth’s, plump, pale cheeks. Her black hair made her seem all the more ghostly given darkness. Rob didn’t have to see her face to know all color was gone from it. They’d been humping in the back of his late-90’s station-wagon when it happened. Pumping across folded down seats in the woods off the highway kept them free from the angry intrusions of their respective parents.

Until the flash came, the only worries they’d had were whether or not Rob would pull out fast enough. Or if Beth would be part of the point-ex-ex percent whose birth-control failed. Then, the flash; like a giant m-80 that turned night to day. It was so bright it nearly blew Beth off Rob– and him inside her. They panicked, their first instincts of police intrusion. The flash died out a second later though– far too short for a copper’s flashlight.

They panted terror and pleasure, their nerves settling into shakes as they rolled apart at the ruined mood. Beth worked her panties back up her skirt while Rob wormed back into his pants. For a long while they sat, silent and catching their breath on the open tail-gate and sour from their ruined masterplan. When they finally parted for either side of the car’s front, slid into the darkness inside, Rob’s key turned to start the engine.

Nothing happened.

His heart pounded, stomach limboed up into his throat. He turned it again. Nothing. Not even a click. His horrified gaze fixed on the dashboard through the darkness. He suddenly understood irrational panic better. At least this was rational…

“What? What is it?”

It took him a moment to muster his courage. His mind was ablaze with the millions of ways both of their father’s would kill him once they found out where they’d been. That was, of course, after the public derision and castration.

He choked on hard saliva, “It’s dead.”

Beth’s eyes became late-50’s UFOs, “What? What’re you talking about? How?”

He shouted in panic.“I don’t know! It’s dead! I don’t know!”

“Did you leave it on?”

Frustration ground a roar from the back of his throat. He was irritated. His balls were blue, and now, destined to be cut off and stitched back on to his forehead only to be cut off again.

He slammed a hand against the steering wheel. “Stupid piece’a shit!”

Beth’s face turned green usual. “W-we have to do something. Find someone to jump it.”

His breath fluttered the last vestiges of hope, both for his rust bucket and his favorite, dangly bits. He kicked his door open with a squawk of metal. Beth was out behind him, stuck close for fear of being lost in the unimaginably-deep darkness. Even the city’s usual glow was gone– the first signs of something amiss.

But Rob was focused on the empty highway. Its usual vacancy seemed gone, different. The area generally came with fairly sparse traffic, but now, not a single car came nor went. Not even the few expected of waning evenings hours. Not one head-light or hi-beam cut the darkness.

Thunder rumbled again in the distance. Beth inched over. “Rob.” She clung to his arm. “Rob, we need to go before the rain hits.”

His mind was focused where the city’s glow should be. “No cars. No lights at all. And the car won’t start.”

“We need to go back and wait out the storm,” Beth urged, tugging at his hand.

He stood firm, “No, we can’t.”

“We have to. We’ll find help once the storm’s over.”

Rob was certain something had happened; not what, but its effects were obvious. “There’s no-one on the road, Beth. No cars. No lights in town.”

She followed his gaze to the glow’s dark place, “What happened to ’em?”

He wasn’t sure, but he sensed the flash was responsible. Whatever it was, it must’ve killed power to everything. That thought alone was enough to prompt him to take Beth’s hand and walk with her along the small access road. The lightning began, carried on as they inched onto the highway against their better instincts. The trek forward was empty only a few minutes. Then as if from nowhere, a vacant car appeared, mid-lane change and abandoned in the center of the road. Thunder rumbled again, deafening them. They fled for the car as the downpour began.

It was daylight when they finally emerged from the backseat of the strange car. They continued toward town, Rob’s fear for his “boys” only overshadowed by the alien displacement of his now-silent world. More empty cars appeared here and there, abandoned as before. They grew denser and more numerous as the city’s limits came and went. The streets and shop-fronts were devoid of humans, but their presence was felt in what they’d left behind.

Beth’s house was the closer of the two, as certain a place of genital execution as his own. They headed over, encountering the first signs of humanity– a welcome relief from the xenotian terror the empty city had imparted. A man fiddled about in his open garage, a simple sign that they were not, in fact, the last two humans left alive. It put Beth at-ease, propelled her along the twists and turns toward home.

The nearer home came, the more Beth was forced to drag Rob. His uneasiness doubled at his impending, albeit rightly due castration. With that uneasiness, came more people, most as confused and aimless as them. Some were altogether hysterical from the worlds’ forced stop from electricity’s absence. Rob sympathized; his world would stop soon too, or at least a small part of it would– though Rob had always been of the mind that big things came in small packages.

They found Beth’s parents standing worriedly outside. They rushed up to her as she appeared, hugging and kissing her with paternal relief. Rob swallowed hard, his hands unconsciously crossing to cover himself. They paid him no mind as he shuffled awkwardly to her side to await his scrotal death-sentence.

Her father began questioning them, his mind too dulled by the goings-on to notice their obviously guilty faces. Rob was equally dazed. Sweat beaded on his brow. He barely breathed, awaiting the ninjitsu strike that would severe his sperm-pipes and sunder his sausage from his body..

Before her father could turn his eyes to him, Beth threw herself on the proverbial scalpel for Rob’s testicular cause. With a muster of fearful tears, she lied and begged forgiveness ands understanding.

“We were on the highway driving, and the car went dead, and we pushed it into a log but then we freaked and on our way back the storm came, and we hid in a random car and–”

The run-on sentence continued for two full minutes. Rob’s brain struggle to transfer focus, but caught on to Beth’s angle. He retained his stupor with purpose, merely nodding along. It wasn’t difficult to keep her parents suspicions away given the enormity of what had occurred. Before long, they’d even admitted gladness that the couple waited out the storm– despite the obvious fears they’d cause.

Only moments later, the two were wandering to Rob’s house to repeat the scene. His parents reacted with all the same obliviousness as Beth’s had.

In the end, he and Beth were in agreement; whatever had happened saved them from certain doom. No matter how much it had doomed the world, it wasn’t quite as important their respective selves– and Rob’s dangly bits. It may have taken a cataclysmic event, but they’d weaseled out of paying for their petty, teenage rebellion, prolonging the testicular execution for another day.

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