Prologue

End-Day + 1

First, the light in the room changed.

The alteration was perceptible behind the closed curtains, someone gently toning down a dimmer switch. Long seconds later, there was a faint crack in the distance, like the sound of a stone landing on a marble floor.

distant_eruptionA dark flower was blooming across the horizon, like Indian ink pluming through water. Then the world seemed to explode.

I watched out my bedroom window as the whole other side of the street disappeared into a fissure.

A car alarm was going off; someone was shouting. All I could smell was sulphate.

When I got downstairs, I could hear dad screaming; the house was swaying, everything was falling onto the floor, and dad was screaming and screaming for me to get out. I couldn't see mum, nor Ben.

Outside, everything was either grey or black. I made it out into the garden, bare feet crunching through the warm ash. Behind me, the house crumpled like paper. It seemed to fall into a void. At the end of the garden, the bunker crouched low against the tumult. Its door was shut.

I fell onto my knees.

Then I heard someone's voice, a woman's. Mum's.

Mum was leaning out of the bunker, little Ben in her arms, and she was calling me over, crying. I got to my feet, stumbled. Then something seemed to hurl me onwards, haul me forwards. Dad.

We sealed the door and listened as the rest of the world fell apart.

That was yesterday.

Dad found this old diary in here amongst all the other rubbish; he suggested I maybe started keeping a logbook. When he looked at me, his hair grey and heavy with dust, he was trying to seem like he didn't much care either way.

And I thought, why not? This could be the last book ever written.

End-Day + 2  >>
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