Writing Prompt: Blank Stare

For the fourth hour in a row she stared at the blank screen.
A year’s work.
Gone.
The lights in her house. Gone.
The power. Gone.
Nothing worked.
Anywhere.

She’d run inside and hid, fearing what people might do now that communications were down. Nothing had happened. No screaming or shouting like in the movies. So she’d come out here to stare at the blank screen. Everything she’d been working on for the past year had been there. She didn’t have a physical copy. She had been planning to get that made today.

A knock at the door.
“Miss Thomsen? Miss Thomsen, are you home?”
She slowly approached the door. She could see her neighbor Mrs. Junie Harris outside on the porch, her son, Adam, was with her.
She opened the door.

“Oh thank goodness.”

The woman pulled her into a tight embrace.

“We were worried you had gone into town.”
“Why?”
“It’s chaos. Frank just got back,” she waved down the walk to her husband, leaning on the side of his battered pre-electronics pick-up. “He said nothing is working there either. There are mobs of people in the street. We need to leave.”

She hesitated.

“Where?”
“Miss Thomsen, we don’t have time to discuss. Everyone else left hours ago, started walking toward the highways, trying to find help. Frank’s father kept a cabin, it’ll be safe. We can wait this out. Honey you can’t stay here. Please Amy.”

The tiny woman laid a hand on her arm.

“Gather what you need. We’re leaving in ten minutes.”

It was then that Amy saw the rifle over Adam’s shoulder. Her eyes widened. He shrugged.

“It’s for protection. The people dad escaped, they aren’t looking to talk.”

She swallowed and nodded. Hurrying inside she grabbed clothing for both warm and cold weather and bundledΒ it into several layers of bed sheets. She hesitated at the desk, her eyes lingering on her laptop. A year’s work.

Snapping the blank screen down she shoved the computer in the bundle and dashed out the door. Adam took the bundle from her as she reached the pick-up. He helped her climb into the back beside him once he’d tied down her bundle with some rope. She heard the engine start and flattened herself against the truck bed, beside other bundles and a large rectangular suitcase. She stared up at the sky. Beautiful white clouds hung over a perfect blue expanse.

“What happened?”
“EMP, or theyΒ hit the power grid.”

Adam said from beside her. He was sitting up, rifle resting against the front of his shoulder now. He looked down at her.

“Ma insisted we take you with us.”

His tone implied he wasn’t certain of the wisdom in that choice.

“Thank you.” She pushed herself up to sit against the back of the pick-up with him.Β “I don’t think Junie ever said what you do, only that you were visiting between work assignments.”

He looked at her, clear blue eyes in a ruddy, angular face, and smiled.

“I’m Special Forces.”

Her jaw dropped. He snorted and turned to kneel facing forward, watching over the roof of the pick-up as they wove through streets filled with abandoned cars.

 

I wrote this short story off a prompt in The Write-Brain Workbook to fill in the following:
Finish the story: For the fourth hour in a row she stared at the blank…

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