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Kitchen Sink

Null and Void

February 28th, 2011

It’s IndieInk Writing Challenge time again. This one comes from Zoey Jane, who issued a doozy of a prompt, which was:

You know that an asteroid – The asteroid – is coming for Earth. It’s been verified by all of the scientists and reported, first on Twitter, and then on reputable news networks (none of them Fox or CNN News, don’t worry). Unfortunately, Bruce Willis is absorbed in jazz and Ben Affleck is (not surprisingly) crying like a little girl while Jennifer Garner pointlessly packs the family up for a trip to the park. She’s a hands-on mom, you see. So Earth is screwed.

“You’ve got more than 12, but less than 24 hours until it wipes out everything. What happens in them?




I don’t remember the day everyone left. Someone tapped my knee, took my hand and patted it over a bag of bread, some apples, and a few bars I assume were granola. After that, vacuum emptiness, different and the same as what filled me every moment of every day. And although I was decidedly, nakedly alone — and preferred it that way, I noted the absence of touch, of taste, of reverberation thrumming in my chest, giving me indication that someone somewhere was walking by or talking or living. So I continued to sit, thinking dully that soon I’d have the freezing tray put in my lap, or the tiny pills tucked into my mouth, or the careless hands rubbing sponges over my numb face, my arms, whatever was left of my body.


I still sit here.




I’m thinking this, only thinking it. I no longer hear or see or care. “Can I see some ID please?” I clearly remember saying it. Last words I ever spoke. Then: nothing. And here I was. Still nothing.




I had two little girls once. After I lost the ability to be a person, they left me, along with their father. Behind my eyes, I still see the downy fluff of their hair, the tootsie roll toes, the needing look that said I mattered.

I had two little girls once.

And a husband.

And a life.




“Can I see some ID please?”

I was a doctor. It was my job to heal and soothe and resuscitate. A kitten. Just a kitten limping in from the road. A broken leg, maybe? A burred paw? I don’t know. I’ll never know. The owner followed behind. “Can I see some ID please?” There was a blast, wasn’t there? Some kind of explosion.

I wonder about the kitten.




I beckon to silly, easier memories. The way cream softened my coffee, the first summer jump in a blue pool, pounding rain on asphalt. Chasing after ice cream trucks, double piercing my ears with a needle sanitized by fire, a once-attended frat party. I turn away more consequential images. My children, my children…

Remember, remember.

It’s no use, it’s no use.




We lay in a covers-tossed bed, the four of us. Entangled in each other. I burrow my nose in my girls’ hair, lock feet with my husband. There is nothing better than this. Nothing better. There is nothing.




I hadn’t eaten for awhile. Days? Maybe hours. I imagine the wrapper from the granola bar crinkling, making that plastic cellophane sound. I open it best I can. I throw it down.
There is no water.




I don’t think I sleep. Every second feels like sleep, but not in the best sense of the word. I sit here. Just sit here.

I don’t suppose I miss anyone.

I see the kitten. The children. The feet. The red space behind my eyes. The explosion.

And that’s how it makes its presence known. A memory of fire. Of knowing it was coming before it did. The sense that I’m not alone. The reverberation remember? But it’s not a person walking down the hall, or music, or words spoken. It’s deep, thick, bass, pounding. Like a train rolling down railroad ties, a concert gathering steam as notes swell from speakers deliciously assaulting your heart, a plane far off in the distance but flying fast. Something’s coming, something’s coming.




There is nothing.




On February 28th, 2011, Jurgen Nation said:

I fear you. I am in awe of your talent to do beautiful stuff with words. I could prompt you with, “Describe your last bowel movement” and you’d move me to tears and joy and…damn, woman. *golf claps*

On February 28th, 2011, Zoeyjane said:

That was amazing. And I pretty much need you to finish it. Beware, should your name end up beside mine again. I need to know if the thrumming is rebirth, or purgatory, or the sound of being trapped.

On February 28th, 2011, Jason Hughes said:

Fantastic. You are truly gifted with words. Bravo!

On February 28th, 2011, Fragrant Liar said:

Yikes. The Apocalypse is nigh.

On February 28th, 2011, MomZombie said:

I read “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy at Christmastime. I could not put it down. This is very much like that. Are you writing a book? I hope you do.

On February 28th, 2011, tinsenpup said:

Wow… As soon as I stop sobbing and rocking back and forth, I’ll tell you how very good that was…

On March 1st, 2011, Trish said:


On March 1st, 2011, Supermaren said:

The phrase that stuck with me most is “A memory of fire.” This whole piece is so poetic. Great job.

On March 1st, 2011, flutter said:

this gave me CHILLS! I am so glad you are doing these challenges!

On March 1st, 2011, evenstarwen said:

You are…incredible. I will be coming back to this piece again and again, luxuriating in the flow and the lyricism and the fullness of your words, and I will love it more every time.

Incredible. Just…breathtaking.

On March 1st, 2011, TJ said:

Wow. Just wow. I need more!

On March 2nd, 2011, anastasia mcdonnellism said:

That was so gorgeous and vivid and real…you did beautifully!

On March 2nd, 2011, Cactus Petunia said:

Whoa. You just put words to my childhood apocalyptic nightmares. Amazing writing. Truly. Thanks for sharing!

On March 3rd, 2011, You can call me, 'Sir' said:

You have a gift for creating imagery that makes me a little scared right now. It’s fine, though. I’ll get over it. Nicely imagined and even nicelier (?) written.

On March 3rd, 2011, Fina said:

Is there anything you can’t do? Although I seriously doubt it, I really wouldn’t want to know anyway. You are a ridiculous (in a good way) talent.

Profanity, exclamation, exclamation, profanity. You nailed this.

On March 4th, 2011, Link Love » The Adventures of Supermaren said:

[…] challenges OC Rachel: Lost Evenstarwen challenges Fina: Free Zoeyjane challenges San Diego Momma: Null and Void Jen O. challenges Evenstarwen: Every ounce of confidence I have Jules challenges Christine: Not […]

On March 4th, 2011, Karla said:

I am sooo with Zoeyjane – you’ve left us handing, let’s see this end!!!!

On March 4th, 2011, San Diego Momma said:

Thanks for these comments all!
The writing I’ve read in return has been epic.

On March 4th, 2011, San Diego Momma said:

End? There is nothing.
The End.

On March 5th, 2011, February 28 – March 4: The Week in the IndieInk Writing Challenge in Review said:

[…] Nathan Pralle challenges Anastacia Campbell: Salad Days Jason Hughes challenges Miss Ash: Yoo Hoo Sir challenges Dara: Stereotypes and Self-Righteousness A Lil Irish Lass challenges OC Rachel: Lost Evenstarwen challenges Fina: Free Zoeyjane challenges San Diego Momma: Null and Void […]

On March 5th, 2011, Mandy said:

I would have had a hard time with this prompt, but you rocked it!

On March 5th, 2011, Ferd said:

Ditto to all the oohs and aahs above.
Consistent awesomeness!
A sheer pleasure to read!

On March 5th, 2011, Frelle said:

holy wow.

On March 5th, 2011, RachelintheOC said:

Inventive, beautiful, deep. I just love where you took this. It’s wonderful.

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