The Kimberley: Part 1
The world ended on a Sunday.
Sunday 18 July 2026, 10:37am, to be precise. It's ironic if you think about it; God took six days to create the world...mankind took less than one to destroy it. But sometimes fate shuffles the cards and deals out a winning hand. It dealt me one that Sunday, me and Grandad Tom both. I was just eleven years old, Grandad Tom, fifty-two.
Grandad Tom worked as a security guard for Andersen's Aerotronics...and boy was he proud of the fact, the way he went on you would have thought he owned the company. Not that I minded, not really. You see I loved my maternal grandfather wholeheartedly, more than my parents even - not that I'd ever tell them that of course - my mum and dad were just...well...my mum and dad, but Grandad Tom, he was special. It was from him that I had inherited my love of planes. Many a time when I was young my grandad had driven me in his battered old blue Volvo Estate, right up to the perimeter fence of Andersen's, and peered with me through the chainlink fencing at the disused planes that were scattered around the grounds. I always felt a melancholy sort of sadness in my heart when I looked at them. They reminded me of mighty birds with clipped wings. Birds that would much rather be up in the clouds riding the thermals, not trapped down on the tarmac.
"Grandad Tom?" I said one Saturday afternoon as I was staring through the fencing. Fingers curled around the chainlink.
"Do you think you'd be able to take me into work with you one weekend? I'd love to see the planes close up?" With my forehead still pressed against the fence, I gave my grandad a long slow sideways look; slidey-eyes my mum always called it.
Grandad Tom turned to me, smiled and ruffled my hair. "Well," he said. "I'd have to clear it with Charlie Mason first, he's head of security...but I can't see it being a problem."
Our Sunday morning trips into Andersen's soon became a ritual. Without either Grandad Tom or myself being aware of it, our fates became irrevocably sealed together.
At the time, I thought that Sunday in July started off much the same as all the Sundays that had gone before. Looking back now, through the mists of an age long passed, I can see I was wrong. Nothing about that Sunday fifteen years ago was the same as the ones that had preceded it.
My grandad was a stickler for punctuality; each Sunday morning he brought his old Volvo to a halt outside our house at 8:45am on the dot. Not a second before nor a second after. He would honk his horn once to let me know he was there, then would sit with the engine running; fingers tapping on the steering wheel. Waiting.
Not that Sunday though. That Sunday Grandad Tom leapt out of his car like a thing possessed as soon as it stopped. Trotted up our driveway with an agility that belied his years, waving a newspaper over his head. Eyes spitting blue fire.
"Wendy! Jeff! have you seen the news?" Grandad Tom burst into our kitchen like a mini tornado, flung the newspaper down onto the breakfast table. "Just look! Just look at what those bloody Russians have done now, them and their machiavellian leader Knollmiller."
Those 'bloody' Russians had declared war.
My mum burst into tears. My dad sat down so hard in his chair he spilt coffee all over the tablecloth.
I just carried on tying my shoelaces. War doesn't carry quite the same weight when you're eleven years old.
Later, as me and Grandad Tom drove away from the house, I twisted round in my seat and waved goodbye to my parents. They were standing side by side on our front door step. The early morning sunshine danced upon my mum's auburn hair, transforming it into living flame. Her cheeks still glistened with tears. My dad had his arm wrapped loosely around her waist, holding her to him.
I never saw either of them again.
The Russians declared war on the stroke of midnight, Saturday 17th July 2026. On Sunday 18th July, at 10:37am precisely, they blew up the world. The world we had all taken for granted. The world to which we had all grown accustomed.
TO BE CONTINUED.....