Ariz Imran ’26
Blip… blip… blip… There was a detection on the nuclear bomb radar. That doesn’t make sense, they’re underwater.
“Ah, comrade captain?”
“What is it, comrade matros?”
“It looks like a nuclear torpedo is coming right for us.”
The troops were in this submarine for ages. Waiting for something to happen. Anything. They were trapped in this metal pill swimming in the water, making sure not to dissolve for their motherland’s sake. The Cold War was at its peak. The Cuban Missile Crisis is around the top crisis since World War 2. If one bad move happens, humanity’s life will come to an end. If you look outside, all you’ll see is constant dark blue stretching past their horizon. For so long, life in this pill has been cramped, and dull. But now, everybody is on high alert, their next moves decide the fate of the world, but more importantly to them, the life of their families, their country. “We need to counter attack with our own bomb,” his comrade captain insisted. Vasili replied, “Do we? This could lead all of us to die.” This seemed to trigger something in his comrade captain, “We all die, that’s not something for us to decide, what is something for us to decide, is the way we die. From natural causes? Or as a martyr for our Soviet Union.” Vasili had two options, cave into his superior’s pressure and possibly be executed for defying orders, or, stand his ground and potentially save the world. If this is a nuclear bomb, it wouldn’t matter, the world is gone anyway. If it’s a false alarm, then Vasili could possibly save the world from ultimate destruction. It’s most likely that it’s a real nuclear bomb. Does he want to fight? Or does he want to accept destiny?
# # #
Her boss just called her into his office. The sun shined outside, the air was perfectly humid, and there was a cloud blocking the sun from totally making the weather too hot. The perfect weather in Los Angeles. Even if the cloud wasn’t covering the sun, Jane could still be unaffected by the brightness. She was trapped in an everlost of pure darkness. She was blind, after all, and that’s okay. She’s lived 34 years seeing nothing, she can live with it. Although, that doesn’t mean she wants it. Ever since she was 15, Jane has been collecting money to save up for a surgery to fix her blindness, to at least let her see some things, badly, but she would be able to see. She’s saved up over three fourths the money needed to pay for the surgery, it would take only a year more to get all the money she needs to pay for her blindness surgery. Jane entered her boss’s office and he had to break some news to her.
“Hey Barry, what’s up?”
“Hi Jane, I have something to tell you.”
Jane paused for a second, in disbelief. After a while, she finally asked, “What?”
“You’re fired. You’re not meeting standards for the company.”
“I’m literally blind?! Of course I’ll be under the average.”
“We need more than average, Jane. This simply isn’t the company for you.”
Jane didn’t say anything. She just walked out. She picked up a box and slowly packed her things, careful not to break anything. After everything was in the box, she called her husband, Jonathan, to take her home. Jonathan saw Jane carrying a box and the person beside her had an empathetic expression. When Jane stepped in the car, Jonathan asked, “What happened?”
“I got fired for being under the average for being blind.”
“So they fired you for being blind?”
Once they got home, Jane flopped on her bed, “I’m never going to be able to save enough money.”
“You will be able to, it’ll take time, though.”
“How much money do I have saved?”
“I need two thousand more.”
“And you’ll get the two thousand, it just needs time.”
“I’ll make us dinner, you can stay in bed, I’ll give it to you.”
Jane and Jonathan’s two kids ran into the room, sprinting straight to Jane.
“Sarah, Jaxon, hi!”
Jane felt terrible, along with being fired, she knew her kids, but she wouldn’t recognize them. She always knew their voices, but she can never put a face to their voices. Jane asked Jon to look at the newspaper for job applications, but Jon couldn’t find one that Jane could do with her blindness. Jane rolled over to bury her face into her pillow. Jon walked into the room, “Sarah, Jaxon, wait for us at the dinner table.” He sat down next to Jane and asked, “Are you alright?”
“No, of course not, I keep getting fired from every job I have, and everytime I get fired, the harder it is to get another job. I just want to see my kids.”
“If it helps, I can work another job.”
“No, it has to be me who saves up the money, it won’t feel right to see without working fully for it.”
“That makes sense.”
Jane’s throat started closing up. “All I want to do is see my kids, is that too much to ask?”
“It’s not, you’ll be able to do it.”
“I hope so. We should go.”
“I’ll stay here for a bit, give the kids some company.”
Jonathan watched Jane leave the room. Immediately he started crying. What am I going to do? I can’t tell her. Jonathan thought back a while, when he was with his friends at a bar.
“Yo, Jonathan, do you wantsch to go to the cashinoh..?”
“I don’tsh have muchsh mon-ey to gamble.”
“What about your wife?”
“Come on, Bill, thosh are her savingsh for her shurgery,”
“Sho what, she can save agayn.”
“You know what, shure.”
That night, he gambled away all of his wife’s savings for her surgery. Every last penny. All of it was gone. Jonathan cried harder, in spite of knowing it won’t do any good. How am I going to tell her? She’ll be devastated. It’ll be the end for her.
Jon washed himself up in the bathroom, and he walked to the table, where Jane, Jaxon, and Sarah were already eating, his plate was next to an empty chair. He sat down, I have to tell her. It’s the only way for the both of us. “Jane?”
What am I doing?! Why can’t I just say it. I’m the one in the wrong. I can’t keep being this selfish. They all finished eating, nothing was said, not even by Jaxon and Sarah. Jane and Jon both got ready for bed, and while trying to sleep, Jane asked, “Was there something you wanted to tell me?”
“I’ll tell you later.”
RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR… RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR… Click. Jonathan stretched for a while, and woke up Jane. “I don’t want to wake up,”
“Come on, Jane, we do this everyday.”
Jane reluctantly got up and walked over to their bathroom with Jon. After getting ready for the day, Jane and Jon helped each other make breakfast, “Jon, can you tell me what’s in the newspaper?”
“Sure, but don’t hurt yourself.”
Jon walked outside to the driveway, it was a sunny day, no clouds in sight. He bent down to pick it up, and the headline flashed at him, “SOVIET UNION THREATENS NUCLEAR WAR.” Jon sighed, seeing this a third time already. He brought it in, and Jane was flipping two omelets on a couple plates. “The Soviet Union is trying to destroy the world again.”
Vasily finally figured out what he wanted to do, he wanted to fight.
Nuclear sirens blared throughout Los Angeles.
Jane, startled, asked, “What’s that?!”
“Why aren’t you panicking?!”
“It’s probably a false alarm, I doubt even the commies would resort to ending the world.”
“Yeah, this is a false alarm, this can’t be real.”
“Mom, dad, why is there a siren?”
“It’s a false alarm, Sarah, everything is going to be okay,”
“Are you sure, mom?”
“Yes, let’s just eat breakfast for now.”
“Why are you crying?”
“It’s nothing, sweetie, everything is going to be fine.”
“Why are people screaming outside?”
Jane slammed down her silverware, “Jon, we should evacuate, shouldn’t we?!”
“Everything is going to be fine, Jane, just eat.”
“No, everything is NOT going to be fine, I’m leaving the city with my kids.”
“Don’t you even dare step out of that door.”
“Please, Jon, just realize this isn’t a false alarm. We are in danger.”
Jon took another sip of his coffee, “This is a false alarm, you accept it.” Jane collapsed onto the ground while Jon left, “I’m leaving for work.”
That’s the last time I’m ever going to talk to him. I will never know what he looks like. Only ever a blur I’ll hang on to for the rest of my life.
Jaxon and Sarah ran to try to help Jane stand up.
“I’m sorry. I couldn’t save up enough money to see you with my own eyes.”
“Why are you sorry? You couldn’t control it.”
They hugged each other for what only one knew was going to be the last time they did, as the shockwave of a nuclear bomb hit them.