Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: End Times (02/27/14)
- TITLE: Zapped!
By Marlene Bonney
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It was a day like most others in the land of the living. Technological advances were on a fast train to everywhere even as computers powered on, cell phones re-charged, text messages tweeted over the electronic airways, and blue-toothed masses clogged the morning commutes. Digital clocks automatically spun their guts into daylight savings time at the exact designated millisecond. Traffic lights swayed in the wind, their colors switching from green to red to yellow in timed precision while car micro-chips buried deep within complicated mechanisms commanded performance-enhanced activity in each vehicle traveling the roadways. Kindle tablets uploaded the latest books at lightning speed while compelling cell phone Aps jumped onto screens. Conference calls in offices all over the globe resulted in successful business transactions while Wall Street gurus bought and sold stocks and bonds with a flick of a wrist or the click of a mouse.
Life was sweet . . .
. . . until the Great Crash. The mother of all electrical storms snapped around the world and out into space and back again, a whirlwind unlike any tornado, hurricane, flood, tsunami, or any other known natural disaster in human history. Hospital monitors, beds, and other equipment switched immediately to their generators, recharging from solar panels, the sun’s energy now their only power source. Power grids had been demolished instantaneously, the effects of which were manifold. Television sets were zapped and cable service terminated as satellites exploded, and communications devices were destroyed until anything run by electricity was no more. People became aware of each other as they reconnected to social skills that had been stomped out by the soles of advanced science.
In a matter of a few scant minutes, the electronic age came to a screeching halt, tail-spinning humanity into mindless oblivion. Like helpless infants dependant upon their mothers for sustenance, mankind had to be nursed into an archaic existence of a long ago past. It was as if a gigantic time machine had sucked up all present-day technology, obliterating the commerce and industry of the century.
Cars stopped running, telephones stopped ringing because there was no transmission power, clocks now had to be manually wound, radio airways were blocked or bound up and neon lights no longer lit up cities. Washing machines, automatic dishwashers, and vacuum cleaners were now retired to basements or attics. Confusion reigned in place of confidence while people, desperate and frustrated, turned to the elderly for advice. Churches became inundated with searching souls, the bottoms having fallen out from under them. Board games replaced electronic forms of entertainment, community centers paving the way to old-fashioned methods of involvement not requiring scientific genius.
Horses and bicycles and candles became commodities; it was like humanity stepped into a Currier and Ives painting as it dusted off kerosene lamps and scrambled to find physical encyclopedias that had not been demolished and replaced with online computer search engines. Scientists and inventors where in high demand, corporations seeking solutions for this New Age that had been thrust upon them. The “olden days” became mankind’s reality and “do you remember when” was now labeled “the good ol’ days” of technological finesse.
Some felt the calamity was the judgment of God, a just recompense for man trying to be “high and mighty,” like the builders and worshipers of The Tower of Babel. Others considered it to be a natural holocaust from stripping the earth of its resources for furthering technological science.
Folks were forced to evolve into reality gone haywire, back into an existence they were ill prepared for. Culture shock became the new medical terminology for brain “underloads,” even while bodies got stronger. Taking stairs instead of elevators, walking instead of riding, natural exercise replacing “couch potato” mentality and relying on face-to-face communication instead of finger texts now became the norm. Sports and outdoor games became popular, replacing the video games that had stagnated physical exertion.
People became friendlier, neighbors talking over back fences or clotheslines, while their children played marbles or built with Lincoln Logs or Tinker Toys or played a game of Pick Up Sticks or Tiddlywinks from great-grandmas’ attics. Toddlers were fascinated by kitchen pots and pans and handmade wooden toys and teenagers, minus their electronic devices, not surprisingly, became calmer and less stressed as they built relationships and communicated without gadgetry.
Life was semi-sweet . . . and we were the better for it.
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