‘The Cuban Fallout Crisis’ by Sol

Veronica just stared at the ceiling these days, there was no point wondering about outside world, she would never witness it. The walls of her room were painted with an array of symbols, she didn’t understand them yet the illustrations and the tales her family held told her all she needed to know. The outside world was a barren wasteland, the sky thick with smoke and the water polluted with radiation. She gazed at the walls and observed the illustrations, an old man with a raised finger, the pressing of a big red button, a large object ascending from the earth, it came closer and closer and closer and… It was too much for Veronica, she went to the greenhouse and began picking spinach for dinner, she had hated its putrid taste when she was a girl but had learned to tune out all that bothered her over the years. As she sat down at the dinner table she ate in silence, she was used to it yet she always felt uneasy when so many people would come together yet be so far apart. Her parents called her naïve and told her it was family tradition, she wasn’t convinced.

Three days later Veronica would turn 18 and with that brought a great challenge, she would have to begin scavenging for food on the streets of Cuba, her parents had shielded her from all outside of the bunker since a young age however the reality was dropped upon her harder than the bomb that trapped her down there. She had seldom wondered about the world as she considered it just another ghost story used to keep her in line, however as she later found out, it was very real. She was given only a gas mask and suit of protective clothing to keep her from ‘malfunctioning’, as her parents said. It had not even been one minute of goodbyes before the hatch was opened and she was pushed out into the unknown.

The inscriptions told not of what the world would look like and yet she felt oddly at home, the streets of Havana spoke to her in a way she did not understand. Veronica quickly snapped out of the enchanting trance and remembered her goal, she was to retrieve food for her family and further preserve their health, and although pusillanimous, she set off. The air was rough, and her throat felt hoarse. Off in the distance she saw a dark figure. She crept up on it slowly and according to the stories she read as a child, it was a sheep. However, there was something off about the sheep, it seemed mutilated, almost deformed, perhaps the climate had brought the sheep to gain its third horn and rough coat of scales or maybe it was her eyes playing tricks. Either way she decided on approaching the creature. Then suddenly, she felt faint, Veronica dropped to the ground, unable to breathe she tried to scream, yet no one would hear.