Flash Fiction Friday: Y2K
by: Sean Noah Noah
Y2K came and went and pretty much everyone could agree that the world had ended, but nobody could figure out exactly how. Just days before, everything had seemed so certain: all the computers wouldn’t be able to change the dates correctly and they’d break down and take the public infrastructure with them. But the date passed and no, that wasn’t it. Something large and awful had happened, and civilization would never recover, that was for sure, but it seemed like everyone felt a different apocalypse break the world as the sun rose over a new millennium.
By midday January second, Alex and Annemarie were meeting by the water cooler of their old workplace, Alex dodging around the carpet in an effort to avoid the burned spots, Annemarie not even walking through the shattered front door. Neither of them drank any of the water. Annemarie claimed, as she leaned against the cooler, that it had been destroyed by the nuclear blast, like most of the building, and even if it were still standing it would be too contaminated with fallout to drink. She dressed head to toe in whatever rags she could find that looked safe, and she felt protected. Alex was bent over, sweating and wearing very little, saying that the plastic of the cooler had melted and the water had evaporated in the heat of the exploding sun. Jane Abbott pointed out from across the room, helpfully, that if the sun had exploded, he wouldn’t be alive to complain about it. Alex and Annemarie ignored her; both agreed she was dead.
Jane, for her part, was happy enough to be dead, and she went back home to tell Henry the good news. They were both dead, and they spent the coming months lying inert on their living room floor, big rigor mortis smiles on their faces, watching groups of bored teenagers matter-of-factly loot their house as their muscles atrophied.
Jake Edison, whose friends called him Eddie, was part of the fifth band to raid the Abbott residence, and he felt sorry for them. They were less people and more messes on the floor at that point. He asked his pals if he could turn them; he was pale and low on vitamin D because he’d spent no time out in the sunlight since the Y2K vampire apocalypse. His friends said sure, why not, and he bit each Abbott on the neck once, but they were long gone by then and he shrugged and said, mostly to himself, that sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
People camped in their houses with guns and canned food, or came out of what they called rubble to share horror stories, but in the bigger cities, there was another group: the denialists, the naysayers, the Y2K truthers; the frustrated, confused, and angry who yelled at the world that they’d seen no apocalypse save the sudden transformation of all their friends into complete idiots. And as they marched through the streets with signs proclaiming YOU’RE NOT DEAD and GET BACK TO WORK, stepping over fissures and sinkholes like they didn’t exist, walking through fire and paying falling debris no mind, they were treated like the ravenous hordes of the undead. Or ignored.
Sean Noah Noah is a writer, stand-up comic, and graphic designer living somewhere in the Northeast. Want more? Watch this comedy set on YouTube, read another story in PLUS+, or follow Sean on twitter @SeanNoahNoah.
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