Obliteration – Part One

Abby stood on her tiptoes and craned her neck to see through the cluster of soldiers riding down the escalator. “Lance!” She jumped up and down, waving her arms the second she spotted his face.

His eyes met hers and he grinned as he hoisted his bag higher on his shoulder.

She stepped back, out of the crowd of waiting families, and let him come to her. It’d been a year since they’d seen each other, but he hadn’t changed a bit.

Lance’s face lit up as he emerged from the crowd. He dropped his bag and opened his arms.

She flung herself into the waiting embrace, burying her face in his shoulder as he lifted her off the ground in a bear hug.

“I missed you so much, Abbs,” he croaked. His lips trailed kisses along her neck as he held tight to her trembling body.

“God, I missed you, too!” The words had scarcely been uttered when the wail of a siren pierced the air.

As they broke apart, the waiting area filled with murmuring voices as people glanced around. In the next instant, a loud blaring horn sounded over the loudspeaker. Three long blasts, then a voice.

“All civilians, shelter in place. All military personnel, report to terminal 7B.”

Abby’s heart pounded as the message repeated three times. “What does that mean?” She didn’t see anything but a steady stream of cars and sunshine through the window. Nothing unusual at all.

Suddenly, cell phones beeped, buzzed and rang as the wireless emergency alerts went off. She whipped her phone out, but all the message said was to shelter in place. The ground shook beneath their feet and a collective gasp issued from the small crowd. “Lance?” She grabbed his arm, frantic. “The baby—I can’t—”

“Come with me.” He slid an arm around her shoulders.

They followed the rest of the soldiers out of the waiting area, but when they headed for the hallway of terminals, Lance hung back. “Where’s Eric?”

“I left him with my mom.” She swallowed the lump in her throat. “I have to go get him.”

A shadow moved across the row of sliding glass doors where they stood, and the emergency horns blared again.

Lance yelled to be heard over the loudspeaker. “Go!” He pointed to the doors. “Get our boy. I’ll call you the second I know anything.”

Abby turned to run, but stopped and spun around. “What if you can’t? If I don’t hear from you?”

“Wait for me, at your mom’s. And if it’s not safe there, you bring them to our spot. I’ll find you. I promise.” He pulled her in for a quick but fierce kiss. “Go, now!”

She dashed outside and high-tailed it to the parking garage, dodging people, vehicles, and abandoned luggage. The lights in the structure flickered, then went out. She grabbed her keys and hit the alarm button as she ran. In the near darkness, the flashing lights guided her to her Jeep.

A moment later, she emerged from the garage and slammed on the brakes as she stared at the sky. Black clouds stretched across the valley and fireballs rained down, each one exploding upon impact.

She had only one thought. Eric!

With a glance at the clogged roadway ahead, she gunned it, swerving onto the shoulder. Taking full advantage of her four-wheel drive, and careening past the horrified onlookers, she made it to her exit in record time.

Two right turns and she pulled into her childhood street.

Holy shit!

The whole block was in flames, torn apart by a fiery rock the size of a car.

She sped toward the first of the destroyed homes, her mom’s red brick house, a scream stuck in her throat.

Eric! NO—

She lurched over the curb and onto the grass, parking as close as she dared, then jumped out. The front of the house was engulfed in flames, so she raced around to the back just as a basketball shattered a window and rolled across the lawn.

“Mom!” Abby yelled as her mother’s head appeared in the opening.

“Thank God!” Her mom disappeared, only to return a second later and thrust the crying toddler through the broken window. “Here, take him!”

“Eric!” Abby reached up and pulled her son into her arms. “Shh, baby, it’s okay. Mama’s here.” She backed up a few steps, away from the smoke. “C’mon, Mom! Hurry!”

“I’ve got to get Lindy. I’ll be right back.”

Her mom vanished before Abby could object.

“Go bye-bye, Mama,” Eric wailed against her shoulder.

“We will baby, as soon as Gram’ma gets her kitty.”

Just then, another fiery ball streaked across the sky, headed right for them.

She held Eric tightly as she screamed for her mother.

But there was no time.

Abby ran for the Jeep, flung the door open and scrambled inside with Eric still in her arms. She started the engine and lay on the horn. “Come on, Mom, we gotta go.” Another few seconds and it’d be too late.

What the fuck am I supposed to do? Can’t leave the baby in the car alone—can’t stay here.

She snapped the seatbelt around them both and, with a final glance at the house and the fireball about to destroy it, she hit the gas.

The flaming boulder slammed into the house and exploded on impact, the force of it pushing the Jeep forward with its back end off the ground.

They spun around, and—by some miracle—didn’t flip over as they crashed through the bushes, ending up a couple of streets over.

Abby sat there a moment, sobbing and clutching Eric.

Her phone rang, startling her, and she fished around on the passenger seat for it.


“Abby, where are you?”

“My mom— She-she’s gone…”


“I’ve got him.” She kissed the top of their son’s head, trying to hold herself together. “He’s safe. What’s happening?”

“We’re under attack.”

“Attack?” She shook her head even though he couldn’t see her. “From meteors?”

“Sort of,” his voice softened. “Look, it’s classified. Just get to our spot and I’ll explain.”

“Is it safe there?”

“Safer than where you are now. It looks like the populated areas are the heaviest hit. Now, go. I’ll meet you there.”

The phone went dead.

Abby glanced up at the sky, still black, still raining down the fiery rocks, but none coming her way. She hopped out and quickly strapped Eric into his car seat in the back. “It’s okay, baby boy, we’re going to be okay.”

Eric fussed, unhappy, when she got back in.

“Bun-bun,” he cried, reaching over the side of his seat.

She leaned over and snatched up the stuffed bunny that must’ve fallen out of his diaper bag earlier. “Here you go, big guy, now let’s go find Daddy.”

With Eric settled, she got back in and headed out of the neighborhood, once again grateful for her four-wheel drive. The streets were a mess, crammed with traffic, pockets of fire, and people staggering around, dazed and injured.

She divided her attention between watching the skies and the roads as she made her way out of the city. Several times she’d had to change direction to avoid the meteors, and it was several hours before she made it to the mouth of the canyon.

Lance had been right, she realized as she paused to look out over the valley before heading into the mountains. Engulfed in smoke and flames, the city had fallen.

Ahead, in the mountains, there were only a few rising columns of smoke.

She drove toward the campground they frequented during the summer months, praying it’d be safe. The further from the burning ruins of the city she got, the clearer the air, and the better she felt.

“Almost there, baby,” she said, talking more to herself than Eric.

A little while later, she pulled into the campground. As late as it was in the season, it was deserted, the ground covered in dead leaves, and a brisk chill in the air.

She parked and got out to look around. It’d be dark soon, and there wasn’t a soul in sight. Not a sound coming from anywhere. She went to the back of her Jeep for the emergency kit Lance always insisted she carry. She’d never had occasion to use it, but was glad now for his foresight.

She hadn’t changed anything out in the year he’d been gone, so all the baby supplies were for an infant, rather than a toddler. Still, as she removed a too small diaper and a can of formula, she was beyond grateful that Eric would be taken care of.

After she’d changed him and made a bottle, she got back in the Jeep to wait for Lance. She had no cell signal here, no way to know how long he’d be, but she knew he’d come.

Picture of Jodi Jensen

Jodi Jensen

Jodi Jensen grew up moving from California, to Massachusetts, and a few other places in between, before finally settling in Utah at the ripe old age of nine. The nomadic life fed her sense of adventure as a child and the wanderlust continues to this day. With a passion for old cemeteries, historical buildings and sweeping sagas of days gone by, it was only natural she’d dream of time traveling to all the places that sparked her imagination.

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