The first bomb was a small dirty device that exploded in downtown Minneapolis. The initial blast killed over 3,000 people. The radioactive material released sent tens of thousands of people to the hospital with symptoms of radiation sickness. 8,000 died within 3 days. All the medical facilities outside the radioactive zone were overwhelmed. The scenes of the sick and dying filled our TV screens for days.
So called experts populated the TV news panels. Most proffered the theory that terrorists, either domestic or foreign, had chosen a city like Minneapolis to elicit the greatest fear in the country. While most of us felt that New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, or some other major city would be prime terror targets. But a Midwestern town like Minneapolis had no strategic advantage. After the explosion, people began deserting similar cities like Des Moines, Iowa, Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Tucson, Arizona. Even our hometown of Nashville was abandoned by many people.
President Trump’s administration utilized all of its resources in an attempt to find out who was responsible for the Minneapolis attack. The death toll after 6 month was approaching 100,000.
The Trump-approved enhanced interrogation techniques eventually revealed an ISIS tie-in. President Trump wasted no time in authorizing an attack on Mosul, an ISIS stronghold. The attack began as a hail of cruise missiles followed by a massive ground assault. Americans wanted revenge and Trump was more than willing to oblige them. Causalities were massive on both sides but American troops took control of the area within 2 weeks.
VM (Victory over Mosul) Day was celebrated on all the cable and broadcast stations. It was a short-lived celebration. Another dirty bomb, much larger than the first, was detonated, this time in downtown Manhattan. 10 city blocks were incinerated. Tens of thousands of people were killed instantly with the number of radiation exposures numbering in the hundreds of thousands.
Since most TV news operations were headquartered in New York, the information was sketchy at best. This time a rebel Muslim faction claiming to be headquartered in Kabul, Afghanistan, took responsibility. The Afghani government wasted no time in announcing their support for the attack, stating that they would no longer tolerate American interference in their affairs.
America was on the highest terror alert. All international flights were cancelled, coming and going. With all their records destroyed, officials for the stock market suggested that tracing be suspended until further notice. The rush on banks saw the closing of ATM’s nationwide. Price gouging for everything from gasoline to food was rampant. The makeshift shelters were quickly overwhelmed. Violent crime was the order of the day.
During the chaos, President Trump had been quietly evacuating all American personnel from Kabul. When he was assured that all Americans had been removed, the first nuclear airburst occurred over the city. It was estimated at approximately 6 megatons, dozens of times more powerful that the Hiroshima and Nagasaki blasts.
The release of news about the blast was sketchy. Estimates of 100,000 people being vaporized were not uncommon. We didn’t know it at the time, but President Trump had utilized an executive order to nationalize the press. We were only hearing the news the government wanted us to hear.
Rumors were the order of the day. Internet access was very bad regardless of how we were connected. Many suspected that the government was blocking it to keep the real news from us. It was weeks before the government controlled media reported on the destruction of London. It was an airburst nuclear bomb, reportedly launched from Pakistan. Retaliation from the Trump administration had been swift and, as all things with this President, reckless. All the major cities of Pakistan were destroyed by American nuclear missiles launched from submarines in the Arabian Sea.
The destruction of Chicago, Los Angeles, Denver and San Diego was reported on the same day it happened. The missiles were reportedly launched from China, always an ally of the Pakistanis. Retaliation against China’s major population and military centers was immediate and devastating. Before all electronic media went blank, possibly from the EMP effect of all the atomic blasts, we heard that tens of millions of Chinese had been killed and their ability to retaliate was seriously curtailed.
Without electricity it didn’t take long for society, as we knew it, to collapse. The lack of effective trash removal caused a plethora of horrific diseases like Cholera, Diphtheria, and a host of respiratory maladies to flourish.
Most police officers had abandoned their jobs to care for and guard their families. Most firefighters had also abandoned their jobs, allowing the wildfires set off by the atomic blasts to ravage millions of acres and thousands of homes in the West.
We didn’t know if the President and his cabinet were still alive. We had no way of receiving news as there was no power. The rumor mill was alive with tales about nuclear reactors that had gone critical, killing thousands in the surrounding areas. Rumors of a major military coup were extremely common.
Like most people in the post apocalyptic world, my family and I were living day-to-day. We had traded almost everything of value we owned for food and were now eating vegetables and shrubs we could find. Occasionally, we’d trap a squirrel or other small animal. We had to be careful not to let our neighbors know we had “fresh meat.” Others in the neighborhood had been killed for it.
Sometimes there would be a bright flash on the horizon followed by a long growling sound. We figured that these were atomic blasts over nearby cities like Memphis or Cincinnati. Since there was no way to confirm it, we had to guess which city was the latest to be destroyed. Sometimes, radiation ravaged survivors would make their way to our small community. Our neighbors who owned guns quickly put an end to their suffering. As a long time pacifist, I was part of the burial detail. The stench from decomposing bodies in nearby cities would occasionally make it to our community depending on the direction of the wind. It is a smell you never forget.
Sometimes we’d get together with other families in the area and discuss what had happened. We had to be careful not to let other people know about any resources we had. People had been killed for a few candy bars, who knows what some people would do if they knew we had just trapped a possum.
Many of us, my family included, were developing skin lesions and felt tired and nauseous most of the time. We all knew these were the first signs of radiation sickness. No one ever mentioned it since the only doctor in our area had been killed for his supply of narcotics. There was nothing in out little first aid kit to counteract the effects of the growing background radiation.
In all discussions, we always went back to the first nuclear attack on Kabul. Most of us voted for Trump because we thought he was the take charge kind of leader that American needed. None of us suspected that he would be so free with the nuclear trigger. His opponent might not have been a great leader but most of us believed that they would have done everything in their power before exercising the nuclear option.
A few months after the first wave of attacks, a military battalion rumbled into our town. We came out to greet the first sign of the government we had seen in quite some time. The excitement was electric. Our ordeal was over! There would be food, water and medical care. We would start again.
The man on the first tank had a bullhorn and addressed the crowd. “Greetings from President Putin…”