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    Sunday, Monday, Doomsday... Contest Winner 
 Category:  Fantasy Fiction
  Posted: June 11, 2020      Views: 89

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A career banker seeking to find redemption in words as against numbers.

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"Dissolving Degrees" by Praveen J.

The walnut was still there on the window sill when I woke up. It struck me as odd but I didn't give it much thought. I should have. I leave an unshelled walnut on the ledge outside my window each night, before I retire. It is for Mercutio. This has been my night time ritual for nearly two years now.

Mercutio is the grey squirrel that lives in the mahogany tree in my backyard. I was reading Romeo & Juliet when he first appeared at my window and seduced me with his antics. Over the next few days, I reciprocated his fervour with walnuts and named him after Romeo's charming friend Mercutio.

I noticed that he had been a little jumpy for the past two days. I should have paid more attention. Squirrels are known to sense things we humans cannot.

I spent the day with my usual routine. Knitting in the mornings, reading in the afternoons and a walk in the park before dinner. It was unbearably scorching when I went for the walk. The air was thick and heavy. I felt I was snorting lava with each breath. In all my sixty years in California, I haven't seen a February day like this. I returned home quickly, cursing big corporations that were the cause of global warming.

The red light on the answering machine was blinking when I got home. I checked my mobile phone, dutifully forever charging, by my bedside. I never take it anywhere, mostly because I don't go out much and I like the idea of it always being fully charged. It had three missed calls from Lizzy, my daughter. She lives in New York. The message on machine was from her too. "Ma......Maaaa......are you there....pick up. I'm worried about you. Please call me."

Silly girl. She was always the nervous sort. I looked at the time. It was just gone 6pm. It was too late to call back. I'll call her tomorrow morning. I went back to the kitchen to fix dinner but was shocked to find dark footprints in the hallway. Closer examination revealed that they were mine, from the melting soles of my shoes. I lifted a leg to check and found that the rubber had melted to erase the indentations. Turning, I saw that I had left a trail of faint imprints in my bedroom too. These cheap Chinese shoes can't withstand global warming either.

The walnut was still there at night, though it had burst open from the heat. I left it there thinking Mercutio will take it at dawn. I switched on the Air-conditioning and went to bed. I woke up in the morning to a strange vibration. It wasn't the bed but the window. I pulled back the curtains to find that a massive beehive had formed on my window with thousands of bees buzzing frantically. Instinctively I touched the pane and found it very hot despite the air-conditioning. The walnut was still there. I panicked.

I called my daughter a few times. There was no response. I switched on the Television for news and found just static noise instead of my regular channels. I finally caught an Australian channel which seemed to claim that the earth was melting. It wasn't a talk show either. They said that because of abnormal solar flare activity, the earth's crust had started vaporizing. Entire cities had been microwaved on the American east coast.

This needed a reality check, so I went to the kitchen window which overlooks the busy intersection. I saw three cars standing at the traffic signal, one headed in each direction. They just stood there. Surely one of them would have a green light. But they remained immobile. I peered harder and found that their tyres had melted to a black puddle. Just then, from the Jeep, a man jumped out and started running towards the 7-11 store at the corner. He barely took three steps when his shoes just disintegrated. The fourth step brought with it indescribable shrieks. He didn't even make the sidewalk. He stumbled, fell and turned to steam and charcoal in front of my eyes.

Suddenly my kitchen window shattered........

Writing Prompt
Write a flash fiction story up to 700 words that involves a doomsday scenario. Anything goes, but the end of the world, or its perception, must be a driving force in your story.
Sunday, Monday, Doomsday...
Contest Winner

Author Notes
A solar flare is an intense burst of radiation that results due to the release of magnetic energy associated with sunspots. Flares are also identified by NASA as our solar system's largest explosive events.Solar activity is indeed currently ramping up toward what is known as solar maximum, something that occurs approximately every 11 years. The explosive heat of a solar flare can't make it all the way to our globe, but electromagnetic radiation and energetic particles certainly can causing widespread disruption.
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