Home > Fiction > Friday Fictioneers – Scorched Earth

Friday Fictioneers – Scorched Earth

Here is this week’s tale for Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers. Rochelle also provided this week’s photo. To read the other stories, click on the blue froggy.

Copyright Rochelle Wis-off-Fields

Copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields


“How could this have happened? How could they not have noticed?”

“Maybe it’s hard to notice tiny amounts of chemicals building up in the atmosphere.”

“Until they catch fire and burn the Earth.”

“Yes. Until then.”

“How long do we have, do you think?”

“See that glow? That’s London burning. An hour, maybe?”

“I bet it’s an amazing sight from the space station.”

“I bet it is. The whole world on fire. It’ll burn until the oxygen runs out.”

“So this is the end.”

“For us. The world will recover. Nature always finds a way.”

“I love you.”

“I love you too.”


  1. Merbear74
    December 16, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    There is no way I could be that calm. 🙂


    • December 16, 2015 at 8:25 pm

      Me neither 😦
      I think they’ve had time to come to terms with it and they probably do yoga or something. Very relaxing or so I hear 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Merbear74
        December 16, 2015 at 9:32 pm

        Yes, I should look into yoga. 🙂


        • December 17, 2015 at 8:20 am

          I’m pretty sure I’d snap in half if I tried it 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • Merbear74
            December 18, 2015 at 12:10 am

            I wouldn’t be able to get back up!


            • December 18, 2015 at 2:04 pm

              🙂 Me neither. But hey, it’s quite relaxing down there.


      • December 16, 2015 at 9:48 pm

        I really must try yoga…


  2. December 16, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    Alas, your story rings all too true! And I loved it.


  3. December 16, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    ““How could this have happened? How could they not have noticed?”

    “Maybe it’s hard to notice tiny amounts of chemicals building up in the atmosphere.”

    It’s like a live lobster in hot water – so I’ve heard.


  4. December 16, 2015 at 9:30 pm

    Interesting take on the prompt, turning the sunrise in the photo into London burning. Another very dark one.. And as far as them being calm, we don’t really know how long they’ve known about this. Maybe they panicked earlier. Such an intense and impossible thing to imagine: what *would* you say or do if you only had an hour left?


    • December 17, 2015 at 8:20 am

      I guess it would be a combination of panic, looters (because there always are) and people like this. I expect I’d be in the “panic” category! It brought the end of “Deep Impact” to mind, with the pair of them standing calmly on the beach waiting for the tidal wave.


  5. December 16, 2015 at 10:27 pm

    Oddly, I find the belief that nature always finds a way encouraging. We may extinguish ourselves, but nature will find a way to continue. Without us, which is probably what we deserve.


    • December 17, 2015 at 8:21 am

      A nice fresh start without all we dirty humans.


  6. December 16, 2015 at 10:44 pm

    Better get in good with Mother Nature. I hear she has seating room for the first 1050. Then its (re)evolution 101 again.


  7. gentlestitches
    December 16, 2015 at 10:50 pm

    Great story. I hope the space station is both manned and womaned!


  8. December 17, 2015 at 12:16 am

    I heard that a superhuman race sends a gigantum fire truck space ship to earth and douses our planet with extinguisher and renews our oxygen, but 30 years later we all die from the flame retardant. Or maybe we are just retardant.

    😉 Randy


    • December 17, 2015 at 8:23 am

      If it’s not one thing it’s another 🙂 Their heart was in the right place.


  9. December 17, 2015 at 1:27 am

    This photo seems to inspire the apocalyptic… lol.


  10. December 17, 2015 at 3:29 am

    Good story, Ali. Yoga or no yoga, I think I’d be really upset if the world was going to burn up with me on it. It would be even worse if you were up in a space station and knew there was nowhere else to go. 😦 Well done. 🙂 — Suzanne


    • December 17, 2015 at 8:24 am

      I did wonder about the poor souls up in space, sitting there waiting to die.


  11. December 17, 2015 at 7:31 am

    Not the sort of picture prompt you’d think would inspire apocalyptic stories. Full marks for lateral thinking.


    • December 17, 2015 at 8:25 am

      Funnily enough I saw the glow straight away and then that was the only type of story which came to mind!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. December 17, 2015 at 9:53 am

    Well written! I love the dialogue and the reasoning. As others have said, this catastrophic event is taken very calmly, and it makes you wonder whether that’s how many of us would take the prospect of our inevitable demise. Do you suggest we all start taking yoga classes? 🙂


    • December 17, 2015 at 12:00 pm

      It couldn’t hurt! Well, yoga would hurt me…
      These two are so chilled I should have written it about Chad and Brad instead 🙂


  13. December 17, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    Dear Ali,

    You never disappoint. There’s so much story in this bit of dialogue. Well done.




    • December 17, 2015 at 8:47 pm

      Dear Rochelle,
      Thank you very much, I’m glad you liked it!


  14. Holly
    December 17, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    I’m starting to sense a theme with couples in love and the last hours of the planet’s existence… 😀


    • December 17, 2015 at 8:49 pm

      Heh, yes. It’s amazing how many people turned a lovely scene out a window into the End of Days 🙂


      • Holly
        December 17, 2015 at 10:09 pm

        Hmm, I meant that i know of at least three stories of yours now where a happy couple is preparing to wait for the world to end…very romantic? 😀


        • December 18, 2015 at 2:02 pm

          Hah, yes! It appears to be an unintentional recurring theme with me – it appears you know my story history better than I do :-
          I reckon it’s pretty romantic, if somewhat short-lived…


  15. December 17, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    Man, this was a fun read. I’d love for you to expand this and flesh it out. Apocalyptic tales always intrigue me. To watch the Earth burn would be terrifyingly spectacular. Great job!


    • December 17, 2015 at 8:53 pm

      Thanks! I’ve always loved apocalyptic tales too, and films. I did actually write the back story in my head, with science going out of control as oil runs out and people get desperate, inadvertently emitting these new chemicals into the atmosphere and so on. This would be the final scene, I guess. Not the most “Hollywood” of endings…

      Liked by 1 person

      • December 17, 2015 at 9:49 pm

        LOL… a lot of Hollywood endings are awful. I prefer this one. I like the idea of a man-made apocalypse. Kind of a (too late) “I told you so”.


        • December 18, 2015 at 2:03 pm

          At least it’s a more likely ending, rather than a last-minute Hail Mary thing (I’m particularly thinking of films like “The Core” here!).

          Liked by 1 person

  16. December 17, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    Great small talk for the end of the world. I hope I can be like that.


    • December 17, 2015 at 8:54 pm

      Me too. I imagine I’d be running around screaming, however.


  17. December 17, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    I think it’s right.. When only one hour remains it’s down to the bare essentials of really holding hands.


    • December 17, 2015 at 8:55 pm

      There’s not really anything else left to be done. These two are luckier than many – they have each other.


  18. December 17, 2015 at 5:18 pm

    Very effectively told. At the end of time, there is nothing left to do but love.


    • December 17, 2015 at 8:57 pm

      Very true, I’m glad this pair realise that.


  19. December 17, 2015 at 7:10 pm

    For most of my life I lived across the street from a chemical plant that manufactured liquid gases. It was a wonderful sight one morning when I came home from work and found one of their buildings on fire and nobody had responded to the scene yet. I was not quite as calm as these two were….


    • December 17, 2015 at 9:02 pm

      Blimey. That could have gone really wrong really quickly and taken half the neighbourhood with it. I’d’ve found somewhere else to be, I think.


  20. December 17, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    Don’t know about yoga but there’s probably time for one last cup of tea.


    • December 17, 2015 at 9:05 pm

      Yes, a nice cup of tea! In the face of imminent death it’s the British way 🙂


  21. December 17, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    The inevitable, and yet I think we’d all still have hope. We are so foolish sometimes, but calmness, what else is there. No one wants to go out as whimpering mess. Although, I’m sure I would. 🙂


    • December 17, 2015 at 9:07 pm

      It’s only human to believe something will save us even in the face of death, I think.
      I’d also like to believe I’d go out calmly in such a situation but I’m sure the reality would be very different 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  22. December 17, 2015 at 9:11 pm

    Supposedly, when/if Earth reaches a mega-catastrophe (such as through climate change), as long as the planet is not literally obliterated, as you’ve said, some will survive. Probably even some humans at that. Don’t know that that’s a comfort per se . . . but, anyway, it’s always a well written story, even if bleak and panic-inducing, when I come over to Dr Ali’s place!


    • December 18, 2015 at 2:00 pm

      Yes, it would take one heck of a catastrophe to wipe everything out permanently, like the Earth ending up as a new asteroid belt.
      I’ve done a couple of silly comedies recently – I’m afraid you hit on the resurgence of my apocalypse phase 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • December 18, 2015 at 3:50 pm

        No problem. I go through those phases, too. (And I doubt your recent works are silly when unintended!) Happy Friday! 🙂


  23. December 17, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    i always think nature can only take so much abuse. mankind be damned, it finds a way to heal itself.


  24. December 18, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    Powerful and I like the apocalyptical tone here… so much said in just a few words…

    All my best wishes. Merry christmas to you 🎅🎄. Aquileana 😄


    • December 18, 2015 at 2:06 pm

      Thanks, I’m glad you liked it!
      Merry Christmas to you too 🙂


  25. December 18, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    That’s not a sight I want to see out of my kitchen window. Nice ending – simple and yet captures what one would do/say when the world is ending.


    • December 18, 2015 at 8:31 pm

      Me neither. I’m glad the ending worked – I had trouble thinking of something and then the scene with Tea Leoni and her on-screen dad on the beach came to mind (from “Deep Impact” – they stand there waiting for the end, quite calmly, as a tidal wave approaches).


  26. December 19, 2015 at 4:43 am

    Glad these two are so nice and calm. As for me — AAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!


    • December 19, 2015 at 4:13 pm

      Me too! I’d always have the thought that by screaming and running as fast as possible I might somehow escape 🙂


  27. December 19, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    I’m glad their final words are “I love you.” Disturbing piece, Ali! I hope we never have to face this. Nicely done.


    • December 20, 2015 at 6:11 am

      They’ve come to terms with their fate and they have each other.


  28. December 21, 2015 at 12:23 am

    Very thought provoking.


  29. December 22, 2015 at 3:16 am

    Very cool – nice work telling it in dialogue too. The calm collected conversation about their impending doom is great.


    • December 25, 2015 at 5:43 am

      Thanks! I guess they’ve been through all the stages and have arrived at acceptance.

      Liked by 1 person

  30. December 23, 2015 at 5:13 am

    Very effective dialogue, and I like your explanation of how such a situation came to be – your opening “How could they not have noticed?” is powerful.


    • December 25, 2015 at 5:45 am

      Thanks! I originally had a longer explanation but there weren’t enough words. Sometimes it’s fun to have to work out how to fit things in while keeping the meaning intact.
      I’m glad you liked it!

      Liked by 1 person

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