Summary: Mr. Morris just wanted to build a fence around his yard, but a hidden nuke placed in his yard during the Cold War years changes those plans entirely. Can also be found on ff.net here.
Mr. Morris did what any good citizen would when he began drilling for new fence posts in his yard. He called 711 before he dug, making sure there were no underground cables or gas lines in the immediate area. He knew about his own lines, of course, running safely under his concrete driveway. After a few minutes, the operator knew about them too and said if he stayed thirty feet away, which he intended to do, he shouldn’t have any problems.
But as he cranked the mechanic post hole digger and slid his protective mask and goggles over his face, he couldn’t know what was about to happen. In a perfect world, the post hole digger would break into the crisp new earth, giving him the perfect place to put a fence post.
Mr. Morris expected this as he braced his middle-aged body for the forces that came with digging such holes. He put his weight on his back leg as he hoisted the machine over the red spray painted X on the ground. Then he shifted his weight to the front leg to make the hole–
The blast was felt in every corner of the city and beyond its borders. Entire city blocks were gone. A mushroom cloud was visible over the area, and as news crews felt the movement and heard the sound, they readied their equipment to cover whatever the blast was.
But they wouldn’t get the chance. Within minutes, a military base not far from the city had messages deployed, and soon large helicopters were filling Elwood City’s airspace. News crews sat in waiting, as did the citizens not effected by the blast. Those who were in the blast zone? The people closest were vaporized on the spot, along with their houses and most other structures. If you were at the edges of the blast, you were badly injured but alive, and the military took care of you, transporting you using the helicopters, which landed in the middle of deserted streets or lawns as they went into action.
Hours would pass before the military allowed journalists to tell the story, and even then it would take days for the real story to spread. But for now, fiction was better than truth: They all believed he’d simply nicked a gas line that caused a larger-than-anticipated explosion.
But they all knew that wasn’t right, otherwise the military wouldn’t be there.
Bitzi was at her desk when the story broke. The president had released information about the Elwood City Explosion!, as Bitzi had been prone to calling it herself. She almost lost her son that day, who was now recuperating at home after a 2×4 from the blast area hit him and Arthur on their way to the Sugar Bowl. She knew plenty of others that had died, but with her son almost being one of them, this was all a little more personal.
She opened the video and sat back as it loaded. Thankfully there weren’t any ads as President Obama greeted her with the most stern expression she’d seen since New Town.
“Greetings my fellow Americans. I speak to you today to explain what happened in one of our beloved cities, Elwood City, Massachusetts. To lie to you all would break my heart, so I must erase what you already know about this blast. This was no simple gas explosion, and the people who lost their lives that day have some of their own comrades to blame.
“Back during the atomic era when nuclear warheads were produced in anticipation of a war with Russia, armed forces needed to hide their stocks from possible enemies. Special projects in particular were hidden away, and these areas were supposed to remain untouched by anyone. The government bought those pieces of land and maintained them themselves.
“But in this case, the land was mistakenly sold to a developer looking to put a subdivision in Elwood City. When their neighbor began to dig, he had no way of knowing there was an active warhead below him, that he would accidentally kill five hundred of his friends and neighbors.
“The U.S. government takes responsibility for this explosion, as much as it pains us to do so, but it is the only right thing to do. We will make this right–”
“Mrs Baxter? Your son wants to know if you’ll swing by some place and get him some chicken nuggets on the way home. He wants McDonalds mostly because they have those new toys,” her assistant whispered with a light smile, trailing off.
Bitzi paused the video and sat back. Their town blew up because the government hid a warhead from Russia in someone’s backyard back in the day, then sold the land to a developer. Bitzi shook her head. This sounded like a Cold War Era novel with extra bits of fiction thrown in to make the author sound a little more legit.
But if President Obama was talking about it with that expression, she knew this information to be true. A warhead exploded in their town. They were now America’s Hiroshima.
Bitzi felt sick. Her boy was almost vaporized. She was almost vaporized. It was too much to handle. She grabbed her things, leaving her computer as-is, before heading out to fulfill her son’s request.
Fly-over pictures told the story of how much needed to be rebuilt as headlines told you how many people were lost. The government stepped in to help clean up the mess, but it was there for an entire month while officials investigated. That land was useless now, they decided, as radiation still filled the scene. Most of the debris closest to the epicenter would remain there for at least a decade, then they would try again.
So as the town lost a hefty chunk of land to high fences with coiled barbed wire on top, the government worked to rebuild on new land they helped the city secure. They promised there were no more hidden nukes, no more surprises, laying beneath the ground, but people were still talking about the issue and asking that important question–Is there anything below my land?
It became a special project for Bitzi as she tried to cope with everything that happened. She started researching the issue and discovered the project had been unclassified not long ago, though exact locations remained under wraps. The problem was that the details of the warheads had been released, and she was shocked to find out that one of the bombs was missing its power source, a plutonium piece that could be literally anywhere and no one would know, as it had probably been missing close to seventy years.
This disgusted her, but she tried to be patriotic. The government put that warhead on farmland, which they bought from the farmer, and the only one in danger was said farmer (and maybe his loyal dog). They too weren’t aware it was missing until they went to dig it up, risking their lives because the bombed was armed to go off at any time.
They admitted their mistakes and worked to fix them, and Bitzi knew she had to trust in them that this was the truth. They didn’t mean to hurt people. They didn’t mean for this to happen.
So she came to terms with that part of the issue, but she still couldn’t help but wonder who would be next.
A/N: So this is another installment of my Disasters series, another one-shot as well. That means it goes for my Summer 100 One-Shots Challenge. Let me know if you want to join.
So the backstory for this? Well I literally just woke up, had this idea, and decided to type it out before my dog woke me up AGAIN. But this is unfortunately based on truth. I was watching a show, I think on Travel Channel, about things we don’t know, secrets the government keeps, and I don’t remember the Why, but they did hide nukes underground. And when they went to dig up the one in that farmer’s field, they only found part of it…and it was armed. The guy still gets goosebumps thinking about it.
The government still maintains the land there, but it’s a huge unanswered question about where the plutonium part ended up, which means they don’t know if it’s just lost in storage, buried somewhere on the property, or in the wrong hands.
So this was based off that. I’m aware I took out Mr. Morris, which I don’t like because I do love the guy (“The Janitor” is my favorite piece right now because of him. You all should check that out next). But this Disasters series is going to have death, so yeah. I’ll just write another one-shot or longer piece with him alive for next time:P
Last bit: If you liked this, please leave reviews. I’m not really a numbers girl, but I get pissed off when people like Travis write stuff about children’s genitals and get 10 times the reviews as someone like me who writes normal stuff about kids being kids–fully clothed without discussing size, color, etc.–and yeah, we need to support each other.
Alright, Chrys out.