Half Life – SHORT STORY


I WAS HOMELESS, yet had the pick of the entire place. I’d ended up sleeping in a ghost town, everything brand new. Only, the fixtures didn’t work; no water, no electricity. The manikins inside and out were unsettling, yet more of a family than I’d ever had. Science Today, the scrap I’d found said nuclear families were dying out.

Some days army men roamed the streets as I hid inside a bungalow. I made it out one day on my lonesome. It was like a toy-town but lifesize, everything shiny, less solid than it appeared as if a grand metaphor for Tinseltown. Of all the places I’d slept rough the streets were hardest there.

It was such a new settlement there wasn’t even a place name. Where was it we had driven past? I’d caught the sign through a flap of green canvas as a stowaway in an army truck. Lost…Los…Las? Yes! Los Alamos. From one Los (Angeles) to another. I chuckled, cut short by hunger pangs.

I didn’t know what a mushroom cloud was. All I did know is that my body should never have survived the blast; crawling through collapsed charred concrete and grey dust.

When the military men reappeared in full body suits with masks, some scanning with handheld devices, I knew I had to escape. My veins never glowed neon green before. I’d never possesed such strength.

This would be the other half of my life, the half worth living. I’ll even tell you my name: Gregg Geiger. It humanises me, but frankly I’m not sure if I am anymore.

22 Comments

  1. That was full despite it being short, and the birth of G Geiger…and his dog Counter…sorry. I loved the first paragraph and we are already transported to something of old news, scraps of in old articles nuclear family dying out, scary stuff. That was different for me.

      1. I read the graphic novel before seeing the film, thought they were both excellent. I guess the book unveils things in a smarter way and helped me appreciate the film more. Some interesting extra bits in the novel too.

  2. Even though you’re writing about the aftermath of a nuclear explosion, you manage to incorporate hope and lightheartedness into the story. I enjoyed the bit of dark humour about nuclear families dying out, and appreciated the tongue-in-cheek reference to Geiger.

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