Today’s post includes the draft of what I came up with for the daily writing prompt, Don’t look up, posted last week. Did you check out the full writing prompt yet? It includes tips to get you started writing. For good. Today.

Don’t look up, by K.E. Creighton

Mason is playing with his eggs. I let him do it because he isn’t complaining. And I’m in a hurry this morning. Again. And, if I’m being honest, they are a bit runny. Besides, at least he isn’t complaining aloud. It’s probably because he’s still exhausted from his complete meltdown last night. It’s always the worst when your mother doesn’t let you draw on your face and the walls, with a permanent black marker, right before bedtime, isn’t it?

I grab a marshmallow rice snack from the pantry to give him. “Just for today. And don’t tell daddy,” I coo in his ear softly. He grins and puts his little forefinger to his lips while making a shushing sound.

The tablet on the counter is on, displaying the regular morning news segment. As I pass it, I hear Kimberly Baker, our local bleached-blond weather girl, talk about what we can expect to experience today. It’s more of the usual so I start to tune her out again as I prepare cream of broccoli soup in the slow cooker for dinner.

“Morning,” Tommy sings as he sweeps into and across the kitchen to grab and fill his coffee thermos. It’s day one of his new job and he’s already amped to teach incoming totally-lost-yet-pretending-to-be-academically-pretentious freshmen the basics of statistics. He could probably skip the coffee today, as he’s practically skipping. But he looks so happy and handsome in his fresh navy blazer. I don’t dare say anything. I walk over and kiss him on the cheek.

The loud and unexpected sound effect of breaking news comes through the tablet speakers.

“This just in. NASA and other agencies have confirmed that a large comet, the size of Los Angeles, is heading straight toward Earth. They all estimate it will reach impact in six months and is large enough to wipe out all life on the planet.” Now it’s Eileen and Jim on the screen. Jim had made the announcement. And once they finally registered what he had announced, they stare at each other with blank expressions. There’s at least a full minute of dead air between them before they resume their frantic, disorganized coverage.

“Wait, what?!” I look at Tommy, with disbelief. I try to stay calm in front of Mason, who now has a giant bite of marshmallow treat in his mouth and is blissfully ignorant that the world is potentially ending soon. If it’s all true…

“Should we actually believe this? I mean, is the news really becoming that…that extreme with hyperbole and fear-mongering? This can’t be real, can it?” Tommy is relaying his stunned inner monologue when our forthcoming discussion is interrupted.

Our phones begin to chime with an incessant flurry of alert after alert after alert after alert. There are so many alerts coming in, that I can’t read one word of one alert before the next one pops up on the screen.

A few minutes later, my phone rings. It’s my brother. He’s laughing, saying it’s all a hoax, but he has a friend who has a stockpile of guns… just in case. We hang up after a few minutes. And as I’m attempting to mull over the efficacy of semi-automatic rifles when dealing with a comet that’s about to obliterate all life on Earth, my boss calls. She says to take the day off, and that we’ll touch base tomorrow to revisit this week’s schedule. And then my mother. She says to come to her house because she has an earthquake kit and knows Denise Smith down the street has a bomb shelter at the edge of her property. Although, we would all have to deal with her yippy chihuahua all day and night.

For the next hour or so, we’re reactively fielding phone calls from everyone from everywhere. And texting others frantically at the same time.

Eventually, I realize that Mason must have toddled off to go play with Legos in his room because he’s not where I last saw him. I send one more text before I go look for him.

He’s nowhere in the house. I call out to Tommy and we search everywhere, at least three times. He’s gone. Mason is gone.

We get into the Rav4 with full synchronicity, not a full plan. But my adrenaline is steady and high. I’m already in full-blown-focused crisis mode. I don’t panic. I know we’ll find him wherever he is.

Once the garage door is all the way up, we see him. He’s playing in the sprinklers with his slightly older friend from across the street, Jermaine. We both sigh audibly, in relief, and sit still for a minute.

“Well, we might as well join them. Everything is canceled and who the hell cares now anyway? The world won’t end if the neighbors think we’ve gone insane playing in the sprinklers now anyway.” Right after the words cross my lips, I cover my mouth in horror. Tommy’s eyes are wide for a beat or so before he bursts out laughing.

Notes on writing this writing prompt

This was a fun writing prompt to complete, oddly enough, because it prompted me to consider how different people would react in such an extreme scenario. It also allowed me to consider how I would likely encounter such news– in the mundanity of everyday life, as I’m simply carrying out a daily routine.

Don’t forget to check out the full writing prompt, with tips for completing it, here–> Daily Writing Prompt: Don’t look up. And if you completed this writing prompt too, share a link to your writing in a comment below or tag @kecreighton on WordPress or Facebook. We’d love to read your writing. Writers supporting one another is the best!

Read more of K.E. Creighton’s completed writing prompts.