“Is everything ready, Luca?” my grandmother said to me. I was just finishing the last bit of packing that I needed to do. I had a red backpack with everything I wanted to bring with me.
“Yes nana, everything is ready,” I said to her. I grabbed my backpack and walked down the hallway of my house. My grandmother stood in the living room with the two suitcases that carried our clothes and shoes.
“The evacuation shuttle is here,” my grandmother said. “Grab your bag and let’s go.” We grabbed our suitcases and exited the house. A U.S. Department of Homeland Security seal was on the side of the bus.
I had been living on the Cape for many years. I went to school in the Cape, so my grandmother flew up to take care of me. We lived in a rental house in Mashpee Village, a small, cheap neighborhood on Cape Cod. I thought I would finish high school here. That’s why I flew up to attend a prep school in the US. But that doesn’t seem like a likely situation now.
Out of all the times WWIII could have been declared, I had to be alive to witness it. It will be a short spectacle, sure. The nukes will quickly destroy everything that they come to contact with, but I had no idea where they would go. Bermuda is my home, with all of my family on it. I really hoped they would be fine.
I boarded the bus as the driver loaded my bags in the underhand compartment. Everyone on the bus had a similar look on their face. It wasn’t fear, and it certainly wasn’t hope. It was something else. It was a look of uncertainty. A look that knew all their hopes and dreams could be blown away by the atom hanging over them. This weapon that was originally in low light and easy to ignore was taking the spotlight, leaving us, as people living under it, somber.
Time seemed to slow down as the bus neared the bunker we would be staying at. If everything went well, they will deport me back the Bermuda. I really hope they do that because that means there still would be a Bermuda. I hope my family will be okay. I needed them to stay alive. I needed them in my life.
I couldn’t think of anything other than Bermuda on the bus. The pink sand beaches, the sun, the humidity that goes to 80%, the multiple islands it’s made of, hell, even the hurricanes that would come from time to time. And then, nothing. Like it wasn’t even there at all.
Tears ran down my face. I wanted to see them again, to hear them, to touch them, anything. I just wanted them. I looked outside the window to the gray skies above. It seemed like the perfect day to begin WWIII.
The bus stopped in Boston. We got off to face the armored jeeps and army men that would take us to some hills west of Boston. That was where they kept the shelters due to the elevated grounds. Our bags were taken to the bunkers separately to save room in the jeeps. We got in the jeeps by family, so my grandmother and I had to share ours with a family of four. They all wore faces of hopelessness, like everything they love was already obliterated, even though the bombs hadn’t dropped yet.
As soon as we got up the hill, we were led to a cave that seemed built into it. Inside was a nuclear-proofed interior with an armored door. One of the army people leading us used a series of codes that opened the door to reveal a staircase that led downwards into the hill. The army man went in and gestured for us to follow.
I walked with my grandmother down the stairs. She needed me to help her down due to her bad knee, so she put one hand on my shoulder and had me lead the way. As we descended, she held to my shoulder with an iron grip, ensuring that her knee didn’t give out and that she is supported by something. We climbed down the stairs until we reached a hallway on the bottom. Rows of vaults surrounded us. Some were open. Some were closed. Some had people getting situated with their vault. The army man told us to keep moving, so we ventured down the hallway, following him to our vault. I wondered if the U.K. had similar ones, and if the Bermudians would go to them. I would hope so.
We finally found our vault after five minutes of walking. The army man issued his last command to us and told us to get in. So we took the steps. One, two, three, four, five, and we were inside. He then briefed us on the rations and gave us brief instructions in the event of certain situations, such as if there were intruders with or without weapons, nuclear leaks, or even possible anti-bunker bombs. After that, he typed a code into the panel, and the door started to shut. As the door closed, I could only think of the family that wasn’t with me, and probably won’t be ever again, as the door slammed shut, acting as my barrier from the world.
Originally uploaded June 18, 2016.