Cleaning House


Ever since Megan's family had retreated into their underground shelter, she had taken comfort in the simple catharsis of washing dishes. She didn't quite understand why herself, but she figured that it must have been the shock of her life as a privileged teen in twenty-first century America coming to such an abrupt end. She had really never considered before then that her life would be anything other than as it was, but nuclear war had shown her just how much of a fool she was.

When her father had rushed his family into their private shelter, Megan was only fifteen, and had only sat in her new room in shock for that whole first day. Upon waking the next morning, she found that her mother had assigned her and her older bother chores for the first time in their lives. While she simply accepted this as her new life, her brother had not been nearly as understanding.

She supposed that was when they all realized that the fact that they had survived didn't spare them the difficulties that survival would bring. In the close quarters of the shelter, it was only a matter of time before her family was at each other's throats. It started with her brother setting fire to a good portion of their food supplies, whether on purpose or not, Megan could never really say. Her parents had to lock him up after that, and it was then that the madness took him.

When he had finally convinced them that he wasn't a danger to anyone anymore, they just let him out, and that night he stabbed his mother to death and then his father shot him in the head. Megan had more or less expected it to happen, but her father had not.

Even with two mouths less to feed, the supplies had dwindled significantly, and Megan's father decided to do the "resourceful" thing, and resort to cannibalism in order to stretch the food. When they had finished all they could "salvage" from the corpses of Megan's mother and brother, she saw the madness creep into her father. She shot him in the head as he slept.

And now, cleaning the last of her father's blood of the dishes, Megan realizes why she always found washing them so satisfying. Nuclear war had infected the land and made it too polluted to live in, which was why her family had to come down here. With each dish she cleaned, Megan felt as if she was wiping away just a little bit more of the stain that humanity had spoiled the earth with.

And so, with the last dish cleaned and set out to dry, Megan sits back and smiles to herself, content in knowing that she has done her part in cleaning up the mess her race has made. After sitting like that for a quiet bit, she reaches for the gun she shot her father with, and that he shot his son with, and lifts it to her head and pulls the trigger.

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