Excerpt from The Alaskan Chronicles by John Hunt

20/08/19 | By Brynneth-Nimue Brown

Alaskan Chronicles book cover

The year is 2020 and President Trump has just announced that the world is bracing itself for the effects of a huge solar storm. 17 year old Jim Richards is a gawky teenager in Anchorage, Alaska. As chaos descends and society breaks down into anarchy and violence, his family team up with others to leave the city and take their chances in the Alaskan wilderness. They can no longer flick a switch to get what they want, no mobile or internet, in fact no communication at all with the wider world, how will it play out? Jim must step up, and in doing so, find his true self, his first love, and his destiny. How will the human race survive in this new world?

Here's an excerpt...

That night we were all outside, on Jerry and Marcia’s lawn, with a group of other neighbors, looking up at the night sky, sunglasses ready, just in case. All along the road and across the other side of the hill, through the trees, we could see lights on, everyone still up, the beams of torches flickering as people gathered. The news all evening had been about the temporary blackout. A minute before eleven p.m. people started chanting “sixty, fifty-nine, fifty-eight…” and ended with a cheery shout on “zero!” Nothing happened. Then, a few seconds late, all the lights went out, and applause resounded around the valley. Around midnight, there were murmurings of approval as the sky started to flame, like the Northern Lights, which we’d seen many times before, but in many more colors. Then it went up a notch, and another one, to gasps of astonishment. Rich purples at the top, down through shimmering greens, yellows and blues, more colors than you can think of. And then it went up another notch, and again. For the first time in my life, I felt my jaw physically drop. I’d seen weird stuff on the Internet, but nothing like this for real. The sky was so bright it was like midday. Streams of fire were flickering along the electrical wires. The ground flared red. Bess was taking pictures on her mobile.

“Awesome!” she shouted.

“This is so weird!” The birds were singing.

“They think it’s daytime,” Dad said.

“Well, I guess one of those fireballs did wrap itself around the earth.” “What a thing, hey?” Jerry called out. “Feel privileged to have seen it.” We stood there, in the middle of the most amazing fireworks display since the world was born till it died down after an hour or so.

“I guess we’ll stay out here till the electricity comes back on,” said Jerry, shining the torch around. How about you guys?”

“I’m ready to get some z’s now,” said Dad, “I’ll see you in the morning.” I went inside with Dad, and slept late. Around eleven a.m. I finally got up. The room was already hot, the AC wasn’t working. Bess was still asleep. Mom and Dad looked as if they’d been up for hours. They were talking in low voices, as if they hadn’t wanted to disturb us.

“We should keep the fridge door closed, Mary, to keep the cold in.”

“What’s the point, Donald? We need the milk for cereal and it’s going to go off in a couple of days anyway.”

“But if we keep the fridge door closed we could use it tomorrow.”

“But why? We need it now.” They heard me on the steps and turned. “Jim, morning. Wake Bess up, and we’ll have some cereal for breakfast.”

“I could skip cereal,” I offered.

“You’re going to have breakfast, young man,” Mom replied. “OK, Mary, let’s grab it and shut the door quick.”

Bess came jumping down the stairs, her hair flying around. “Dad, my phone isn’t working, can you fix it?”

Dad looked exasperated. “Bess, where’ve you been lately? The power grid went down last night, and it hasn’t come back yet. I don’t even know if phones will work when it switches on again. We need to keep the food as fresh as we can, so, no trips to the fridge. And there’s a curfew coming this evening, so we shouldn’t go too far from home.”

“But, Dad, I was going to Facetime with Janice this morning,” Bess complained.

“Sorry, honey, you’ll just have to wait till the power comes back.”

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