The Day it Happened – Written for Esther Chilton’s competition

Esther Chilton has issued an invitation for people to submit a short story beginning with the line “I didn’t know what had happened. Not at first. And then I knew.” 

Click on the link below if you want to take part.


The Day it Happened


I didn’t know what had happened. Not at first. And then I knew.

It had started so innocently, the sun shone through the chink in the bedroom curtains almost like a nagging partner informing me that I should have been out of bed hours ago.

I untangled myself from the duvet that as usual, I’d wrapped myself up in for comfort.

Time to start another day. Another day like all the others, and yet how wrong I was.

This was not like any other. This was unique.

I went downstairs and turned on the kettle to make my morning beverage, slave to my caffeine fix, to give me some motivation that I could not conjure up without.

With a touch of shame, I drew back the curtains in the front room almost expecting a neighbourhood committee standing there tutting at the late hour, but there was no one.

Not a soul.

Not one of the many dog walkers who usually used the road as a cut-through on the way to the park. Not one of the usual joggers, skaters, cyclists or other keep-fit fanatics taking their daily exercise, making me feel like I should be joining them. No one enjoying this sunny day. 

A wave of intuition came over me. I felt the compulsion to switch on the television and in doing so I joined the rest of the world who were already glued to the screen watching the events unfold.

I had been oblivious, wrapped up in my own self, a symptom of my mental state but the world had been busy while I wasn’t looking.

There was an expression on the news announcers face that told far more than her words could. The talks had broken down. Those peace summits that people cling to like the man hanging off a cliff reaching out for a blade of grass. He knows the grass will not save him, yet he reaches out for it anyway, desperate. No one had expected them to work and yet now those expectations had been fulfilled, it was like a hammer blow.

It was the smell of the burnt toast that broke me from my entranced staring at the screen.

I was on the way to the kitchen when it had happened. The blinding flash and the force of air that knocked me flat on my back.

As I came to, I didn’t know what had happened. Not at first. And then I knew.

As my consciousness began to fade, I knew.

This was the day it happened. The button had been pressed.


By Kristian Fogarty


Published by


People are far too complicated to be able to describe in a few words so I am not even going to try.

10 thoughts on “The Day it Happened – Written for Esther Chilton’s competition”

  1. We lived with that in the 80s… waiting for Reagan or Gorbachev to push the button… now it seems like we’re right back to it, only it’s not nuclear annihilation, just regular bombs…

    Great story, Kristian!🤗

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good work. I remember having nightmares about nuclear destruction as a kid – that was when we had fallout drills at school. I’m not sure things have changed, really.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.