25 Rockets

May 18, 2008
By Morgan McDaniel, Layton, UT

August 3rd, 2020

Today marks the five-year anniversary of the Bombs.

A few hours ago, in the ash pile that was once France, they knocked down The Louvre with a metal army of tanks and wrecking machines of all sizes. I imagine it must have looked like a metal circus closing in on the building to all those who watched.

I’m listening now to a forbidden broadcast on my equally forbidden radio to the sounds of a hushed reporter’s voice and people being beat to death by the hired thugs Mr. Fulton calls his “Police”.

They’re saying now that hundreds cried and flocked to the site as though it were a French Ground Zero. When I lie back on my cot and close my eyes I can picture them, people of all nationalities, traveling to France to try in vain to stop Fulton. But we all know it’s impossible to stop Fulton. I can see them crouched in the dirt, searching, hoping that some priceless work somehow managed to remain in tact. Their tears will blind them as they search through the splinters of wood and concrete and pieces of art thousands of years old. Hoping. Searching.

Maybe someone found a piece, perhaps even the Mona Lisa’s famous smile, and clutched to it like a security blanket as the “Police” shot holes through their body.

Maybe hundreds of corpses are being buried today on top of the rubble that was once The Louvre. The voice on the radio said that Mr. Fulton was planning on building a new home for himself in the very spot. I guess he doesn’t believe in ghosts.

Now they’re announcing that every book is to be burned as well. Those libraries across our tiny world are being demolished as they speak, the brave little librarians going down with their ships.

Many have predicted, but I didn’t think it would come. Even after the Bombs I thought we had a chance of surviving. But the world is ending. And it sounds to me that the human race has finally destroyed itself.

August 4th, 2020

I guess I should tell you a bit about myself. Right now I’m living in the backwoods in my old tent. I really do have all the creature comforts of home.

I mean, this is not too different than a hunting-trip.

Except that this time I’m the prey.

Because if Fulton finds me his thugs will kill me where I stand.

I brought my little contraband radio, but they’ll stop broadcasting soon and then I’ll be truly alone. That’s what this book is for I guess. To keep me from going insane in all the quiet.

I got the idea earlier today during my breakfast of nuts and fruits and jerky (no fresh meat—if Fulton’s slaves come poking around I want to have enough bullets to keep them back) that I should write a detailed history of what’s been happening, just in case someone in the future finds this. I can’t seem get the story out of my head, anyway.

It all started with Fulton. Garrett Fulton was, at the time, a forty-year-old Danish scientist. He lived in Chicago and dedicated his life to his job. He had no background whatsoever in political science. Yet in the space of less than nine years he truly became the ruler of all the Earth. Now, I know that every cheap, lame, story has something about the villain “taking over

Later, August 4th, 2020

I had to stop writing because I heard a noise in the forest. I put my stuff down and got my semi-automatic and poked around in the bushes where the noises had come from like a cop on one of those television shows my parents always used to watch. Everyday I get itchier and itchier, you see, and so I thought that maybe they’d finally found me.

But no, it turned out just to be a little old rabbit. I was so jumpy I shot it and roasted it for dinner. Tomorrow I’ll move location just in case they heard my gun. It’s a pretty loud gun.

It’s a pretty big gun.

But where was I? Right, Fulton.

Fulton lived in Chicago, like I said. Meanwhile, another scientist named Ryan Murphy was living with his family in Queens, New York. His wife was the gorgeous Mrs. Natalie Murphy and they had two adorable red-headed tykes named Noah and Grace.

The kids were twins and Noah was (obviously) a cute little boy while Grace was a cute little girl. The two of them got along real well.

But that’s a whole other story.

One night in late October of the year 2010, Fulton found Murphy. Fulton was planning something, something big and he needed Murphy.

Fulton went to Murphy and told him the big plan. He wanted rockets.

Crazy, no?

But he didn’t want just one rocket, or even two, three, four rockets. He wanted twenty five rockets.

He lied to Murphy. Saying he didn’t want real rockets, telling him that he was writing a Sci-Fi novel about destroying the planet and wanted some accurate facts. He wanted blueprints and sketches and numbers.

It didn’t take long for Fulton and Murphy to become pretty good friends. They’d sit together on the porch, drinking beers and discussing rockets and aliens and sports until the sun went down. They’d watch the two little ones playing in the yard and talk about the future. Sometimes Murphy’s pretty wife Natalie would join them with an interesting article she’d snipped out of Newsweek and glasses of freshly-made southern tea.

Natalie was a bit of a Southern Belle, but tough as nails when it came down to it. She was also a fairly famous modern painter. She was a true artist. Not one of the modern realists who scribble the word “art” on a canvas and call it good. No, that girl had talent. Even Fulton, who thought himself a certified critic on just about everything, appreciated her artwork.

After the first time he brought it up, Fulton scarcely talked about his rocket plan. He mostly just let Murphy fill the air with chatter. Murphy spoke of work and of money, and of how he would get his family out of Queens one day and take them back to Georgia, where Natalie was from.

About a year into their “friendship” Murphy and Fulton had a pivotal discussion—one that literally decided the fate of the world.

Just as Natalie was setting up for dinner, Fulton appeared at the door. Grace had let him in and led him to her father’s study, where he sat reading the newspaper.

“Good Evening,” Fulton greeted his young friend.

“Garrett! Good to see you!” Murphy replied, grinning. “Sit down.”

Fulton sat stiffly on a chair across from Murphy. His face was drawn and old looking, his hair disheveled and his clothing ragged, which was very unlike the ever-clean and perfect Fulton.

“Ryan,” Fulton whispered seriously. “Ryan, remember the missiles I asked you to design?”

Murphy’s smile waned slightly and he smiled hesitantly. .

“Yeah, sure. But I don’t see why…”

“Ryan, do you have blueprints?”

“Yeah, but remember we talked about it. It wouldn’t destroy the entire population without destroying the entire--“

“Ryan!” Fulton screamed suddenly, bringing his hand down on the coffee table. “I need those blueprints now.”

A shaken and confused Ryan Murphy then handed over a notebook full of figures and sketches of nuclear missiles to his friend.

“He must be desperate to start writing that novel of his,” Murphy had thought.

Smiling strangely, Fulton left the house.

After that night, Fulton disappeared from Murphy’s life. He didn’t see him for years and years, and almost never again thought of him. Murphy’s children grew, his wife stayed pretty and their house was just as happy as always. In the year 2015, something happened that changed the world forever—and brought Fulton back into Murphy’s life.

On a clear August night, Murphy sat out on the porch with his family, watching the day crawl slowly into night. The neighborhood buzzed with activity, and they waved to neighbors who were outside as well.

“Man,” Noah moaned. “I can’t believe it’s already the last day of summer!”

“I’m excited for school,” Grace contradicted.

“You’re dumb. School’s dumb. Why is summer over?!” Noah burst.

“I’m not dumb, you’re dumb.”

The twins stuck their tongues out at each other.

“Hey, now,” Natalie said soothingly. “Be nice.”

The kids continued to squabble and Natalie sighed in exasperation.

“Ryan, talk to your kids, would ‘ya?”

Murphy was too busy watching the sky to hear her. He didn’t hear anything, in fact. Not the neighbors. Not his shrieking kids. Not the traffic from two blocks over. In the orange and pink sky was a fast-approaching black shape.

Twenty five rockets

Murphy stared for a long moment, his heart pounding in his head but he wasn’t sure why. It could be anything up there, a bird, a balloon

Twenty five rockets

Murphy jumped up and his family ceased speaking.

“Ryan?” Natalie whispered after a moment. “What is it?”

“Get in the house.”


“I said: Get in the house.”

Natalie and the kids walked silently into the house, eyeing each other, what’s wrong with Dad? Murphy jogged into the house and yelled for them to follow, all the while thinking: Thank God Natalie talked me into the buying the oldest house on the block. . . Thank God we have a fallout shelter. . .

“Daddy,” Grace called from behind him. “What is it?”

“It’s freaking Superman, that’s what.” Murphy snapped, a hysterical edge creeping into his voice. “Come on.”

Once they were all tucked safely into the fallout shelter, Murphy turned on the radio and they all listened silently to the ad for toothpaste.

“Blink’s the best . . . cleans, whitens, brightens!”

In a matter of minutes there were strange, muffled noises overhead; crunching and smashing and screaming…so much screaming. The Murphy’s clutched to each other, the children whimpering, Natalie crying silent tears.

“. . . cleans, whitens, bri. . .”

The radio stopped suddenly, not even static to cover up the noises overhead now. It was eerily quiet save for the screaming of their neighbors.

And for some reason the words

Twenty Five Rockets

repeated over and over and over again in Murphy’s head. He knew exactly who had done this. Don’t ask me why, he just did.

And soon everyone else would know it too.

After the Bombs, everyone in the world congregated in what was left of Europe. An estimated two-thirds of the Earth’s population was killed that day, and what’s left of us is dying off slowly.

The rest of us, the survivors, were so desperate for leadership, for answers, that we took the first hand that reached out to us:


Fulton has always been more than a bit crazy. He is crazy on the deepest level; crazy in his wanting to help. But he’s a smooth talker, as I’ve said, and also good looking--tall with salt-and-pepper hair and brown eyes. He looks like a man you could trust. He made his way up to top office and secured our trust, our blind trust.

I never had faith in the man.

Well, maybe I did in 2011.

Fulton’s plan was to clean what was left of the Earth. He started by helping—by building, by feeding, by clothing. Then his true colors came out one day, a few months ago, when he abolished art.

I went to Fulton, then. Pleaded with him, begged on hands and knees. I was your friend, I said, your friend. Please don’t do this; it’s madness.

Fulton laughed and said it was all for the good. The good of mankind. He told him how he had blown up most of the Earth because it was sick. Because the human race was dirty and diseased. He said that the survivors had been handpicked by God and he himself had been chosen to lead them. That the next step was stopping the one thing that would bring down his rein. Free thought. Art.

Murphy was frantic. He tried to bring Fulton down by telling everyone he could about Fulton’s real plans. He told everyone about Fulton’s real…

August 5th, 2020

I had to stop. It was…too much to remember all in one day. I spent all last night and this morning just thinking about Natalie and Grace and Noah. Their big smiles, their happy chattering, their surprisingly short tempers.

They’re all dead. Fulton killed them. He killed them as a warning to me. Because he knew after that I wouldn’t dare touch him. I mean, I’m so ashamed of taking part in the Bombs that I couldn’t even admit my name to my own journal.

But that’s where Fulton’s wrong. Now that I have nothing to lose I’m coming for him. I got my gun and I’m coming for him.

He’s not gonna know what hit him.

So there you go. The end of the world is finally here.

Will we survive?

If so, I hope to God someone finds this. So you can know the real truth.


Ryan Murphy

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