What If There Was A National Internet Outage?

A short story about people's responses to a sudden internet outage across the country.
the beginning of the internet outage
Image Source: The Business Journals

Day 1 - The Internet Unexpectedly Goes Out

Internet power lines all over the United States have been malfunctioning. The internet hasn’t worked for the past few days. This random and intense outage is inconvenient, considering I work from home as a website programmer.

My kids have been playing outside more, though, so I can’t complain too much. I suppose it’s a bit refreshing to give my eyes a break from all the screen time.

Although I don't usually write down my thoughts in a journal, I feel as though this is a major historical moment worth documenting.

Day 14 - Internet Outage Continues Without Explanation

This is unbelievable. Two weeks without any internet and no explanations from the internet companies or government as to why this is happening. As a result of this nonsense, I’m behind on my work and my clients have made aggressive phone calls to remind me of this. It’s not like I have any miraculous powers that control the internet. If I was in charge, I would’ve brought it back two weeks ago.

I’ve seen hoards of people rushing to grocery stores, stocking up on all kinds of canned goods, toiletries, and first aid supplies. It’s almost as if they think we’re in an apocalypse, the end of the world or something.

Day 22 - Panic Begins

People are starting to panic. Stores are shutting down. I’m glad I went grocery shopping yesterday, so we’ll have enough until stores open again. Is there something more serious going on that no one is telling us? I thought this was just an internet outage.

rough day for a picnic
image source: utahfostercare

Day 37 - A Desperate Man Attacks the Kids

My kids were having a little picnic outside, finger sandwiches with lemonade; it was a gorgeous sunny day out. Some manic hiding in the nearby woods must’ve seen them eating food. He came out of nowhere and put his hands on my youngest, shaking her and shouting to give him food.

Her terrified, high-pitched shrieks were all I needed to know that they were in danger. I ran out of the front door, anger boiling my veins, and yelled at the manic to leave my children alone. He gave me a crazed look before he shoved my youngest daughter into the grass, stole a few sandwiches, and ran back into the woods.

The kids aren’t allowed outside anymore.

Day 49 - Trying to Survive the Chaos

This is no longer about the internet, but about survival. The people in town have turned to utter chaos; I imagine the whole U.S. is in a similar condition. My family and I haven’t left the house in weeks.

People are lurking outside all the houses in the neighborhood, in hopes that someone will leave their homes unoccupied; it’s the perfect time to loot, take anything they can to get through one more day.

Our supplies are dwindling. All I can hear are the angry grumbles of our stomachs. I know that we’ll need to search for food soon and that I’ll have to go out there alone. I will not let my wife or my daughters witness the monstrosities beyond the house’s walls.

Day 58 - The Second Fall of Mankind

It’s as if all of our primal instincts returned to our conscious brains from the repressed, dark subconscious. People fought, even murdered in cold blood, just to obtain resources that we knew would only sustain us for the next 72 hours.

They, the ones we took advantage of every day without thinking, predicted the second fall of mankind. Our own resource supply won’t last much longer, but I refuse to stoop to this level of insanity.

a trip to the pharmacy
Image Source: Pexels | Kevin Bidwell

Day 63 - An Accidental Fatal Encounter

I accidentally killed a man today. 

As I snuck through a ransacked pharmacy to find supplies, I found a full diabetes prescription bottle behind the counter. My wife has been suffering in silence since she ran out over a week ago. 

I didn’t know it was a person behind me; all I heard was the sound of shuffling feet. It was instinctual to turn around and...

I didn’t mean to.

He was probably looking for prescription pills too.

Day 70 - Going Down in Flames

The savages began burning all the houses down one by one, ridding people of their protection and everything else they have. I suppose their mindset is, “If I can’t have anything, no one can.” I’ve been trying to find a new, secure location if our house comes next (and I’m sure it’ll be soon), but I don’t know how to read a map.

I checked on the van to see if it could still run since we haven’t driven it in what feels like years. Of course, the dashboard blinked an evil “E” next to the gas levels.

A vague memory flashed in my mind of the last time I drove the van home from the cabin. I didn’t feel like stopping for gas and told myself I would do it in the morning. The opportunity never came.

Day 72 - Running on Empty Hope

There’s nothing left. Black ashes blew in the wind, ashes that once were wood panels that made up our house. We stayed in the van during the arson attack. The van still had a purpose after all.

My family is safe, but at what cost? If surviving is all we can do anymore, how long will we need to repeat this seemingly endless cycle? Find food and a shelter for a day, get two hours of sleep, wake up, and do it all again.

I don’t know how much longer my girls can keep this up. Their frail bodies lie limp in the backseats of the van. I watch each of their chests rise and fall in slow, erratic patterns.

Day 76 - Finding a New Shelter

After wandering around the town, we found a little shack in the nearby woods that looked in decent enough condition to spend a few nights. The door was unlocked and, after a thorough search, vacant.

As I looked through the kitchen for any supplies, I noticed the internet box placed on the counter next to the fridge. No green lights flickered to indicate any power. I’m not sure why I even bothered to unplug the cord from the wall and plug it back in, hoping it would turn the internet back on. Old habits die hard.

It was about 9 p.m. and we were all exhausted. I made a makeshift bed out of blankets for the wife and me and tucked the girls into an old creaky cot in the only bedroom of the shack.

a golden sunrise
Image Source: Pixabay

Day 77 - The Green Light of a New Day

Dawn had just broken past the horizon, lighting the woods with an eerie golden glow. But it wasn’t the pleasant sunlight that woke me up, but rather the muffled screams of children coming from the bedroom. My wife and I sprinted into the room to find an older man, with wild eyes and an overgrown gray beard, holding a blade to both of the girls’ throats.

When I tried to approach him, he held the blade closer to their quivering chins. He said something in a harsh, country accent, too thick for me to understand. My wife begged for him to let them go as I yelled at him with vulgar language.

Suddenly, the man’s eyes flashed from me and my wife to the doorway. The door led back out into the kitchen. His beady black eyes had a faint green tint to them in the weak light of dawn.

Then, he lowered his blade and left the house in silence. My wife ran to the howling children, and I looked over my shoulder. Across from where I stood was the kitchen counter, where the internet box glowed a radiant shade of green.

modem shines green as the internet is back
image source: brandx
23 | uni graduate | aspiring author | overthinker | theatre kid

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