Occasionally I participate on the /r/WritingPrompts subreddit. When I do, I’ll post my work here, because why not.
This is the original prompt. My response follows.
The Sun threw a particularly nasty curveball into nowhere in particular. Unfortunately, today the Earth was nowhere in particular. Anything with a circuit running inside it went straight to Hell. Sparks flying, electric shocks to the touch, equipment in some cases even continuing to work after it was unplugged. The radiation hitting the atmosphere lit up the sky so brightly in some places people started preparing breakfast.
Fortunately, this was in 1859. All we really had back then were telegraphs. When another happened six weeks ago, humanity wasn’t quite so lucky.
The warning was minimal. The sunspots were noticed only a few hours before it began. We had no time to do anything. It started with the GPS systems. People directly under geosynchronous satellites on clear days were left literally directionless. When they tried to post about it online, they were greeted with zero out of five bars–Wi-fi and most other radio communications went out soon thereafter. After a few hours, the real fun started. Airplanes, trains, and complex vehicles failing or even exploding in transit. Mass blackouts. Power plants exploding, radiation from nuclear waste leaking into the countryside. Hospitals running without so much as emergency power. It was a mess; we don’t even know how bad it was because the infrastructure for counting the casualties and crunching the numbers around the globe simply doesn’t exist any more.
And that’s just the material world. Our real loss was our history. Practically every single datum ever recorded since the 1950’s? Gone. Magnetic tapes were corrupted, hard drives were fried, compact disks turned to drink coasters. Without the financial records to support them, entire economies vanished in a puff of smoke. Riots and looting, of course, followed. All of our science, all of our culture, all of our discoveries, every single damned thing that made the 20th and 21st centuries so remarkable, gone!
And yet, I’m happy. Many people consider this the end of the world or hell on earth. Me? I actually like it better this way. I was a programmer in another life, one I’ll never relive again. No more angry managers. No more whining clients. No more keeping up with the technological Joneses, no more restless nights fixing an emergency on the servers. No more excuses to stop pursuing the life I’ve always wanted. I’ve found an inner peace I haven’t seen since I was a toddler.
Information technology is over. Time to do something else.