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Sonic Booms

D.M. Krigsman has found himself somehow marooned in New Jersey and has to admit to himself he doesn't mind it that much.

The sonic booms began a little after nine every morning. Off and on for three or four hours, occasionally interrupted by a boom that wasn't so sonically controlled. Your Mother tells you to pray then. You hate praying. It doesn't seem to get you anywhere but on your knees. After the last of the sonic booms, they usually end around noon, you and your family get in your old car and drive over to the launch center.
Trailers lined both sides of the road and the soldiers let you through the checkpoint. You're all authorized, there are identification papers to prove it. You clean the trailers that the people who left stayed in before their flights. Sometimes there are things to be found. Usually food, but sometimes things even more valuable. Watches, jewelry, things made of gold that Father can sell. No matter what happens gold always seems to have great value. Father told you all these people knew what they were allowed to take or not. It made you wonder how much they had left behind in their houses. Your house didn't hold much but you liked it. The guards don't care. Your parents make sure to give them something and everyone is happy as can be considered.
The things are left because at the last minute people realized that these things just doesn't matter anymore. Some probably realized that they probably wouldn't pass the weigh-in. You find lots of toys. Sometimes really good ones. Your favorite was a doll of a little girl that looked like you and would sing a song about her backpack. You can't keep all the toys you find, but that one you do.
Your family is done cleaning your allotment of trailers by four, and after your Father pays the soldiers, you leave.
This was your favorite time. If the rain wasn't falling you could play outside. Sometimes the ground shakes. If it was in the morning, there were no launches that day. The ground shook on its own more every day.
At night the family watches television. During the news Mother sends you out of the room. It wasn't for children, she said.
Sometimes you heard gunshots. Mother said it was people rushing the gates. The soldiers had to. If you didn't have the right papers, you weren't leaving. Father had applied for papers but he said it was like winning the lottery. Mother pointed out that if they had ever won the lottery they wouldn't live on a damned humid peninsula. She didn't sound too happy about it.
The sonic booms began at midnight and went on all through the night with lights flashing in the sky. More were coming and Father said there was still time to move away from all the people coming. You really liked your house and didn't want to leave.
The End
This story was first published on Wednesday, March 6th, 2019

Author Comments

Stories of refugees and migration populate the news cycle and this story is a take on how, as we move forward, that might not change much.

- D. M. Krigsman
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