Four Minute Warning: Grant and Mhairi
Four Minute Warning: Grant and Mhairi sad stories

connorfallon Scottish. Bartender. Words and Things
Autoplay OFF   •   4 years ago
Found out about the Four minute warning system that was used in the UK to announce a nuclear strike and i got dark with it. This was a tough one. 1 of 4 (maybe)

Four Minute Warning: Grant and Mhairi

"This is BBC television from London, normal programming has been suspended" the voice from the television was cold, female and robotic.

Mhairi looked up from the half finished, mustard coloured scarf in her frail hands and raised an eyebrow.

"Grant!, Grant somethings wrong with the bloody telly!" she barked over her shoulder. There was the sound of a plate being carefully dropped into a sink of water and mumbled swearing.

Grant shuffled in from the kitchen and pulled his eye glasses up from where they hung round his neck on a chain and squinted. He scratched at his thinning white hair and sighed.

"Are you sitting on the remote again darling? I think you've done this before" he said, approaching the television.

"Indeed i am not you cheeky bugger!" laughed Mhairi as she briefly resumed her knitting.

Grant had reached the television set and was twisting and turning a few of the dials, humming to himself.

"Whats that fool thing your making now then?" he said, without even turning round.

"Scarf, you cant be that blind love" replied Mhairi. "I wanted something to match that nice dress i bought. I want to wear it on new years when we go to visit our kids and the little ones"

"Hmm aye, it'll be cold out" Grant hummed in agreement.

The television screen was black apart from the white BBC logo. The female voice repeated the phrase again. Grant stood up as quick as his old back would let him.

He scratched at his head again, looked towards his wife then back to the set.

"Programing suspended? That'll be meaning i'll be missing the bloody football again" he tutted.

"That mean i'll have a dancing partner down at the hall tonight then handsome?" laughed Mhairi weakly, her steel needles clacking together in her hands. Grant turned round and pointed a finger.

"Indeed you will not, i hate all those blithering women in there. Gods they make me feel older than i already am" Grant answered, half serious.

"Their just jealous that my husbands much more handsome than the-"

There was a large piercing blast from the television. Like some dread, electronic wasp. It sounded for no more than seven seconds but nothing else could be heard during.

It finished and the standby slate with the creepy young girl and the clown playing noughts and crosses appeared. Outside the neighbours dogs barked and a car alarm sounded a few streets away.

Grant tensed up, his old war wound from Korea tingled on the back of his left leg. Mhairi's smile faded and she stopped knitting.

"Whats wrong Grant?" she asked. Silence was her answer. Grants chest grew cold he thought for a second he was about to have his third heart attack, bu the fear he felt was different.

It was cold and panic-less and unfamiliar.

"This is an emergency broadcast from the BBC, information of a possible nuclear strike against this country has been received. The current threat level is critical meaning an attack is imminent.

Civilians are advised to stay in their homes" the voice that came from the television was that of an emotionless news reader.

Every word and syllable uttered with very precise and deliberate annunciation.

Mhairi's hand went to her mouth and Grant felt his arthritic fists clench. Outside there was slamming of car doors and loud but inaudible conversations.

A few of Grant and Mhairis neighbours were running to and fro between the terraced front gardens outside their window.

"Its the bloody Soviets love, they've only gone and bloody fired first haven't they" Grants voice shook as he spoke,

his legs felt weak and he held out and arm to steady himself on the television.

"The kid's Grant, what about our Lizzie and Trevor?!" said Mhairi standing up "Whats about to happen?"

"Well now i feel like a tosser for trying to tell them to stay with us hear in the city" he grabbed his wifes arm "They should be far enough away love"

Mhairi embraced her husband and felt warm tears on her face. Grant felt angry. he looked to the mantelpiece. He looked at his medals for bravery and pictures of his old unit.

At the tatty, yellowed photograph of him and his older brother in a dustbin when they were just children and of him and his wife the day they got married.

He wanted to protect his wife like he had always done, but he was at a loss.

Mhairi pulled away briefly and looked out of the window, there was a sea of human panic as the messaged repeated itself over and over again. There had been a small car crash across the street.

Mrs.Hudson and her husband were hurriedly walking down the street with what looked like packed suitcases and people she didn't recognise were running towards the motorway.

"Oh Grant, what do we do?" she said wiping the tears from her cheeks. Grant turned away and forcefully stamped across the living room and began rummaging about in the drawers near the door.

He puled the television remote out from underneath a few old letters and clicked the television off cutting out its sinister humming midway.

"For a start we're turning that shite off" he said, almost jovially before heading towards the record player near the window.

He quickly leafed through the large stack of records as Mhairi sniffed behind him.

He settled on a well worn sleeve of Elvis Presleys - I Cant Stop Falling In Love With You and placed it on the player. Carefully he moved the needle other the groove and the song began to play.

Turning round with the boyish smirk on his face that Mhairi loved so much he held his arm out.

"Time for a dance love" he smiled. Mhairi scoffed as she approached and took her husband in her arms. His hands were still wet from washing the dishes but Mhairi didnt care.

They swayed to the music, their very favourite song.

They couldn't hear the police sirens or the shouting outside just the scratching of the vinyl and the words they had memorized all those years ago.

"You old bastard" cackled Mhairi "You've been practicing" Grant nodded.

"For that new years millennium ball thing the kids wanted us to go to" he said "Couldn't have you bringing in bells with no one on your arm now could i?"

They smiled as they danced around their living room.

Both their minds drifted to their wedding day and Grant with his two left feet, their friends and families laughing politely at their awkward first dance.

There was no sense in trying to run. To the motorways or the airport or out of the city. there was no time and Grant knew it.

If this was the end for him and his darling wife then they'd do it on their own terms. Not stuck in traffic three streets from here or trapped in a sea of panicked humanity out on the roads.

They just swayed and hummed along holding each other tightly, a beacon of love that eclipsed the evil coming towards it.

They didn't notice the screaming or when it stopped.

The didn't see the new sun appear in the sky and turn the evening into midday.

Nor did they hear the earth shattering rumble and the fracturing glass.

Just Mr. Presleys finest and their own voices as they sang along. As the song ended and thre floor rattled they peeled back and looked at each other.

"How'd i do beautiful?" smiled Grant as the pictures shook themselves from the wall.

"Damn near perfect you old bugger" Mhairi gave her husband a gentle kiss.

As the rumbling and growling of the earth got louder an louder and the house began to shake itself apart he fiercely hugged Mhairi to his chest.

The new daylight had started to disappear as rubble and ash filled the sky.

"Theres definitely worse ways to go" he laughed to himself.

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