A Short Story - The Flipped Over World

November 27, 2020

The world had seen some major changes in the weather and climates, which were attributed to climate change.

Massive wildfires caused by unheard-of thunderstorms all across the western US. An almost uncountable number of tornadoes wiping out large swaths of the central US while hurricanes inundated the southeastern US. Canada and the northeast US were experiencing a deep freeze unlike any previous known freezes.

The same sorts of things were happening all over Europe and Asia. Africa was searing in amazing heat. South America also was under the extreme heat combined with humidity they had ever experienced.

And while all this was happening over the course of the most recent years, other scientists had found that an asteroid was on a trajectory that had the Earth in its path. As the months continued to pass with evermore-extreme weather, they also had brought out warnings about the asteroid.

But as these things go too many people dismissed them as extremists, and many around the world just didn't want to think about such a catastrophe at the same time as the climate change problems they were experiencing.

The scientists raised the alarm again and again, not about the climate, but about the asteroid, "It's going to make everything happening in the world right now pale in comparison. You must prepare for the worst possible scenario and hope that asteroid misses our planet".

The public didn't listen.

"Attention! Attention! This is an emergency announcement! Attention!" the voice on the radio was obviously urgent in its tone as the beeps sounded in before and after the message.

"Attention! This message is from the Emergency Services Department, please pay close attention! There is an asteroid heading towards Earth and there is a high probability of it passing very close, close enough to cause major disruptions to our planet. Running and hiding will be of no use, this will impact the entire planet. Do not panic! I repeat, do not panic! The results will only add to the already stressful situation. Please stay in your homes and listen for further announcements," the voice repeated the message continuously.

Lila called to her children who were playing outside in the yard, "Kids, come inside! Now, please!"

"Why Mommy? What's wrong?" asked the 14-year-old, Miriam.

"Just get the children inside now, please," Lila told her daughter.

Miriam hustled the other kids together, took them all downstairs, and put a DVD in for them to watch, and then she went back upstairs and listened to the radio with her mother.

"Is this real?" asked Miriam.

"I believe it is, sweetheart, and it's going to be bad, really bad. We need to go downstairs," Lila told Miriam to also gather the blankets, pillows, flashlights, and batteries and take them downstairs. "Don't tell the children about this, okay?

"Yeah, of course not, they won't understand anyway," Miriam, replied as she hurried through the rooms gathering the things to take downstairs.

"Attention! Attention! This is an emergency announcement! This message is from the Emergency Services Department, please pay close attention! Everyone must get into their homes or any nearby building and get as low as possible. Go into your basements, cellars, or below ground parking garages, whatever you can get into! This is an urgent message! You must find the lowest place possible to go to and stay there until you hear further announcements!" The voice continued repeating the message until the radio signal went dead.

Lila looked around at the children in the basement, all were there bundled up in blankets watching a movie, oblivious to the impending disaster.

She heard the door upstairs open and slam closed and the voice of her husband, Blake, calling out, "Lila! Miriam! Where are you?"

Lila shouted back, "We're downstairs, baby! Hurry, come down here!"

Blake ran through the house and down the stairs and wrapped his arms around his wife, then his older daughter. The two younger children were bundled up in their sleeping bags and busy watching a movie.

Lila quietly asked her husband, "What do you think is going to happen?"

Blake replied, "Well, there's no telling what will happen, even the best scientists are unsure of what might happen. They hope it will skim past far enough away to not upset the earth, but they emphasized the word 'hope'".

"Do they think there's a chance it might actually hit the earth?" asked Miriam.

"They said it shouldn't hit the earth, but again, there's no way to know for sure. The asteroid has been wobbling and taking a strange path," Blake said quietly to the two women.

"I think the radio is dead, or the signal is dead, I don't know," said Lila with tears starting. She brushed them away quickly so the two younger children wouldn't notice them.

"I'll check it," and Blake went across the room and looked at the transistor radio they kept just in case of such an emergency. He changed the batteries and the radio came on, but with a lot of static.

"Attention! Attention! This message is from the Emergency Services Department, please pay close attention! Everyone must go into a basement, cellar, or underground garage. Anywhere below ground if at all possible! Now! This is not a drill. The impact is imminent!" the voice on the radio was repeating the message.

Blake sat down between his wife and his daughter and held them in his arms, and waited. They didn't have to wait for long, though.

Suddenly the whole world shuddered, everything was moving in the basement, including the family. The children started screaming and crying, the adults started screaming and crying as well. Everything was flying around the room worse than any tornado or earthquake could manage. They thought the world itself was being thrown around like a balloon.

The children had crawled deep into their sleeping bags but were being thrown around like rag dolls. The adults were being smashed around the room like twigs.

All over the globe, life was in chaos as the asteroid came so close to the earth that it skimmed the outer atmosphere. The earth was shaken so bad it stopped its spin and slowly rotated around in the the wrong direction. The earth started to rotate around so the North Pole was where the South Pole should have been, and the South Pole was now the North Pole. The world had been turned completely upside down!

The earth started to spin again although at a slightly different speed, angle, and upside down. The asteroid passed and continued its journey through space without even a hint of disruption to its own path.

After the shaking had stopped, the people who had survived all over the word started to venture outside of wherever they had managed to hide. And what they found was shocking beyond imagination. Those who had been in daylight before the asteroid passed were now in night, and those who had been in night were now in daylight. Those who had been in winter were now in summer, and those who were in summer were now in winter.

But it was more than that as well. The earth's tilt of 23 or so degrees was now reversed and tilted in the opposite direction.

Almost every building that existed had been demolished. Nearly every tree or tall plant had been flattened. Life was never going to be the same for anyone on the planet because the planet had suffered a cataclysmic change.

Blake pushed some broken bits of furniture of him, stood up in the mess, and started searching for his family. "Miriam! Lila! Shiela! Matt! Where are you? Lila!"

He heard some sounds coming from the area that had been the family room. He dug through the rubble and found the two younger children still wrapped in their sleeping bags and crying, "Daddy! What happened! Was it an earthquake?"

Blake replied, "Yeah, sweetie, an earthquake. You guys get out of those sleeping bags, go over there, and wait for me. I have to find your mother and sister."

Blake continued calling out for his wife and daughter and eventually found both of them amid the rubble of what had been their house. They both had some minor cuts and bruises but, thankfully, no broken bones.

Blake led his family up the stairs to where their house used to be. They stopped and stared. There was nothing left of their neighborhood. Other people were outside also staring at the disaster around them.

Some of the people got together in small groups to console each other and discuss the situation. They all noticed that something wasn't the same about the weather, as well as the fact that it appeared to be nighttime now. And some commented on the stars and the fact that they were not the same as the night before. The familiar constellations were not visible anywhere in the sky. But what exactly had happened none of them yet knew.

All satellite and radio communications were out, The police started moving around informing people that communications would soon be restored, but in the meantime, they should all report to certain locations for food, water, and information.

Within a few days radio stations were back online, bringing the news to people all over the world, but it would be some time longer before the entire satellite system was back online. That meant those with old-fashioned wired telephones could make calls but cellphones were useless, and any TV that relied satellite transmissions were also out.

Over the next few months, people all over the world had started rebuilding their lives and governments started rebuilding their societies. The Western world, developed countries, were the hardest hit by the disaster, while the least developed countries were the seeing the least amount of financial devastation in rebuilding due to the fact that their losses were of a much lower financial value compared to the developed nations.

As time passed people were beginning to get used to the idea that North America was now in the south and South America was now in the north. That Africa was now north of Europe, and Australia was now north of eastern Russia.

And because the spinning speed of the globe was altered days were now 22 hours long. And the asteroid left the globe rotating the sun at a slightly faster speed, shortening the years to 361 days.

The people of the world slowly returned to some semblance of a normal life over the following years but most found that getting used to their new location on the globe the most difficult change to adjust to. The weather for everyone worldwide had changed, permanently. Some welcomed the changes though most did not.

"Dad, why is it so cold? It's supposed to be summer," said the youngest of Blake's children.

"Well, sweetheart, I know you still don't understand what happened a few years ago, but the world changed. And that caused the weather to change for everyone," her explained again, and again, and again.

Miriam didn't mind the change, and Lila didn't really care, she didn't think it was all that different from what it had been, other than the months of summer and winter had swapped. Overall, she was adjusting to the changes without much trouble. Blake, on the other hand, was having difficulties, but mostly related to his job because it was a job that changed with the seasons. Now that's all been turned around and thrown upside-down making his life much more difficult to adjust.

The world changed, forever. Up was down. North was south. Days and years were different lengths. But life went on. It hadn't been wiped out as some feared. And life will continue on this flipped over world.