20%- Jessica Taggart

By Jessica Taggart

The last 20% of power left on earth wasn’t documented by media in any way. Instead each and every human took the time to do the things they loved that they couldn’t do again. Like watch Disney movies, play online games, or listen to the Pina Colada song one last time. 

Thomas sat in front of the television watching a colourful animated movie unaware of how much the next hour would impact his entire life. Swinging his legs singing to a chirpy song he’d listened to far too often. I turned on the Facetiming app, knowing that this would possibly be the last time I’d see my mother for a long time. 

Sam and I had discussed what we would do in the last charged hour. He told me not to tell Thomas. He said he would get us all the supplies we would need. And now I was sitting in the last hour Facetiming my mother by myself surrounded by torches, batteries and stacks of food. 

Dennis Hopman had planned things really well for Australia. The government had acted quickly to explain to citizens what would be happening. That every Saturday we would have a town meeting. Informed us just how different our lives would really be. 

Mum’s frail body sat peering over her tablet. She called out my name. The signal kept dropping and her face froze on the screen. She looked worn out and my eyes welled up. Too many people on the app I assumed. The screen unfroze and I wiped my eyes. A smile spread on my face replacing my previous frown. I called Thomas over but mum told me to let him watch his movie. Thomas barely looked at her. He would have photos of her to remember her by I reassured myself.  

Conversations of life, love and blotchy red faces later mum asked where Sam was. I too had been wondering. She said she loved me. I expressed my regrets for moving away from home, that I would miss her. She hung up prematurely. A slip of a finger. It was better this way. Goodbye would have been just too hard. 

The earth was at 5% now and Sam was still not home. I called his phone. A couch pillow lit up and began his Pina Colada ringtone. It mocked me. My chest hurt. The pain of fear and uncertainty began to take over. My throat tightened and I couldn’t sit still.  

The last jet of air conditioning whirred closed. The final baked potato crisped in the microwave. A singular spin of a washing machine finishedDarkness as the bulbs filtered out all light. 

Thomas’ film hadn’t finished, but the screen went black. It was quiet. Not the kind of peace and quiet any parent really wants. The loudness of my own heartbeat and thoughts was suffocating. Thomas and I sat in the darkness with a candle flame flickering.  

The door creaked and I hoped with all of my heart it was Sam. 


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