Bróna and I stood at the barricade the soldiers had set up around what was left of the headland and the harbour. We watched as truck after truck of soldiers poured into the port and countless battleships arrived by sea, most were twice the size of our usual patrolling battleship. Mam and my stepdad, Deryck, spoke to Bróna’s parents, most likely discussing what a tragedy it was.
“What do you think could do this?” Bróna asked, looking up to me. She was a full head shorter than me.
I said nothing but instead just shook my head.
“Do you think they’ll follow up with it?” She asked, with a quiver in her voice.
“I think this was just a warning shot” I told her, not looking away from the horizon.
“What? How the fuck is THAT a warning shot?” she stuttered, pointing to the remains of the cliffs.
“Think about it” I looked down to her, into her grey eyes, laced with streaks of gold, “They could have easily wiped out the whole village and military stations. But they just destroyed our cliffs and main line of defence. I think that’s telling us to get the hell out of here”.
Bróna edged a few inches closer to me.
“Dad’s going to want to bring us over to Galway” She spoke softly, almost whispering, “We have cousins there and he’ll want to get as far away as he can get from here. What are you going to do?”
I shook my head side to side slowly “I don’t know Shorty”
We stood quietly for a few moments before the ground began to softly vibrate and shake a little. For a brief second I thought it was about to happen again, and by the grip Bróna had on my arm so did she, but I soon realised it was a line of heavily gunned tanks rolling down the road towards the headland. We watched as they all lined up on the newly formed cliffs. Tents were quickly being assembled up there, sandbags put up around as walls. The harbour was heavily fortified with an array of gunships, from small dinghies for taking troops on and off ships, to the Dreadnoughts. The Dreadnoughts were the biggest ships in Ireland, capable of firing nukes if the time proved necessary. I can’t even begin to describe the colossal size of it. Mount a few cannons, rockets and anti-aircraft guns on a sperm whale and you’ll get the picture.
Over head I began to hear a dull repetitive whirring. I looked up and a helicopter came into few from over the hills behind my home. It whooshed over us and spun into a landing position not too far down the road. The doors slid open and several armed commando’s poured out, and were followed by a tall broad man in a suit decorated with various coloured medals. He looked very important and even the way he stood, hat in hand, he looked like he could tell everyone to jump and we’d all ask “How high?”
He walked over to the barricade and, what appeared to be, surveyed us all. He nodded to a soldier beside him and took a megaphone from him. He adjusted and tinkered with it for a few seconds.
“Bet you he’s gay” I whispered to Bróna.
I was swiftly met with a mock hit in the chest with her forearm, “Timmy!” she tried to snarl but giggled halfway through saying my name.
“You all thought it, I just said it” I laughed.
“Everyone!” the harsh voiced echoed through the hills, causing some people to jump slightly.
“I am Staff Sergeant Murphy” he called into the megaphone.
“Wow, Murphy. Real creative Irish name” I muttered and was shushed by Bróna.
“As you all are aware we have suffered an attack and lost one of the east coasts most tactical rocket launchers” he spoke and swept his arm to the disaster zone behind him, “We are unsure how this attack was launched but we cannot take the risk that it won’t happen again. I advise that everyone evacuates, preferably towards the west coast of Ireland. For anyone without a car, there will be a supply convoy heading towards Leitrim. That is all” and with that he handed the megaphone to the soldier he had taken it from, said something to the soldier who nodded and trotted off back into the helicopter, which loaded up with the Sergeant and the commando’s that accompanied him. With a cloud of dust sweeping through us the helicopter flew off and landed up on the headland, which was more of a military camp at this stage.
The people around began to retreat to their homes, discussing where they were going or what they were going to bring. Bróna and I turned around and began to walk towards our parents.
“Do you think we’re gonna be separated?” I asked her as we walked slowly to the family.
“I... I don’t know Timmy” she mumbled.
Before I could say anything, it was happening all over again. Distant this time but the sound was still as intense as before. The sound blasted the air all around us and we all threw ourselves to the ground, covering our heads. Bróna fell to the ground and I went down beside her, throwing my arms over my head and hers.
The earth shook so violently I almost bounced up and down on the spot. No windows broke this time; there were none to be broken. Tents collapsed and a tank tumbled over the cliff edge and crashed into the sea below. Large waves swept through the harbour, the larger ships unmoved but the small dinghies were thrown about like ragdolls, some were sent into the air and others were either swallowed by the waters or smashed into the harbour wall.
The sound soon subsided. Everyone slowly stood up, picking themselves and others up off the road. I got up and pulled Bróna up, making sure she was ok. The crowd all of a sudden went quiet. We looked out to sea, towards the north. What was once the Cooley Mountains was now an awesomely sized pile of rubble with an incredible column of black smoke rising from them.
As we stared in awe at the devastation, we heard someone scream. We looked to them and they were pointing towards the sky. As we gazed upwards we seen it, scree was fired into the air because of the explosion and was about to re-enter the atmosphere, right on top of us. Soldiers suddenly began shouting at everyone, telling people to get into the armoured trucks around the area. People flooded over the barricade and followed the directions and hopped into trucks. As the trucked filled up, their doors were slammed shut. I ran with Bróna’s hand in mine and we ran to a truck, but as we got to it we seen the soldier wave at us, “Full!!” he shouted, and slid the large steel doors shut. We ran up to it and started banging frantically on the doors.
“Let us in!!!” We both shouted, pleading, “Help us!!”
“You two!!” a voice from the left called to us, we looked over to a soldier looking out from a tank hatch, “Get in here! Hurry up!!” he called over, waving his arm, beckoning us.
“We sprinted over to him and hurriedly crawl up the tank. I pulled Bróna up and let her down the hatch first. When she slid down there was an explosion beside me. I glanced over to see an army jeep get annihilated by a hurtling boulder from the sky as it was pounded into the ground.
“GET DOWN!!!!” the soldier roared at me and pulled me down the hatch. I fell inside and hit the grated floor with a thud. I looked up as the soldier slammed the hatch shut and twisted the steel ring, closing it tight. He climbed down the ladder and sat down in the cramped tank.
I wriggled into a kneeling position. Bróna was beside me with another soldier sitting in, what i presumed to be, the driver’s seat.
The tank shook suddenly and we all braced ourselves against the walls, careful not to hit any switchers.
“Hold on!” the second soldier called out. We didn’t need to be told twice, we firmly braced ourselves.