Flash Fiction Contest Winner #28 – “Out of Cereal”

Please note: Flash fiction stories are submitted by members of our Discord server. Many contain adult themes and may be objectionable to some readers.

“Out of Cereal”

Shaking the last dregs of the corn flakes box into her bowl, she let out a long sigh. It was the last of the food before she had to venture out and see what she could find. The pitiful amount of cereal stared back at her for a moment before she got up to get the milk. She grabbed the nearly empty carton out of the warm, dark fridge, taking a moment to stare at the now empty space. The power had been out for longer than she cared to remember.
     The carton illustrated with cows in a summer field made her scowl. She was lactose intolerant and the milk had been her husband’s. It had been weeks now since she had last seen him. She was beginning to doubt she ever would again. For now though, his milk would have to do and she would endure the consequences she knew she would face for consuming it.
     Sitting at the table, she opened the carton and began to pour. Liquid mixed with solid chunks tumbled out into the bowl, a sour smell filling her nostrils.
     “Fucking shit! There goes my breakfast.”
     The bowl flew across the room shattering against the wall as she flung it in frustration. She wasn’t ready to face the outdoors, but it was looking more and more like the time had finally come. Her heart began to palpitate as she sat, head in her hands. Courage is what she needed now. She who had never been all that brave to begin with.
     Her grandma’s concerned voice came up to her from the depths of memory. “Always keep your pantry well stocked with canned goods! Never know when the next Great Depression will hit.”
     Whatever it was that had happened, it wasn’t the Great Depression. What exactly it was she didn’t know. All she did know was that she was now alone with no food. She hadn’t heard from anyone since the last time she saw her husband, too afraid to call anyone herself. Too afraid to face the truth.
     Her stomach grumbled, bringing her back to the reality of her foodless home. Taking a deep breath, she stood and headed for the front door. Her hands slowly made their way down the locks, undoing them one by one. Some she had known for years, they had been the ones already there when they had first moved in all those years ago. Some were makeshift things she had cobbled together with tools from the garage in a moment of desperation. An extra precaution against something she couldn’t describe. So far, they had been effective. They had kept her safe.
     She took one last deep breath, grabbing the shotgun she had left by the door for just this occasion, and headed out into the bleak post apocalyptic landscape, not knowing what to expect. The smell of rotting corpses hit her and she staggered backwards. Her stomach heaved at the sight of dismembered corpses filling the streets now paved in rivers of dried blood. She would probably never make it back, but she couldn’t put it off any longer. So much had changed since the last time she ran out of cereal.