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Christmas after the End of the World

Christmas after the End of the World

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Christmas after the End of the World

60 pages
24 minutes
Dec 15, 2019


It's Christmas… five months after the Yellowstone supervolcano erupted, blacked out the sun and covered most of the western US in ash.

Thirteen-year-old Natalie, her younger brother Liam, baby Olivia and family dog Bud are among the few still holding out in the evacuation zone.

Day to day survival is hard enough, but Natalie is determined to give Liam and Olivia an unforgettable Christmas… after the end of the world.

And who knows, maybe they'll even get a true Christmas miracle…

This is a post-apocalyptic holiday novelette of 10000 words or approx. 35 print pages.

Dec 15, 2019

About the author

Cora Buhlert was born and bred in North Germany, where she still lives today – after time spent in London, Singapore, Rotterdam and Mississippi. Cora holds an MA degree in English from the University of Bremen and is currently working towards her PhD. Cora has been writing, since she was a teenager, and has published stories, articles and poetry in various international magazines. When she is not writing, she works as a translator and teacher.

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Christmas after the End of the World - Cora Buhlert

I. Thanksgiving after the End of the World


Nat… Liam said, as Natalie poured the last of their Cocoa Krispies into his bowl and filled it up with condensed milk, …look.

He pointed at the wall calendar in the kitchen, the calendar where Natalie had crossed out the days in red marker. One hundred and twenty eight days since it all went to hell. A little over four months since the sky turned dark and the ash began to fall.

It’s Thanksgiving.

Natalie glanced at the calendar, while doling out vitamin pills to herself and her brother. Liam was right. It was Thanksgiving. The calendar said so, in cheery letters and with a small turkey icon. Natalie had even noticed the icon, when she crossed out today. She just hoped that Liam hadn’t.

Can we have turkey? Liam asked, And cranberry sauce and green bean casserole and sweet potatoes with marshmallows?

Natalie sighed. I’m sorry, Liam, but you know that things are different now. Turkey, cranberries, green beans, sweet potatoes, all of these things no longer exist.

Because of that stupid yellow stone volcano, yes. Liam nodded.

Yellowstone volcano, Natalie corrected.

It had erupted in July, at the height of summer. There had been no warning or at least none that Natalie had ever heard about. Thousands of people had died in the first few minutes, burned, suffocated, buried alive in lava and ash. And as the cloud of ash spread, evacuation orders had been issued for an area stretching from San Francisco to Chicago, from Texas to Southern Alberta, Canada.

Natalie had no idea what had happened, when the sky suddenly turned dark over their subdivision. She’d thought it was a wildfire maybe, though there normally was some kind of warning beforehand. At any rate, she’d grabbed Liam and hastened inside. Then she’d switched on the radio, like she’d been taught to do in an emergency. That was when she’d heard it. The Yellowstone supervolcano had erupted, blanketing two thirds of the US in a layer of ash.

The radio said to evacuate immediately, so Natalie had packed up some things for herself and Liam and waited, waited for Aunt Ruth to come back.

But Aunt Ruth never came back. She’d been out grocery shopping, when it happened, leaving Natalie to look after Liam. Natalie tried calling Aunt Ruth on her mobile, but there was no reply, never any reply until the power went down. Natalie still didn’t know what had happened to Aunt Ruth. Maybe she had just taken off and left Liam and Natalie behind. Or maybe she was dead, killed in a car crash or a stampede or a during a riot. There’d been stories about that on the TV and the radio, when there still was a TV and a radio.

If you can’t evacuate… the radio had said, …stay at home and shelter in place and wait for help.

So that’s what Natalie and Liam had done. They huddled together in the bathroom, because it didn’t have a window and placed wet towels under the door, so the ash and the sulphur stench wouldn’t get through. Those first few days had been horrible, huddled in the dark on the cold bathroom floor. But then it got better. The sky didn’t exactly clear, but the ash stopped falling and breathing became easier. But the help the radio had promised never came.

At first, Natalie had hoped that Mom and Dad would come back. After all, they’d

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