This node contains technical innacuracies to ensure its fictional status. Inspired by a man blind to this day after surviving an atomic blast as a child.

Barry felt groggy as he sat up and swung his legs over the side of his bed. Yes, this is another node that starts with getting out of bed. "Urgh," he rubbed his eyes with his hands, and stood unsteadily. This was like a hangover but worse, and he didn't even drink anything strong in the past week. His whole body felt terrible, and he was weak. His skin was flushed, like he had a bad case of sunburn. Barry looked at his watch, three o'clock. He stumbled to the window, and leaned heavily against it. It was light outside, probably about six-thirty. The sky was oddly overcast, it looked like a storm was brewing up from the far side of the house.

It was in actual fact just before nine o'clock.

It wasn't like Barry to oversleep, but when he slept he was a deep sleeper. He looked oddly at his room light. The tube was fluorescing, a strange pinkish colour, but not on. He reached for the light switch and flicked it on, thinking nothing of the light already being on. Nothing happened, there was no arcing of contacts, nothing. He turned his gaze to the alarm clock on his bedside table, eyes sweeping over its blank display. Heh, no power. He proceeded to the bathroom, eyes half closed.

"Lucas?" Barry almost stood on his brother. Lucas was a few years younger, and they'd been sharing the house for nearly five years. He was laying prostrated across the hallway, a few feet from his bedroom door. The younger man showed no signs of movement. Barry dropped to his knees, and began checking for vital signs. Nothing. "S***," it was the first word to leave Barry's lips for the morning. He rolled Lucas over, eyes opening wide when he saw the other's glassy eyes rolled back inside his skull. He hoisted him onto his shoulders fireman style, and attempted to stand, but couldn't. He felt even weaker now, and paused to rest for a moment, feeling almost as if he was about to pass out. He crawled toward the living room, to get to the phone. Must... call... for... help.

Barry's vision twisted like sloshing water, his stomach churned, his head throbbed, and consciousness kept fading in and out. Before he reached the phone, he knew it wasn't going to help him. There it was, on the wall just a few feet away, plastic housing charred and blackened. He lifted the handset anyway, just in case what must have been a lightning strike hadn't destroyed it completely. Nup, nothing. The handset was warm though, strangely warm. He noted this, but knew not what to make of it so thought no more about it. In fact, everything was warm, but it looked cold outside. Heh, the weather report hadn't even predicted any storms either. Two fifty-five? Barry glanced at his watch. Why was time going backwards? Wait, it wasn't. His watch said three o'clock, still said three o'clock several minutes after he'd last checked it. Then why did the wall clock in the living room say two fifty-five? Also, why was it so light outside for being so early in the morning? Speaking of the clock on the wall, neither it nor the picture on the wall opposite were hanging straight. Why? Ah, must've been the thunder from that lightning strike that took out the phone. Wow, must have been close. The TV screen was shattered, fragments of glass from the picture tube were scattered on the floor around it. Barry headed for the front door, feeling more and more woozy with every step of his half-crawl. The pot plant just inside the entry was wilting and shrivelled, despite its usual healthy status being maintained last he'd seen it. "You and me both," he muttered to it.

With a shaking hand, Barry opened the front door, freezing like a portrait as soon as he looked out. Not a single plant could he see that was not dead or almost so. "Wha...?" His eyes fell on what at first looked like a tornado, approaching from the South-West. Unusual for a tornado though, the column didn't seem to be moving whatsoever. It glowed menacingly, like the cloud of smoke over a bushfire. The cloud wasn't swirling in the horizontal plane, but rather puffed in every direction but mostly upward. The Smithfield Plains thermonuclear power plant five kilometres away was invisible under the heavy blanket of cloud. Slowly Barry's vision faded to darkness as he crumpled onto the front steps of his house.

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