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Reign of Fire -- FWG Flash Fiction for 2/11/2023

This is an idea that has been kicking around in my head for quite a while. It's probably going to get expanded into a longer piece at some point. The prompt is

Reign of Fire

The Reign of Fire began when the Son of Man comet was first spotted and tracked more than ten years ago. Most of us just didn't know it until it's tail stretched halfway across the sky. We were told it would be a "near miss," but that was a lie. When the feds moved all governmental activity to an "undisclosed secure location," we should have realized they knew more than they were letting on. The tidal stresses on the frozen ball of ice and rock from its close encounter with Mars calved it into a dozen or more chunks ranging from the size of a four-bedroom house up to a small mountain. Two days before impact, the astronomers' report that showed the fragments were under acceleration was leaked. The biggest fragments were aimed at Yellowstone, the Siberian steppe, a couple other super volcanoes and major subduction zones. That's when we knew we were under attack. The super-heated ejecta from the cataclysmic volcanic explosions started an atmospheric chain reaction that rained fire across the globe. Those of us who saw the signs went underground. Communication with the outside world died along with ninety-nine percent of the human species. Estimates are that another ninety-nine percent of the survivors either starved or fell victim to the general lawlessness. With fewer than a million people worldwide in isolated enclaves underground, human prospects are bleak. But, we had stores for a thousand years, so there was still hope...until the Phoenixians arrived. They came as saviors, resurrecting humans from the ashes and imposing their will and authority. Their propaganda has convinced all those who forgot our past through the generations. But not us. We remember the curving lines on the astro-charts. Somebody bent those comet bits to where they would do the most damage. We know who.

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