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12+ Violence

My Decision

by SergeantRosie

Every country that matters has nuclear weapons. It seems every nation on earth is racing to acquire the most atomic destruction possible. But why? There are no huge wars going on anymore. They are simply terrified of the chance that their ally will turn on them and nuke their land. So, to defend themselves, they create as many nuclear bombs as they can to assure that if their side suffers then the other side suffers even more.

This is what is known as M.A.D, or Mutually Assured Destruction. Some say this is our world’s fate. Over thousands of years, humanity has risen above all other species on this planet and became the rulers of the earth only to end it in the fires of self-brought destruction. Eventually every species goes extinct whether they disappear from the earth peacefully, or become eradicated by some force of nature out of their control. But we all know this is not how humanity will vanish from the planet. Our end will not come from nature’s cruelty, it will be from our own.

Some people think otherwise, that humanity will never go extinct. Or that we will disappear like all other animals on this planet. One thing is for sure, it’s a topic none of us want to think about. People don’t want the idea of our extinction lingering in their minds. Everyone wants to die peacefully on their own accord. But at this rate, no one is going to die peacefully or by their own consent; they are going to either die or live because of my decision. It’s not fair on both sides. I have a choice whether or not to start a nuclear war.

My name is Matthew Castelle. I am 38 years old, I have a wife and two children both younger than ten. I have recently become the 55th president of the United States. It’s the year 2095. The world’s resources are depleted. The only places on earth that still have working oil fields are Texas and a few Middle Eastern countries. There are no edible fish in the ocean anymore. How is this possible? Ever since 2050 the demand for more food grew as we struggled to feed the world's growing population. Since the land was already being taken up by new cities and civilizations, people turned to the sea. They were greedy with the amount they took. People thought there were so many fish that it'd be impossible for them to be gone. For awhile, they were right, yet only a few years later nearly all species of fish were put on the endangered species list and soon many became extinct. But the demand was still high. I guess you could say we ran the ocean dry. 

There is more sea than land all over the planet because of our lack of control over global warming. Of course global warming has been a problem since the creation of gas powered engines. It worsened when the population increased. When we needed more livestock and cars. For most species, a growing population is good, but in our case it made everything so much harder. Like all of humanity before us, we managed to adapt. We used less and less gas and used more of the immense power of radiation. Which only worsened the paranoia of the people. 

Plants are scarce, and worst of all, tensions between countries are high. The world’s population is about 15.4 billion people. We have less land and more mouths to feed, and everything that’s gone is gone because of us. It’s truly the worst time to be president.

I am the one who’s supposed to lie to the hopeless people of my small, compact nation. Tell them we’ll be fine, that our scientists are working on ways to get more resources and protect what little we have. When really, they have no ways to improve our situation. It sickens me.

Every country is now trying to defend their resources, so they create more and more nuclear weaponry to ensure they can protect it. The whole world’s paranoid that its neighbors are going to invade and destroy their land, their people. It seems my country is too. All people talk about is their fear of other powerhouses such as China or Russia. They want our country to bomb them, make them completely unable to strike against us first. Rallies crowd the streets, the people hold signs reading, “China before us!” The countries they wanted gone were numerous but it was mostly aimed towards the most powerful nation, China. It truly isn’t their decision if we tip the uneven scale of peace or not. It’s mine and mine only. I am the leader of this country, so I will lead it to war or possible destruction.

I’ve been putting it off for the longest time, but now it’s time for me to make a decision. These thoughts raced through my mind as Alfred, the governor of war, came into my office.

“Mr. Castelle,” his strong voice seemed to crack with age. “The marches are getting out of hand. It’s time for you to make a move before it gets too bad.” I stood looking out the window of my office at the crowds of people.

“I know why you came in here, Alfred.” I told him coldly. “You won’t sway my thoughts in any way.” Alfred stood positioned tall in front of the door. His scared face wrinkled in disgust.

“Sir, this is one of the few times the public is right.” His voice struggled to stay calm. “We’ve been getting more reports of nuclear bomb testings, and Chinese airplanes straying closer and closer to our territory over the Pacific. You know they’ve already decimated the U.K., and they won’t hesitate to do the same to us. Your people are scared, they want something done to ease their paranoia. It’s time you address it like a leader would.”

“What do you suggest I do?” I scoffed turning away from the bright window. “Provoking a war between us and the most powerful country that exists isn’t going to help our situation.”

“This isn’t about starting a war, Mr. Castelle. It’s about preventing one.” Alfred ran a shaking hand through his stark white hair. “You and I both know that China is planning to attack soon-”

“We don’t have any intel suggesting they do.” I interrupted impatiently.

“We have enough! It’s obvious that the nuke tests and planes entering our borders is a threat, and a challenge for war.” Alfred’s whole body shook uncomfortably. “We barely have any land or resources anymore. Just one nuke from them would completely decimate our condense population.”

I looked down at my feet in thought. “They,” I murmured, “could be doing all of that for another country.” I looked up and away from Alfred avoiding his burning gaze. “Canada doesn’t have good relations with them I’m sure…”

“That’s foolish to think Mr. Castelle. Listen to your advisors, we all say the same! Destroy China before they destroy us!” With this, Alfred lost the remnants of his patience. He angrily made his way over to me so he stood only a few inches away from my face. “Do you want all of us to die because of your terrible leadership?” I found myself unable to make any eye contact with Alfred’s vicious stare.

Was I really leading to the destruction of my country? Will my people and my family die because I was too cowardly to kill China’s? My mind was spinning, there must be something I can do.

No one is going to die, no one has to die. I’m not coward, but I’m also not stupid. China may be ambitious, but they don’t want to start a full out nuclear apocalypse. We both know that if either of us make a move, the other will strike back with even more force. I believe they can be reasoned with. I’ll call the leader, Liu Wei. We can work this out. Deciding this, I regained my composure and stepped gingerly back from Alfred. He still seemed to be fuming, yet his face faltered in confidence.

“I have already made my choice.” I told him. I adjusted my black suit and moved over to my desk in the middle of the room. Alfred stood frozen in disbelief. “You are dismissed.” I waved him away. He stayed there for a few moments as if trying to comprehend what I’d just said. Then spun around and exited the room without looking back.

Right as he closed the door, I turned on my Holo-Communicator and dialed in Liu Wei’s contact code. I thought about what I was going to say to Liu. I need to properly address my problems with their aircraft flying over our territory in a way that won’t sound too threatening. The dialing noise of the Holo-Communicator died off abruptly. “That’s strange.” I mutter to myself. Liu never fails to respond. I try to reach him again. After a few moments Zhan Min’s body was projected up from the floor in front of me, but I was expecting Liu Wei to appear, not his secretary.

Her face was contorted in discomfort and pity as she shifted her weight from foot to foot. I cleared my throat before speaking, “Hello Zhan, may I speak to Liu Wei? I have some business to discuss with him.” She reached for something I assumed to be the end-call button.

“He’s busy.” She spat before disconnecting. This definitely isn’t what I expected to happen. It’s obvious what’s going on. Liu’s not busy doing anything. He’s purposely avoiding my call. He could’ve been in the same room as Zhan. The coward couldn’t even look me in the eyes.

I made a very wrong choice I realized. I started to panic, I should have launched an attack. How could I have been so blind? Suddenly, the sound of sonic jets zoomed across the sky. I ran over to the window just in time to see the jets rocket off. Bomb sirens began to go off, and the now screaming crowd of people outside scattered, trampling over each other to get to shelter. The sonic jets were long gone by now.

Then I saw it. A sphere of black was plummeting down to the ground a few miles away. It seemed to float in the bright blue sky until it met the earth. There was a pause. In this moment I knew everything was over. My family, my life, and my country. I was witnessing the beginning of the end, and all I could do was watch in shame knowing I could have easily prevented it.

A brilliant light erupted from where the bomb struck the earth. I imagined my children burning and my wife vaporizing into carbon dust just as all the people, including me, will do. An orange mushroom cloud loomed, reaching for the sky. A shockwave shattered the glass in front of me. Melted shards buried themselves in my flesh as I flew backwards. I could feel the heat from where I was. It burned my skin and I could feel myself begin to blister. Below me people’s screams were cut short while their bodies burned and exploded to carbon dust.

I propped myself up on my elbows. My sight was blurry as I watched another fiery wave make its way with surprising speed towards me. Everything was covered in a red light. Burning bodies and crushed buildings outlined the still growing cloud of radiation in a blazing fury. This was my last sight before I turned to dust.

My name was Matthew Castelle, and I decided wrong.

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Points: 1438
Reviews: 139

Mon Dec 07, 2015 8:10 am
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deleted21 says...

This was amazing! c:
But, mate, is that a typo in the title? :3 Yup, that's it!

Thought I fixed that! Haha...oh well. Thanks for pointing that out! :)

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deleted21 says...

Anytime! ^^

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79 Reviews

Points: 250
Reviews: 79

Sun Dec 06, 2015 4:48 pm
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Sevro wrote a review...

Hey Sergeant! I really liked this idea. I'm a sucker for that futuristic category of writing. I liked how accurate all your inferences were about the future. You made it sound real, and I could easily imagine the scenario. Some people, when they write things like this, tend to forget the to put in the results of several problems the world is starting to face, but you got them all, the ocean overrunning the land due to global warming, the bomb threats, the lack of resources, all of it. Well done with that.

The first three paragraphs sound a little textbook-research-paper-y, and if you could find a way to make it flow a little more, that would help it to be more like a story. Maybe you could put in some examples of, let's say, people doing anything, even killing, to get fuel, or gas, from the dwindling supply. Or even, you could talk about the heightened crime rate, and prisons becoming too crowded, and overflowing, eventually being shut down and used instead for bomb shelters, letting thousands of criminals loose. You could talk about past president's mistakes, and their results. Things like this will help the beginning capture the reader's attention, which is more important that you think!

The only other thing that threw me off was the very last sentence. It was a little awkward, and maybe you could change it to "My name was Matthew Castelle, and I chose wrong." The word "decided" makes it kind of bumpy. I know you were probably trying to tie it back to the title, but it might not have been worth the bumps, but it's completely your choice (pun intended^^).

Great job with this short, and I loved the last few paragraphs, the emotion was packed in there very tightly. Nice work, keep it up!


Those are all great ideas! Thank you very much! I completely agree with the first three paragraphs sounding too much like a research paper. I wasn't sure how to fix it at first, but your suggestions are very helpful!
Thank you for the review! :)

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532 Reviews

Points: 27927
Reviews: 532

Sun Dec 06, 2015 3:11 pm
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ArcticMonkey wrote a review...

Hello, SergeantRosie!

Honestly, I really really enjoyed reading this. I mean, sci-fi and stories set in the future are always pretty interesting, but this has a strong appeal to me because I'm heavily interested in the future well-being of this planet, and what we can do to prevent matters from getting worse, so this was an interesting insight. Enough about me though, I like the style of your writing here, although the sentences stay pretty similar throughout, I can tell the kind of tone you're going for. Towards the end of course it's quite an action packed scene, so it needs to be short and punchy. Well done!

As for suggestions, here are a couple of nitpicky things:

There’s There are no huge wars going on.

“The marches are getting out of hand. It’s time for you to a move before it gets too bad.”

Okay so the first paragraph at first confused me a bit because I didn't realise that you were writing in a time of the future. Even though you mention it a bit later, I think that needs to be made more clear. For example, there are no future wars going on- maybe you could talk about how current wars ended. Also, right now, nuclear weapons seem like more of a threat than a reality, because each side knows that if they use it, the other side will obviously fight back, as you said, Mutually Assured Destruction. So my point here is perhaps you could talk more about the paranoia side of it all, rather than assuming it's actually going to happen, if you get what I mean.

Another point is, you talked about how all the fishes in the ocean are extinct. Now, I'm pretty sure I'm right in saying that sharks have existed since before the dinosaurs, which is a very long time! So what actually happened to cause all the ocean creatures going extinct? I'm not saying it's unlikely, I mean humanity does not treat this planet well, however it must've been something big. Radiation spill, perhaps? Generally, I think this piece is a bit rushed as it's missing a lot of explanations. As you've set this in the future I think you should spend more time explaining what has actually happened between now and 2095. Also, think about global warming and it's effect on the planet up to 2095, and how humans have been able to deal with it?

Back to what I mentioned earlier on, I do like the style of your writing as it seems very urgent and fitting to the subject matter, however I think you need to vary your sentences a bit. Like I said, there's a lot of room for explanation and so you could use those parts you use some longer sentences, and save the short sentences for action. I do also like the short sentences in the parts where the MC is explaining his life, so basically, just again some more detail and explanations would really bring this piece together.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this, and I hope this isn't a true prediction. Are you going to write more of this? Perhaps how nuclear weapons actually end up destroying the world, or are you going to leave it as it is? Either way, it's really good, but just think about those suggestions such as longer sentences, and actually explaining how this world came to be. I hope this review helped, feel free to ask me any questions or if you'd like another review on something. Keep writing,

~ArcticMonkey x

It definitely helped, I'll be editing it in the near future. Thank you for the advice! As for continuing the story, I'm not sure how I'd put that one together. But it's a very interesting idea!
I plan on uploading more stories soon.
Thanks for reading! :)

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12 Reviews

Points: 178
Reviews: 12

Sun Dec 06, 2015 4:48 am
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sabrinaz547 wrote a review...

I'm honestly speechless. This was absolutely phenomenal! The unbelievable amount of detail, the automatic feeling of being dragged into the story, and the way one can feel the confliction that battles within Matthew's mind is outstanding to say the least.

Reading this, I had to take it from a moral point of view. I could understand Matthew's uncertainty when it came to bombing China. Why start a war that may not need to occur? But at the same time, the looming threat of China attacking them was prominent and could not be ignored.

I can honestly say I personally would have sided with Matthew. It is obvious he did not make the right decision during the time, but I'm a firm believer that all life is sacred.

It's interesting to read this because to me it seems that not only are you making Matthew choose between starting a war or not, but also making the reader choose as well. It's remarkable really how you crafted the piece to make the reader think and choose along side Matthew to what would ultimately be best.

Amazing writing! I'd definitely love to read some of your other pieces.

Thank you so much! I've always wondered what I'd do if I were in this type of situation. There's always at least two sides you can take to every problem. Usually one is good and one truly isn't. But in the case of nuclear war, or in this story's case, you need to choose the lesser of the two evils. Although, both outcomes would have been negative ones whether Matthew chose to bomb China or not. To me it really shows the consequences of taking the passive side of war. Even though it may save more lives, you just never know what the other side is planning.
I really enjoyed writing this story and I'm glad you liked it!
I have some more stories in mind I'd like to upload.
Thanks for reading! :)

"The only time you look in your neighbor's bowl is to make sure that they have enough. You don't look in your neighbor's bowl to see if you have as much as them."
— Louis C.K.