I wrote this intending it to be part of a stream of flash fiction stories relating to life long after a global apocalypse bringing together the differing experiences of survivors and the biological changes that came about as a result of radiation, mutation, and breakdown of civilisation.
They said not to go near Tropelands, “stay away,” they said. “If the sickness doesn't get you the Digito will.” the Elders warned. They taught us the history of the Great World before the time of the Aclipse when sapiens could travel the lands in machines that flew and raced along the ground.
Now, here he was, he had ignored them believing their words to be Eldertales, not worthy of worry. His sickness had grown over the last three lightings and he had no strength left to crawl, his body bled . He had wounds on his body, yet nobody had attacked him.
This is a real story of life as an eight year old in Cyprus in 1960 during the activities of EOKA terrorism. A time when there was no Health and Safety, and boys were able to be boys. I often used to go out in the morning and not be seen by my parents until teatime.
At eight years old I was not what my mother expected. Boys rarely are.
I regularly bought home insects: scorpions, snakes, chameleons; leaving them in places where it was guaranteed to scare my Mother or Sisters into a mass of screaming quivering jelly.
My Father was never around, off somewhere playing soldiers. So, I was never in an environment where football or other team skills were cultivated. As a result I became a bit of a Wild Child and found my own entertainment in the deserted terrain surrounding home.
Adjusting his watch he pressed a small flattened button on the side of the gold bezel. The see-through section of his timepiece flashed once within its cogs and wheels to signify that the timer had started its countdown.
He had allowed sixty seconds to traverse the room taking into account that the contract called for minimal intrusion which meant perfect timing was essential.
He had no concerns about being anticipated as being a private club within the casino there was minimal surveillance and the security more designed around keeping people out than monitoring people within. These people liked their privacy.
As he walked through the room he took in the location of everything and everyone around him. Keeping himself as inconspicuous as he could, he negotiated his way towards his target. Rissek reflected briefly on the contract detail.
Maria walked out of the clinic onto the street. She stood for a moment as if trying to decide which direction to go in. In truth she was in a state of severe shock.
How could it have got so far? how could her Doctor have missed it? why hadn't she gone sooner for a second opinion?
What on earth was she going to do now?
Maria had no doubt the Specialist was right, she had felt it inside her for weeks now, growing and multiplying aggressively as if its life depended on it. Ironic really, its fight for survival and growth was linked directly to its death, and through that, hers too.
'A race to the death', she thought, a cold laugh escaped her throat and attracted attention from a pedestrian walking past her.
[I wrote this piece in January 2014 as a perceptive story of the end of the world, excepting, the last drone (perhaps I should rename it that now). With the recent flurry of alarmism from Elon Musk and Steven Hawking (just to drop a few names) I felt it was worthy of bringing out of mothballs and re-promoting it. Enjoy]
The Hawk perched precariously on the power line. Its claws tingling from the residue of voltage feeding along the frayed cable
Somewhere a generator was still running, drip feeding electricity. Not enough to run anything, but enough to give you pins and needles if you came into contact with it.
A small silver ring on the hawks' leg carried an inscription 'Property of the NSA' .
The bird looked out over the horizon. Dispassionately noting the thousands of broken buildings disappearing off into the distance: A decoupage of infinite depth; an endless panorama of destruction.
Everything seemed to have suffered impact damage from the west, affecting all buildings equally. Whatever the cause, it had occurred above the building line bursting downwards upon the concrete and glass structures disfiguring their symmetry, in some cases disemboweling them totally.
Misery was her middle name, figuratively speaking. It was Gemma really, but she was rarely called by it. At just over five foot tall her diminutive frame allowed her to curl into small spaces and mope for hours without moving, leaving her isolated amongst groups of friends.
Gemma was fun to be with and always included in groups, be it male or female. Her pretty looks and fun-loving ways appealed to all. Not though, when she was miserable. Then she was left to herself.
Mostly, they all had great fun, music, dancing; picnics. Sometimes things got a bit out of hand, edgy, bordering on dark and sinister, occasionally troublesome..
The grey padded surface of the operating table was pristine. The sheet of absorbent paper that covered it an additional barrier against contamination.
At one end a clamped brace for the head, at the other a double recessed brace for the feet. Arm and wrist braces made the whole thing ominous.
The surgeon's light, its five brilliant segments beamed over a stainless steel table of instruments.
These were not normal tools of surgery. I had made them myself. Each had a large interlocking extension attached. A normal surgeon would be like a bricklayer trying to use them. They were heavy, cumbersome, but absolutely essential for what was to come.
Her bright yellow summer dress caught my eye. I focused on it as my car approached the junction. It seemed to envelop and glow around the young girl creating a bright aura setting her apart from the crowd waiting to cross
The girl's legs; long, slim, elegant, slippered into coloured heeled sandals turned her ankles and feet into attractive features to admire. I glimpsed tiny painted toenails bright like inset rubies. The delicate strap of the shoe wrapped around her ankle, clasped with a small gold buckle, framing the whole foot; a fleeting example of summer's art.
My nose was a Conk, a Ginormous Great Conk. No two ways about it my Hooter was the king of all hooters. It had been my nemesis since my first day at nursery school. Every little dirty fingered little brat had wanted to squeeze, tweak it, or shove their cruddy little fingers up it. One even tried to get their hand up. I blew snot all over it; they didn't try that again.
The staff reported me for acting in an unsociable manner. Nobody asked me if they could stick their fingers up my Conk. At five years old I felt aggrieved.
When I went to school, I was called 'NoseJob', 'Snot Bucket' and other such descriptive names. It wasn't pretty. If I sneezed I took out half the class. 'Miss Popular' I wasn't. Shunned by virtually all, I learned to keep to myself. Prom dates? I didn't dare show up.
The fierce storm raged through alternating day and night skies, constantly ripping black forbidding clouds to shreds forcing them to reform, changing direction, rending them again until colours became uniform, featureless, no beginning, endless.
Grey and black mist driven into dense blankets compressed downwards toward fierce seas below. Even here held no respite. Attacked by storm above, tempest below, the dark matter of the cloud merged with the white foam scudded spray of boiling ocean until it became one vast impenetrable barrier.
The black Raven flew down from the Tower ramparts to consult. An urgent message had been received, a tweet for help.
Birds in Maidenhead were being hunted and slaughtered by a cunning pair of cats. The danger to the local flock was approaching critical.
The hastily gathered War Council huddled on the central green and considered their response. “It would have to be quick,” the Leader said after lengthy discussion, “The Bird-world needs to see that Raven Governance is still strong and decisive.”
Cocking his black iridescent feathered head and eyeing up his chief Enforcer who was suddenly and inexplicably preening his plumage in an attempt to keep a low profile. The Leader's black beady glare fixed on him “You will go yourself” he declared, and that was that. Meeting over.
He waddled off to molest a tourist and rob him of his burger.
When all the dogs across the valley stopped barking I sat up in bed and in the darkness felt the air pressure change. Something had arrived. Something very large, unexpected, menacing.
I sensed my immediate danger and leaped from the bed to the chair and threw on clothes, still in the dark; lights would be too risky.
Running to the front of the house, instinctively missing furniture, jumping over shoes and kids' toys on the floor, I reached the hall and composed myself for what awaited me on the other side.
Churchill, when asked to hurriedly write a short speech, responded by saying, "I can write you a speech in ten minutes. However, if you want a short speech it will take several hours."
The fact is, that so long as you don't mind verbal redundancy built into a speech you can in fact write one very quickly. Although probably full of unnecessary sentences, words and phrases because there will be no time for paring, or editing text.
The idea of Flash Fiction is to make your writing as concise as possible so, in 1,000 words or less, you deliver the reader a completed story.