BEYOND THE APOCALYPSE
2062- and we were running for our lives. Running from the men in anti radiation suits. We turned the corner- but there were more men out to kill us. They weren’t government or enforcers. They were ordinary men from our rival tribe; they were worse than enforcers. For them this was personal.
“You can’t do this!” screamed my sister.
“Like hell we can’t, you little vermin!” cried a woman.
“We didn’t do anything!” screamed my sister.
“You’re taking our food!” screamed man, “It’s thanks to people like you, that our supplies are dwindling! It’s your fault this happened in the first place!”
He handed us to the men in radiation suits. My sister screamed as they dragged us away. Towards the entrance. Towards the end. My heart pounded in my chest. This was more like a dream. I heard the door slam. I felt earth beneath my feet for the first time. Exposed on the surface. We were going to die. We were really going to die.
My sister banged on the door for what seemed like an hour. No one listened; of course they didn’t. If I learned one thing from the underground Haven, it’s that people never listen. Eventually my sister learned that too. Her screams grew silent. She fell to her knees and was silent for a long time. Then she began to speak again.
“There’s no way out.” she said.
My answer was silence. I looked up at the sky, at the grey snowflakes falling on my cheek. My sister looked up too, lost in thought.
“Hey sis, can you tell me about the sky again?” she said, “Before the great war.”
I smiled, sad. I looked into the big black sky; at the endless wasteland of fallen buildings, burnt to the ground and covered in grey snow.
“I’ve never seen it before. “
“Tell me anyway.” she said, “I…I need something…something to stop me thinking about this…”
I sighed and looked to the sky, at the grey flakes falling down.
“Grandma always said back then, snow used to be different than it is now. Before the surface was scorched.” I said, “It didn’t fall apart when you touched it- not like this.” I said, holding another ashy flake in my palm as it disintergrated, “It was cool and wet. It used to cover all the earth, all the trees with beautiful white sheets. And people used to build snow men. Or make little balls and throw it at each other.”
We stare out, into the ashen wasteland.
“There wasn’t the war back then.” I said, my voice small, “There was… but not like this. Not like the one that did this- not like the purges.”
“Sis…” my sister’s voice choked. “How long… do you think we have… before the radiation kills us?”
“I don’t know, four hours maybe?”
We were both silent. We looked back at the cave lead door of the underground city we came from.
“Four hours.” she choked, “…I don’t want to die.”
“I know you don’t.”
“I know you are.”
I didn’t know what to tell her. In a few hours, we’d be nothing. We’d be dead. All I could do was hold her hand.
“The sky,” she spoke softly “It’s beautiful. Funny, all that time underground… I never thought I’d see it.”
I looked up at the endless void, filled with beautiful stars. I’d never seen a star before, but I’d assumed it was like one of our strobe lights. I never knew its life could be so…pure.
” Do you think it’s true- what they say?” she said, “That… maybe there is a paradise-somewhere here?”
The lost land sealed by the stone door. The story every child in the underground city knew by heart.
“Maybe.” i lied
“Hey, sis. I don’t want to die doing nothing.Do you think… maybe if we look, we might find it before the radiation kills us?”
“I think we should try.” I said.
We walked together, into the scorched wasteland, looking at the remains of humanity. At the piles of rubble that was once our greatest achievements that meant nothing now. In search of what man had been searching for since the dawn of time. Paradise. A place better than this one.
Hey, thanks for reading. This was done in response to the daily prompt challenge which is here: Scorched . Follow the link to find out about taking part.
If you’re interested in another piece of flash fiction set in this world, please click here for more on their paradise.