Choose To Live

Reads: 149  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: December 04, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: December 04, 2017

A A A

A A A


He stares at the photos longingly, almost in awe of the British family of four that stand in front of his eyes, showing off what used to be the dream. He gathers all the memories back into a neat pile and shoves it at the back of his wrinkled trousers’ back pocket.

 

He continues to venture down the foggy pathway, as a thick blanket of white surrounds him. He hears a ticking. He shuffles through his baggy pockets until he feels a hard object with gentle smooth sides to it. He preciously holds the golden object in both hands.

He stops to think.

The sound of the hand clock ticks into the emptiness of the atmosphere. A chugging can be heard in the distance. Its pulsating ticking beats along with his heart. The hand moves one notch beside twelve.

 

“I love you, Charles,” a female voice can be heard in the distance. He attempts to say something in response, nothing but a gasp of empty air comes out. He holds the clock tightly in his grasp. He continues to meander.

Specks of grey ash can be seen floating aimlessly through this white emptiness that people now call heaven.

The chugging gets louder.

Hints of grey smoke drift off into the air from an object raging forward straight towards him. Charles comes to a stop when the tips of his ragged black shoes touch the railway track. The train approaches the sign beside Charles, ‘Victoria, London.’ it states.

The train halts and lets off huge puffs of steam to calm down, as if it too is tired of the journey it's been through. Charles sighs.

 

The conductor at the head of the train radiates with unlimited energy to his passengers.

“All aboard?” The place responds with a silence. Charles steps onto the platform. “Erm, excuse me, Sir, I’ll need to see an ID”

“ID?” Charles repeats.

“Yes, Sir. Identification. The small card that has all your personal information? You alright mate?”

“Oh right! My ID.” Charles starts to rummage through his inner jacket hoping to find something. He takes out a weary leather wallet. He opens it to see a recognizable picture. A lady sheltered by a man protecting her from the pain of reality. Caving his arms around her as she smiles in warmth and comfort. The lady wore elegant clothing that tightened her waist and spread out like an umbrella around her. She wore opera-length gloves and smiled with her pearly white teeth. The man stood with great dignity, wearing a perfect suit, shiny new shoes and a military hat placed carefully on his head, just enough to cover his forehead.

As if he had his world in the palm of his hands.

“Hmm,” Charles unknowingly lets out.

“She the bee’s knees of your life?” The man asks while taking a peek at the black and white photo as he raises his eyebrow. Silence follows. Charles reaches for a hard card overlapped by all the 20-pound notes.

“Hey, time’s running out. I have a job to do. ID please.”

The man snatches his ID out of the grasp of his hand in frustration along with 20 pounds. “That will be all Sir. You may head along in.”

Charles notices the watch on his wrist as the conductor directs him into the train. Not moving an inch. Frozen in its position.

He wasn’t sure of anything just yet. Who these people in the photo were, why there was a train chugging along this misty no-man's land, and most importantly, where the bloody hell he was.

 

Charles takes a seat beside the door next to the conductor.

“So, how did you end up here?” He asks Charles casually picking at the dirt hidden at the corners of his nails. The train starts to move. The ticking continues.


 

***

The sirens go off.

 

The troops rush to their respective bases. The chief orders everyone around, sending groups in all different directions. Some head into the military camp’s building. Some keep a lookout. Others stay for more instructions.

Charles follows his group out of the camp. He marches with the rest with one objective. To save as many people he can.

 

He steps out of the compound and panic immediately shocks his body.

Crying children abandoned on the ground getting trampled on like rubbish, parents finding their children through the swarming riot like crowd, people shoving each other out of the way, running into their homes and locking themselves inside, away from their destiny.

“Let’s go! Let’s go! Let’s go!” James screams over the chaos, hoping the rest of his team can hear him.

Everyone disperses.

Charles runs as fast as his legs could carry him. He leads all the people in the same direction into the military camp for safety. His troop creates a line, barricading off one area, leading into the main city where more sirens were placed. “GO INTO THE CAMP NOW!”

 

The sirens grow more intense.

 

“Evacuation, Evacuation.” The loudspeaker says.

People attempt to push past the troop but end up getting taken by the rest of the screaming crowd into the camp.

A lady with her son in her arms runs towards Charles in disparity. A mix of mud and sweat drips down the side of her face. She forces herself onto Charles hoping he can get rid of all her worries. “Please, help me, my child has been hurt, he needs medical attention.” Charles stays stiff as a brick, showing no emotion, and takes a glance at the child. Blood and bruises are all he sees. The son cries in pain at the top of his lungs.

He lowers his guard down. Looks at the child with horror and pain for the mother.

 

The sirens grow more intense.

 

A hand from the line shoves the two of them back into the flow of panic and chaos. “Move along lady!” said one of the army men. The mother clenches her son in one hand and attempts to reach for Charles one last time as she is getting dragged away into the military compound with the rest.

Charles feels helpless. An image pops into his head. A sense of worry takes control of his mind.

 

He gets back into the line along with the rest of his troop.

 

A tear cascades down the side of his cheek. It gets camouflaged by all the sweat on his face. He trembles with fear at the thought of his family. ‘Mary, honey. I hope you, Noah and Lily are safe,’ he thinks to himself hoping somehow his wife can hear him, hoping they are safe even though he already knows the unfortunate answer to that. ‘I love you all.’

 

The sirens grow more intense.

 

It astonishes me how fast a second is and how fast your whole world can collapse in that second.

 

The dust lifts off of the ground. No more crying can be heard. No more screams. No more panic. Just the ticking of a clock. The thick layer of grey fumes rises up into space.


 

***

 

Silence. Just silence.

The world goes quiet as nearly 2.5 million lives fade away from the surface of this Earth.


 

***

 

The train slowly arrives at a stop. Charles wakes up with glistening salty skin and damp hands still covered in tears of guilt.

Charles sits on the train idly. “You didn’t answer my question, what brought you here?”. Charles sat up and looked at the conductor “I died, didn’t I.” The train gradually arrives at a stop.

The unknown clock continues to tick.

“Not yet Charles Wood, not yet.” The conductor says smirking. Before Charles could finish, he interrupts once again. “Well, this brings our limited time together to an end, that is unless you wish to stay here?”

“What if I choose to leave?” Charles asks slowly peeking out of the train.

“Then you go back to your life post-war,” Charles sees the greyness that surrounds him and crawls back into the depths of the train.

“If I stay?”

The conductor pauses and sighs. Only the ticking can now be heard.

“You stay here forever, in this asylum from the pain of reality.”

‘Can’t wait to see you and the kids once again Honey,’ Charles thinks to himself. ‘Can’t wait for us to be a family once again.’

“I’ll stay,”

 

The hand clock stops to work.

The ticking dies.

 


© Copyright 2018 Pritika A.. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

More Science Fiction Short Stories