Existence is futile
"You don't have the correct ID", the woman behind the glass partition growled, how many times had she uttered that sentence in the last week? One hundred and seventy to be exact, her colleague took score, a game to while away the hours until it was their turn to show the correct ID and leave this hell hole of a planet.
Harry felt his blood pressure rise, it was all he could do these days to keep it under control, he took a deep breath.
"I have my birth certificate, I don't have a passport because I've never felt the urge to leave the country before, but obviously now I have no choice".
She shook her head once again and motioned to the man behind him. Feeling invisible he turned away and stared down the very long line of people.
"No" he yelled "I was born in this country, I'm a citizen and I should not be ignored" a big cheer went up and he got a few slaps on the back, but then the surge started and he was swallowed up in the mayhem. It had taken him three days to get to the front and three minutes to be back at the start. Children cried and adults fought as the world turned away from the light into chaos.
He was a tolerant man, kindness was his signature dish, but just lately his frustration boiled over. Even when his wife put on 60lbs and developed an addiction to online poker, even when she cleared out his bank account and he couldn't pay the bills he still kept his cool and stayed, hoping she'd win at the poker or at least lose some of the weight.
But she didn't. She just stayed welded to the sofa, she was probably still there now although the grid had gone down two months ago. The world was in turmoil, big clouds of poisonous gas were spreading and now it was Harry's turn to breathe it in and die.
"No way" he'd screamed. The ships were ready to take his countrymen far away, up up into the air where it was clearer.
Space stations had been built hastily and with money found from other projects which were now postponed.
The green fields turned yellow, cattle died and people ran for their lives, mother nature in all her glory took one look at what had been done to her world and she also said 'No way'.
As Harry walked away passing citizens now classed as refugees in their own country he thought about going home but was scared that the monster might eat him so he walked into a small cafe.
The owner acknowledged him
"You get free coffee, we sit and watch the world end together"
Both laughed at how it had come to this, Harry had never felt the need to holiday abroad before, applying for visas and jabs was too much trouble and as he said 'we've got mountains and valleys, waterfalls and beaches, why do we need to fly off, get sick and bring back overpriced cheap souvenirs?'. Katy had laughed at him, her online poker addiction was just taking hold and as she sank her expensive white veneers into yet another doughnut he fixed the lawnmower and thought about Mrs.Prentis from across the street with her homespun yarns and infectious laughter.
Why couldn't he have met her first, she got out as soon as the ships were mobilized. Passport in hand she ran all the way there,well not ran exactly she got a lift from Carl two doors down whose wife wouldn't leave the cat, but she left her house empty and unlocked which made it easier for the looters to get in. Harry had barricaded his house but Katy and her shotgun saw them off, he felt terrible leaving her behind but she wouldn't move, he asked her nicely at first then he had to get mean.
"Move your fat butt if you want to live" he tried to make himself sound like the terminator but he tailed off at the end when she picked up her gun, that's when he ran.
With nowhere to go and the world in despair he sat with Marco who owned the coffee house and drank hazelnut latte's, double shot espresso's and chocamocha.
Buzzing with caffeine he watched the clouds roll down the beautiful mountains he'd thought one day he might climb.
A pregnant woman walked through the doors and sat at a nearby table. Marco took her a glass of water and she sipped it trying not to cry.
"My bag was stolen with all my things in it, so I can't leave" she whispered stroking her swollen belly and thinking about the life her child could have had, red tape and a pink mist had seen to that. She didn't know if it was a boy or girl and now she never would.
Harry began to itch, it crept around his neck, his shoulders and now his chest, he noticed the blisters on the back of his hand as he lifted his coffee cup trying to recreate the buzz of earlier, but it was too late, he was all caffeined out.
The door opened and a family entered, a mother, dad and two kids. Blonde healthy looking backpackers who'd come on a trip that now looked like lasting forever.
Marco poured them coffee and gave juice to the children whose red rimmed vacant eyes stared back at him. The mother tried to reassure them that it was going to be alright, but was so unconvincing even Harry felt like crying. The boy wailed and the girl was on the verge of a scream.
"Shut up" yelled the dad as he looked around "how the hell has it come to this?, we can't go home and we can't get on the ships so we have to stay here and wait, for what"?
The pink mist was almost upon them.
"Breathe it in, It'll make it happen quicker" Marco told his customers.
So they waited. The ships left on time, those lucky or important enough left with them. The pregnant woman went out fighting and Harry smiled as he thought of Katy taking pot shots at the gas, her white veneers glinting in the gloom.
© Copyright 2017 Charlie J Gibbs. All rights reserved.
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