Walking with the Dreamers

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic

Violet's life is shattered after an atomic bomb is detonated close to her hometown. A short story in three parts.


 

Day 1

Everything is surreal, I’m mesmerised watching blue sparks dance and gyrate between my beat up kitchen appliances. A lightning strike must have hit the house.  It was fine five minutes ago when I put the washing out, not a cloud in sight.
Butterflies dancing inside my stomach put me on edge, I struggle to swallow, something is wrong. I run into the living room to get my daughter, she's writing a paper for her PHD on the Aztec Empire.  
“What's going on Mum?” Isabel looks scared; I've not seen her looking this fearful in over twenty years.
“The house is going crazy,” I tell her, trying to sound reassuring. “I’m sure we were hit by lightning, we need to go outside the house.”  It goes mute.
Within an instant, brilliant light baths the room as if hundreds of cameras were firing off magnesium flash guns at the same time.  A burning sensation hits the backs of my eyes.  I cannot think straight, I call out to Isabel but she is silent.
I'm thrown to the ground by a huge blast that rips the place apart, the windows shatter into thousands of glistening fragments like stars in the night sky. I struggle to breathe, my chest is being crushed by an invisible pressure, the heat burns me and I am terrified and confused.  Clawing my way on the floor to move, to find Isabel.  Time has frozen, muffled sounds come in waves, I am fighting for my life; it’s as if I’m underwater, being compressed and suffocated.
The madness calms as quick as it started, the intense light gone, the pressure and unbearable heat leave me, again silence. I'm sat in the middle of a thick fog, shocked. My nightmare begins again, a thunderous wind pulls at me, I no longer think, fear has deserted me as I lay on the floor watching shattered pieces of my life being sucked though open spaces that only moments earlier were doors and windows.
I must have been unconscious; I come round unsure of anything. My immediate concern is to find my daughter, I'm trapped underneath a large cabinet, protecting me from the carnage that has taken place.  I drag myself free, battered and bleeding and scramble through what are now the ruins of my home. Isabel is laying on the floor with debris over her.  She is lifeless and I clutch her, screaming at her and yelling, trying to wake her. I hold her to me, she looks calm and at peace. Blood covers her face and body but I can see no obvious injury.  She isn't breathing; I've lost her.  I sit there holding her, sobbing, broken hearted, confused and frightened.

I awake inside a small dusty room I don't recognise, I must have fallen unconscious again, I don’t understand how I got here. It is dull outside,  an odour of sulphur is present.
“You okay?” a man's voice asks. I twist my neck round to see a young man in his early twenties sitting behind me. He is clutching his arms, trying to hold chunks of his skin back onto his body.  Dust and debris falls from his cloths as he tries to move, his face is grey and his torso covered in burn marks, he must be in agony.
“Who are you, what's happened?” I ask him.
“I don't know, the whole town has been flattened,” he said. He looks confused and vacant. “Someone said it was an atomic bomb, a terrorist attack nearby.”
“Where am I, where's my daughter?” He stares at me saying nothing.  
It's raining heavily outside.  I go out to see what had happened; the rain is black, and it burns my skin badly as it touches me.  It is sticking to everything.  The scene outside is hideous, my hometown for the last thirty years has gone, all that remains are burnt tree stumps and smashed bricks and torn metal. The rain is turning everything black. I go back inside, the young man has collapsed, blood is coming out of his mouth and eyes, I scream for help, no one comes.  

Day 2

I've been walking around the town for hours, searching for my home, nothing is recognisable.  Bodies carpet the ground, mixed with glass fragments and the black soot from yesterday's rain.  There are people crying everywhere, other's trying to help, everyone wants water.  Everywhere people are calling out to voices they hear from underneath rubble and collapsed buildings; no one has the strength to help.  I can't recognise anyone, an occasional voice is familiar, some are walking naked with swollen faces and flesh hanging from their bodies, badly burnt, sickeningly disfigured.  
I pass the old town hall clock, barely hanging there at a forty-five degree angle, clinging to the charred wooden framework it was originally set in, I am surprised it’s still there.  The time remains frozen at eleven AM, tattooed onto my mind, like the scar from a branding iron, burning into my flesh as a permanent and painful reminder of some wicked deed I might have done.  I have no idea what the date; I think I am losing my mind.  Time has lost its purpose.
“Marco, is that you?” I call out to a familiar voice.  I can't see anyone but I hear voices close by, possibly inside a demolished building which has a few walls remaining like the remains of an old castle.
“Violet, are you all right?” a reply came.
“Where are you?” I shout out.  A sense of relief waves over me.  He doesn't reply so I scrape around an entrance to the demolished building his voice is coming from, I heave the broken timbre joints to get inside the building.  I find Marco slumped in a corner, two other people are close by.  I throw up from the putrid stench of decay and sweat inside the small filthy room which hits me hard.  I can't say if the others with Marco are men or women as their bodies are badly contorted.  Marco looks toward my direction, his face is burnt and his eyes are closed.
“Violet is that you?” he says.
“I'm so scared Marco, yes it's me. What's happened?”
“Do you have water Violet,” he looks very weak, unable to move.
“I’ve been searching for Isabel for ages Marco, I can’t find her anywhere. There was an explosion I think, I was lying next to her.” I’m struggling to remember things, I’m sure Isabel is still in town somewhere. I must find her.
“Okay,” Marco whispers.
"Wait here Marco, I’m sure I’ll find some by old Greg's store," I tell him. At least I think it was old Greg's store when I arrive. A brass plaque with an eagle embossed on it lay by a demolished building, I am sure it's the place his shop stood. I find a few glass bottles but they are empty and melted into twisted sculptures. I need to sit and rest, my mind is fading, I pass out.

Day 3

I push forward in a random direction in what was my town, not knowing where I am heading, my pain has gone, I feel nothing, just numbness all over, I cannot tell if my hands or feet are connected to my body, they must be.  I do not know how long I've been sleeping; It must be another day; I am certain it is.  The hollow tubes of the gas pipeline at the edge of town play a melody as I climb through the narrow slots between concrete stands.  A gentle warm breeze comforts me as it plays the pipeline like some distant pan pipe vibrating an overblown harmonic.  It brings my childhood racing back when I would sneak in the dusty garage and play tunes on my father's empty wine bottles by blowing across the narrow tops.  So long ago, everything has gone now. The air is better today and smells cleaner, the rancid smell of decay and death has worn away. Maybe it's still there and I'm becoming used to it.  
Everywhere I look I see people slumped against piles of bricks and concrete. Those still alive mutter to themselves and barely know you are there. Sometimes they will hold out their hand or ask for water. No one helps; they have left us alone, to die slowly and painfully.  We are all locked inside our own worlds, everyone dreams their dreams. I know my days are ending; I will finish my days walking amongst the dreams, walking with the dreamers. 



Submitted: March 23, 2019

© Copyright 2021 Fin Flanders. All rights reserved.

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Comments

hullabaloo22

This is really well done. Lots of action, but lots of feeling too. This would lend itself to expanding on very well, should you want to. Well done!

Sat, March 23rd, 2019 8:03pm

Author
Reply

That's terribly kind of you, thank you very much indeed.

Sat, March 23rd, 2019 1:24pm

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