Locked And Loaded

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: The Imaginarium


A short story inspired by the second Imaginarium Picture Prompt for January 2018.

Submitted: January 16, 2018

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Submitted: January 16, 2018

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Locked And Loaded

I walk amongst the wreckage, the burned bodies, carefully avoiding stepping in the patches of flame that still continue to smoulder, and I ask myself, ‘How could this happen?’

How could my own government destroy this whole town, taking all it’s inhabitants with it? Well, almost all. I, somehow, have managed to survive, to stand here as witness to its total and callous brutality.

We had been shut in here for a while. The fences were put up, the guards stationed, not long after the first deaths occurred. What was killing us? An unknown virus that you were terrified of spreading because you had no method to control it, is a possibility. But, I think that perhaps there’s more to it; perhaps it’s a cover-up of some experiment that went wrong, or an accidental deployment of some chemical weapon.

A few deaths just to start with, that soon turned to more. Our local doctors were shut in with us but this was nothing that they could cope with. They didn’t even know what ‘IT’ was, so all they could do was offer comfort, painkillers, antibiotics more for the placebo effect than for any real treatment.

Towards the end they came in groups, all suited up, masks and all. And what about those guns so many of you were carrying? Did you really think you were going to be facing some rabid horde that would need forcible subduing? I’m standing here thinking maybe that was just what you wanted to find, not sick, dying and groups of grieving people.

You never started shooting as you made your way around the town, looking at this, assessing that. You were not permitted to attack without being provoked, but one of you got careless, before you all jumped to conclusions. This town, you said, was dying. You’d leave it to die, not bloody your hands and after enough time had passed you’d remove the evidence.

There was one big error in your conclusions, one you made no allowance for. Most of us got sick, nearly all of those had died, but some of us, a small group, seemed to stay defiantly healthy. We would have survived to tell the tale if you’d allowed it to happen.

Instead, you sent in that helicopter, armed and ready to go. And you tore this place apart, not one thought for anyone that might not have succumbed to the sickness.

I don’t know how I survived, but I did. I shouldn’t be standing here, but I am. I can hear your approach in the distance and I know you have no idea of my existence. The buildings are still crumbling, the bodies still smouldering, the smoke enough to choke the healthiest of lungs.

But I have to say thank you to one of you. I’m so grateful for your forgetfulness. I know I’ll not have a chance to take many of you down before you take my life at last, but surprise will be on my side; that, and the fact that I have no compassion for you at all.

And this gun, it’s locked and loaded.


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