I’ve been posting mainly poetry these last few weeks. Oops. It IS called STORY Time Friday, is it not? Well, I’ll keep this short for you. I have a new piece of flash fiction to share. It’s not a happy one. It’s not a great one. But it’s an idea I had for an end of the world with no hope kind of thing that I’ll revisit at some point. But at least I got some ideas on paper for now.
Don’t get too depressed reading it 😉
by Robert Zimmermann
I’ve been alone in this tower for a few years now.
The last time I saw another person, alive, it was my parents. Both of them. I still remember the look on each of their faces. The pleading in their eyes. I couldn’t take their lives, though, no matter how much it hurt to watch them suffer as they did. There are many ways to die. They chose to chance starving in order to give me the bigger share of our scavenged meals.
Fortunately, they died quietly enough, in a sleep brought on by weakness. As peaceful as this world can allow, at least.
That’s why I’m along up here, in this tower that reaches into the clouds over. I can gaze in whichever direction I want to, out at a grid of smaller buildings, then beyond that water and more buildings. I still have a hard time believing the tales my parents told me about this place.
I know we weren’t the only, but I think they were exaggerating. Probably wanting to make the world seem like it was more exciting. The world Before. There can’t have been millions of people on this island. There’s no way. Where did they all go? How could there have been even more than that in the world? No, I can’t believe all of those bedtime stories.
I don’t know how much longer I’ll last here, either. My parents seemed to have done well enough for themselves, and me when I was born. It’s too dangerous to hunt and scavenge at surface level. I’ve had many close calls with beasts just as hungry as I am. I don’t think I could chance another close call.
Maybe I should see if there’s anything left in the garden. We could barely grow a thing up here. There’s too little rain and too much wind. A few things grew if we did it just right. Some of it edible. Some of it what my father called “a backup plan”.
I don’t know what kind of plant it is, but it’s what my parents tried getting me to feed them when they were dying. My father told me that it would be a quick death for anyone who ate it. Painful, but quick. Still, it’s not a task you ask a child to partake in. If it’d have been now, years later, it might be a different story I’m telling. A story where I tell you how I killed both of my parents, a mercy killing.
I know I’m going to die soon. I’m not sure when, though. Starvation is a tricky thing when the body is used to being depraved all of its life.
It’s days later now. I haven’t had anything to eat, still. I don’t think I have much longer in this world and I’ve come to peace with that. This isn’t a world to do anything more than survive in.
I’ve also tossed all of the “backup plan” plants out of the tower. If my parents weren’t allowed the luxury to choose their death dates. I denied them that. I’m denying it for myself now.
I’m going to sit here, staring out at the vast expanse of skyline, empty for as far as the eye can see, alone. Maybe I’ll see my parents again soon, if that bedtime story turns out to be true, at least. Still not to sure about all the things they told me when I was younger.
How to Submit:
For those who wish to be part of Story Time Friday in the near future, you can send submissions to the email address that I formerly used for review requests (but don’t anymore since I’m retired . . . don’t try to be clever and slip one in 😛 ): email@example.com. Be sure to use the subject “Story Time Friday Submission” and send your piece as an attachment (.doc/.docx would be best). Any other questions, feel free to comment here or contact me through the blog’s contact form.
Hope to hear from some writers soon!