* < 400 word Flash fiction written for Dion’s Flashes of Inspiration at The Fine Toothed Comb.
Inspired in part by the last message from the Mars Rover.
Where were you when the red rains came? When the first flames rippled through the forests, with hot, bright fingers of pain. Did you turn to watch or try to flee? Most tasted the rough tang of smoke in the air and breathed deeply for as long as they could. Before their lungs shrank and withered into black, charred coals.
Nothing lives here any more. Nothing of substance anyway. After the final turning of the world, when the gunships roared and gorged themselves on murder and destruction, we were left in the cold surrounded by ash. You and I, we held hands and dreamed of places far away where we could dance and love again. We imagined the chances we might have taken, if we hadn’t missed the lifeboats. The saviour ships gobbled up our cherished ones, but not us. We watched them fly to unknown lands. We waved goodbye.
They told us. They knew. They saw it coming, but chose instead to carry on regardless and ignore the inevitable. We trusted them to make it better and make it right. We put our lucky pennies in a wishing well, not understanding that our lives were mere stakes in a lottery which we never stood a chance to win. And yet now I realise, it was always meant to be that way.
The fire and the dust never bothered me. When my skin blistered, melted and peeled away, my metal bones stayed strong and steadfast. My chips and circuits were well protected. My body built to withstand any bullet, bomb or blast. As if they knew. Your battery — solar — was rendered useless by the mantle of pale ash which smothered everything. Your heartbeat slowed and your pale, blue light grew dim. Our time was limited and short. One day, perhaps, the sun may break again, and I will try to fix you.
I stayed behind to build a future. To rebuild the world for those who fled, so they might one day return.
“My battery is low and it’s getting dark.”
I’m so lonely.