Incineration Of Life

The library was bustling today with life as I walked with my son this Saturday afternoon through the front turnstile type of glass doors of the front end of the building. I was leading him to the back corner section of the library where we could find exactly what he’d dragged me there for today, a book about vampires his best friend in his class at school had convinced him was “super ultra cool”. I honestly did not mind what my kid was reading so long as he was reading.

Jenno was running on ahead of me towards the section of the children’s area where he could find the teen reading level book his friend had introduced to my kid of 10 years old. I took my time and glanced around on the library’s end caps to see if they had anything interesting for Mommy to read during the week while kiddo was at school. No good today, I preferred to read the latest hottest erotic novels just to see what was all the rage, but it seems that Fifty Shades of Grey was still top of the list as the main end cap in that section was loaded down with stacks of copies of the trilogy. Such a bore was that series since I’d read it immediately after it’s release and found it to be so dry and dismal that I went back to my old copies of romance I had since college. Jenno’s father had packed up and left a few years ago and since then I had not seen the point in dating as my sex drive was basically nonexistent and I had my trusty novels to keep me company at my leisure.

Jenno was already looking at and grabbing a few other books off of the shelves nearby it seemed that had caught his interest. He was prone to finding the latest in fantasy and science fiction that were much above his reading level in school. Thankfully that kept him fairly occupied while I would prepare dinner most evenings for the two of us when I would get home from working at a local call center for a medical company. I had that job going on eight years now and it paid what little bills we had so I decided to stick it out until Jenno was off to college. After that, I planned on going off to a different area of the country to try my hand at something different. Some job where I could use my hands no doubt. As a kid, I had always wanted to raise a little farm of my own with vegetables and fruits of all kinds, so maybe that is what I would end up working on. Who knows.

As I was wandering towards the window, I noticed something odd about the sky while glancing towards the hills in the distance. This valley would on occasion get some odd bouts of rain during the Spring, which is the season we are in now, but what I was seeing, seemed to be somewhat, well a glowing splotch across the sky. It seemed to be growing very slowly as I stared out the window and almost looked like a fire crawling through a forest from catching in the brush like I had seen one particular summer growing up near the woods as a kid.

In fear, and paranoia, I ran to the front desk where I knew they sometimes had a television playing the news in the background for the employees to watch and asked the front desk librarian to switch it on immediately and put on the news channel. The girl who was clearly just there for a minimum wage job, slowly went over to the TV and switched it on with a flick of the remote and changed the channel to the local news station. On the screen was a shot of what I had just seen out the window, a glowing fiery line across the sky. The news anchor was speaking very brokenly and stating that the end of the world was here and to say goodbye to your loved ones. He went on the describe just what was occurring in the sky above our country as the elimination of our planet’s dismantling and depleting magnetic poles due to the most enormous solar flare ever recorded in history. He explained then that due to the collapse of the magnetic poles, our atmosphere was left open to the deadly effects of the solar flare’s horrible wrath which would ultimately ruin Earth’s land, creatures, and all living things. I stared at the screen with my eyes widening each moment and listened to each word intently. The teenage girl heard the first few words and began screaming at the top of her lungs for all in the small library to hear that the world would be ending in the matter of mere hours left in the day. Screeching and yelling began to fill the air as everyone realized that they would soon be dead along with everyone and everything on Earth.

Immediately I ran back to the section of the library where Jenno was and saw he was searching for me too as he’d heard the screaming loud and clear and realized what was happening. He cried out when he saw the tears running down my cheeks and ran into my arms sobbing. I held him tight and told him we would stay together until the end and that I loved him very much. I realized then that their was nothing I could do to change what was happening and it seemed as I looked once again out the window that the glowing was taking over the sky slowly and found that the solar flare was reaching out to our blue planet to wreak havoc on us all. Moments to go, I thought quickly that it did not matter if we ran now, their was no place that could keep us from the death that would soon come to claim us.

Jenno and I were to stay here in this library, he and I until the last moments came. I decided this myself as I looked around and found everyone else in the building grabbing their loved ones and some were running out of the building, while it seemed the rest were doing as I was and claiming a spot to stick this out until the end came. I carried Jenno’s scrawny little 10 year old body over near the front desk so that we could see what the news anchor was talking about at this point.

The news anchor had apparently left and the station was showing what appeared to be a repeating cycle of information about the end of world solar flare that was going to wipe us all out. According to the diagram that was showing, the magnetic poles had completely been destroyed and left the planet with no guard against the sun’s horrible flares that were now lashing out towards our atmosphere and would soon be coming straight out at us. The next slide showed the effects it would have on our planet in the next few hours. It depicted a nuclear type of explosion which would in the next 4 to 6 hours incinerate all living things on Earth and leave the planet devoid of life. This shocking slide was seen by myself and my child in my arms among a few other library patrons that stood watching the screen of the television to see what our fates were as of this moment. It was clear that no one, anywhere, was to survive.

I held Jenno to my body as I slid down with my back to the counter down to the floor in front of the desk. Around me children and adults alike were crying and screaming and hysterical. Some sobbing silently who were alone, and some yelling over cell phones to loved ones to stay calm and that they loved them. Chaos had found this quiet little library and was devouring us all.

Jenno. My son. I loved him and had raised him mostly on my own all 10 years of his life. And now, it was ending. As was mine. I was sad for him, and I was sad for myself. I was sad for the world. Was this truly the end? I cried. How long was I crying? Holding Jenno while he sobbed for what seemed like hours in my arms. The glowing was shining through the window and had turned into a bright orange now blaring in our eyes and on our skin. I could feel it burning my body already. The ozone layer, the TV had said, was to disintegrate as well which was supposed to protect us from radiation from harming us. This was gone. We were burning already. The more time passed, the hotter it was. Soon, the flare would reach us and touch us and we would be gone.

I tried my best to shield Jenno from the worst of the heat by holding him in front of me with my back facing the windows of the library. It felt as though my skin was melting off. Maybe it was. I endured the pain to keep my son from feeling what I felt. Most people were doing the same, trying to shield others from the heat. Others were staring straight into the distant sky where the fire was coming from in the sky. The flare would reach us shortly. I was sure of this. My skin was blistering from the heat and the flare was visible now and appeared to me as a sword of flames reaching from one end of the sky to the other. This sword would cleave clean through all living things and leave not even the thought of a living cell behind.

All of a sudden, their was a huge flash of light in the sky and everyone surrounding me as well as Jenno lifted their heads to look out the window and stare at their lives flashing before their eyes. I whispered into Jenno’s ear that I loved him. We were instantly incinerated. Along with everything else and everyone else. The planet consisted of dust. As though a nuclear blast had taken every soul and swept us each away. We were gone.

 

“My Tunnels” – Submission to the Florida Weekly Writing Challenge

I just happened to come upon this one morning while reading the local newspaper while eating breakfast and was in search of something interesting to read and thought eh what the hell, I’ll see how this goes and what comes from it. I’m not at all expecting to be published, this was just something to do for fun. Take a read if you’d like. Thanks!


Florida Weekly Writing Challenge seeks your glorious works of fiction once again

08/20/2015

“Take away the art of writing from this world, and you will probably take away its glory.”

— Francois René de Chateaubriand

We tend to agree with Monsieur de Chateaubriand. And as is our custom this time of year, we aim to inspire some glorious writing with our annual Writing Challenge. Two winners will receive a ticket each to the Sanibel Island Writer’s Conference Nov. 5-8.

Using this photo as a starting point for your creative process, we’d like you to come up with a narrative work of fiction of 1,500 words or less. Florida Weekly will accept your original stories in Word format or pasted into the body of an email until midnight, Saturday, Aug. 29. There will be more photo prompts in the months to come. Email them to writing@floridaweekly. com and we will print the best submissions on these very pages. No “snail mail” copies will be accepted. Be sure to include your name, address and contact information with your submission. The earlier we receive your submission, the better your shot at being printed. For more information on the Sanibel Island Writers Conference, visit fgcu.edu/siwc.

Thanks for writing, and good luck.


Below is my submission:

It was one of the many railway tunnels that I’d slept in that summer in the countryside of France. The Red Train runs through it every few hours and so I had to keep moving or I would be hit. I’d found myself living on the streets once I’d lost my job and had traveled so far into France and decided not to go home and face the shame that I’d been feeling. I had told my family that I wanted to live abroad and that once I’d had my fill of the country, I would make my way home to them. That was about four months ago. Yes, it’s true that I was doing fairly well thus far with my little job at a local grocery mart as a courtesy clerk of sorts, but once they found out I was an illegal alien and did not have the proper paperwork to stay any longer in the country, my boss at the store had told me he wouldn’t turn me in, but that he couldn’t employ me for any longer. I moved out of the little house where I had been paying to rent a room from an elderly woman. She wasn’t the sweetest and when I’d told her I’d lost my crummy job at the store, she told me to get my things out by the next day at noon. Not that I’d brought much with me, but man was that a shock to my world. I never even dreamed that I would be living on the streets in France. This beautiful country had been so good to me, and yet I suppose it was mostly my fault that I hadn’t really planned this out all that well. I searched out shelter and knew of a local railway nearby. I went straight away since the summer heat was pounding down anywhere the sun cast it’s rays upon the pavement. I couldn’t find a better shelter than this currently. I was moving from tunnel to tunnel so that I wouldn’t be found. I’d spend my days working on coming up with some form of plan to get a job again. It’s true that the laws regarding immigrants were frightening and I just was not prepared to head back home with my “tail between my legs”. My parents had thought this whole trip was a bad idea from the beginning and I just felt I had to do this for myself. I saved up a couple hundred dollars and came out this way with next to nothing with me but my wallet and some clothes and my passport. I was initially only supposed to stay for the two weeks that were allotted tourists to stay in the country normally, but I called from my hostel I’d been staying at after just three days to my parent’s home to let them know that I had found a job and decided to stay a while longer for the summer. They really had no way to argue with me being so far away, but they warned me about holding on to my money and told me that this wasn’t too bright seeing as my passport was only good for the two weeks as a tourist. I wasn’t about to let them tell me what to do. My parents had been good to me yes, and put me through college, but they only paid for my schooling if I went and received the ridiculous nursing degree they wanted me to get. From the first day I was born, they pushed me and pushed me to attend medical school for they were both physicians and had a local medical practice that they ran together. They truly were quite a dynamic duo together and had some of the highest ratings in our area for their profession. I never wanted to be a doctor. They knew this. I never felt like someone who could spend my days treating the ill. Pushing me as they always did and being such wonderful role models as they were, I promised them that I would commit myself to at least going to nursing school if nothing more. This seemed to satisfy them somewhat and so I received my certifications and became a nurse. This naturally grew boring to me and I wanted to go on some form of adventure. This summer was going to be the one. Yet, here I was, sleeping most of my days away in this lonely, cool, dry tunnel out in the countryside of France. It was a wondrous place honestly. The placards on each tunnel fascinated me and I had learned much of the history of my current home. Moving from tunnel to tunnel and getting to know these tracks was so fulfilling compared to my life back home with my ridiculing medical whiz parents that I simply found this life so much more relaxing and just was not ready to find my way home. And so I roamed on across the countryside in search of more tunnels that lay undiscovered and not slept in by myself. What made inhabiting these tunnels so grand? Why did I find myself fancying being something of a hobo or vagabond or vagrant in this land so thrilling? Perhaps it was because I was an alien in this foreign land. Perhaps it was because I was so far from home and so far from my medical past and my judgmental parents. Or perhaps it was even simply being a migrant. Moving about like an animal in the wild with no rules and no laws to hold me back. This lifestyle that had come to me was just one of the many splendors in my life right now. These trains making their way across the countryside were just like me except for one major difference. The trains speeding through the tunnels were doing a job and their job was to transport the people of the countryside from one place to another. My job was simply to wander aimlessly or so it seemed. The thing was, I did not see it that way. I felt as though my purpose was to bring life to these tunnels. The bricks and cement that lined them felt my warmth and felt me living in them like blood runs through veins and arteries. Unlike the giant masses of painted red metal, metal that would screech on by at times carrying people straight through them, I was there to care for the tunnels and to be their friend. They had no one to show them love and in this I felt I had a purpose and a meaning to my life here. I was a friend to the tunnels. I had no idea whether I had been the first friend to these particular tunnels on this railway line, but once thing was for sure, they were deserted apart from myself and to me this meant something very important to me. The breeze blowing through the tunnel I was currently in helped me believe this even further to my core.

Was I ever going to go home? Of course. I simply wanted to enjoy my life as a free spirit. A spirit that could move about as it pleased like a ghost out of the past that would wander endlessly and be passionate about doing so. Did I miss home? Sure I did. I missed my parents as well. I’m sure I would return and end up working for them at their medical practice and help them with their dreams as well as come up with my very own as well and eventually figure out what it was that I really wanted to do with my life and what sort of schooling I could go into where I could be more enthralled with in life and find some sort of passion and fire for where I could be happy for the majority of my life. Like every responsible adult should. Right? I just wanted to keep going in these tunnels and letting the thoughts flow endlessly about being there for the tunnels and bring life to something that was once so very lifeless, cold and sooty. I felt for the tunnels and they felt for me too. Maybe in some ways we were alike in this way. Cold and empty and in need of someone to bring life to us. Was I to find something in life that would fill my soul up in this manner? To be sure, I would have to leave the tunnels and seek such a thing out. Not today, and not tomorrow, but definitely soon. Definitely soon I would leave my tunnels in the beautiful France countryside. But not now.