Hey, guys and gals! It's Wednesday again, so time for another flash fiction. This one is set in a post apocalyptic era. Enjoy, and don't forget to check out the other great flashers!
Soft claws tickled the fiber optic cable as Father’s voice moved across the lines towards the big TV’s in the city centers. Below the blinking lights, the only flashes of color in the drab world, the citizens stopped to watch as the screens flickered to life. A slideshow played across their sights first, prompting the women to cover their mouths and look away and the men to grind their jaws in shame.
Ever repressive, Father reminded the citizens of where they’d just come from. Rolling green hills morphed into scarred landscapes void of life. A smiling family lay in the street in the next beat, dead, while their neighbors raided their home for any supplies. So was life in the post nuclear era, until Father stepped in and waved his hand.
He brought control, compassion. He made the citizens feel right again. Father took the colors away, and in doing so took the fire out of the masses. When everyone is wearing grey, Father said, no one has reason to fight anymore. When no one has hair, there is no envy. When no one can have babies except those we deem worthy, the world can be reborn. Father ruled the world from his comfortable easy chair in the Carolinas.
Or so they said.
When the prelude ended, the screen went black and only Father’s booming voice could be heard above the shrill cry of a seagull somewhere near the shoreline.
“Citizens,” he began. “I bring you wonderful news.” The crowd inhaled expectantly. “The breeding program, as you know, has hit a few bumps in the road here and there. We’ve had a failure or two. But tonight, I bring you a live birth of our first Crown.”
A roar erupted from the crowd as they cheered and the screen flashed to show a woman in a small room.
The walls were composed of cement and she laid on a bed of hay, sweat beading on her forehead as her face twisted with an expression of pure agony. Several women surrounded her, dabbing at her skin with wet cloths as she pushed, and several fresh blankets sat at her side to welcome the baby.
“As you can see,” Father continued, “we’ve provided our best facilities for the birthing of our very first Crown. The child will be raised to breed with others like it, and together, they will spawn a new race. Our new hope. A new future.” His voice swelled with pride as the woman’s scream pierced the night air.
The crowd gasped and watched, wide eyed, as the baby’s head began to crown. Little arms followed, and the child turned his head back and forth in the cold night air to find his breath. His cry shook from his new lungs and the woman sobbed as she looked upon her son, the first Crown to be born in a world long thought dead.
Father’s voice swelled with pride. “The child shall be called Flint. Say hello to our savior.”
Far across the city, away from prying eyes and ears and in the depths of an old abandoned warehouse, a woman clamped her teeth down on a dirty washcloth against the searing pain erupting across her stomach. Her breaths came quickly as the contraction subsided and she looked to her husband.
“Are we doing the right thing?”
He glanced over his shoulder as the woman on the screen continued to push. “Would you want our child to be trapped in the breeding program forever? Used like a dog?”
“No, but…Where are we going to go, Ryan?” She bit down as another contraction rolled through her and gripped the iron rods falling from ceiling to floor next to her head. A whimper escaped her.
Ryan knelt next to his wife and stroked her hair. “All right, Carinna, you’re doing great. We’ve come so far. We’ll find that little patch of land that grows near Canada and move there, and make our little family where Father can’t see us. Right? That’s the plan?” He smiled, but looked at the blood pouring from Carinna with fear racing through his body.
She smiled weakly, her cheeks pale and drawn. “Yeah, that’s the plan. The baby’s coming, Ryan.” Her eyes flew open as the urge to push overwhelmed her. “Oh, god, the baby’s coming!”
Ryan positioned himself to catch his child. “It’s okay. Push, sweetheart, push.” So much blood, he thought. Too much. Something was wrong.
The head full of black hair crested first, followed by the arms, in sync with the Crown on the giant TV’s. The baby took a giant gulp of air and whimpered as Flint released his first cry.
Carinna gasped as the blood flowed freely from her body. Weakened, she let her head fall back.
“A girl,” Ryan whispered. He laid the baby across her mother’s breast and Carinna raised her head to smile at her daughter.
“She’s beautiful.” Carinna raised a hand, but her fingers fell away limply as her eyes closed.
“Carinna?” Panicking, Ryan dropped to his knees beside his wife and listened for a heartbeat. The faint thud slowed and stopped as his ear pressed to her chest.
In shock, he sat back on his heels and looked at the baby. She stared back at him with eyes the color of the summer sky, never making a sound.
Ryan swallowed and glanced out at the TV. Father was just wrapping up, telling the crowd about the new boy. “Flint, huh?” He scoffed. “What a name.” He gingerly clipped the cord connecting his wife and child and put the little clamp on before lifting her into his arms. “Carinna says you were a fighter from the beginning. We’ll call you Sloane.”
He stood and walked to the window to look over the city from the decrepit warehouse with Sloane nestled against his shoulder.
The other great flashers:
Julie Hayes (m/m)
Lindsay Klug (m/f)
West Thornhill (m/m)
L. M. Brown (m/m)
Lily Sawyer (m/m)
Heather Lin (m/mf)
Freddy MacKay (m/m)
Pender Mackie (m/m)
Sui Lynn (m/m)
Elyzabeth M. VaLey (m/f)