Saturday 6 September 2014

Lucky Ones - Unpublished in Sirens Call eZine - Apocalyptic Fiction

Woman's Face, Sirens Call Apocalyptic editionA strange heading you might think, why would I promote a piece that didn't get put in the eZine? 

Well I did send it in and it DID get accepted - but then I went on holiday, where there was no internet access, and couldn't respond to edits in time for the deadline, so I missed it! 

But I really liked my piece, so wanted to share it. And also mention that my friend Laura James had her piece accepted. Its in there on Page 24 - Aftermath. 

Here's what I had written for it. Enjoy!

Lucky Ones

Jonas looked up into the night sky. He could just make it out; a faint, dusty ball of light. From here it looked harmless, nothing more than a pin prick among billions of others, but on the surface he knew there was suffering going on.

He wondered if he would ever get that final image out of his mind; the little girl holding onto her teddy bear, while gripping her mummy’s hand.

Jonas had been one of the lucky ones; he’d been involved with the right organisations, and had the right credentials to make it onto the crew. And although he was grateful for that every day, he was also overwhelmed with guilt at being one of the few survivors, especially when he recalled that little girl running with her mum, the desperation on her face as stark as her mothers.

And he could have lived with having seen them and believed that they’d managed to find another way out if only he hadn’t looked back.

The mother had been the wife of one of the pilots on a trial mission the year before, one that had gone wrong and left her a widow. They owed her. And the fact she knew the location and departure time meant she was still connected.

The information about the shuttle trials and missions used to be out in the public forum, but when the fires had started to become unmanageable, so had the people and the decision was made to move them into the classified zone.

Jonas remembered the beginning and how no one had believed things could get out of control; bush fires were always contained, there were always people to fight them. But then the winds hadn’t changed, and the rains hadn’t come, and the fires kept growing, spreading into towns and cities. People died in hundreds and thousands. Then company infrastructure began to fail, and so did the governments.

Jonas thought about the anarchy that had taken over, and how the military had had to escort them to the shuttle - him and the other nine crew members, even though there hadn’t been many people there that day, and it had been calm.

That was why the sound of the shots followed by screaming had caused him to look. And greeted by the sight of the little girl falling to the ground, blood all over her teddy bear, along with the look of satisfaction on the soldiers face as he’d reloaded the gun and pointed it at her mother, Jonas had wanted to rush over. But he was reminded by another gun at his back not to, and continued walking up the steps to the shuttle.

He looked back now though, through the visor of his Space helmet, at the collection of bubbles they were living in. Life on Mars with thirty people from five nations could barely be called living, but he’d take it any day over the horrors he’d witnessed during those last hours on Earth.