Friday, March 2, 2012

The Unanswerable Question

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Here's some Friday Flash Fiction:

“If you could go back, and do it all over again – would you?” Mist overshadowed the blues in her eyes. We both already knew the answer to that question. She knew, but she still wanted me to hear it. She wanted me to break her heart.

“I would,” I whispered softly into her hair. Her body shivered as she sobbed into my shirt. My arms weren’t strong enough to hold her, not after that. The world had already shattered around us, but we couldn’t change what happened. She loved me with all her heart, and that wasn’t enough. I would keep her safe, but I couldn't promise love.

“Why me?” She asked. As I watched the smoke rise up from the campfire, I wondered the same thing.

We had been together for what seemed like years, but it was only a month. We wandered from place to place after the government ordered destruction of major cities. Why her? Why not the ones we left behind?

My wife had been cleaning the dishes. Soap bubbles filled the air in our third story apartment building. Our son moved his train off the tracks and rammed it into furniture. I had just come home from work. I flicked on the news as I loosened my tie and heard it.

Emergency broadcast. Bombs dropping in an hour.

The city was in panic. A virus had broken out, there was no other way to stop it. The city was flattened, everyone was dead. But not us, not her, not me.

But the moment where my wife gave up, where her green eyes faded into lifelessness, I held onto this girl. A seventeen year old had managed to climb out of the shelter by grabbing my arm. I was reaching for the woman with green eyes, but she clung onto our son’s lifeless body. She wouldn’t let him go. The rubble collapsed on top of her leaving me and the girl alive.  We managed to escape the city before the second wave of bombs dropped. She stood clinging to me as we watched the rising smoke from the smoldering ashes.

We were alive. One month was long enough for her to fall in love with me. One month was long enough for me to break her heart. One month was enough for us to forget what laws used to be and make love in the field. One month was enough for me to cry while she slept soundlessly next to me.

Society was broken in pieces. People lived in rural towns, the virus was contained they said. We hadn’t heard any official radio broadcasts since. We presumed Washington was gone. With ham radios, city survivors found each other and set up a colony. We started rebuilding in a the first rural town that would let us in.

No one knew the woman with green eyes. No one knew the miniature train conductor. Everyone knew that it was us. That this girl and I had escaped New York, which was bombed below sea level. As far as we knew, we were the only ones that survived the biggest city collapse in all of history. There were others from Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, even a couple from Los Angeles. But no one heard of anyone else from New York.

Why us?


  1. This is powerful. I loved it, even though it was sad. I could feel the mixed emotions the man experienced as he longed for his wife and son. It felt real. You did an excellent job. I am a new follower. Hope suggested that I check out your blog and I glad I did.

    1. Thanks, Melissa! Glad you liked it :) And welcome!

      I am debating on whether or not to expand it into a longer piece. I've gotten some good feedback so far, so I just might!