Friday, August 21, 2009

Remnants of War

Scattered rays of light reflected off the corpses of machinery. The twinkling metal lit a path from the depths of the destruction away from the setting sun. While the smoke gave the illusion of cloud cover, the desert was as relentless as ever.

Lucas Warrington emerged from the smoky darkness; his head held high and his pace steady. He pushed on, a true soldier, leaving the graveyard behind him.

A tall stranger fell in step with Lucas and asked, “May I walk with you?”


“What was that back there?”

“That… was a truce”

“A truce? Does that mean the war is over?”

“For now.”

“Do you think there are survivors?”

“Sure, I do. There were millions of people living on Earth. I have a few theories.”


“I mean, the scientists, they are the smartest, right? They are practically modern-day fortunetellers; they had to know this was coming. I see them planning… carefully planning this for years; maybe in caves or underground somewhere.

“Then there are those political types... probably hidden in some old nuclear fallout shelters from the 1960s… feasting on spam and pork-n-beans, reading charts on when it will be safe to surface again.” Lucas glanced at the stranger out of the corner of his eye, trying to see if he was still following.

“I can even see people being totally oblivious to what is going on… on some island; some native just fishing off the coast like he always does… clueless.” Lucas smiled at that thought.

“You’re just being optimistic…”

“Well,” Lucas said, “there weren’t too many large scale nuclear drop sites.”

“Still there’s radiation in the atmosphere…”

“There’s always been radiation in the atmosphere.”

“You’ve got blisters all over your face and arms”

“I’ve been walking in the desert for THREE fucking days!”

Several moments of weary footsteps passed before the tall man spoke, “So this truce?”

“We were the last pilots left on our sides. We decided we should stop fighting before we destroy everything… ”

“So what happened?”

“He went one way, and I went the other.”

“Why not stay together, if you’re the last?”

“I have been training to fight this guy since I was eleven. His family killed my family… his friends killed my friends. He better hope I never see him again,” Lucas said through gritted teeth.

“So where are you headed now?”

They stopped and Lucas surveyed the land ahead; he breathed in a deep breath and answered “Not sure. I guess I will just keep walking until I find survivors.”

“If there ARE any survivors” The tall man reached his dark hand toward a tree and melted into its shadow. “Good luck with that,” he whispered as he vanished.

“Thanks… ”

The first few stars began to twinkle on the horizon, but Lucas walked on.


  1. And who was the ghost/shadow...maybe the other pilot? Is anyone really alive? Is your reference to spam a byproduct of moving to OK? You leave tantalizing questions.

    Great story! Glad you're back. I've missed them.

  2. The dark man. The dark man vanishes. So what is this dark man? Maybe he's the last man, other than these two pilots.

    So if this pilot is correct, then only the paranoid fanatics might survive in their bunkers. That's fine. Let 'em have it. I prefer to follow the dark man.

    Glad you're back to the Friday Flash rotation.

    --Jeff Posey

  3. Nice flash. What's it smell like in the setting? :) More contractions in dialog too.

    Don't you hate people who edit instead of just comment?

  4. Nifty story. Very creepy and a perfect degree of detail vs. tease for a piece of flash fiction.

  5. ...and Death walked with him.

    Just enough given to run the reader's imagination into overdrive. Nicely done.

  6. Could the dark man be the pilot's conscience, his inner dialogue made manifest? Intriguing. I like the thought that in a post-apocalyptic world the only survivors may be native villagers who shunned technology in favor of their traditions. Great piece of flash.

  7. I loved that, the mystic overtones and simple yet deep questioning of the dark stranger contrasted beautifully with the matter-of-fact-ness of the soldier. Fab :-)

  8. I gave you an award... nip over to to pick it up :-)

  9. Sorry I'm so late to the game. I enjoyed your flash, a dark yet not hopeless vision of the future. I think it is so telling that they have nearly managed to destroy the world yet,

    “I have been training to fight this guy since I was eleven. His family killed my family… his friends killed my friends. He better hope I never see him again,” Lucas said through gritted teeth.

    Enmity never dies, it seems. sigh

  10. Great piece of flash. I like the fact the end of the war came down to two guys who just stopped. The mystery man is vague enough for the reader to build their own meaning and identity on him. Great stuff.

  11. I am really enjoying everyone's comments. I was going to hold back and just let your imaginations run wild, but Chris was dead on.

    I originally wanted my pilot to converse with himself, so I had him carrying on with his shadow... a bit of post traumatic stress on top of worrying if you're the last decent person left in the world... I think it's ok to talk to youself.

    I love your thoughts, and didn't want to ruin the fun BUT I did. Sorry ;-)

    You guys are awesome

    Angie: it's all good :-) I hope I can only get better... with your help