The Way Of The World


#picturefiction #flashfiction

 

Sometimes I wonder what ever happened to the world.

I met an old man wandering the wastes a while back, it might have been a week or a month ago – it’s hard to gauge time since the Change came. This old man said that before the Change the world was full of green growing things. He said the sky was blue rather than the sickly gray-green I’ve known my entire life. Frankly I think he’s nuts. There’s no way the world could be like he described; millions of people, living trees, animals everywhere. He described this thing called a tiger that he saw in something he called a zoo. That thing sounded terrifying, even worse than the Abominations that come through the rifts. There’s just no way that something that terrible, that could eat a man no less, was kept where people could visit it. It would have been shot on sight. I think he sniffed too many fumes from one of the mutant pits and just hallucinated the creature and the whole damn story.
This is the way of the world: endless pain and horror. The Change, or so they tell me, destroyed the old world and altered the very surface of the planet making it into this dead gray plain. The air is filled with gray dust lifted from the desiccated ground by random whirlwinds. Every so often the air shimmers and is torn asunder by forces we do not understand. Arcs of electrical energy lick the ground whenever a rift appears and if the energy builds enough, things appear. We call them Abominations. They are all different in appearance but always have some resemblance to some creature born of the depraved combination of insect and sea creature. The other thing they all have in common is an unquenchable bloodlust for humans. Anyone insane enough to remain in view of a rift will quickly become a smear of blood on the muzzle of an Abomination. I heard that once, years ago, some guy managed to kill an Abomination. Frankly I don’t see how he could have done it. I’ve seen people attack them with blades, sticks even once with an explosive device they found in the rubble of an old building. The Abominations shrug off anything we do to them. Their skins are harder than steel. I think it was just a tall tale some guy made up to make folks feel like there was at least some chance. What smart person would believe there was even the slimmest possibility we could survive and destroy an Abomination.
Fairy stories.
So this is my world. It’s a place of pain, terror and an early death. The fact that I’ve made it to the ripe old age of 13 is a miracle; and I’m the second oldest person in our little tribe.

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