Friday, 20 February 2015
A cool breeze
Dyson sat on the edge of the cliff, swinging his legs and savouring the cool breeze.
His headgear lay on the scorched ground several feet behind him, and beyond that trailed the rest of his protective clothing, discarded over the last few yards of his existence.
He held the pistol between his hands, much as he would have held his wife's hand over the table sometimes.
A long time ago. How long ago? He couldn't recall. A tear trickled down his cheek, forging a meandering path through the encrusted dust
He couldn't even recall how long it was since he last saw another human being. A month? A year? A decade? Maybe he never had.
He wasn't sure how to tell the difference between memory and imagination any more, or even sure if he ever was able to.
Behind him the sun was setting over the mountains. A beautiful sunset, multi-hued with every shade of red, pink and purple.
He knew this without the need to turn his head to see it. Every sunset was the same now, the contamination had seen to that. What it took in life, it returned in those sunsets, the one beautiful gift it gave.
Dyson checked the load in the pistol once more, then laid the weapon down on the ground beside his thigh.
He listened intently for a while. No birds chirrupped, no insects droned, just the faint lap of the ocean on the rocks far below his feet.
And the feel of that cool, cool breeze on his skin.
He had been wrapped in the sweaty confines of the suit so long he had forgotten just how it felt. Just how so, so good it felt.
He was paying for that cool breeze with every exposed second, with every unfiltered breath.
He didn't mind.
He wouldn't suffer like so many had before him. He had the pistol.
He allowed himself to fall backwards and lay on the ground. He stared at the sky. The brightness of it hurt his eyes. The blue of days gone by replaced with an almost unfettered harsh glare. There were no clouds any more either, another contamination casualty.
Before long the heat from the ground began to burn into the bare skin of his back. He pushed himself into an upright position and stared out to sea once more, the cool breeze flowing over him.
He leaned forward and glanced down at the sharp rocks far below, considering whether to just close his eyes and lean further forward until he reached tipping point.
The sea would welcome him, he had no doubt of that, just one more piece of dead meat to mingle with all the other dead it already contained. Another ingredient in the soup.
Dyson breathed a deep sigh.
He stared out to sea until his vision blurred.
Until his thoughts wandered.
Until his mind's eye found what he had lost. What had been taken from him.
For the last time in his life he experienced the love of a good woman. The joy of holding his new born baby. All happy, beautiful memories flooded his thoughts, coursed through his very being, bringing the deepest joy he had felt for such a long, long time.
As the happiness inside him strengthened, so did the feeling of violation in his skin and bones.
The pain within him grew as his organs strove to function effectively.
Dyson resolved to carry those happy memories and emotions with him on the last leg of his journey.
As he reached for the pistol he called his wife's name over and over.
No-one would hear him.
Just as no-one would hear the sound of the shot as it was carried away on that cool, cool breeze.
©2015 Stephen. J. Green.