This story was written for a flash-fiction contest in which the prompt was a song of my own choosing. I selected “Goodbye Blue Sky” from Pink Floyd… One of my favorite songs, and one of the best animation scenes from the movie “The Wall”. I hope you enjoy!
Goodbye Blue Sky
“Look, mommy. There’s an airplane up in the sky…” Emmanuel murmured. Her dark eyes reflected the silhouette of the aircraft back to me before I could look up. Others had seen it too, and as I turned my head to take in the sight, a procession of blasts echoed in the distance. The bombs were falling again. Air raid sirens blared from far away, and the fine hairs on my neck began to stand at attention. Myself and many of the others craned our necks and scoured the sky in anticipation of the large bomber formations that always proceeded the sirens, but the lone plane was all we could see. This brought on an entirely new feeling of foreboding, though I could not reason why.
The onlookers in the streets began to scuttle about nervously. Whispers floated on the air, revealing the growing panic within the population whose promise of a brave new world now amounted to running for bomb shelters four to five times a day. I turned to lead Emmanuel back into the remains of the hospital in which we took cover from the bombings, when the world turned completely white. A blinding light drowned out all vision for several seconds, and I could feel the heat building on my back and exposed skin.
I instinctively cradled Emmanuel and covered her body with my own as smoke and steam began to rise from the ground and emanate from the walls of buildings. Vapor plumes coiled and rose upward along the walls, hugging the structures as they grew in size. I could smell burning plastics and wood, then the horrific odor of my own hair and skin burning wafted up to greet me, just as the light and heat reached an almost unbearable intensity.
I scooped Emmanuel up in my arms and ran as fast I could through the rubble of the building and back down into the basement shelter. I could hear the moans and groans of others attempting to follow, as I navigated the tangle of wires, metal and crushed stone. A low rumbling, accompanied by a growing vibration, stopped me in my tracks. I looked around to see dust and tiny bits of debris being dislodged from all around as the terrifying noise and shaking grew to a crescendo, culminating in the loudest and most ear-shattering sound I had ever experienced.
I curled myself around Emmanuel as the debris fell onto us from all directions, but somehow, we had managed to keep from becoming totally buried. The cries of pain and pleas for help from those not as fortunate leaked out of the cracks and up from dark voids. I shook off the detritus that had fallen on us and assessed Emmanuel for damage. While physically alright, her eyes showed the same shock and confusion in which my own mind was swimming. Choking on clouds of thick dust, we clambered out of the shattered hospital and back onto the street, which was now filled with hundreds of charred and smoking bodies.
Not a single building was left intact. Most were razed to the ground, and those that did retain some semblance of a structure now stood tentatively as falling bits of material announced their steady, subtle demise. Metal groaned and flames popped and crackled as a scene of utter and total destruction filtered in through the dust and smoke. My gaze wandered upwards, taking in the wounds on the structures, when I was struck by a sight that my tired and shocked mind almost could not comprehend.
Where the tattered buildings met the sky, a huge plume of black and gray smoke, several miles wide, towered over the skyline. It rose high into the atmosphere, growing into a bulbous shape at the top, resembling a monstrous mushroom looming over the remains of the city. The cloud spread out into a huge sheet of darkness as it hit the upper level winds, and within moments it had blocked out the sun, casting all into an eery, glowing orange twilight. I felt as if I were still burning, though it was as if the sensation had been reversed and I was being scorched from the inside out. The flames were all long gone, but the pain lingered on, and it was growing in intensity with each second.
Suddenly weak and lightheaded, I vomited without warning. I stumbled and fought to keep myself upright as waves of debilitating dizziness and nausea relentlessly cascaded through my body. Emmanuel tried to come to my aid, but she too began vomiting and fell to her knees. I dropped down to sit beside her, resting my arm on her shoulders. She looked up at the nebulous, blackened cloud that now stretched from horizon to horizon and glowed an angry orange from deep within.“What happened to the sky, mommy?” she asked.
I looked down into her round, dark eyes and brushed a lock of curly blond hair from her cheek, which detached and floated away on the warm wind. I choked up as I told her, “I’m sorry baby, but I don’t think the sky will be blue anymore…”
New Short Stories and more at Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords!!!
Thanks for dropping by!