The end of the world. Great blsck ash-clouds tormented the skies, chasing away the soft fingertips of the sun – broken shadows writhed, voiceless in that anguished half-light. The magicians who had cast those shadows sat out Armageddon safe below ground, nestled in concrete bunkers, together in their lonliness. Desperately reaching out for news. The end of civilisation. The end of the world – well the end of most of it, anyway.
The hardest part about time-travel is using the correct tenses – it depends on when you are. The world ended on the sixth of April. The world will end on the sixth of April. The world is ending. There are (or were, or will be) only five of us in the end. Three women, two men. You do the math.
I try and I try, but nothing can assuage the guilt, nothing can ease this swelling desire for vengence.
But how can you take revenge against yourself?
This is how it starts, or will start, or how it started. My marathon, my flight.
I killed them. What choice did I have? An exile – but where could I go, where could I find refuge in this ash-grey world? I blockaded the doors, sealed their windows, the exhaust vents.
Mixed my chemicals, carefully, beneath the intake valve. Mix bleach with ammonia. Chlorine gas.
I killed them, smothered the last three women – whether the last within ten kilometers or a thousand, there was no way to tell. And now I must walk alone, delving deep into my memories.
These recordings are all I have left of them.
These recordings and my memories are the nearest thing to a time-machine possible.
Written for this week’s BeKindRewrite prompts smother, and this is how it starts.