Written for 100 drabbles of Summer 2012
Characters: Ashton, Ariella
Ash stood amongst the others, all lanky arms and spotty faces, in front of the lifeguard's hut on the local beach. It was training day. Only some of them would survive… well, if you wanted to be less dramatic, only some would make it through today to go into the final training stages… but only some would survive sounded more exciting! And it felt that way.
This was his chance to get his first job, to be a responsible adult. And maybe, just maybe, if Ariella knew he was a trained lifeguard she'd trust him to take her out swimming.
I poked the non-descriptive beige lump in my bowl with the flat wooden spoon I'd been given. What the hell was this? It looked like someone left the world's blandest porridge on for too long – about two days too long! Ugh.
Ash kicked me, glaring me down. I knew what he'd say if the home owners weren't in earshot: "They've taken us in, fed us well from their meagre food and given us their own bed. They've gone without so we can save them."
He was right. I dug the spoon in, a chunk slurping free. Ugh, there's the seasoning?
57) Driftwood coming out of the sand on a beach
Driftwood. That's me. Just a piece of driftwood being pushed along by circumstance. Everybody thinks I'm in charge, but if they weren't so sexist they'd realise she's the one doing all the hard work, I just have to repeat her orders to get their cooperation.
I looked at her, stooped over a low, flat rock, carefully marking plans on some rare papyrus. Hardly anybody here can read, and certainly not our language, she had to accommodate them and do it by pictures to show ambush positions.
How did we get to planning attacks and burning villages in an alternate universe?
66) An inflatable pool with yellow ducks and fake 'blood', with the sign 'blood bath'
It sounded so corny in the films. But not now. This was people dying. This was children lying maimed in the streets, too weak to even cry.
Ash covered his face, the smell making him heave food he couldn't afford to lose. This was his reality now. People going crazy and killing their whole villages because of the plague.
And it was his fault. His arrival caused the plague.
One of his men walked up silently, just waiting. Ash closed his eyes, nodded and walked away. The roar of flames met his ears a few seconds later.
The only way.