Flash fiction – We Won The War

So, last night a line of narration popped into my head while I was heading off to bed. Seeing as how I am now one of those privileged millions who own an iPad, I decided to stay up and follow that first line through to conclusion. What followed is the flash fiction that makes up today’s blog post – aren’t I a generous one?

This was a stream of consciousness thing, and I’m actually pretty pleased with it since I rarely get anything good out in a single sitting – my work is edited, reedited, and finally redrafted several more times in pretty much every case. However, I wanted to share this because it feels right, and there ain’t much more that needs to be done with it, I think. I mean to get on with the website additions and create a space for little story snippets and suchlike, so this should be an incentive to get that sorted.

I have this idea in the back of my mind of a story or set of stories set after the Zombie War – that global apocalypse beloved of so many movies and books (my personal favourite being Max Brooks World War Z – if you haven’t read it yet, rectify that soon, you shan’t regret it). I am fascinated by the concept of what comes next. What do you do when the war is won? How do you return to the life you had; how does the world work now? Its something that I will explore later on it what I hope will be a long and productive career, but for now, here is the first glimpse at the world after the Zombie War:

Edit: I changed the title because I thought the previous one was a bit on-the-nose. True story: I am terrible at coming up with names for anything and everything.

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 We Won The War

Humanity won the Zombie War, but what did we win?

No, seriously, I’m asking. What did we win?

The right to keep living, I guess. And not living like we did in the war, looking over our shoulders every other second to make sure that the guy standing next to you on the bus isn’t going to sink his teeth into your back. Living like we did before, with our little comforts and our desperate self-delusions.

Well, if that’s what we were fighting for, I don’t think we’ve won yet.

Sure, for the lucky bastards who were in the Safe Zone for most of the war, maybe things are some twisted version of normal. The Fortifications and the Border Guard hold off the zees, and inside everyone gets on with the business of rebuilding.

Maybe that’s what we won: a chance to rebuild. Respite from the boredom and the terror. A moment to breathe slow and consider instead of relying on strung-out instincts because that’s all that’s kept us alive this far. To direct one’s efforts towards building something that lasts, instead of something that will do for as long as it’s needed.

Personally, I don’t see it.

Oh, everyone talks like that. The Reconstruction; humanity’s comeback. The President’s speech is printed on the back of every milk carton these days, replacing the missing children’s’ pictures. “Now is the time to look forward. We can abandon the old ways of thinking, the tribal mentality that kept us apart almost to the brink of extinction. Now is the time to begin anew.” Goddamn hippy.

But when you get past the words, when you look at their eyes, you can see the fear; the same buzzing thought processes that got each of us through the war. Everyone hoards food and water in a bag by the door, just in case. Everyone goes to the town meeting, just in case there is a face missing that they’ll need to keep an eye out for when the streetlights go off. Every staircase in the country is collapsible and ready to be pulled up from the lower storey, just in case. Just in case.

You know when we’ll have really won? The day we’re free of just in case.

 

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Let me know what you think; I thrive on constructive criticism! Have a good day, one and all.