22 -March -2023 - 18:13


Tomorrow's Promise

(this story is actually over twenty years old and was written for a writing contest at the polytechnical I attended. It did very well in that contest.)

Mike Jansen

Short and careful my steps through the rubble of Indianapolis, past waste of a million people. I don’t have to search for long, the smell of decay leads me to a dark cellar entrance, a steep slope down and dark shallow water at the bottom. Far away down there, the bars are shiny new between the dilapidated structures of the once proud high-rises. A rusted sign proclaims a heap of rubble ‘ChaseTower.’
  A sharp pain stabs into my left leg, much fiercer than the previous one, deeper, more intense, a red fire that forces me to the ground. I grunt softly and I watch a single tear drop from my left eye, splashing a small fountain in slow motion.
My legs go over the edge and I slide down. My one boot trips over an opaque plastic bottle, but my right arm grips and I halt my descent. The bottom of the cellar is covered in needles and glass shards. The edge of the pool is a murky dark brown. As I get up I see that my right arm caught a hand, sticking out of the rubble, greenish, nails grown long, claw like. I let go with a shiver and step away until my back touches the bars. The hand is not moving, the arm is buried under lumps of stone and concrete.
  All anew a deep stab in my lower back, I gasp for breath, push my hand into my back, push, knead, pinch; I know there is only one solution. I turn around and stare into the darkness beyond the glistening bars. I notice the soft breeze that carries the sweet stench of decay.
  Heat spreads from my lower back, climbs up my spine. I want to scream but my lungs are empty. My left hand grabs the bars to keep myself upright. With my other hand I pull my dagger. I smash steel on steel and the sound grates on my nerves. A deep tearing carves shards from my brain.
  The world seems to wait, seconds stretch to minutes, my nerves fire randomly, painfully, my sight grows dim and I see glistening towers rise up above me, rise into eternity and a deep fear overcomes my thoughts.
Too late, flashes through my mind, to die in Indianapolis, the horror! My chest heaves and I feel the final darkness stealing over me.
  Wait, something moves. Delusion or reality? I reach up, miles and miles, hours away while my body burns...
Frayed linen, blackish brown, scent of rotting meat, heavy and sweet, stiflingly close, a hand like a mummy’s. And an ampoule. I grab the glass, smooth, the needle in my wrist unbearable pleasure.
  Crystal pain, ice in my veins, fine branching sweetness, I feel divine. Time passes.
  My payment is a watery jewel set in fiery gold.
  Tomorrow I shall be late again. It makes it so much better...

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