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Drama Sad Fiction

Dust clouds bloomed, racing over the dry seabed as another of their fathers crafts launched into the air. From the cliff, she gazed at the massive craft's engines blazing through the stagnant air, hauling two-hundred and fifty more people into space.


"That makes number one-hundred ninety-eight," she said, poking data into her arm mounted tablet.


As the ship faded into the cloudless sky she turned.


"Wont be long now pencil neck," she said.


"Even now, you wont let up with that name," he said, continuing to scribble away on his sketchbook.


"Oh," she said, flamboyantly stepping over sun bleached bones of recently extinct animals. "Have I angered the renowned polymath."


"No," he replied. " but you're doing a hell of a job annoying him."


"Well then," she said, pulling a stainless steel canteen bottle off her utility belt. "Perhaps some water will settle the troubled mind."


His eyes rose from his sketchpad as she placed the canteen in front of his face.


"Oh come on now," she said unscrewing the cap. " I know your thirsty, that shiny beluga whale forehead of yours tells me that."


He smirked as a bead of sweat etched a line down his dust covered cheeks.


"Nearly finished," he replied, nudging the canteen away and returning his focus to the paper. "Not like it matters much anyway," he murmured.


She stepped around the small boulder he was sitting on, just as he put the pencil down. She leaned forward, hugging his back and resting her head on his thin shoulder. A smile spread across her face.


On the paper was her image, standing on the cliff edge, overlooking sea waves, while birds, whose names she couldn't remember, fluttered overhead. There were also trees on either side of her, with furry animals hanging off branches and others scurrying through tall grass.


She looked up, her smile evaporating as she gazed upon the scorched earth in front of her. The seabed, cracked and barren beyond the jagged cliff, was littered with stark white bones cooking, half buried, in the sun baked dirt.


"I want you to take it with you," he said, offering the entire sketchbook to her.


The wind blew.


She winced as it pelted another layer of grit onto her cheeks.


She pressed the canteen against his ribs.


He glared at it.


"You should drink up," she said, standing up straight as they exchanged their gifts.


The ground trembled beneath their feet as thunder roared in the distance.


Another craft beginning its sluggish ascent into space.


He eyed her as she gazed into the endless desolation surrounding them.


"That makes one-hundred ninety-nine," he called out to her.


She glared at him.


"What," he chuckled.


"You know it was dumb luck," she replied, punching the data into her tablet.


His jaw flexed.


"A stupid lottery," she mumbled.


"It was the right choice though," he replied, standing up and walking over to the cliff's edge. " You know as well as I do, there's no need for an artist."


She turned her back to him, winching at the harsh reflection of sun light cast by the massive craft sitting three-hundred yards away.


Two-hundred crafts, each with two-hundred and fifty people: scientist, doctors, farmers, politicians, and anyone else rich enough to support the building of the state-of-the-art ships she helped her father engineer. The so called essentials needed for the future of humankind. 


She shivered; a three hundred year long cryosleep, long enough to wait out the coming storm that seventeen billion people would face. 


She turned away, her eyes resting on him.


His frayed shirt whipped in the scorching wind. Was anyone on earth escaping this nightmare through one of his many immersive books, or taking refuge in one of his masterpiece works of art, maybe finding comfort in his last recorded symphony. In any other time, he would have ruled the world; a sixteen-year-old prodigy while she would have been nothing more than a nineteen-year-old adept nerd. But not in this era, where cold, calculated, heartless decisions had to be made by cold, calculating, heartless people.


She stared at him as he looked to his hand, to the canteen filled with warm water. 


He took a sip and held it, closing his eyes for a moment, before gulping the rest.


Her tablet vibrated just as she covered her mouth with a trembling hand.


He turned and jogged to her, smearing the wet dust on his cheeks with his palms.


"Time to go sis," he said, grabbing her hand and pulling her towards the electric jeep a few yards away. "I'll drive you there."


She let him guide her, squeezing his bony hand, her eyes locked on the back of his sun burnt head.


"Woah," he said, almost tripping over his feet. They reached the jeep and he went for the driver side. She put a hand on his chest.


"Hold on there pencil neck," she said opening the passenger side door and nudging him in.


"Even now," he said shaking his head. Once he was in she dashed around the front, keeping her eyes on him. She hopped in the drivers side, turned the key and tossed his sketchbook into the backseat.


The jeep jolted forward, kicking up a trail of dust and broken bones. In the distance, he saw the glare of the crafts bright red lights come to life as piercing sirens blared. His head tilted towards her as he slouched in the passenger side seat.


Her eyes were red and her brows furrowed. He reached out, his hand plopping onto her shoulder.


Her face turned to him as his vision blurred. He tried to blink his focus back.


She gave him a warm smile as a teardrop fell from her lashes.

******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************


He stumbled, breathing heavy, eyes swollen and head throbbing. He grit his teeth, pushing forward, sprinting the rest of the three-hundred yards. Torn pieces of his shirt clung to tree branches behind him. Hot sweat and thick mud mixed as he jumped and fell over puddles, which stung the many cuts that stubborn thorn bushes had carved into bare flesh.


The cliff edge materialized along with the loud, frothing sea beyond.


Sticking out of the moist ground was the top of a boulder.


As soon as his eyes uncovered it, his trembling legs gave in.


He crawled on all fours towards it, scraped off the thick moss covering it and dug clumps of thick earth burying it.


Etched deep in stone:


'we need this'.


A jagged arrow pointed down to a square shaped heart and underneath that:


'love you pencil neck.'


His mouth quivered and a burst of laughter escaped.


"Even now," he whispered hoarsely.


His face flushed as his face contorted and his throat constricted.


Trees on either side of him swayed in the breeze as furry animals swung to-and-fro on their thick branches, while others scurried through the tall grass and birds, whose names he couldn't remember, fluttered overhead.

October 07, 2020 01:52

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3 comments

Judith Buskohl
02:31 Oct 18, 2020

It isn't the type of story that I usually read ,but I did enjoy it. I read it to the end and I hope you take my remarks are taken in the manner they are given. I didn't understand exactly what was going on ,but again this isn't the type of story I usually read. I like mystery or romance. Typical girl stuff. LOL! I did like your story and had to re-read a few section to get the true picture. Good writing and keep up the good work.

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Ashton Noble
02:49 Oct 18, 2020

No problem, I like comments like yours. They are truthful and help me see the flaws I'm blind to. Thank you for taking the time to read it, I have written a romance in the Autumnal prompt contest if your interested. It is my first attempt at Romance and an honest opinion would be greatly appreciated. It's called 'Apple of My Eye'. I don't know if it is visible as of yet. I took a much different approach to writing that one than this one. I truly appreciate your comment. Thanks again.

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Ashton Noble
22:10 Oct 08, 2020

Thank you for reading. Please leave honest comments. No need to hold back, the strongest foundations are built using the toughest materials.

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