The Fall

November 4, 2009
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An alarm sounded in the distance. I froze at the sound and felt a shiver go down my spine. I was suddenly engulfed in fear, the alarm wasn’t supposed to go off for another hour! The great metal fortress was so close, just coming out of the dark smoke and ash. Through my blackened goggles I could see red strobe lights going off and men scurrying on the distant ramparts.

People from all around the distant wasteland flocked toward the building. I could see them stumble and fight as they tried to get to the safety of the fortress. Men on the ramparts screamed at the men, women, and children to hurry.

The gates would be closing in four minutes, with one minute to spare until “the fall.” I was too far away, having traveled for days from fortress to fortress, I had miscalculated my timing. Just an hour off! Panicking, I ran blindly towards the safety of the fortress, ignorant of my dangerous surroundings.

The ground around me was uneven, disrupted by the fall leaving great craters and chunks of rock. The craters smoked and brought about ash which constantly swirled in the wind. The goggles I wore gave me little protection against the ash and the rest of my clothes were stained pitch black. As I ran I tripped and stumbled through craters and crashed asteroids. When I was a close one hundred yards away I heard the great doors groan and squeak as they started to close.

“No!” I screamed, running even harder. They can’t do this to me now, after all I’ve been through. Suddenly, as if god had heard me scream, two dim lights appeared in the distance. They were converging on the fortress very fast now. When it got closer I could see that it was an old school bus, packed with people trying to get to the safety of the fortress. Some were clinging to the roof and were on the hood.

The fortress had to open their doors for them! The bus, with barely any yellow visible from its days of transporting students was only about thirty seconds out. It was streaked with ash and two of the tires were flat.

I could now see some faces in the bus, a small girl had her face pressed to the glass, and she was staring at me. I must have looked terrifying, a black demon rushing through the night in an ash filled wasteland. I smiled at her, she didn’t smile back.

The doors then stopped, yes, and started to open again. I ran even harder at the sight of this, but when I was only fifteen yards away from the safe confines of the fortress, I tripped. Without focusing on the ground, I stepped in a crater and fell hard on my face. My goggles were ripped off and my mouth filed with ash. I gagged at this and then noticed that my leg was broken. I screamed in pain. The action only pushed the ash further down my throat, making me choke.

I wasn’t going to make it, I was drowning in ash and couldn’t move because of my leg. As I looked up I saw the bus roar into the safety of the fortress leaving me outside, in the dangerous open, alone. Tears began to fall down my cheeks as I crawled toward the closing door. My family was waiting for me in there and I would never be able to see them again. As I looked up to the fortress I could see a man peering down at me nodding his head and then looking away. The metal hatch swung shut and then a bolt slid across, locking it.

Fifteen seconds later, the door closed and “the fall” started. Asteroids began to pound the Earth.

About six months ago we had spun out of orbit into an asteroid field. Every week or so, at around nine o’clock, “the fall” would begin. Asteroids would crash into Earth for about an hour, leaving anyone in the open, dead. Fortresses were constructed, as safe houses, but there weren’t enough, and many people couldn’t get to them in time. I was one of those people, just another casualty of “the fall.”

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