City of Lights



The world’s gotten on so long now, that nothin’ should have shocked me. People been prepping for world-wide devastation since people learned how to pack stuff in bags. For them, for us, it’s been the same: Somethin’ comes, people die, people rebuild.
If they’re rebuilding, I ain’t found none yet.
And, my leg been hurtin’. Been hurtin’ somethin’ fierce.
She was a pretty thing, the first I’d seen in months. They roamed wild now, the stallions. Seems like once they was unpenned, they found their legs and ran, ran down to the wild streams and drank like the first time they drank their mother’s milk. To be there again, to be in that place where the wind was a cousin shoutin’ back ‘come play out here, Sam, come out here and play’ I would give my good leg.
But she was too wild. Thought I’d take her so’s I could take a load off my feet. Turned out to be a wrong choice, and, well, horses don’t like to be cornered. Same’s with humans, too. She took a swing, came down hard on my leg, and raised quite the ruckus. Glad I was to be hobblin’ away from there. Even gladder I was to find the springs. Gave me some much needed respite. Gave me time to think about where I was headed.
The death of the world does things to you, makes you wish that the plague, or the comet, or ice age would take you too. Those poor b*stards with their families, I can’t imagine how it must’ve felt to be the last one standing. Glad I’m still a bachelor. My choice. Gave me my land, my friends, my music. My direction now. I hope luck’ll be with me just a little longer. I gotta find at least one of them. I gotta know that my footprints ain’t going to be the last ones ’round. I gotta know that my pockets’ll ain’t full of words for nothin’.
The road I walk led to New York. I figured people’d be there. But, the dust that settled on everything, settled on the pavement where my feet hit day after day, settled on the tree tops and wild horses, settled here too.
I wandered the streets, palms up when the rains came. They was the same here, hot and left me wanting to bathe. It fell on me same’s as the bodies that had long since strewn and devoted themselves to the ground.
I looked down at my leg. It hadn’t stopped bleeding and started smelling like an old fart. No matter what, I would join these numbers, these legions of lost. I tried the doors to the businesses. All of them were open, waiting for me.
I stumbled, but caught myself on the rear view mirror of a Pontiac. I couldn’t tell if I had started to sweat or it was the rain, but I vomited anyway. My leg was numb. My foot was numb. My fingers and hands grew numb, and my heart felt a million miles away spinning around a star.
I had to find one. Just one.
I stood up as upright as I could, walked three more steps, shuddered from a chill, then fell to the ground.
Times Square, I reckoned, once lit up like the night sky, is where I’ll make my last stand. I let the rain fall on my face, and for a moment, I am certain my last wish arrived just in time. He stands over me, wet and dripping. I reach up, grasp air, and move my hand to my pants pocket. I hope he knows how to read.
-JR Simmang

This is a short story that was inspired by a Writersdigest.com prompt. Go check out the website. It's a writer's fountain of wisdom.


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