Picture it and write: The Flash

by joetwo

Hi there here is my offering for this weeks picture it and write for Ermilia’s blog here. Once again, the picture is not mine, it is only used for inspiration. Anyway, Enjoy!

The Flash

James rushed up the final few steps along the trail, exhausting what energy his middle-aged body had left. He bent down to catch is breath, then lifted his head and looked around the old tree. It was a peaceful, dark patch of forest. Dominated by ancient trees covered in moss and lichen. It was a place he knew well from his jogging sessions in the mountains around the base. He felt relieved, buoyant even. He had made it.

Technically he was a deserter. His uniform, increasingly more dishevelled as events played out, showed a rank that men were supposed to look up to. “Generals don’t run” they used to say, “Generals stay to the end!”

“Screw that!” he thought. His men had discharged their duty admirably, everything that could be done had already been accomplished. It was all in the hands of the gods now. He doubted that anything was going to happen to him now, his betters had far more important things to be worrying about now than an AWOL SAC commander.

He checked his watch, there was less than a minute left. He had started a timer the second that his last order had been carried out. It gave him only twenty minutes to make it to here. His Jeep had broken down the chain-linked gates without any resistance, it seemed that even the guards had gone into hiding after the sirens had started to sound. He couldn’t blame them. Anyway it helped him make good time up the mountain and afforded him these last few seconds. Just enough to take stock of his life.

He had some regrets of course. He could have been a better husband to Mary, better father to Grace and Susan. He would never meet his new grandson. Couldn’t even get through on the phone that morning, everybody else had the same idea, jamming the lines.

Suddenly; like a new sunrise there was a flash on the horizon. The light was so intense that it burned through the canopy reaching  the base of the tree. All in silence the light slowly faded turning a sickly red. There was a faint smell of smoke in the air, probably from the upper stories of the trees burning.

James had done some back of the envelope calculations before he decided on coming here. He figured that if the epicentre was in down town, then he would have about twenty seconds before the shock front hit the forest. The trees would be blasted into kindling with the force. Enough shrapnel to ensure that he would be killed. If that didn’t work, he still had his side-arm holstered, just in case. Radiation was a fucker and it wasn’t going to take him alive.

That last thought, that tone of defiance, pleased James enough to bring a smile to his face. A smile he held while the shock front rolled through the forest, breaking trees like match sticks, knocking away Jeeps, fences, surface buildings, all the works of men, and one lone figure, giving two fingers to the forces he helped unleash.

In terms of all the deaths that happened that day, it wasn’t a bad way to go.