All my life savings, that’s all it took to save me from the end of the world. I still can’t believe my luck, that I managed to get away. The boat was the most expensive thing in the end, I had to buy it. No-one was willing to rent, everyone was too scared…
Fortunately I was able to buy supplies. Not food of course, food wouldn’t last. A harpoon, several knives, water filters, purification tablets, first aid kits… The real essentials.
I steer the boat carefully through the reef, conscious that this is my only means of transport if I ever want to leave this island again. White sand stretches in a bow ahead of me, gradually widening around me as I approach the shore.
Looking over the side, I see sand under the aqua green water, almost luminescent in the sunlight. A fish and then another and then a whole shoal of them swim underneath the hull.
Unless they succeed in poisoning the oceans I’ll be able to eat for a long time.
I run the boat up onto the shore, it’s flat bottomed so it doesn’t tip over. I pull up the engine and secure it, take a rope and tie the boat to a rock that serves as a useful anchor point.
My new home for the rest of my life.
The first few days I set myself busy building a shelter, getting used to the routine of fishing, trying to get used to the silence.
I’ve brought large plastic containers to store rain water. I cut down large leaves from the islands palm trees to put a roof over my shelter and try to arrange them so rain water will flow into the containers. I won’t know if it works until it finally rains.
One of my most precious supplies is a carefully sealed container of matches. Thousands of them. As long as I can keep them dry I’ll be able to boil water and cook the fish I catch.
I sit on the white sand, looking out to the surf. It’s possible that others will come to this island, fleeing from the war and troubles that I’ve left behind. The world is ending and while I may have been one of the lucky ones, I hope there are more who got away.
I’ve walked round the whole island now. Checking to see what resources are available. Mango trees and coconut will supplement my diet. I’m already starting to weary of my daily portion of fish.
Company is what I miss most. It’s been growing inside me each day.
I sit on the beach, the sand that hasn’t been trodden on for who knows how long.
The sand stretches out under the water for at least a hundred metres, maybe more, changing eventually to a dark blue, slightly darker than the sky in the distance. White clouds periodically block the sun, but here at the equator the temperature remains constant.
It is paradise and I have no-one to share it with.
All I can think about is what I’ve left behind, about what must be happening back home. So many have died and here I am living a dream vacation I might have killed for twenty years ago.
I never wanted to kill anyone.
But I knew if I stayed I would have to.
I haven’t eaten all day.
I don’t even feel hunger, just lethargic. The motivation drained from me over the last few days. Yesterday all I did was sit on the beach waiting.
We were all to blame. Sure it would have been easy to blame the politcians, the leaders, but each of them represented us, each of them came from us. We got the governments we deserved and it seems we deserved to die.
At least no-one had pressed the button, at least before I left. Some semblance of rationality kept anyone from launching a pre-emptive strike, but who needs nuclear missiles when you can poison. When your conventional weapons are just as powerful as the smallest nuke, when you have a million men at your command all of whom seem to care nothing about their lives.
I left my family, I left my friends knowing that they would die.
Pleading with them to come with me, but none of them would.
It seemed like they were locked in to some strange feeling of destiny.
So I left. And every day I wonder what has happened to them. Is there anyone left?
Today I forced myself to eat. Made myself sleep. I should be able to relax by now. I take long walks. I busy myself, building a stronger shelter, preparing for the long haul, but all I can think about is home.
I longed to come here, ever since I saw a poster of this view, heard about these islands, but I am not able to enjoy it.
I don’t look back.
I doubt I will ever be able to return.
Maybe some lucky soul will find the shelter I left behind, the supplies buried under the floor, but for me, I realise that I was not destined to die alone.
The longer I was away, the greater my desire grew to do something, to try and stop the madness.
Maybe the world is ending, maybe all I can do is help it end faster, but I have to try.
I have to do something…
Copyright Mark Anderson Smith 2017 http://www.dragonlake.co.uk/ You may link to this post from http://www.dragonlake.co.uk/2017/06/flash-fiction-the-world-is-ending/ or share on a non-commercial website so long as the full copyright notice and this statement is included.
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