Writing Prompt – From the Ashes

Phoenix

Over the weekend, I posted a piece written by my boyfriend, Joe (AKA WoWMartiean). It was based on a writing prompt that inspired us both. The piece here is based on that same writing prompt.

The writing prompt was from the blog Terrible Minds, called Must Contain 3 Things.

It is always fascinating to me to see completely different ideas spring from the same original idea.

~ Effy

From the Ashes

In the year 2056, the world ended. After 3 years of World War 4, the Russians fired off their nukes and the rest of the world followed suit. A great conflagration of plutonic fire consumed the world and bitter nuclear winter followed.

From the ashes of civilization arose those too stubborn to give up.

Platoon 189 made their rounds. They kept the remaining terrified citizens under strict curfew, and enforced it brutally.

Someone had to keep order in the chaos. There remained no more functioning government, the president and his hundreds of politicians had been destroyed–trial by fire. America’s leadership had been whittled down to a handful of military leaders, the only ones left who could enforce order in this harsh post-apocalypse.

Upon entering the remains of a donut shop–obviously only by the charred sign laying twisted in the charred entryway–Lieutenant Harper signaled the others to silence and to fall in behind him from their former spread-out organization. He had heard a rustle and even now the others could see the movement of a shattered shelf towards the rear of the gutted building. All that remained of the former bastion of modern fast food was blackened rubble, ash, and the blasted bases of four walls.

The shelf twitched again.

Harper made further signals to surround the shelf and whatever moved beneath it.

A ring of trained marines watched intently–was it animal or child? friend or foe? scared American or hiding terrorist?

All at once, the shelf, the floor, the rubble, exploded into a shower of debris, knocking them all back from the area they had previously stood and off their feet. Ash fell like silent snow and larger pieces clattered down noisily and ricocheted off the ring of soldiers.

Not a bomb, thank God, but there was still a moment of terror when Harper realized they were all quite vulnerable.

Private Tapper recovered first, the youngest of the platoon, and did not contain his surprise, uttering, “A bird! It’s a giant fucking bird!”

Harper saw this was true as he wiped ash and soot from his eyes. The great, strange bird climbed into the sky at a furious rate and Harper could only guess at the massive size of the thing. The gaping hole it had sprung from spanned 12 feet or more, and Harper knew that the bird’s wingspan must easily surpass that.

With the sun behind it, and Harper’s eyes still watering from the stinging ash, he could only get a vague idea of the thing. It appeared to be on fire–like a giant phoenix?–but that had to be a trick of the light. Dark feathers covered it, and Harper swore the ends of every one flickered and smoldered like dying embers.

The bird hit the zenith of its climb into the heavens and finally spread its great wings. Its huge size and massive wingspan blotted out the sun behind it. It did burn, flickering flames licking at every inch of it, but they did not bother the bird.

Harper felt he should be terrified, but he wasn’t.

Water began to fall–not rain, there were no clouds–and it was salty, like… tears? Everywhere the water droplets touched him, he felt his muscles unknot and relax. The man felt a great peace flowing through him. Looking around, Harper saw the others similarly affected.

From the pit lined with the donut shop’s rubble, a bright green sapling sprung forth. Harper was overcome, he had not seen something green and growing since the nukes fell.

From the ashes of civilization arose hope.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This story and all related material are the original works of Awaiting the Muse and Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti. All rights reserved.
Creative Commons License
Awaiting the Muse by Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at https://awaitingthemuse.wordpress.com/.

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