Ashes on the Wind
The protesting screech of the hangar doors shattered the stillness of the winter morning. The man, small, unremarkable, panting with the effort of opening them, slipped inside.
A vast, open space greeted him. A couple of pigeons fluttered nervously up by the rooflights. He threw the power switch.
There, in the middle of an unswept floor, stood his salvation, his escape.
Vapour, in grey tendrils escaped slowly from the snake-like hoses that curled malevolently around the base of a shiny black pod.
That was how he’d always thought of it. The Escape Pod. An escape from the nightmare this world had become. Wars, disease, the Politics of Corruption had the world reeling from a cancer of decay.
He, a humble scientist, with no life outside of his research, had stumbled upon a means of escape. He’d re-routed funds, kept everything secret from his employers. Now he was ready, and not a day too soon. They knew. They were asking questions. There must be no further delay. Today, he would go where they could not follow. He would escape into time itself. Surely the distant future held a better life.
Suddenly, the roar of vehicles, the shouting of men, just beyond the doors!
He ran for the Pod, opening the small hatch and climbing in. Through the vision port he saw them, a team of stormtroopers, guns blazing, advancing on his dream. Panicking, he set the controls with trembling fingers. A tremendous thrummmmm reverberated inside his brain, as the snaking pipes automatically disengaged from the Pod. The soldiers, still firing indiscriminately, advanced closer, and the Pod appeared to shimmer, then with a soft pop of inrushing air, disappeared….
Scant moments later, the man trusted himself to look out of the vision port.
He was surprised. Everything looked….old.
He punched up data on the panel in front of him, scarcely believing he’d miscalculated. His expertise was the product of hundreds of years of Japanese technological superiority, surely nothing could’ve gone wrong.
But the faint green glow of the readout looked back at him accusingly, daring him to disagree;
08:14 August 6th 1945
Realisation dawned on him, like an icy trickle down his back. He looked up from the display panel, and out across the city of Hiroshima, as the clock registered 08:15, and a tremendous flash lit up the morning sky.
Before he could reset and escape into time again, the searing shock wave of the Atomic Blast incinerated any memory of his existence, save for the ashes on the wind.
© Kev Moore 2007