I’ve decided to start trying the writing challenges at Chuck Wendig’s blog. This week’s Flash Fiction Challenge was to pick an opening sentence from the ones submitted the prior week and write up to 2000 words. Thanks to the story hive for the inspiration.
5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0
“I’m on the highway to hell,” I belted out and carried on with the CPR. They said you were supposed to sing “Staying Alive” to set the proper rhythm for chest compressions, but I was a realist. Anyway, it wasn’t like I was going to do any worse than any of the sad bastards scattered around me.
The Revolutionary Brotherhood had been setting off these bombs in the city center for weeks, any place they could sneak one in. I was surprised there was still anyone out and about to get caught by this one. I figured everybody would either be deployed or hiding in their homes. Me, I was neither. I’d never be on active duty again with this leg, and home … well. No reason to hang around there anymore. Maybe it was the same for these folks. Or maybe they just needed to try to pretend everything was normal.
The old guy I was working on didn’t even look like he’d been hurt — probably was walking by and had a heart attack. Most people around here weren’t so lucky. Their deaths were coming the sticky and painful way.
I lifted my head a bit to listen for sirens, and all of the other sounds I’d been blocking out came rushing back in. People yelling and screaming, the creak of metal as blasted supports threatened to buckle, the whoosh of flames. God, it was hot.
No sirens though. Maybe they weren’t coming. Maybe they were busy with another attack. Maybe there was nobody left. I tuned it all out again.
I gave up the chest compressions and tried rescue breathing. The guy had vomited a little bit. I had to tune out taste and smell so I didn’t do the same. One breath. His chest didn’t rise. Another. Nothing.
Back to the chest compressions. I was too tired to sing anymore, so I just chanted in my head. Fuck this, fuck them, fuck you, fuck this, fuck them, fuck you… I ignored the ribs breaking under my hands, tuned out my sore wrists and burning shoulders. I just focused on pushing and chanting until I couldn’t feel any of it anymore.
I didn’t know they were here until an EMT waved her hand in front of my eyes. I looked up. The sky was dark. There were fires in the distance, a lot of them. I wasn’t sure if the sun had set or if they’d just bombed it out of the goddamn sky.
I looked down. The guy was dead. Probably had been for a while.
I lifted my head toward the EMT, but I didn’t really see her. Just the old man, and my parents, and my brother, and those people lying around us in the street. Fire and blood and bone and staring dead eyes.
Then, mercifully, I didn’t see anything anymore.