As the light of the setting sun glints off the city’s steel facades, an explosion of movement spreads across the landscape. Those few seconds lend a magnification of power, gifting precious energy to those who were trapped outside when the blast hit.
Just as quickly as it began, where moments before was a flurry of noise, stillness falls. Occasionally a grain of sand gets carried closer by short-lived breezes. Then the sound starts. Lungs torturously filling themselves with the oxygen expended moments before. Moans of agony escape chapped lips as muscles rebel against the forced action. And then they wait, yet again, for the next day’s only reprieve.
If desperation had a taste, it’d be flesh and dust and sand mixed together, but taste is hard to sense over the stench of the rotting corpses littering the running field. The ones who didn’t make it this far. Those on the outskirts know that taste. They know they’ll never make it in time, not before they wilt or waste or get picked off by the roiling clouds along the horizon.
Those clouds inch closer every day. The acid rain rolls languidly along, melting everything it comes into contact with as it approaches the city. That’s what Safety was intended for. To withstand the predicted acid rain. But the blast came too soon, locking the populace in throes of despair with their beacon of hope but a shiny wish on the horizon. All that’s left is that daily frantic burst of speed. That one hope.
A thing at my feet whimpers, and I reach down with a twist of my hand to silence it. The sickening crunch is followed by the thud of the body and I smile. The sun can’t reach in here – it can’t touch me or my meals. I stand and watch, waiting for my food to reach me. The incoming supply is being delectably roasted out there.
I wonder what they’ll think of this city they call Safety.