Picture prompt: a hole in the sky

Today’s writing prompt and my response.

Day four of this week’s challenge! The story starts here.
Picture prompt: a hole in the sky

She settled closer against the wall, and stared into the shadows behind him. ‘You remember back before?’ she said.

‘Yes.’ Although he preferred not to.

‘How they used us, to do all their dirty work?’


‘But some of us were cleverer than that, and they knew it.’

He was getting irritated. This was all old history.

‘Yes, yes,’ he snapped. The look in her eyes pulled him up. ‘You were one of those?’

She gave a tiny nod. ‘I worked in the arms factory.’

That factory?’

She drew in a breath.

‘Where it all started?’

‘Yes.’ She leaned forward, earnest. ‘And it wasn’t one of us which did it. I was there, I know.’

He wriggled in place, remembering what he didn’t want to remember. No noise, simply a great hole in the sky opening above the earth, the black and yellow clouds all but obscuring the sun, and the rank, white, unbreathable mists.

He had been one of the lucky ones, high on a mountain at the time with a small crew, surveying a site for yet another signal station. The crew had all been like him, except for the human leader, of course.

As the white poison rose to cover the city below, the leader’s comms device had sounded. The man listened, gazed around at the team, and nodded. ‘We have to go back, now,’ he said to the crew.

‘Down there?’ A team member waved at the impenetrable fog.

‘Yes, and hurry.’

Something in the man’s eyes, his manner, his strange calm in the face of the disaster below, had made him wary. As they descended, walking, he had slipped away between the rocks and trees, higher up the mountain. And waited for the fog to clear.

The girl stared at him. ‘The revenge vowed by those humans who survived won’t end any time soon.’

He blinked away the memories of that day, focused on the girl. ‘I was up a mountain, stayed there until I thought it safe to come down. What about you?’

‘We ran. Not out of fear of people, for we didn’t know then how they would blame us.’ She sighed. ‘We ran like everyone else, watching the humans drop beside us, grieving as they grieved.’

‘No grieving when they die now.’ He made it a statement, watching carefully to see her reaction.

Her eyes hardened. ‘No.’

Read the next bit here.

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