Lizzie Koch’s Picture Choice: 2
Title: The Promise
It was the promise after the many miles trekking, the spilt blood, the loss of friends. Starting out as one of ten, ending with just me. I pondered the stairway. So many times I’d been told safety lay beyond that hill, a thriving community, civilisation. I needed that. Looking up the hill, I counted the minutes, hours and days where I hadn’t seen a soul, not heard a word uttered. I craved company. Loneliness was now my enemy more so than the virus that tore at every thread of society. It stole my family, ate away at my friends. They were the fabric of my life, and without them I was naked, starved and dare I admit, slowly going mad.
But the stairs lay in front of me. With the love of my family and the support of friends, I took the first step. With every buoyant step, I was closer to my new life. The thought of rejection never entered my mind. Why would they reject a fit, healthy, skilled human? Still. I ran through my skillset; some I’d never thought I’d ever have to do in my life but skills I learnt very quickly to survive. I had blood on my hands that no amount of washing would ever cleanse.
Halfway up, I took a quick break, swigging heartily now on the little water I had left, surveying the view. In my old life, this hike would have been a day out with the kids, maybe a bit of sketching, definitely some family pictures and flying a kite. A small smile crept across my face at those wonderful thoughts.
Thoughts that could never be.
Marching onward, I cursed my reverie. It was weak. Weakness was my enemy second to loneliness. Weakness was a distraction which would kill me. I had no idea what these new people were like but if they’d been through only half the hell I’d experienced, they’d not show me one ounce of respect for my weak and pathetic life.
The final step. My legs felt like lead but I allowed euphoria to swell within. To converse, to laugh at a bad joke, to be part of something with someone, anyone.
I took my time at the final step, stretching up, glancing back at what I’d overcome. It felt like crossing the threshold would leave everything behind, everyone behind. But this was my life now.
The fence was a good sign; tall and strong. I walked along it, my pounding heart the only sound until I reached a gate. An open gate. A thump, thump, thump sound filled my head but I couldn’t see anyone. I realised it was my heart, racing at what my eyes were seeing. Nothing.
I was alone . . .
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I dream of sharing my work with the big wide world one day as a published author. Right now, I share flash fiction with a wonderful community of writers and friends. If you liked this story, then why not visit my blog at http://40somethingundomesticateddevil.blogspot.co.uk/ for more. Thank you. Love Lizzie x