Thursday, 15 December 2016

Another day in Paradise

She woke with a start and blinked into the thin streams of sunlight that cut through the gaps in the metal shielding around her small bed. Reality returned, a fragment at a time, like pieces of a puzzle that her brain had to slowly put back together. What had she been dreaming about? The tendrils of her subconscious were already slipping away, too quickly for her to grasp on to, it was a lost cause. She had a feeling it had been important, the dream, but in what way she couldn't now say.
Alia pushed herself up into a sitting position, careful not to hit her head on the cold metal roof above, and rolled over onto the threadbare mat that lined the floor. Another day, another day in paradise.
She washed and dressed quickly, there wasn't time to spare on these activities. She had a limited amount of time to spend during the day, and if she wanted to get everything done she'd have to meticulously sparing about how much time she used. But she was used to the drill now. It was the same old familiar routine that kept her alive, that kept her going, that kept her safe. Dust motes circled in the slips of sunlight that cut across her small home and for a moment she let herself watch them, enjoying the random way they dipped and flowed around each other. Her eyes followed the beam of light back up to the dark metal wall and the gap it had pushed itself through. She couldn't see through and for a moment she allowed herself to imagine that beyond her shelter lay lush forests carpeted in bushes and grass. A world where the birds sang and small creatures rustled in the leafy undergrowth.
No. She didn't have time for this.
The tunnel that lead from Alia's small shelter to the outside world was barely big enough for her to squeeze through, a tactical defence strategy she had designed specifically. There were many things bigger than her that she didn't care to encounter, much less give an opportunity to find their way into her home, such as it was. She paused at the end, listening intently to the silence, her keen ears checking that the coast was clear before she pulled back the wood barricade and pushed away the stone that both locked her in and stopped the entrance from looking like anything remarkable to the outside world.
The sunlight bit into her eyes, causing her to squint for a moment until they had adjusted. That was the problem with living underground, there was always a period of blindness when you emerged. That was dangerous, in the wrong place, at the wrong time, that could mean the difference between life and death. Blindly she pushed the rock back in front of the small tunnel and turned to peer into the now familiar wasteland before her. This was it, this was her home, the same at it had been the day before, and the day before that, and the day before that. Every day in fact since the happening, the event, the apocalypse, the great shut down... whatever you wanted to call it. Names didn't matter at this point. The only thing that mattered now was survival. Survival in the cold barren wasteland of the once green and luscious earth.
Alia shouldered her pack and started moving, she didn't have long. Just another day in paradise.

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