A Challenge! I’m going to attempt to write three flash stories with a common thread that, at the end of next week, will be a single complete story.
Well, I’m guessing it’ll need some linking work, but that’s the challenge.
Three flash prompts – one united story.
Check back to see how that goes.
Come the Revolution
None of us really believed in the revolution until the night Baz-Baz Chinnelle went missing. He’d always said he and Gina would get out before it started. I’d picked up their mail direct from the station. Not a hardship, the freight-train from Yeginder got in just before I came off shift. A cold breeze blew up the Wyrnal Canal and down my neck and I looked forward to a cup of chai with, if I was lucky, some of Gina’s home-cured marhog bacon on a still-warm bap.
The first indication anything was wrong sat on their door-step.
“Hey, Carradine, what you doing sitting in the cold?” I bent and stroked the overweight tabby who viewed Baz-Baz and Gina as butler and maid. She meowed plaintively. I knocked the door. Carradine mewed again. I knocked louder. When it remained unanswered I leaned an ear to the wood. A faint tinkle of wind-chimes was the only sound from inside.
This was the first time I wondered if Baz-Baz’s revolution was going to happen. Gina never missed the weekly packet of mail from back home, never. And they both doted over the fat cat who rubbed against my leg.
“C’mon, Carradine.” I scooped the cat up and headed to my flat. Carradine didn’t seem impressed, but a few chicken scraps and some milk mollified her.
If the revolution was coming, it seemed sensible to prepare. My tiny garret flat began to look like a store-room. Boxes of tins, jars, and bottles were stacked everywhere. I put a new lock on the door, and installed a sliding barrier behind that. It was strange, though, I seemed to be the only one preparing. I said that none of us believed in the revolution until Baz-Baz and Gina disappeared. Afterwards it was only me that believed. The others wrote him off as an ex-cadet with memories of hope, but no future other than the castles built in his mind.
“Gina’s dragged him back to her hometown,” Jonas said.
The others agreed.
“But, the revolution—“
Carra interrupted me. “Sar-Chona’s always revolting.”
Even I laughed at that. But no one else believed change was coming. No one. There was an ingrained expectation that The Inspectorate, the city’s security arm, would be on top of any situation. They had a reputation for having spies everywhere, and were run by a woman whose name, Kelly Secnish, was a byword for ruthlessness. Doing a Kelly, or being Kelly’ed meant doing, or having done to you, very bad things.
Two weeks after Baz-Baz flew the coop things started with the unexpected death of Kelly in a shoot out. The city was quiet for two days before hell broke out. I holed up in my flat for nearly a week, watching the city burn, listening to murder and death from the street below, and wishing Baz-Baz and Gina well wherever they had escaped to.
Everyone loses in a revolution. That’s my assessment.
When I eventually ventured outside, Sar-Chona was no longer Sar-Chona. I made my way through dark and quiet streets, assailed by putrefactions rankness. The water-pump still worked, something I’d worried about. Returning home safely was a relief.
Over the coming days my outside explorations lengthened. The factory I worked in was a charred ruin. Near the remains of a barricade I met Carra.
“Where’s Jonas?” I asked.
Her face was pale beneath the grime. She shook her head. The expected tears never came. She came home with me and, after eating greedily, curled onto the bed and slept. The cat snuggled against her in sympathy.
Two days later Carra could cry again. She told how Inspectorate forces cut Jonas down as he helped blockade the street, trying to keep back marauders and rioters.
“I never really believed there’d be a revolution,” she said. “I thought Baz-Baz was spinning yarns. He was full of them.”
“This one was no story.”
“No. Where do you think they are?”
“Somewhere safe, and warm.”
We sat in silence. Everyone loses in a revolution. I waited to find out what I’d lost.
Normality returns slowly to a city after revolution, the inhabitants nervous to accept safety has returned. The streets were quiet when I checked Baz-Baz and Gina’s place.
The door was open.
I went in, hoping to find my friends, ready to attack looters.
“Who the hell are you?” Asked the stranger. He was as tall as Baz-Baz, and about the same age. And he had a shock-flail pointed at me. My knife suddenly felt inadequate.
“This is my friends house,” I said. “I’m watching it until they return.”
He shook his head. “They wont be.”
He put the gun down. In seconds he went from a looter I was ready to stab, to a sad-faced stranger with the demeanor of a lonely tree in a desert plain.
“What do you mean?”
“Their both dead.”
He shook his head, like it didn’t matter.
“Tell me how,” I demanded. The knife wavered in my hand. I gripped it firmly. “And who the hell are you?”
Gina’s wind chimes tinkled softly.
“Does it matter. They’re gone, and so are the people responsible.”
I hadn’t believed there be a revolution. Though I didn’t want to, I believed this stranger who told me Baz-Baz was dead.