Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Stories from the wasteland
He rested a while, sniffing at the cold wind. There would be a frost tonight, and his bones knew fear of the cold. He was getting old.
He was sixty five, and the years had starved him. The flesh of his youth had loosened and sagged, leaving his frame thinly draped and his eyes staring from his bony head like some curious troll.
He was sixty five, and his hair, grey many years ago, now raised a white halo about his leather-coloured face.
That he had survived so long was a wonder to him. for his earlier years had not prepared him for this present world. But somehow he had learned to fight and kill and run and all else that had been necessary in the long years since the city had died.
His name was Parnell and he had gone on living. The sun was sinking fast, and he turned about to go back before the dark could overtake him. It was as he turned that he caught the dull shine of metal in the corner of his eye. He peered more closely, put out his hand and heaved a sledgehammer up from the rubble.
He swung its mass experimentally , weighed it in his hands, and felt its movement.
After a moment he was forced to put it down again, as his arms began to tremble with unaccustomed strain. But no matter: given enough time, he knew this was the tool to realize the hope he had been hugging to himself for three weeks. He tied the hammer awkwardly to his belt and began to hurry home, fleeing the shadow of the city.
Taken from 'A song before sunset' by David Grigg.