F3: Brighton After the Bomb (excerpt)
Once again I’m late to the party, but I’m sure that by now we’ve all come to terms with this.
This week I’ve been busy working on a story for my Orbiter writing group, which means that I’ve got no flash fiction for you. Instead I offer up a short excerpt from ‘Brighton After the Bomb’, the aforementioned story.
BRIGHTON AFTER THE BOMB (excerpt)
Charles Teece, twelve-year resident of Brighton & Hove, ex-student turned minimum wage slave turned benefit dependant, is obsessed with atomic weaponry.
He sits upright in bed at night, a prison roll-up clamped between yellow-stained fingers, staring out of his grimy window towards the vista of his seaside town. From his home he can see much of the city: to the West lie the Laines and the station with the beginnings of Hove just beyond; Moulsecoomb is visible to the north, and the piers and sea to the south.
Charles think that this is a good view to soak in, whilst imagining his annihilation in a nuclear holocaust.
He likes to roll these words around in his head, and occasionally whisper them as though divulging a wicked secret. Nuclear. Holocaust. As he thinks them he imagines what they meant to him. One means light and brilliance and simplicity. The other is darkness and silence and simplicity. They follow one another so perfectly.
A flash of divine judgement, he thinks, to wipe clean the slate of mewling, self-destructive and self-pitying humanity. A firestorm to purify.
Charles Teece does not think much of other people.
At first he discussed his opinions with others, and had been pleased to find that he was not alone in his growing hatred of humankind. At first he had laughed and joked about the stupidity of others. The banalities they gossiped about. The trivialities they entertained themselves with. The ennui-inspiring pointlessness of their vaunted lives, careers, and relationships.
But it had not taken long for Charles’s contempt to spread to these whining, preening oafs who hated humanity for their own flaws, but were too proud or stupid themselves to recognise it. How they enjoyed the pedestals on which they placed themselves, waving the little crowns and thrones and imagined trophies that differentiated them from the braying masses surrounding them.
Charles knows that he is different from them. He recognises and fully accepts how pathetic he is. How deeply unnecessary – damaging even – his own existence is.
So he took to the worship of the Bomb, the most feared of humanity’s creations, above even God. He likes to imagine that the purity of the Bomb can even eradicate a sinful soul, tearing it beyond the reaches of any afterlife, dissolving it into blissful nothingness.
So it is that, when the breaking dawn over East Sussex is torn asunder by the radiant fury of a nuclear fission reaction, Charles watches from his window until his eyes burn out, and his final thought is “at last.”