#ThursThreads, week 507


She pushed the button and we waited for the soft boom that told us that the passageway was clear. No one had opened this door for more years that we could recall, but given what had happened that led humanity into these holes, clearing debris was the first task.

The door opened slowly, and she went first. She’d gone first in everything, from coming out of the womb to making her first kill. He’d caught her alone in the showers and thought that his size and strength meant he could take what he wanted.

As if.

Mine had come not long after, when one of his friends thought he’d exact some sort of revenge. But mom had taught us well. There were things about our family that no one could know, at least not while we were in here, and we did what we had to do.

I followed her out, both of us blinking at the sunlight. It was different outside – just the word ‘outside’ felt strange in my brain. The charge we’d set off had created a path to the surface, but nothing had prepared us for what lay in front of us.

Her shoulders fell, and I heard her soft voice almost crack. “Oh boy.”

“Do we have a lot of work to do?” I stepped up next to her, put my arm around her. “Yes. But this is what they made us for.”

It was my turn to take the lead, here, outside in hell.

249 words


#SwiftFicFriday, week 117


“They created the two-man rule for this reason, you know.”

“Two people, thank you very much. And yes, I know. Are you okay with doing this? I mean, really okay?”

“It’s what we were trained to do.”

“But what about…what comes after? We may not see what happens, but we’ll have to live with what we’ve done. I’m…I’m scared.”

“Scared of what? Nothing’s going to happen to us.”

“How can you say that? Don’t you think turning that key will change you? Aren’t you even a little worried about that?”

“It doesn’t really matter if it changes me. Or you. The clock is counting down, and they’re all depending on us to do our jobs.”

“I know. And I promised.”

“Yes. Are you ready?”

See the two of them there, a man and a woman, two hundred feet underground, hunched over outdated electrical panels, right hands holding silvery keys. This is the five-thousandth time we’ve run this experiment, and this is the five-thousandth time the people in the room turn the keys. Some cry as they’re doing it. Some don’t hesitate. Some wait until the last possible second. A handful of times, they got naked. One pair tried to have sex between receiving the alert and turning the keys, but neither man quite got there and they had to rush to do their jobs, standing at attention in more than one way.

But they all turn the keys. The pacifists. The bigots. The rich and powerful, the poor and sick.

Some say the world will end in fire, some in ice. It will end, have no doubt about it. We all have our hands on the keys, and we’re turning them together.