After the Earthquake

Three men crested a hill, which brought the shattered shanty village into view.  They crouched down, the first man took out binoculars, the second loaded an arrow into his crossbow and the third calmly watched the two of them.

The first man lowered his binoculars and turned to his companions.

“There is a pub.” he said, his voice devoid of emotion. The second man gripped his crossbow tighter, the third man nearly smiled, he was younger than the others.

“What do we do?” asked the third man.

“We keep our God damn wits about us, and our heads on a frickin’ swivel.” snarled the second, cocking his crossbow.

There approach to the village was watched by none.  The stillness would have been eerie if it wasn’t the absolute norm these days.  Ever since the earthquake of ’17 the world was always quiet.

The men moved slowly, eyes darting to nooks and corners that may conceal some wild creature, or something worse…

When they reached the door of the pub, none of them seemed to want to open it.  They stood looking at the dry, cracked wood of the door as the wind rose behind them and shuffled dust from one side of the street to the other.

“We can’t stand on this street for ever. Were too in the open. Lets just go in if were going, or else lets get out of here.” said the second man, his crossbow still clutched tightly to him.

“Oh we are going in alright.” said the first man, but when the second moved his crossbow into an attacking position and moved forward to open the door, the third man raised a hand to stop him.

“Wait here” he whispered, and ran quietly to the side of the building, and out of sight.

Though he was only gone for a minute or two, the two men left at the door of the pub began to feel uneasy.  Then, the door swung open and they where greeted by their smiling companion.

“Lower that, you plonker and come on in! There is whiskey!”

The two men wasted no more time on the door step, and walked into the dim bar.

There was indeed whiskey, and vodka, and old dusty bottles of wine, though no beer.  They lit a fire in the back garden, which, the third man showed them, provided good cover from the winds, and gave little chance of someone sneaking up on them.  They plucked a small bird that the second man lazily shot with his crossbow, his senses just on the brink of dulling thanks to a few shots of the fine old whiskey from the bar.  The other two applauded his prowess with his weapon, and he allowed himself to smile.

In the morning, they will leave, too afraid of the world that the earthquake has made, of the fear of the unknown that the change sparked.  Where they go, they do not know, they only know that they cannot stay…

  1. Everybody loves a pub! Even after the world comes crashing down. This is a story about three men forced together by circumstances beyond their control. They find common ground in a pub, now a place of their past. They take comfort in this place, while their uncertain future loams ahead. Great work!! TiV

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