#288 Breath

by Jasmine Wang

The world fell and snow came.

In the distance, the black skeletons of structures burned harsh against winds of ice. The screams had long died down and those who did not perish in the blue fires huddled in the remains of the People’s Square where gentler red fires gave out their last vestiges of warmth.

She focused on the breath in front of her to tear her mind away from her body’s reluctance to run. Ever since she was a child she had been fascinated by the mist of her own breath illuminated against the light. It reminded her that even on the coldest of days, she was warm and alive; this gentle cloud came from her and it softened the hue of the world.

With her cloth bound hands, she patted the rectangular shape within her pocket as though to make sure it had not disappeared. After the final mushroom cloud had given way, only the Square had some limited access to electricity and the closest cell site 3 kilometers away was maybe still in operation. Her skin had burned, her left arm was mostly charred bits, but somehow her cell phone had survived. So she ran towards this slim chance of communication because she refused to die with regrets.

As the tower itself came into view, she took her phone out and saw that there was one bar of connectivity. Holding her breath, she dialed and waited as each tone ran the length of eternity, waiting to exhale.

4 comments:

Daren Despot said...

i love that first line. so far it's the only entry i've seen with a nuclear holocaust take. i think the sense of desolation comes across nicely.

Brandi Haile said...

The 2nd full paragraph (not counting the first line) was may favorite part. Loved it.

Jen Harvey said...

I love that opening line :)

Deb Smythe said...

I love the juxtaposition of pretty prose and nuclear holocaust.