Thursday, December 1, 2016

Space Murder - Prologue

Benedict sat in his favorite spot on the hill behind his family's home. The sun was setting and it made the wheat fields glow. In the distance the landfill was visible and behind it were layers of skyscrapers. His parents owned one of the last working farms in the United States. It was small but valuable. He leaned his tired body against an oak tree. His jeans were smeared with paint and an easel lay drying on the ground beside him. His paintings were getting better and natural landscapes were popular since there were so few wild places. Benedict had sold a painting last week that had paid for his father's knee surgery. His father had proudly introduced him to all of the pretty nurses as "my son who takes care of me". The wheat was brighter than he had ever seen it before. In fact, it was nearly blinding. But what was rising from the house? It couldn't be...but it was. Smoke. Benedict sprinted down the hill abandoning his painting. Dust puffed up and made it hard to breathe. He felt the waves of heat before he saw the ribbons of fire coming from the windows. He soaked himself with water from the hose and covered his wet face with his shirt before charging into the house. Flames rolled toward him like a tidal wave. With one breath, the smoke was torment in his lungs. It kicked him out immediately. He tried again and again at every door, but the walls seemed to be melting and he was afraid the house would collapse on him if he forced the door. He screamed for his father, his sister, his dog. He listened. Nothing. He ran around and then fell to the ground sobbing. When he was spent, he began to focus again on the world around him. It was then that he noticed the boot prints and the lighter. He picked it up. U.S. Army, it read. As the flames died down, having consumed his life, he felt something light and soft leave his body and something cold and hard take its place. A paintbrush fell out of his pocket and without looking at it, his hand reached for it and closed around it. He stared as the sun finally set. He flexed and there was a snap. He tossed the pieces of his past away and walked towards the highway without a backwards glance.

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