Sunday, March 28, 2010

War Fiction

It was a Thursday when the attack began.

No one saw it coming, it came out of nowhere. Just suddenly the sky was full and they were falling.

Some people called it hail from Hell. Other, more dramatic types called it the end of the world. Some merely called it a shitstorm. Regardless of what others called it, it was a bombing. A terrible event that no one could put reason to.

There were theories after the fact. Experts claiming persecution was the cause, or that maybe it was a case of those with too much being attacked by those with too little. Politicians claiming it was caused somehow by their political adversaries, in order to fuel their own agendas. Pundits churning it all together and exaggerating in order to create the story that would bring them the most ratings.

No theories mattered. The world had changed. People had changed.

The first carnage was the worst. People screaming, running for cover. Mothers guarding their children as they ran for safety, cars swerving off the road to avoid collision. It was chaos.

We all learned about each other that day, however. Nothing brings out the truth of a person better than terror and disaster. There were some who threw themselves in harm’s way to help as many as they could, taking the attack full force. Others were more willing to throw their fellow man under a bus in order to save themselves. Neighborhoods could never be the same after this. The person that was hated for going against town rules became a hero, and the most respected members were practically chased off with pitchforks after word got out of their pushing others into the attack in order to buy themselves time.

The judging wouldn’t come until after it was over. After people had time to think.

There was a lot of time to think.

For three days and three nights the attack continued while the population hid in houses, storm cellars, wherever they could find safety from the terrible rain outside. Anyplace was good enough, as long as it was safe from attack from the animals above. Animals they were; nothing with an shred of humanity would make such an attack on a residential area. Towns with children, with families.

With everyone holed up, the attack became more about psychology. No one could go outside, but they could still see what was happening. At least until visibility through any glass reached zero.

When it finally subsided, a few brave souls left their shelters to survey the damage. I was one of them.

Transportation was hit hard. The car culture we lived in would have trouble surviving when every visible vehicle was ruined. Statues and images depicting our heroes and great figures were hit even harder, disfigured into a twisted mockery of our shared history.

The hardest hit by far were parking lots. It sounds strange, of course, but they are the perfect symbol of our capitalistic natures. Every store has a parking lot, every parking lot has cars. Imagine how different your life would be if neither existed anymore. How much things would change. It was a genius strike, and we never saw it coming. Never saw anything like it.

I’d heard stories. Theories about what a nuclear winter would look like. This was worse. Nothing could prepare one for this.

As I wandered on my own, I eventually ran into a few others who had left their safe places to survey their new lives. Most had glazed over stares, unable to comprehend what had happened.

One old man, however, he said two words I’d never forget before he fell to his knees and wept. Two words we were all thinking:

“Fucking birds.”

Indeed, old man…indeed.