A short story for the Yea Write Weekly Writing Challenge: (This is a cool challenge and a neat site. Check it out!)
Roxy walked past the general store and out toward the cow pasture. A crowd was gathering down by town hall and she found it obnoxious that she could still hear Mama Mary’s voice. She was talking about bees again. And the the people of their very small town. And how not everyone was helping with the bee keeping efforts.
“…can’t keep the world out…damage brought right to our door…do what we can…” These were the snippets carried by the dead, heavy air. She was so glad she decided to do her part with this town project. The last time she refused to take part…Roxy didn’t want to deal with all of that again. She would go down to take care of the community bee hives on both of her weekend days and she was doing pretty well at maintaining her own hive. This town had more honey then they knew what to do with but at least she didn’t have to make art pieces from recycled trash this time around…
Rain, please rain, Roxy sent up the same prayer the whole community was, but for different reasons. She had been criticized for not have enough rain barrels at home but she didn’t want the trouble. She wanted to use the hose or let her garden shrivel a little. She had already complied with planting bee friendly plants but they weren’t happy. There weren’t enough of those either.
She looked out over the field to the few gangling cows munching on grass and felt a terrible chill sweep across her back. She turned to see what vehicle was passing by on the dirt road behind her. She was sure… but there was nothing there. Everyone was down by town hall and they had fallen silent, too.
She woke up three days later to a whole new world in the microcosm of her tiny Northern California town. This morning she stumbled from bed and hurried to the town hall before school. Something was wrong.
Mama Mary was there and she was talking about someone new to town, one of her all time favorite topics. “Our visitor, he has been out in the world. He has seen what’s happening in Charlotte, he saw what happened in Orlando, he sees all the things that keep happening in New Orleans.”
Roxy looked around and could see that most people really didn’t know much about what she was saying. As insular as a town could get, that was this town. Roxy had a vision of all her neighbors with their head in the sand like a ostriches.
“Now, I want you all to hear me and believe me. Have faith because we have that here. We know the world isn’t what all the sterile scientists and Facebook selfie taking tramps down south of us believe it to be. I want you to understand that this man has the power of foresight. He sees where it’s all heading and where it has been. Just pay attention, you’ll see! We’re coming to the end!”
She stopped at the end of a wave of speech that had risen and risen in intensity. She let it sink in with everyone. She was talking Armageddon. She had been leading up to this very speech for decades of her celebrity in this town.
She started again, quieter, slower. “We have all we need here. We don’t need what the outside poison world has to offer and we know what to do.”
Roxy thought of the bridge. Roxy knew what she meant. She did the worst thing she could do. She left the crowd. She was hurrying home when it all went black.
She woke up on a bed of pillows surrounded by tapestries. Mama Mary’s RV. Her home. There was another man there, a stranger. She could see that he was there but couldn’t really see him.
Roxy couldn’t move. She couldn’t speak.
“We already took care of everything. You’ve been sleeping for a while.” The man took one look at Mama Mary and she fell silent.
I just wanted to leave, she said in her mind and he chuckled, as if he heard. The full knowledge dawned on her and she thought: He’s the devil and we’re all trapped here with him.
He crouched before her and patted her knee. She felt herself loosing consciousness but he, somehow, pulled her back.
“Don’t worry. It’s not like I’ll be killing anyone. I think I’m going to like it here.”