Future. Flash Fiction.

Tommy liked the cliffs, he was the only one in town that did. Everyone else avoided them at all costs, but not Tommy. The cliffs were always so peaceful, the winds, pulling and tugging at him, the crashing waves below, the cool air reminding him that he was truly alive. It gave him a place where he could sit and think without interruption, where he could be truly alone and the one place he could relax. He knew why the others didn’t like it, the noise made it hard to hear anyone approaching, the hard wind could drive you over the edge if you weren’t careful and of course, the offerings. The offerings didn’t bother Tommy all that much, he avoided the area where they happened, after all it was a big cliff. Since he had been young there had only been volunteers. He understood why some of the older people would be reluctant to visit the cliffs, when it was a lottery system, but these days the people went willingly, it was almost seen as an honour.

Tommy stood from the edge and started to walk back towards town, soon the roar of the sea started to die down, very faintly he could hear screaming. They were back at the fence. The attacks seemed to be getting more frequent lately, when he was younger they went weeks, sometimes even months without a sound, but in the last few years they had been appearing once or twice a week. It was always when Tommy finally managed to relax too, when the tension was starting to melt away the screams would come. He hated that noise but there was no escaping it. He could just make them out in the distance, people running along the fence, trying to stab through it. The damned things never stayed in one place and they were fast. If they were left to their own devices they’d learn to climb the fence or bring it down from repeated attacks, as it was only the strongest that made it through all the traps and to the fence. Tommy wasn’t worried, they hadn’t managed to break through the fences in at least twenty years, if not more. Though the increased attacks were starting to worry people. Tommy was more concerned about what would happen to the expansion projects that were finally about to start. He had volunteered straight away, of course he knew he’d be doing the hard work, the boring bits, but if he put enough work in there he might be allowed out in the recon teams. His parents had forbidden him from joining the scavengers, but maybe this would be a reasonable compromise, at least for the time being. He’d be inside the fence most of the time and if outside it, he would be close to safety and perhaps the small taste of freedom would be enough. His parents already knew that he wanted to work near the outside and they had refused to discuss it anymore, not until it was time for him to choose. He was still working on his argument, mostly it relied on the fact that the only other job that was connected to the outside would be a trainer or a guard. Few people, besides the trainers themselves, understood why they put their lives at risk. Tommy understood why they did it, but to him it was pointless. They couldn’t train the damn things at the fence. Sure, they could turn them docile enough for short periods, but they couldn’t be made to do menial tasks, they had difficulty following directions and if any untamed creatures came across one that had been even slightly domesticated they would fight to the death. Not to even mention the danger they put themselves in. His parents hadn’t bothered banning that option as they assumed he would know better than to even consider it. As for being a guard, well, it was just boring. Most of the time was spent waiting around then there would be a few hours of frantic activity and then just waiting again, maybe an occasional trip out to clear and reset traps. He had a few weeks still to decide what he wanted to do, even after that there was some leeway in the first year should he find himself unsuited to what ever he chose. Still, he wanted to make the right choice. He knew that his parents couldn’t really stop him, he could choose what ever he wanted to do and they had no right to tell him no, but he didn’t want that. He was close to his parents, he knew he could convince them to see things his way before the time came for him to choose.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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