Slow Decay. Flash Fiction.

In the distance Lance could hear the rumbling crash of a collapsing building, he looked up from his desk and out the window, he could see a plume of dust rising into the air. Sue shook her head “Demolition or decay?”
Lance shrugged, Who could tell these days. “I didn’t see any demolitions scheduled, but I just glanced over it.”
Sue squinted into the distance, “Was that the old Smithson building?”
“Was it?”
“Yeah I think it was. Jesus.”
“That was the oldest building in the city.”
“Not any more it isn’t.”
Sue looked at Lance, “doesn’t it scare you?”
“No, why should it?”
“What if this building collapses? Or your apartment building?”
“That won’t happen.”
“Why not?”
“This building is occupied, it’s kept to standards.”
“The Smithson building was occupied. Bottom six floors were a shopping complex, everything above was housing.”
Lance shrugged, “can’t have been that full. I bet you that less than ten people died.”
He started typing and brought up the news feed, he grinned at Sue as he turned the screen towards her. The screen showed the remains of the building, people stumbled around covered in grey dust, their eyes wide and staring, in the corner of the frame a man tore at the rubble, his mouth open, without sound Sue couldn’t hear the screams, she didn’t need to though, she’d heard them before. The scrolling text at the bottom of the screen said there had been five deaths and almost two hundred injuries. Lance spun the screen back towards himself, “See? Barely anyone died. That train crash a month ago was worse.”
“You wouldn’t be saying that if it was your building that collapsed, if you’d just lost everything you owned.”
“Don’t be so dramatic. They’ll get vouchers to replace anything they need and they’ll be moved to a vacant apartment, there’s plenty of them.”
“That isn’t the point.”
“Isn’t it though?”
There was a loud cough from behind them, Sue glanced back to see Camilla glaring at both of them, Sue sighed then turned back to her computer screen, god forbid they chatted about anything during work hours.
Sue brought the news up on her own screen, the death toll had already risen to twelve and she expected the number to keep rising. People only ever seemed to look at the number when it first happened, when the bodies hadn’t been pulled from the rubble. The last building collapse, almost three months ago at this point, had killed three hundred when the final numbers were tallied up and released. Ask anyone on the street how many died and they’d frown, think for a moment then tell you it was thirteen, the number that was heavily reported in the first few days. Sue wasn’t sure if everyone was just content to ignore it, or if they truly couldn’t see what was right in front of them. The whole city was falling apart and it was getting smaller all the time, between building collapses, the low birth rate and nature reclaiming the edges of the city for herself. Sue didn’t know how much time the city had left, a hundred years, two hundred, but she knew it was only a matter of time before there was nothing left but piles of rubble and corpses.


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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