Author’s note: I wrote this as part of my Flash Fiction Challenge.
He woke up and wondered where the sky had gone.
A pale light shone down upon him, brighter than even a full moon at midnight. He looked up and saw row after row of these lights, gleaming down… so strong they hurt his eyes. Strange music, playing from somewhere… up above?
What was he lying on? Not grass and earth… it was hard. Flat. Smooth. And strangely cool. He shivered uncontrollably in his linen waistcoat, which already had been damp with sweat from the heat of the summer night—that, the rush of the fight and the burning fires… that he had helped set.
He looked to his left and right, and found himself flanked by tall objects—taller than a man. Immediately, he leaned onto his elbows and started to move back, his scuffed boots sliding against the smooth surface. Were they towers? Siege machines? No. He squinted. They looked to be larders, though each of them was enormous—so tall and wide, and filled with boxes in garish colors with strange lettering upon them. What was that? Eggo? Some sort of savage dialect!
Each larder had a clear door… glass? Unsure, he reached out with a trembling hand and placed his palm against it. He repressed a yelp in surprise as his flesh made contact. It was cold! He whimpered. What witchcraft was this?
He started to remember.
He came to the colonies like most others—looking for a fresh start. He hadn’t been much for logging or construction. He couldn’t fish, couldn’t shoe a horse, couldn’t fix things with tools. The thing he was best at, the only thing he was good at, if he was honest, was killing. First, he hunted for the settlement. Then one day a man came to town, driving a wagon carrying a rough-looking bunch. The man was hiring help to clear out the wilderness, for 10 pounds a week. 10 British pounds.
And so he left and went to work, and learned clearing wilderness had a lot less to do with cutting down trees and a lot more to do with killing any savages they found. The last thing he remembered, they were in another village… he had no idea how many there’d been by now… they’d done like before, storming in at midnight and killing everything that moved. Men, women, children… it didn’t matter. Every scalp paid.
Near the end, as always, he and his mates started taking torches to huts. But this time, in the firelight, this old crone had stepped out of one of the huts, naked as her born day, her body twisted and gnarled like an old sickly tree. The way he figured, she was the last in the village left alive.
He leveled his flintlock in her direction, and she pointed a finger back at him.
He could remember even her words.
“Now you will know what it means to be the last!” the crone said.
And now he woke up…
Where was he?
He looked left and right and saw long rows of these huge larders. A voice boomed out of the air all around him. God? The Devil? It came from the air, and the man who killed and scalped with no remorse squealed and wet himself.
“ATTENTION FOOD-MART SHOPPERS, DON’T FORGET OUR THANKSGIVING SPECIAL… 10% OFF TURKEY BREASTS AND 20% OFF WHOLE BIRDS. THAT’S 10% OFF BREASTS AND 20% OFF WHOLE BIRDS, ONLY AT FOOD-MART!”
He covered his ears and began to scream, the last shreds of his sanity slipping away.