Short Story #4

Genre: Literary Fiction (I think!)

550 words

The Shattering

a short story by

Sarthak Parajulee

THE LOUD EXPLOSION SOMEWHERE a few meters behind his car started Wen. There wasn’t much suggesting to the exact reason for the noise but his sense of politics told him that the rebellion had begun.

So it must have been around 6 pm. Funny how he didn’t need watch these days.

He saw a large column of men approaching him. Firelight raised high in their hands – a tide of flames blanketing over a crowd of men. Something told Wen that these were angry faces, hard and cold. Unforgiving.

Wen wasn’t exactly an enemy of this mob. But he owned a car and that meant a capital possession several steps higher in the social ladder than the rebels. Bad place and position to run out of gas.

Police siren sounded in the distance. Violence Control Front or VCF, as they were more popularly called these days. Perhaps, he would be saved after all.

The heavily fortified vehicle skidded around a corner and stopped directly ahead him. A muscular officer with massive mustache raised his protective helmet and eye gear and looked him straight in the eye. Then frowned down at Wen’s out-of-gas Corolla for a bit longer than was required.

I poked my head out of the window. “Sir, can…”

“The heck you think you’re doing, Sir?”

His tone of voice betrayed his use of the word ‘Sir’.

“I ran out of gas,” Wen said, as politely as possible. Didn’t need to add to the list of his hostilities. Frankly, he couldn’t afford it at the moment.

“Please step off your damned vehicle and get out of the road.”

“But my car.” He looked around, frantic. There wasn’t a single vehicle in the street. And why would there be any. They had clearly stated that no vehicle were supposed to be moving at the moment. Who would be that stupid?

Except him, of course.

“Sir,” Wen tried to reason with his tender tone. “My car…”

“Forget your damned car.”

Wen’s eyes widened for a second or two. Then the urgency of the situation struck him. Get out of way or die.

The forces coked their guns and took aim, directly behind him, at the oncoming rebellions.

Get out or die.

Wen ran to the side of the road, slightly crouching, cursing to himself.

The noise behind him was deafening – guns roaring, magazines reloading, people screaming, VCF barking orders, rebellion scattering.

Wen dared to look back only when he had safely reached the footpath and behind the cover of a frail wall.

His car was full of holes, at least three tires had popped, the windshield had shattered.

Surprisingly, and unfortunately, the real horror lay some twenty feet away from his car.

Bloody bodies lying upon one another, dead eyes staring at nothing. Some would say it was violence control. No. Seeing it up close, it was clear to Wen – such an act could only be defined as a massacre.

“Well done, boys,” the mustached officer roared. He signaled something and the fortified van reversed and drove away the way they had come.

He stood stunned, staring at them mouth-gaped. This is the price of human lives these days. A pat in the back!

No one human deserves that from another human.

Everybody, these days, are worried about a shattering nation. But he feared more for that shattering of humanity. A nation can be, hopefully, rebuilt – even the loss of human lives, with time, might recover. He doubted the same could be said for the loss of humanity.

But what can I do? Turn blind eyes and deaf ears like everyone else, of course, and keep believing that bad things won’t happen to him.

His watched his car – another shattered victim of the violence.

I need a mechanic, perhaps he can salvage something out of it.

From the far eastern side of the road, he heard an ambulance

I hope they can salvage something too.

END

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