EDITOR'S NOTE: In the coming weeks on Monday local author Dawn Watson will be posting a short story exclusively for readers of CNBNews and perhaps a private site or two on Facebook. The stories will eventually be part of an anthology, available on Amazon as an eBook and paperback. My eleventh novel, The Factory, will be available by Christmas.
Warning: Some are very dark and not for the faint of heart!
The Extra Mile ((1999)
by Dawn O Watson
"Amazing what you see, you walk far enough," the old man cackled. "It's all different than it used to be, don't mean it's bad though. Only different."
I nodded. He was right. Just then a chicken ran past, a chicken with singed feathers, a partially cooked meal-to-go. We both laughed. Didn't think to try and catch it. Odd color.
Past more leveled buildings and a few bewildered dogs, sniffing in piles of who-knows-what. The old man looked tired like he didn't have many miles left in him.
"Stop?" I asked.
We walked on.
Miles of the dusty road, lots more green-tinged chickens, sickened pigs, farmland gone mad.
Step lightly, skirt the issue, don't inhale. Nothing left standing.
He began to cough, shaking his head furiously when I suggested a rest.
"There," he pointed. I looked down the length of his bony finger beyond the expanse of blackened earth and the charred remain of mankind's toil.
"Must have been some farmer's old bomb shelter," I mused.
He held the door open. The steps led down to darkness. I hung onto his jacket, dim light at the end of the tunnel.
"My family," the old man says as they converge on me.
Touching, prodding, nodding, smiling.
Poking, pushing, forcing me to the ground.
I take a last look at him and see a proud old man in an age beyond reason.
Going the extra mile to feed his kin.