These are short stories put up each Friday that you can read for free. By the next Friday the post will be taken down and a new one will go up.
The smoke’s lazy climb to the heavens was interrupted when Nikos rushed out of the apartment and stood panting in front of the step that Davros was on.
“What’d they say?” Davros asked, stubbing out what was left of the cigarette before putting the butt back into a worn and empty pack.
“They’re gonna do it!” Nikos said, his eyes wide and his body shaking. I was clear the youth could barely contain himself. That was good, Davros thought – few young ones today ever showed much excitement, at least about anything concerning the old world. Maybe there was hope after all.
The meeting was well outside the city, in a small village on the Gulf of Elefsina. Davros smiled slightly at a sign still bearing the body of water’s name. Few names were the same, and so few remained that what names had been in place were now either warped beyond belief, forgotten, or just not used at all.
“Ha!” Nikos laughed at Davros’ side, pointing out to one corner of the square. “There those Elby-gits are now!”
The youth dashed off and was soon standing around some others his age, all school-age children that would have been home studying for the next day’s lectures…if lectures still existed. Well, they did, Davros thought, just at the behest of their parents and not at school, and usually for doing something bad.
“Elby-gits,” he said quietly, shaking his head from side to side. The common insult had grown up from ‘LGBT,’ one of the last exciting catch-words that society had used…before. Few remembered what that meant anymore, and even fewer identified with it. With the mobs, it just wasn’t safe. And so it’d become another of the warped words, a gross caricature of its former self, a quasi-relic of a bygone era.
“I didn’t think you’d come, old man.”
Davros turned about, all thoughts of words going from his head. He hadn’t needed to see the face, however, to know the voice behind those words. It was Thanos.
“This isn’t your place,” the tall Greek continued. Thanos had been born and raised on the Island of Paros, and his darker skin was a sharp contrast to the white teeth of his smile.
“It’s been my place ever before it started,” Davros said, his voice weary and his head drooping a bit. “I aim to do now what we should have done twenty years ago.”
Thanos nodded. “That was a long time ago, when the world was a very different place, and when you were a much younger man.”
“Well I’m old now,” Davros shot back, “and I’m sick of it. I’m sick of the daily gruel, sick of the weekly house checks, and most of all, I’m sick of being sick!”
He coughed loudly, a dry and wheezy cough, the kind that Thanos heard all too often. It was the dry cough, and all Davros’ age had it. It was a side effect of the bio-engineering that’d been tried four years after the collapse, and with devastating results. What was supposed to regulate the body’s nervous system, stopping hunger pangs for up to two days at a time, instead had targeted that system, embedding itself into the soft tissue of the lungs, much like asbestos had in the old world. Thanos had no idea what that was, but he was well-read, something he prided himself on. He didn’t feel too prideful watching Davros stand there hacking out his life, however.
Thanos stepped forward and clapped Davros on the shoulder. “This place will always be open to you,” he said, then began making his way to the center of the square.
“Ssshhh!” Nikos said, blowing air past the one finger he held up in front of his mouth. Around him, his young friends settled down, as did everyone else in the square – Thanos was going to speak.
The leader of the Greek Opposition was tall, dark haired, and had an air of confidence about him that few in society possessed anymore. Even the chirping of the crickets seemed to die down as he stood there, head up, getting ready to speak.
“Friends,” he began after several anxious moments of silence, “thank you for coming tonight. It’s been many years since the collapse, and in that time we’ve…”
Davros let the speech drone on and he stopped paying attention. He’d heard it all before, lived through it in fact. Few could say the same.
Davros looked around at the crowd gathered in the square that night. Most were like Nikos, young and full of life. Of course that meant their heads were full of nothing, for there were few Davros’ age that could tell them. Many were the age of Thanos, in their 30s or so. They’d lived through it too, but they’d been young, in their teens at the most, and few had understood exactly how it’d all come about. Davros scoffed – he still didn’t understand how it’d all come about. Who could, the way the banks and creditors had written the rules?
The old man shook his head, and thought about starting to move away. He’d heard speeches like this before, and they always ended the same way – with a lot of words but little else. That was when they weren’t broken up beforehand. Always, it seemed, there was one thing missing, one rallying point that…
Davros paused, turned his head back toward the speaker. He’d said something…
“But I have this!” Thanos shouted out, trying to still some of the fervor and anxiety taking over the crowd, his words beginning to lose their luster. He plunged his hand into the inside of his jacket, then brought out a rolled piece of cloth. His arm shot up, and as it did so, the cloth unwound.
A gasp went up from the crowd. “No…how…it can’t be!” were all cries that went up. No one, however, could take their eyes from the banner that Thanos was holding in his hand.
“Do you know what this is?” he shouted, his voice up, elation coming into it. There were murmurs, but no one spoke. “Do you know what this is?” he shouted out again.
No one spoke, they just stood there staring, looking at the emblem that had started it all. It was redder than many had thought, and more blue too. Those white stars running down the middle sure stood out as well, three on each diagonal blue bar, and then one square in the middle.
“It’s the Federate Flag,” Thanos shouted, holding up the banner and shaking it about. “It’s the flag of the American bankers, financiers, and industrialists. This is the flag they paraded about just before the collapse, this is their symbol of power.”
It was extremely plain in its simplicity and style, the very appearance of austerity. Davros smiled – some things just had to be seen to be believed.
The shout rang out like a whip crack or a bullet in the night. All heads jerked back, to the few armed and helmeted guards, the austerity police. There were just three of them and more than a hundred of the people, but it didn’t matter. Any second now and…and there it was.
Davros turned his head back to the crowd and saw eyes go wide as they began to hear the sound. His ears were older and not what they once were, so it took him longer. But then he too heard it, the unmistakable ‘whirring’ that would spell their doom.
“Drones!” a man shouted, and then another joined him. Soon it seemed everyone was shouting it, and running wherever they could. Even Thanos had darted away, though Davros had seen him stuff the Confederate Flag back into his jacket first. There’d be another day, no doubt, and the revolution would need its symbol. For it was a revolution, Davros saw now, however small and unorganized it may be. Still, it had its head, and the body was growing stronger everyday.
Nikos was suddenly there before him, and Davros was bumped from his thoughts. “C’mon!” the youth said, pulling at the older man’s arm. “We’ve got to run.” The first of the drones appeared over their heads, the letters “IMF” stamped clearly on each.
“No,” Davros said, a serene look coming over his face, and just as the first mini-missiles began to shoot down from the fast-appearing drones.
“No? What do you mean ‘no’?” Then it dawned on Nikos, it dawned on him what Davros was going to do. “No,” he said again, more pleadingly this time, his tone different, “don’t do it.”
“Get yourself to safety, Nikos, and stay close to Thanos – he’s the one.”
“I won’t let you be a drone martyr!” Nikos shouted, tears forming in his eyes.
“Run!” Davros shouted, then tore his arm away from the youth and started to do just that, but not in the direction everyone else was fleeing; instead he ran toward the three guards at the entrance to the square. The guards took notice, and as if reading their minds, the drones all broke off from their various hunt-and-attack patterns and coalesced into one large group, turning around to set their sights on the threat at hand.
“Stop!” a shout came out from one guard, half-hearted and with no real desire behind it. To let them know he meant business, Davros started to reach into his jacket pocket as he ran. He was getting close now, and…
“Fire!” one of the guards said, and there was an incredible ‘whooshing’ sound as all the drones fired at once.
A dozen mini-missiles shot out and exploded right behind Davros. His old legs had been working fast enough to carry him out of the impact spot, but the blast still sent him flying. He landed twenty feet away in a heap, his body broken. And then that was that – the square was empty, save for the three guards and the torn and twisted body of Davros.
“What was he reaching for?” one of the guards asked as they got near.
Another bent down to pull the hand up, Davros’ sightless eyes giving no protest. The man scoffed when he pulled open the fingers.
“It’s a 5 Euro note.”
The men laughed, then radioed command for the drones to head home – this small group of traitors had been taken care of.