This Rock of Ours

by jaywcoombes

A trail of dust blasted out behind the armoured truck. It swirled and eddied around the monstrous black wheels and then was spat out behind at force by momentum and the screeching wind. From the eye of a far away vulture it looked as if the dark orange earth was being split apart and burned into ash. Distance from the truck dissipated the dust until it was a hazy cloud, flashing fiery red and orange by the light of the dying sun.

Behind the wheel of the truck, a dirty hand put on a pair of battered sunglasses onto an equally dirty and battered face. Looking directly into the fading sun, and with one hand lighting a cigar, the driver’s face looked content.

“You really gave me a run back there.” he said. “Didn’t think I was going to make it. Damn! But you have a fire in you”. He started to laugh, the deep, dry rumble of too many cigars and too much badly distilled whiskey.

“Well, I suppose I should say ‘had’ a fire, eh?”. He glanced to the passenger seat where a severed head rocked back and forth with the movement of the truck, grinning inanely along with the man. The remnants of a mask, crudely made from junk metal with brass goggles, still clung to the top of the head. Blood pooled beneath the head, leaking from a sideways cleft across the face that had broke the mask in two.

The man took a long drag on the cigar between his teeth. “Fourteen years I’ve been on this godforsaken rock. Eight years hard work, paying my way and being damn proud to have been chosen.” He flicked a stack of ash onto the head, the grey and white flecks floating into the spreading pool of blood. “One year of fear, pain and loss. Four years of blood, anger, more pain and more loss.” He now was staring directly at the head, the last rays of the sun made his sunglasses burn with a ruddy red. “And one year of becoming a new God. A God of misery and death. The God that is you and your kinds end.”

Slow and carefully, the man stubbed the cigar out on the head’s tongue. He looked away, back to the horizon now turned a dark purple. Slamming the accelerator pedal down, the truck roared and kicked up more dust. Staring ahead, watching the patchwork of stars glinting into life in the sky, the man chuckled to himself.

“I am the end. Let’s end this.”