Thursday, November 6, 2014

2014 Halloween Flash Fiction Contest Winner: How to Survive an Apocalypse


HOW TO SURVIVE AN APOCALYPSE1
by Peter Saunders

A parade of Four Horsemen? a slicing scythe?
Is this how we are to meet our dooms?
The Devil himself come to claim his tithe?
Clouds of chemicals shaped like mushrooms?

Is this how we are to meet our dooms?
The test of the Antichrist, or a common blight?
Clouds of chemicals shaped like mushrooms?
A conclave of witches on Walpurgis Night?

The test of the Antichrist, or a common blight?
Everyone suffering would die to find out
A conclave of witches on Walpurgis Night?
Superstition blooms from seeds sown by doubt

Everyone suffering would die to find out
Exactly why we endure this trial
Superstition blooms from seeds sown by doubt
Hope springs eternal from those in denial

Exactly why we endure this trial
None can tell with a definite answer
Hope springs eternal from those in denial
We must make the best of this ravaging cancer

None can tell with a definite answer
What we are learning by suffering so
We must make the best of this ravaging cancer
That drives us to madness, confusion, and woe

What we are learning by suffering so
Infected with plague that kills in the gloom
That drives us to madness, confusion, and woe
We know not, nor even dare to presume

Infected with plague that kills in the gloom
As we sit in our waiting rooms unto the gloam
We know not, nor even dare to presume
Where our late family and friends go to roam

As we sit in our waiting rooms unto the gloam
Now I ask you: do you still persevere?
Where our late family and friends go to roam
You, too, may yet follow, for our ends are near

Now I ask you: do you still persevere?
Do spectres of dead ones haunt your waking dreams?
You too, may yet follow, for our ends are near
Already, I see you unravel at the seams

Do spectres of dead ones haunt your waking dreams?
Greed turns neighbors into mortal foes
Already, I see you unravel at the seams
The Reaper rejoices, here and there he goes

Greed turns neighbors into mortal foes
As buildings collapse, as hate is rebuilt
The Reaper rejoices, here and there he goes
Wilting our will and compounding our guilt

As buildings collapse, as hate is rebuilt
We run from the world but cannot escape
Wilting our will and compounding our guilt
Is the ruin of our future that begins to take shape

We run from our world but cannot escape
But worse than pandemic or mortal decay
Is the ruin of our future that begins to take shape
Rotting by night, reeking by day

But worse than pandemic or mortal decay
Is the shameless greed that drives our deeds
Rotting by night, reeking by day
We reap what was sown by those seductive seeds

Is the shameless greed that drives our deeds
Peculiar to shortcomings of the human race?
We reap what was sown by those seductive seeds
Do we truly deserve such a low, vulgar place?

Peculiar to shortcomings of the human race?
Is this what it’s come to at last?
Do we truly deserve such a low, vulgar place?
Must we die in a penitent blast?

Is this what it’s come to at last?
Alas, we find that we don’t mind
Must we die in a penitent blast?
Our fates have long since been thus resigned

Alas, we find that we don’t mind
As prejudice fuels war like books on a fire
Our fates have long since been thus resigned
Dripping with oil, we recline on the pyre

As prejudice fuels war like books in a fire
And the splinter of winter deeper delves
Dripping with oil, we recline on the pyre
DID WE BRING THIS UPON OURSELVES?

And the splinter of winter deeper delves
As you read these words with your dying breath
DID WE BRING THIS UPON OURSELVES?
This question compels you in the shadow of Death

As you read these words with your dying breath
I hope you find these useful tips
This question compels you in the shadow of Death:
HOW DO YOU SURVIVE AN APOCALYPSE?

I hope you find these useful tips
When provisions of food and water are scant
HOW DO YOU SURVIVE AN APOCALYPSE?
The answer is tragically simply: you can't.

1 N.b. Results may will vary drastically.


Congratulations, Peter! Check back next week for the runner up!

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