The Factory

I was standing on a balcony. It was not somewhere I had not seen before, yet it felt familiar. There was no breeze and the air felt sticky with heat.

I looked out towards the fading sun, the mountains. Just beyond the horizon lay a large factory, thick smoke choking out from its slim grey chimneys. It made me feel uneasy, like it shouldn’t have been there and my gaze lingered on its excessive bulk, how out of place it was amongst the wild. It had not been there before, but it had always been there.

Time seemed to splinter. I was alone, then not.

I turned and smiled at my other half, feeling relieved that he was there. But as he stood next to me, I noticed his anxious stare, how his thick, blonde eyebrows had knotted together, the downturn of his usually smiley lips.

His eyes didn’t move from the factory as he spoke. His words slurred, but I could hear them clearly somehow. He was worried for us. For the world. If they did something wrong it would mean the end of everything.

I wanted to take his hand, but for some reason I did not.

I turned back to the factory and as I did, I noticed that a series of thick black clouds had risen above the chimneys, pushing together until there was not even a single drop of sunlight.

The sky ignited in a burst of light and I squinted, shielding my face from the glare. I smiled. It was pretty, like nothing I had ever seen before.

Darkness descended briefly and then, just as quickly, light flooded across the clouds in quick, sudden flashes. At first I thought it was lightning, but there was something unusual about it.

I froze, unable to even scream, as a flame burst into life, roaring up a pine tree near the factory. I couldn’t move. I was stuck. The fire grew, more and more appearing with each silver flash of light. I watched, horrified as the trees and factory burned in a red, fiery blaze.

The flashes travelled across the skies towards us, frying everything in a bright electric pulse. I wanted to yell out, I wanted to run, but I could only watch, as the world disintegrated before my very eyes.

I realised this was the end. The end of everything.

I looked over to him. My love. I reached for his hand. I was terrified, shaken to the core. I knew I had to get to him before it happened.

…My fingertips didn’t even graze his own and the words that I spoke died in a heated flash.

“I lov -“

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