This is flash fiction but it felt more like spontaneous fiction. Sat down to write one thing, ran across an article regarding the thesis work for a friend’s husband, and the story took off in a different direction. Enjoy.
The man brushed at the tiny grains that covered his shirt. No matter how brushed at them with tough callused fingers, they clung. But every job was a little dirty. The truck bounced over the uneven back road through the mountains and the added weight of the cargo shifted from side to side.
Around a great bend, the truck pulled into the dead brush by the side of the road. The man got out. The door shut. Tan netting rose over the vehicle. He took care in covering it. He checked. It would hide the entire truck until he left tomorrow for the drop off point. He nudged one corner under. No mistakes.
It was then he got a closer look at his shirt in the light of day. The sand would not come off. The tiny grains were strange. They weren’t the color of actual beach sand. They were more like bits of graphite or gunpowder. He thought back. The cloud of dust blew out of nowhere when he picked up the cargo at the airport. And then there was that strange model airplane. It passed by a few times before disappearing. Had it disappeared after the cloud of sand blew over?
The man threw open the door of the truck and grabbed the modified tablet from the seat. After a moment to update, the GPS app indicated a plane nearby. It was way up in the sky, closer to space than Earth.
He’d been made.
Frantically, he ripped his hat off. It fluttered to the ground beside the truck as his arms slid from the open camo shirt. He pulled the desert t-shirt over his head. The boots were tougher. He cursed when his knuckles raked over the ground. The cuts stung as blood welled. The metal zipper tore open. He frantically shoved his pants down. He had to get to the bunker two hundred yards away. Wearing nothing but faded cotton underwear, he ran for his life. The rocks of the mountain were supposed to be protection. Barefoot, they were just one more obstacle.
The man didn’t make it to the opening of the cave before the blast from the bomb blew him off his feet into guided flight. The seconds of terror stretched into eons before his body crushed itself against the mountain.