Kingdom Come: Man's Fire
Chapter 1 - Can you hear it?
Running hand in hand a man and a young girl moved quickly through the abandoned streets of their little town. Breaths coming in ragged gasps, they kept pushing the goal almost in sight.
"We're almost there just a bit more...just hold on!" just barely managing to flash a reassuring smile to the girl running beside him.
Pushing himself to run faster he was literally pulling the girl along behind him. "Ahhh!" hearing her scream the man turned to see what had happened. Laying on the ground the girl looked up at him and said, "It's my leg." almost like an apology. To his dismay the man could see that she had twisted her ankle on a pothole in the road.
Kneeling down beside her the man was struggling to calm himself. He was failing to reconcile what was happening to what he knew was coming. The man could feel himself being overwhelmed, nearly succumbing to the madness of his reality.
This is the end, he thought to himself. This is where I die, here, in this dead city surrounded by the memories of what once was. I'm so close, so close I can see the goal. Sadly his body felt old almost to tired to even move. "Oh well." Closing his eyes to it, he let himself fall into the darkness of his own mind wishing to escape.
But then, he felt a small hand, so frail he might break it grasp his own. He could feel the warmth flowing from that hand to his own. It was the warmth of someone who loved him, someone who depended on him. No, he thought, I guess I'm not alone after all.
Snapping his eyes open to look at her, he said. "Don't worry sweetheart I've got you." giving her another smile he wrapped his arms around her. Centering himself, he pushed out all other thoughts focusing only on one thing, getting them both to safety.
Feeling a second wind, he ran with renewed vigor careful not to jostle the small form nestled in his arms. He could feel her heartbeat against his. The thump of its steady rhythm pushed him harder and faster than ever before. Wheezing the man could see he was closing in on the safe haven they'd run so far to reach.
"Hey!" he shouted, "Let us in, please it's almost here." He stopped just in front of the gate, listening for a sign that his cries had been heard.
The great white walls before him gave no sign of opening. "Please, just open up. There are only two of us out here." the man pleaded. The sound of his cries broke upon silent walls, they were indifferent to his plight.
"Please, we..." Suddenly, the silence was broken by a piercing whistle coming from high above. The man looked up at the great orange sky and its blood red sun. Scanning the horizon he froze for in it he saw what he feared most. The whistling grew louder and louder the closer it came. As it fell the madness closed in threatening to overwhelm him again. But, this time instead of falling he focused on the steady thump of the heartbeat, so close to his own.
"Dad, what's that sound?" his daughter asked, "Please make it stop, what is it?"
Clutching her head to his chest and watching as it fell he said, "It's nothing just close your eyes and listen to the sound of my heart, focus on that. Can you hear it?" she nodded. "Good. You know you're always safe if you can hear my heart beating." while saying that the girls father continued to watch it fall up until it hit the ground. Then a white light flashed and all was quiet.