Sans Air - A Flash Fiction

Sometimes in life something happens you weren’t expecting and it makes all the difference. Maybe you are broke and you get a birthday check from an aunt who's never sent you anything before. Or, you get a flat tire in the middle of nowhere and someone stops to help you out. Some may call it serendipity, other’s luck, but many times these things can mean the difference between life and death.

When the ash started spewing from every major volcano, we knew the species was going to be extinct as well. Scientists and politicians made deals and policies, things to string along humankind for as long as possible in a world sans breathable air.

When I was picked to be among the saved in one of the hastily built long-term shelters, I thought I’d gotten my chance, my bit of luck. I’d be one of the few who could keep the species alive through this apocalypse.

I opted out when I found this line buried deep in the agreement:

“The ability to sustain the population in this condition is not sufficient at this time. Further measures will need to be researched after implementation.”

We are all logical people, here’s the short list of things I knew:

Everyone dies eventually, therefore, I know I cannot escape my own death.
Most of the population will die of lack of oxygen within a month.
A few thousand select people will survive long enough to die in a shelter unfit to sustain life unless the work out a new way of surviving.

Being included in the third option is not being saved, it is a slow torture. Imagine the fight for limited resource that will become more and more scarce as time goes on. The shelters will be an “every man for himself” struggle for survival instead of a “fight for humanity.”

Out of fifteen thousand people invited to live in one of eight shelters, I was the only one to decline. I stood on the outside of shelter six, the one in which I was to survive, and watched the thick door close for the last time.

I pity those inside who think they’ve been saved. I know my fate, they do not know there’s.