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A Heart Annihilated

by Seth Butterfield 11 months ago in Short Story
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Grief Is Strongest For Those Left Behind

He stared at the open locket; one half held a woman and the other a younger female. The man pulled it close to his heart and hugged it tightly. An arm lifted, it brought it to his lips. Tender kisses to each side preceded him closing the two metal halves. He slipped the heart shaped trinket over his neck and onto his chest. Whispered words of affection floated away on his breath.

"Are you ready, Carl?"

The question snapped him back to reality. He nodded. It was time. This world would pay the consequences. It would feel his fury… His heartbreak. His loves were stolen away from him. Eyes aflame with anger and agony met a calm and collected group. He had raised them, trained them, to be steadfast. Not a single glance wavered when their eyes locked. Carl spoke, "I am. Did you bring it?"

The one that questioned him stepped forward and set a case down with careful ease. She smirked, a dangerous thing, and replied, "Of course."

Carl Haven paused for a split second to admire the beauty of her teeth between those full red lips. Then as quickly as it came, such a simple pleasure was stolen away by a pit of grief. Moonlight reflected into their eyes when the container opened. It held a wavering mass within a field of glass. Glittering in unearthly colors, the antimatter bomb demanded their attention. It commanded their respect and each of them trembled in the presence of such a force of destruction. One of the youngest, a small boy, asked, "Do we really have to do this?"

"You do not. You can leave. I won't hold it against you," Mr. Haven's voice was a monotonous and even tone devoid of emotion, but it was a lie that covered an eternity of turmoil. He reached down and picked up the weapon. A simple turn of a dial was followed by a click. The device was armed. The boy left. He knew the pain the man carried but could not reconcile him with the surrogate parent which had shown him such compassion.

All five of those left, split in different directions. One entered the building from the entrance on the roof. The other four shattered windows on the 98th floor. Blood reigned and tears flowed. Agony begat more. Then Carl stood before those for which he came. It was an old couple. Disheveled things, crumpled within a chair. The ancient ones stared at him, their eyes lit with fervor. Together the two of them spoke, "Such rage. Such pain. All for ones that could not feel the same."

"How dare you say that about them?" Roared the man with a bomb. He glared at them. Orbs of brown shrank as his pupils dilated. He slammed his fists onto their desk, one of the few wooden things left. They started to speak, but he cut them off. He would not have it. The man did not care about whatever plea they might have made, they took his family and now they would pay. A deep voice became a snarl as he nearly choked on his words, "To you, they were but robots. To me, they were my loves!"

"A fool!" The breath that carried the words was stopped by a beep. After which came a sweet and final release. Anti-particles collided with matter, a chain reaction was started that no mere human could stop. Their reality collapsed upon itself.

Outside, a block away, the boy watched as a sign annihilated itself. Bergman's Bots was no more. He kicked his dangled legs against the side of the building on which he sat. Despair and loneliness struggled against relief. A sigh came before a murmur, "Please rest in peace."

Short Story

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Seth Butterfield

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