Touching Down: Flash Fiction

If the Apocalypse were to happen, Los Angeles seemed like the place to be. As she touched down at Bob Hope airport, looking out over the house-covered hills and snaking streets, she imagined burrowing in an abandoned suburb to be promptly forgotten. She preferred flying in and out of Burbank when she could because it was small, pleasant, and reminiscent of older, more glamorous days.

LAX, on the other hand, seemed like a perfect place to pick up the latest deadly virus. That, and the endless loop of cars filing through like rats in a maze, made her dizzy. 

No, from Burbank she could see L.A. for what it really was: a desert destined for the end of times. She felt it was already halfway there between drought and dust and blustery winds that could whisk away any wide-brimmed hipster hat. Halfway to total destruction made it a kind of living relic and the kind of place Olivia imagined when she imagined people scrounging to survive after it all went to hell. 

Civilization could only last so long, she knew. It was best, in her mind, to prepare for the inevitable and imagine her surroundings as they would inevitably be. Not overlapping with bullet trains and bridges, pillars of steel and glass soaring into the sky, but crumbling into dust amidst thriving cacti. From the way things looked, they were closer to an unraveling than a cleanup of colossal proportions. She saw the world taking its mojo back, restoring itself, even if it meant the end of mankind.

The pilot announced they were touching down when a sudden jolt sent Olivia’s magazine flying into the aisle. The man sitting next to her, who she hardly noticed until now, gripped her arm reflexively and stared with the wide-eyed look of “I’m not ready.” Though the moment could have stretched into the next decade, the plane quickly corrected itself and the man released her forearm, leaving a red mark like a rope burn. 

Her stomach dropped as they landed though it had little to do with gaining on gravity. She wasn’t ready either, as much as she pretended to be.   


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