The Same Old Way

  • With the rising of the sun, day has all but arrived. Flooding, summer light imbues the rolling landscape with hues of pale green, and it is soon soaked up by the increasingly arid rivers and lakes of Suburbia. On the street of Rochester, just at the gentle bend in the road, not far from the ravenous 'Big Creek', house number seventy seven is busy carrying out the routine, morning-hour tasks. Just as it always has. Just as it always will.

    An early model butler is busy prepping the house for it's dawn undertakings; breakfast needed to be cooked, the childrens' bags packed for school, and Mr. Smith would need his briefcase stocked with the relevant documents of the week... The marvel of modern technology takes to work, rendering outdated systems useless in it's holistic, uniform method of preforming menial tasks. The stove is ignited, the thermostat set, and the newspaper projected upon the kitchen table. All of this done with no effort on the part of the residing family, who's blazed silhouettes are unceremoniously cast under the flickering hallway lights upstairs, permanently staining the long stretch of crumbling wall. This corridor in particular is one of the few still standing, whereas the rest had merely given away beneath the sheer force of the atom bomb, and returned to the dust of the earth. A sound is issued from a now antiquated PA system: the water is running low, and will need to be replenished, lest the family be unable to bathe for the next week.

    The dutiful butler takes to work, attempting to crack a spigot on the edge of a rusty frying pan. The lack of eggs has seen him resort to other forms of sustenance, one might suppose. The stove continues to emit a resonant clicking sound; the gas has long been used up, and so no fire can be lit. Nonetheless it continues on, without conscious or concern. It keeps time like a metronome, while the rest of the household chores are carried on in proper measure. A forecast is issued come nine O’clock, and it appears as though it will be yet again a hot, dry day. Sunblock is advised, the weather system promptly announces, before slipping back into hibernation.

    The cracked pavement of the driveway stages the shell of a car, one which was proudly driven years ago, no doubt. Like so many others, it now serves as a reminder of what once was. The neighboring lawns all are cast murky brown, and stained a bleak, faded green. White picket fences have lost the pristine lack of coloration that they once boasted, and now lay strewn about the jagged pavement of the late Rochester street. Clouds are forming overhead, and meager rays of light break through, managing to illuminate the countless particles of dust suspended in the air. A monument of the ancient world, the community's collective sprinkler system squeaks and clicks, desperately begging for water. It ran dry many ages ago.

    A crack of thunder echoes through the hot, dry air. A flash of lightning brightens the noon-day sky, and strikes the virtual skeleton of a once grand tree. It's rotted bark easily gives away to the electric bolt, and in defeat it falls through the feeble walls of house number seventy seven, coming to an uneasy rest upon the battered kitchen table. The stove continues to click on in mindless repetition, though for the first time in a century it is not left wanting; the dry branches of the dead tree, now so close, foster the potential for new life. Fire. It is at first subtle, as miniscule flames lick the edges of what few twigs are present on the stove. Determined to thrive, it makes its way up the thickening branches, until the trunk itself is engulfed in bright, vibrant flames. A smoke alarm breaks the silence of the expansive wasteland, projecting high-pitched beeps in every direction. There comes no response from the vast emptiness.

    The emergency sprinkler system has not but a drop of water left in its reserves, and over the alarm an automated voice can be heard, faintly instructing the family to evacuate the house in an orderly fashion. Calmly, it reminds them that pets and furniture can be replaced, humans beings however, cannot. The mechanic butler frantically attempts to aid the outdated house in its relentless quest to save its itself, having abandoned the preparation of breakfast for the time being. The fight is drawn out, but decidely a victory for the fire. In the end, all but one wall remains of house number seventy seven, displaying a large, digital clock. Midnight, it reads. The butler is now buried beneath the ashes of the dead house, an astounding mess that will no doubt need to be cleaned up in no short time. But it is nighttime, and to make such a racket at this ungodly hour would be unwarranted. It could wait until tomorrow.


  • Delidas
    Delidas   ·  July 3, 2015
    Yeah, I'll make a TOC should I come up with any more similar short stories, but we'll have to see if that's in the cards. Part of me is thinking of doing a long story set during the Great war (TES), but that's currently pending on sufficient inspiration. 
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  July 2, 2015
    A nice short story. It reminds me of the film animation WALL-E.
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  July 2, 2015
    It's fine. All blog posts go to the same section its the TOC's which need to be placed in either Tamriel Tales or Wasteland Tales. It confused me initially as well. Delidas If you want to create a TOC page for this and other stories similar to this then e...  more
  • Delidas
    Delidas   ·  July 2, 2015
    I tagged it #WTshort, so I assumed that would have put it under the Fallout section?
  • The Long-Chapper
    The Long-Chapper   ·  July 2, 2015
    Should this be in the Fallout section perhaps, as there is no sunblock in Skyrim? Or sprinkler systems?