This is the 48th in a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing. You can find out more about the challenge here.
Mortal Choices by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 18th January 2012
Word count: 994
Theme: destiny, hero, champion, evil, madness, magic, fate, prophecy
Eighteen hours to save the world, the creature had told Oliver, just eighteen hours. He’d also said that Oliver was the chosen one, destined to fight the raging storm of evil, hell bent on enveloping the world.
If he hadn’t been a tiny mouse covered in lizard scales, Oliver would have thought the creature nuts. Instead he could only conclude that he was hallucinating, shook his head and walked away.
Two hours later in work, at the local supermarket, he was quite surprised by an hallucination coming to him as he was scanning a tiramisu .
“Oliver you are the only hope for all our kinds,” the alsation sized scaly creature said.
“No thanks Leia,” Oliver said dismissively, hoping no one saw him talking to himself.
The screams were a genuine surprise, the women pulling things from the trolley, as she turned round to see who Oliver was talking and was treated to a hideous lizard the size of a dog, and taking like a man.
“You’re not an hallucination?” a stuttering Oliver asked.
“Nope, I’m…” the creature was cut off by being hit in the head with a sweeping brush. The creatures response was to turn is head, bare it’s teeth and spine like needles that covered it’s head were raised.
“Enough it snarled!” the manager fled, as did everyone else who had were watching the freak show.
Oliver took this opportunity to flew himself. Now he was telling himself out was only a mass hallucination, the whole world had gone mad obviously, or just the Tesco Express he worked in.
After running for five minutes, he became aware of a problem, he had no idea where he was going. There were only two things to do in this situation, he decided, get medical help or get drunk. He chose the latter.
Night was descending, he’d been drinking for eight hours, on and off, he’d had to change bars and pubs thrice whenever they threatened to cut him off.
He was sat in the Barley Taps at present in a dark corner, having decided to interrogate himself.
A figure pulled a seat in front of him and say down.
“Oliver Smith, you’re a hard man to find,” the stranger said. Oliver looked up, expecting to see another lizard hallucination, but instead was greeted by a man with a silver mane, he was tall, well built, and dressed sharply in a suit.
“Are you the police? Because I had nothing to do with what happened,” Oliver said slurring.
“Wrong on both accounts,” the man said.
“Who are you?” Oliver asked.
“I am the great and glorious evil that’s going to destroy the world. We’re meant to battle, then one of us wins, and whoever wins decides the fate of the world,” the man said matter of factly.
“I’m not drunk enough to believe that mumbo jumbo, go away,” Oliver warned trying to appear intimidating despite the slurring.
“What is wrong with you?” the man asked disturbed, and annoyed.
“I’m going mad, that’s what wrong. I’m tired of these hallucinations, so just go away and leave me alone,” he was shouting towards the end.
The barman came over, “Everything alright?” he said looking over the drunk young man and the sober, curious looking older one. “Want me to make him leave?” Roman he asked Oliver.
Oliver shook his head, “I’m going anyway. Make sure he doesn’t follow me, please.”
The man made to get up, but the barman blocked the way, as Oliver walked out.” Why don’t we just stay here and wait it out a bit. We don’t need any trouble fella.”
Oliver was lost into the mass of moving humanity in the street, he never heard the thud and the screams.
He returned home, locked the doors, and for safe measure blocked them with furniture.
“You know baricading yourself in works better when you’ve checked the place first,” the old man was there again.
“I told you to leave me alone,” Oliver warned looking for any kind of weapon, and settling on a newspaper rolled up.
“You want to have our big fight using that?” the man asked.
“Who are you, and what do you want?” the young man demanded.
“My name is Ozymandias,” the man said, “And you know what I want. We are destined to fight you and I.”
“Why? Why do you want to end the world? Why bother with me?” Oliver asked. “Do I even look like the kind of person that would be fated to battle for the future of the world? You’ve got the wrong person.”
The man looked a Oliver, was about to speak, and then stopped. “Every century I awaken, and I go through this. Usually the champion is a bit better prepared than you,and I always lose.”
“Then why do it? Why do you want to end the world?”
The man stopped to think again, “It’s destiny, I’m doomed to walk this earth, to never die, until the world does. Yet dying is all that I have left to look foward to.”
“Then do something else, find something else,” Oliver said lowering his newspaper, “Seriously, doing the same thing over and over? It sounds like madness. And I’m not going to be part of it, fate or not. I’m not fighting for some silly prophecy I never heard of until a lizard mouse talked to me. I’ve had enough, I’m off to bed, close the door on your way out.”
The man seemed really confused for an instant, “You think that’s it?” from out of no where a blade was in his hand, and he struck out, cutting clean through the top half of Olivers head, the corpse collapsed to the floor.
A being coalesced in front of Ozymandias, “You have won. What fate do you chose for the world?”
“You know what, the kids right. I choose to save it, find another champion of destruction,” he answered and walked out, to find a new life.