AUTHOR'S NOTE: This flash fiction piece was written for Sunday Scribblings. Although it is set in the same world as Steal Tomorrow it is part of a new series of stories centered around some new characters. The "Extras" section of the sidebar will soon be updated to reflect this. In the meantime, enjoy the new story and then drop by Sunday Scribblings for more fun!
He had heard the sound for the last three nights, a plaintive wail that sometimes cooed like a homesick dove and other times howled like an omen of disaster.
Tim was skeptical that any catastrophe could befall him that hadn't already. Death, violence, hunger, dirty water, and dark nights without electricity had been bad enough, but now there was the cold of winter to deal with as well. The pandemic had taken everything and there was no fresh calamity Tim could find alarming.
As the sound started again, he shivered in the parka he had taken from a looted sporting goods store. The haunting song was familiar now, and not just because he had heard it before. Having finally identified it, Tim struggled to decide what, if anything, to do. Was the saxophone player the ghost of a jazz artist rotting in a mass grave, or was it a teenage survivor like himself, seeking a little comfort in music?
It seemed unlikely someone would waste precious energy on playing a sax when so much needed to be done just to survive, but Tim could relate. From his back pocket he pulled out a pair of snare sticks and drummed on a nearby surface. At first he played to his own inner rhythm, recalling the cadences he had played in marching band, but gradually his tapping slowed to accompany the sonorous call of the saxophone.
When the song ended, Tim smiled and shoved the sticks back in his pocket. Perhaps tomorrow he would work up the courage to seek out the mysterious musician. Maybe they could play together, or even start a band. Tim stifled a laugh at the absurdity of a post-apocalyptic musical group, but...why not? There was something oddly liberating about losing everything. Whatever the source of the mysterious saxophone's wail, it was a harbinger of good things to come.
If you enjoyed this story, check the sidebar, where you'll find the serialized novel, more flash fiction (including prequels), and other fun Steal Tomorrow stuff.