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The Commute


The Commute


Copyright 2013 Mark Webb

Published by Mark Webb at Shakespir




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Table of Contents

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

About Mark Webb

Other books by Mark Webb

Connect with Mark Webb


Chapter One

Saul stood in the blistering sunlight, staring as far into to distance as the heat haze would permit. The rock he stood upon was but a foot thin and unfairly sharp, ravaged but still standing. Immense cross-sections had been created, in the cliff, by that ancient, consuming ripple. When it had mutilated the outcrop, beautiful landscapes of stone should have been revealed, but his pedestal was shrouded from view, by a layer of glistening, black soot.

From his elevated position, he could see for miles before the horizon slipped out from the weak grasp of his tired, grey eyes. Every direction was the same, there was nothing of Rome but dust and his mouth and beard were coated with the powder. Building, person, church, house, all but another drop in a sea of monotone grey. This rock was the first substantial object he had stumbled across all day, it was nothing impressive, but at least it would give him shade. A puff of soot went up, as he slumped to the ground, his thin frame leaning back, against the gnarled granite form.

Brushing the ash from his, long, white hair Saul ran his tongue over his lips, he had not drunk for hours and the sun had taken its toll. Trying to focus his remaining energies, Saul decided to rest a while, before making the rest of the way home. It had been a fruitless day of scavenging, his age meant that he could only cover half the ground he used to and there just wasn’t much left to find, anymore. At least the light was with him, plenty of time to complete this walk, that he knew so well.

Saul had been locked in thought, for some time. So total was this reverie that he had not remembered to cover his face, from the sun and a fire glowed, behind his tanned, wind-beaten skin. Saul possessed a supposed wealth of knowledge, he could read and had lived long, but none of it could truly help him. He recognised parts of his life, from the books, but so much wasn’t right. Was this all he would have, no change, no hope, just dwindling rubble. Forty years was a long time, time for people to rally, to rebuild, Saul had always thought. There had been some, who had come, some he had followed, but they had ultimately strived for women, for food, not for any future. He had done little himself, waiting for a proper cause and he regretted that now. Maybe he had been the one, the man to turn us all back forwards and set the march along, once again. Saul chuckled to himself, he had never been a leader, but maybe that’s just what everyone had said.

Chapter Two

Almost half, of those forty years ago, Saul had found this route, a scenic interlude, by the standards of the new world. As he reminisced, the dust that was once Rome, circled, in warm, soft breezes, that skimmed the flat landscape. The destruction that surrounded him was, by now, almost a secondary occurrence, to Saul. He glanced into the near distance, his eyes tracing the worn stumps of the apostolic palace. Doubt shrouded all. Saul took out his notebook and began to scrawl down all he could remember, from the day. He had no reason to do so, it was just a blind, but comforting habit.

The sun had begun to set, an orange-beige glow, filtering through the dirty sky. Rising once more, Saul continued his daily trek, through the desert of ash. Each minute he walked stretched, painfully, his feet began to drag and his eyes skimmed the horizon without enthusiasm. After some time, Saul began to make out hints of buildings, in the middle distance.

As the blast had moved outwards, its intensity had dissipated and at this distance some, blackened ruins survived. As he drew closer, to the defiant line of mutilated structures, Saul looked on, fondly. It was a patchwork of damaged cafes, semi-unscathed buildings, flanked by nothing but charcoal. It was as if the blast had not decreased in intensity but instead had lost control. As it spread it had lost its pattern and lashed out in directionless streams, finally discharging, into the air. The existence of such untouched structures warmed Saul’s mind.


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The Commute

  • ISBN: 9781370035779
  • Author: Mark Webb
  • Published: 2017-01-24 15:35:38
  • Words: 3081
The Commute The Commute