This was written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #34. It’s based on the photo prompt below provided by Michael Gaida at Pixabay.com. I started this one the other day. I liked it when I started, but when I sat down to finish it today, I hated it. I don’t have time for a complete rewrite, I’m way behind on everything this week, so I opted for some self-deprecating, meta humor.
I awoke with a headache and no idea of how I got here or where here was. The last thing I remember was… Ow! It hurt to think. I had nothing. My mind was a blank.
I did a self-assessment. Fingers? Check. Toes? Check. Everything was where it was supposed to be. Other than my head, everything seemed fine.
I looked around. I was in an edifice that resembled a greenhouse. The overgrowth of plant-life helped in that assessment as did the sunlight streaming in through the glass roof.
I found a door and crept out. I was horrified by what I saw.
It was a city. It was a city. Now, it was ruins, the shattered shell of a former metropolis.
“Good, you’re up. How are you feeling?”
“I… uh… my head.” It was not my most profound moment. “Who are you?”
“Great. There’s no time for introductions or explanations. Our shuttle crashed. You were unconscious. We stashed you here while we completed the mission. I came back to get you and bring you to meet the others at the rendezvous point.”
“Shuttle? Others? Mission?”
“Ahh! You are part of an exploration mission. We’re checking this planet for life. So far, we’ve found none. What we have found is signs of disaster. We have yet to discern if it was war, disease, some environmental catastrophe, hypersensitivity, something else, or some combination.”
“What planet are we on?”
“MX495, but the inhabitants called it Earth.”
That’s when my brain exploded. The autopsy revealed that the twist ending was so clichéd it literally blew my mind.