Unnecessary Journey

An excerpt from Dave Brown's "The Unnecessary Journey"


Kyle drummed his fingers as the bus refused to ever reach his stop. He looked out the window, at the flowers growing in the meadow. Growth. Disease. Despair. Death. What do the flowers and plants know about their existences? They require a light that threatens to scorch the Earth, and at their height, they briefly adorn a landscape, or someone's collection. Then they wither and dry up, or perhaps get chewed and swallowed. Or snatched and crushed. Was their journey necessary?


Ignoring the driver sitting not too far from him, who was now muttering to himself and gently twitching his head, Kyle stared out at the cows dotted around the landscape. They are born, they chew grass, they moo, they age, they get slaughtered. Cows feel, do they not? Animals know hunger, and battle, and death, but do any feel they are a mere pawn in the scheme of things? They do not sense when their lives are worthwhile, they do not outlive the stars, they do not produce legacies or legends for their descendents, merely perishable items for the human folk. Do they realise their journey from the beginning to the plate of meat is only necessary to some certain other creatures?


Kyle dropped his head. What do people accomplish? They live, they die, they are forgotten. A mass populace, most of it forgettable. Kyle looked at the other passengers. The young woman will live in poverty. The man will die of illness. Does it matter if he's called Jim and has blonde hair? Perhaps he's Jim, a carpenter. Or perhaps he works for a car insurance firm. She could be Sandra, or Becky, or Ruth; it does not matter, the future will forget. They are born, they chew food, they express feelings, they suffer pain, they endure hardships and setbacks, their dreams are crushed, and then they are underground, their names forgotten, their beliefs mocked by the next generation to go through the motions, their previous lives erased. When existence is but a short, unpleasant journey, and does not yield many victories, is it really necessary?


Kyle saw the bus driver jerk his head violently, and he turned the steering wheel as far as it could go. The bus veered hard left into off-road terrain that almost took Kyle out of his seat, and his stomach felt ready to churn as the vehicle picked up an unhealthy dose of speed. Kyle turned around, seeing that through the window behind him, there was nothing but eternity, and he felt like screaming a loud expletive.


The bus roared off the cliff, and Kyle banged his head on the ceiling. Sky gave way to land, blood rushing to Kyle's head. He heard the driver singing merrily about unnecessary journeys as impending doom loomed, and then came a sickening metallic crunch, a brilliant flash of yellow and orange light, a boom that shattered the world, and Kyle's life-







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