Tuesday’s Tale, 10/3/2017.

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I’m here! Without further ado, five minutes on the clock, and away we go:

In the end, only the guy with the raider’s cap made it to the next station; he fell just short, mouthing curses he had no breath to utter, reaching for Smith. Somewhere along the line, he had dropped the dead child, Smith couldn’t say where. The others with him hadn’t made it five hundred feet when the gas hit – he had been obstinate.

Smith said a prayer for them all but kept moving.

The next tremor knocked him forward; desperately he steadied his mask as he sprawled. With a roar, the tunnel collapsed behind him.

Dust and debris also filtered down from the escalators leading to the outside world.

His side stitched as he rose, but Smith ignored it. He had to hurry, the ash was here. but which way? The tunnel behind him had collapsed; if the tunnel in front had collapsed as well, he would be trapped and would have to double back. On the other hand, with the ash, fires, lightning, and other dangers sure to be lurking ground side, he would be slowed.

No, the tunnel was the correct choice; it was designed to handle the quakes possible from here. The earlier tunnel collapse had to be a fluke. Smith pulled his flashlight from his bag in case the emergency lights failed, and moved on.

And that’s it! total time is five minutes even, and have a great week!

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Tuesday’s Tale, 9/26/2017.

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Okay, I fell off the wagon again, but to be fair my computer blew up; whatever, I’m here now. Five minutes on the clock and away we go.

“No time!” Was the only valid reply; he started to jog again. He would be sprinting, except for the dark and the third rail. He did not want to be here when the gas caught up to the ash.

The small group followed him, well back. That was good. They might not enjoy how they were destined to die.

It started a mile down the track; first, they started coughing, little polite coughs which broke into loud wet racking coughs.

The man in the Raiders cap kept them moving. “Come on, breathe through your shirts, or wrap something around your nose and mouth. We gotta keep going.”

They knew now, why he had his mask.

The first one to drop was a child, a girl that couldn’t be older than 10. Raider cap wasted no time in scooping her up and continuing on. The group made it another ten steps before the girl’s mother dropped, and then a man.

Smith didn’t stop. There was no point.

And there we go. Time elapsed is four minutes fifty-three seconds. See you next week, provided nothing else happens.

Tuesday’s Tale, 9/12/2017.

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It’s happening! I’m posting two weeks in a row! It’s a miracle!

Enough of that; five minutes on the clock, and away we go.

His hand crept to his service pistol; an old Beretta, it had been his from his days in the army and rose with him through the ranks. He was glad he’d kept it, now, and glad he’d went to the range on a few days off.

“What are you doing? Stop following me.”

The others milled, wasting precious seconds. he turned to leave, keeping one eye their way in case of attack. There was no time to waste on the dead; he’d done everything he could.

They started again, almost as one, but this time one of the younger men outpaced the others by a few steps – not enough to get close enough to be a threat, but close enough to be heard. He was perhaps twenty-five, dressed in jeans, a t-shirt, and sneakers with an Oakland Raiders cap jammed firmly over his thick brown hair.

“Everyone else fought to get above ground, away from the tremors and possible collapse. You fought to go down; why?”

“Ash. There’s no time for this; try to stop me, and I’ll shoot you.”

He felt some regret saying those words, looking to the earnest young man, watching him fall back with his hands up, clearly afraid.

“Hey man, it’s cool, I won’t try anything. But what do you mean, ash? You know what’s going on?”

…and just like that, five minutes even. Sometimes I hate my time limit; I was just starting to get to the good part!

Oh well, there is always next week. See you then!

Tuesday’s Tale, 9/5/17.

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I know, I missed a week. Sorry about that, I know it’s becoming a habit. I’ll try to break it. But for now, five minutes on the clock and a disaster to write, so away we go!

He wasn’t proud of how he’d had to knock down or possibly even kill people to fight his way down the stairs, but without a mask of their own they were dead anyway, and he couldn’t let their current live and upright state kill him too.

The ones that recognized his pack and mask for what it was and tried to grab it away he showed no mercy to; desperation lent him the strength to fight them off. Once to the bottom of the stairs he vaulted off to the side and ran full tilt into the pitch black tunnel.

He was counting on all the trains being stopped of course; if even one were still going in this tunnel, for any reason, he was dead. But with the power cut due to massive seismic activity, it wasn’t likely.

Some people were following him; people from the subway itself or people who had followed him outside? Either way, there were around a dozen, and he couldn’t risk it; he whirled to face them.

Alright, this week is in the can; total time is five minutes even. See you next time!

Tuesday’s tale, 8/22/17.

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Alright, another Tuesday and another five minutes. Things are going to heat (heh) up!

The mask was barely on with its charcoal freshly replaced when the cloud billowed forth all at once and all around him, making it impossible to see.

He could still hear though, and most of what he could hear were screams and car wrecks. He hunkered down in a doorway for a five count and then got up and kept going; speed was the only thing that would save him now.

He made it to the subway in time, fighting his way through the crowd of people who were thankfully too blinded to see his mask. He debated trying to tell them not to go up, not to go into that… but there was no way he would be heard over the roar of other throats, and that of the breaking machinery below.

He wanted the others to clear, but there was no time; he set about clearing his path down.

And there we have it, five minuted elapsed. I didn’t do so well this time. Hopefully, next week will be better.

Tuesday’s Tale, 8/15/17.

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Surprise! I’m actually a bit early today, for me and blogging at least. I’ve got my coffee, got my solitude, and got my health for the moment. All that means it is officially writing time. So five minutes on the clock and away we go!

The only correct way to go was down, conversely. This he knew; while the gases would travel down and the ash would settle after, if he was fast enough he could take the subway and outrun both.

He had known, in the back of his mind, that he would fight all along. That’s why he headed for his car first.

The small bag wasn’t much, but under proper circumstances, it could save his life. He really should have taken it with him to the office, but it had spent years in the trunk of his car, gathering dust, out of sight and mind.

He didn’t waste time brushing the dust off.

Leaving the car, he jogged awkwardly toward the subway station, less than a block away.

And that is that. Total time elapsed is the full five minutes. By now I bet all of you have guessed “disaster movie” – but what kind? Anyone know? I assure you, it’s a specific one that could actually happen.

At any rate, see you next week with the next installment!

Tuesday’s Tale, 8/8/2017.

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Alright, another Tuesday; that means another five minutes on the clock.

Away we go:

This far, the Earthquake was minor. He didn’t have to worry about the crust of the Earth simply sliding out from under him or falling. No, he wasn’t like those poor souls still trapped farther West, his killer would likely be the ash, and it would be here in moments.

For a crucial moment, he stopped. Why should he bother? Escape was impossible, why not meet death on his terms?

But something in him said no; that as old and tired as he was, he could not give up. He put his terror-fueled second wind to use.

He had forgotten a killer. He was halfway down the Easternmost stairs, racing the few who had stayed behind as he had and those just now beginning to realize the awful reality when the barest remnants of a shockwave that had traveled thousands of miles knocked them all from their feet.

He managed to grab the guardrail in time but others were not as lucky. The screams began immediately and only gained volume. There was no time to stop, he knew. To stop, even to offer kindness, was to die. The only hope lay seaward.

And there you go, total time is four minutes and fifty-two seconds. See you next week.