Song Title Short Story #4

After The Gold Rush – Neil Young

I lay exhausted on my bed. It was eight thirty in the morning, but I already felt like I’d been through the mill. I scanned the walls of my basement flat, the large poster of the band Queen, my Monty Python and the Holy Grail movie poster and my favourite picture of all, Keith Moon behind his drum kit as my headboard. I’d had one hell of a weird dream, but as soon as the alarm clock sounded, I’d woken up with a jolt, and now the details were quickly dissipating to the point I just felt confused.

Thankfully it was a Saturday morning, so there was no work until the afternoon – the benefits of having an easy going employer – so put some Neil Young on the record player and lay back. As the soothing tones of Young’s voice filled the room, I rolled myself a spliff and lit up. The sounds and the drugs melted together, creating a sonic cloud that lulled me into a stupor. I lay on my back and stared at the ceiling, only for it to peel away before my eyes. Up above my head, I saw a flash of silver in the sky. I stood up on my bed and looked around. There, on the ground, stood a huge silver spaceship. It’s hatch was open and around the entry ramp there were men and women stood waiting. In amongst the crowd, there were children crying and wailing, begging the adults to stay. My eyes were drawn to the barren, charred ground on which they stood, and the crates and sacks ready for loading. I called out – “Where are you going?” One of the adults turned around. I recognised him immediately as my friend, John. He mouthed something back to me that I couldn’t make out. I walked closer to him. Again I called – “Where are you going?” John walked a little closer to me. This time I heard – “We’re going to find a new world. This one is finished.” He gestured to the nightmarish landscape around us. I was gobsmacked – “What happened?” John shrugged his shoulders at me and returned to the group waiting to board the spaceship.

I stood there, and watched as the people boarded the spaceship, and soon the hatch closed. Those left behind waved and cried as the ship kicked into life and took off. Before long, the spaceship was a distant silvery fleck in the darkening sky. Behind me there was a loud bang, and I turned to see a mushroom cloud in the distance. A gust of wind came from nowhere, and suddenly I felt something hit me in the face, and all went black. I pulled what turned out to be a piece of newspaper off my skin. I glanced at what was written on the paper – ‘Make America Great Again’.

Hours later, I lay there in the dark, hoping it was all a bad trip.

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