TerribleMinds flash fiction challenge. My random sentence: Why does the exhaust strike?
Why does the exhaust strike? It assaults my nose with a great fist, bloodied grey from a lifetime of attacks. Only moments ago I was inhaling the clean air of the cool, fresh hotel lobby, and now I am thrust into battle as I wait for my car. All around me, more exhaust billows forth and takes aim at my innocent lungs. I look down the street and into the distance. Between the skyscrapers, nothing but a brown, sordid haze meets my vision, and I wrinkle my nose. I have no desire to be standing in this disgusting outside world. I close my eyes for a moment to calm myself, and I imagine the clean marble floors of the great indoors.
My nose and lungs already beaten, I feel the grey poison strike my eyes as they open again. It delivers a calculated blow, prodding the blood vessels until they are as red and irritated as those inside my nostrils. Why does it strike when it already knows it makes me suffer? I have done nothing wrong, and yet it continues to attack me, blow by blow, until my lungs must be sodden with its grey fumes. Smoker’s lungs. I don’t deserve this. The exhaust has no right to strike me as such—to invade my natural insides so they turn from rosy pink to smoky grey. I am becoming poisoned with vile, dirty air with each breath I take.
When at last my car rolls into my sight, I step forward eagerly. I grimace as I get into the back seat, relieved to be escaping this filthy environment. I ask my driver to turn up the air conditioning, and I breathe in, savouring its purity. I can’t help but dream of the future, when the city is enclosed in a building of fresh, conditioned oxygen, and where I may walk through a tunnel from the lobby to the cab, looking out the window at the rotting exhaust but never feeling its wrath. The fumes will try to claw their way in, but I will sleep happily at night knowing I am safe indoors until the end of my days. The outside world is a dismal, poisonous place, and my body and soul have done nothing to deserve its merciless attacks.