As the siren started you grabbed my arm. Urgency shot through us. It was time.
We poured outside with the rest of them, all looking skyward. Craning our heads to see the precursor to our fate.
There it was, of one the dirigibles, lit up against the night sky. Ablaze and tilting violently, veering horribly downwards, falling slowly as it’s crew tried desperately to slow it’s descent.
These bloated behemoths that float above our city, carry our stratified elite. Those noble men who rule over this barren land. Puppeteers up high with no idea their strings have been cut. They say that if you went out on a quiet night you could hear their music, their laughter, the quiet clink of their glasses floating through the dust filled air.
After the Water Wars, most of the politicians and the rich took to their giant airships to escape the riots. They claimed it was to safeguard democracy, but as the riots subdued they never returned, living among the clouds — gods looking down upon us mortals.
Someone in the crowd shouted and it echoed through the bodies. We’ve got it. We’ve hit the right one. The Royal Ship.
As it came ponderously down you could hear the crackle of the flames in the cabin. Oily black smoke poured out as it stumbled lecherously towards the ground, debris felling from every orifice. Papers, furniture, a woman. She fell from the ship, her ruffled dress consumed by flame as she tumbled screaming through the air. Someone in the crowd pointed her out and mimicked her screams to laughter around them. She disappeared behind a building.
I felt sick.
The ship started to dip below the skyline and the crowd surged towards where it would land. You gripped my hand as we were swept forward with the crowd. Surging to see the downed ship and leer at it’s ruptured belly. To behold our slain gods.
We turned the corner and could see the monstrous beast laying on it’s side groaning and shrieking, spewing fire and smoke. The air was filled with a greasy black tang and our eyes stung, the heat palpable over a block away. Bodies and other detritus strewn around the wreckage and burning fragments filled the air, swirling and twisting, covering everything with a layer of ash. You didn’t want to move closer but we were part of the crowd now and we moved as one. Turning over bodies with the tips of our boots, straining to recognise faces through the ash and the tears and the blood. Looking for our prize.
We stumbled through the smoke searching and retching from the fumes, unable to get too close to the wreckage for the fire. After some time the crowd drifted back, forming a perimeter around the site. Waiting for the flames to die down. I stood and thought of the futility of our actions, my back cold as I stared at this Hydra’s head, my stomach hungry at the smell of roasting meat.