As you know, I love prompts and am fond of those by Keith Channing. His instructions, “Using this photo as inspiration, write a short story, flash fiction, scene, poem; anything, really; and either put it (or a link to it) in a comment or email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org before 6pm on Sunday (if you aren’t sure what the time is where I live, this link will tell you). If you post it on your blog or site, a link to this page would be appreciated, but please do also mention it in a comment here – pingbacks don’t seem to be working, and I haven’t yet figured out why.
Go on. You know you want to. Let your creativity and imagination soar. I shall display the entries, with links to your blog or web site, next Monday.”
Here is the photo.
Here is my interpretation.
Home by John W. Howell © 2016
I know this story will be confusing since I hardly understand what happened myself. In fact, I don’t know why I’m writing this down since I don’t believe there will be anyone around who will read it. Okay, no matter. I think writing things down helps me control the panic I feel. I know whoever reads this won’t understand the nature of my feelings but let me explain my sense of dread by writing down what happened as best as I know.
I came back to the jungle after a long trip to the city which included an eight-hour drive through the outback, a small airplane ride and then a flight from the regional airport. I needed to earn some money to keep the hospital going. We were spending more that we were bringing in. (that is a story for a different time) I came back to the hospital very late and went straight to my room. The trip was long and I was exhausted. I lay down and went to sleep. When I awoke and walked around there was no one here. The patients were all gone and the staff as well.
I went to the radio room and tried to call the nearest station to find out any information they could give. The station did not answer. I then looked at my SAT phone with the idea of calling my sister in London for no other reason than to see if she heard something about the hospital being closed down. There was no service and at first I thought the satellite had malfunctioned. I called the regional police on the radio and all I got was the white noise that tells me their radio is not working. I began to feel my stomach rolling like I had too much wine. I knew it was the first signal of fear and I needed to get control before I did something irrational.
I sat in the radio room and tried every broadcast channel and finally gave up. There was no response to any of my broadcasts. I looked at the SAT phone for the tenth time and still no signal. It was clear to me now that I was disconnected from the world. This lonely outpost where I worked for ten years to bring modern medicine to this remote privative area was cut off from civilization.
Sitting on the veranda and visits to an empty village for the last ten days has finally convinced me that I need to go from this place and seek out other people. The Range Rover will take me back through the outback to the small airport. Maybe there has been some kind of atmospheric disturbance that has caused the radios and phone to malfunction. Only a face to face meeting will answer my most pressing question. Is there anyone else out there?