Tell A Tale — Gothic Fiction

The Big Red Button By Andres Martinez

The two men sat in a large empty room with blank walls and a grey carpet. There were no windows so the only source of murky light came from the nervously blinking fluorescent lights. They sat at an old table blanketed in dust and countless official documents. The men’s eyes briefly met, communicating fear and uncertainty to each other. All was silent apart from a ceiling fan spinning painfully slowly.

The men were dressed in expensive black suits. Their cufflinks brushed against the harsh paper as they flipped through the sheets, filled with classified information, news articles, voting poles, personal details and urgent letters; they all reflected the illness the world was suffering, but no clear cure. At last, one of them, spoke.

“Sir, I understand this is a tough decision,” stammered the man in a monotone voice,” but it’s a decision that must be made.” In unison, they glanced at the only other item on the table, a big crimson button fixe to the table with a complex set of wires connected to it.

The other man, who had an air of importance, responded solemnly. “If only stating the obvious could solve this crisis.” A cool drop of sweat scuttled down his forehead to rest on his eyebrow. “What do you think commander? I trust you in this matter above anyone else.” After its brief absence, silence returned.

The commander glanced around with no other aim than to avoid the other’s sight. His lip stiffened and his fist thudded against the table. He took a deep breath and blurted out “I think that it has to be done. The more you dwell on it, sir, the harder it will be.”

“But it’s so inhumane!” he exclaimed emotionally in response.” Such power should not be had any man on this Earth as we are driven by fear. Fear leads to hate and hate… well hate is a very dangerous thing.”

“We must! The country depends on it!” The commander started to become irritated. His head shook moderately now. His mind was clouded and everything seemed like a blur. The one thing that stayed clear was the button, its colour imitating the colour of blood; this was a sight that the commander was no stranger to.

The commander’s chair scrapped the floor and he approached the other end of the table. His hands approached it. His hands hovered over it. His hands were caught by the other man.

“No!” Protested the man. “Don’t do it! I can’t live with this on my conscience.”

The commander hesitated for a second but the vivid memory of shrapnel and loud horrid haunting sounds he was often reminded of at night ignited an unequalled determination to finish it all.

“LET ME DO IT!” he spat

“NO!” screamed the other firmly but with an undertone of worry.

With all his strength the commander propelled the man backwards until his head collided with the wall.

His hand rose above the button

His hand accelerated towards the button

His hand slammed down onto the button.

A tear escaped his cheek. The commander sighed, and more tears freed themselves from his eyes. Mourning, he went to the man, who was now unconscious against the wall, and collapsed next to him.

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