Relics of a bygone age

Storm at night

He grabbed hold of the rock jutting out from the cave mouth and hauled himself over the lip, turning his back on the rapidly darkening sky heralded the coming storm.

There was a deep rumble of thunder as he hurried into the back of the cave, hooking one one end of the heavy leather curtain onto the nail opposite its sibling to shut out the howling wind.  Sitting down on a pile of old clothes, he took his battered rucksack from his shoulder and first hauled out a solar powered lamp, then all of the dry wood and plant detritus that he’d managed to scavenge.  In short order, having two sticks to rub together and some grass for kindling, he had lit a fire just before the rain started battering at the mountain.

He sat up straight again and fished around in his rucksack once more, and pulled out a mobile phone.  By the light of the fire and the solar lamp, he could see that it was an old model of a touch-screen phone – damn, these things were nearly always fragile; no cracks on the screen though.  He turned it around in his hands to look at the hole where the power cable would go.  He was in luck, this hole looked to be the same shape as the end of the lead which fit into the wind-up flash-light.

Setting the phone down for a moment, he reached to one side and picked up a tin box which he then opened and took a couple of hard biscuits from.  He hungrily wolfed one down and put the other between his teeth as he rose to his hands and knees to scrabble around for the flash-light and the lead.  Finding them both, he plugged the lead into the flash-light and the mobile phone and sat back into the pile of clothes again, nestling himself in to make himself comfortable, and wound up the flash-light for while.  He didn’t have a watch or anything, but he knew that he had to wind up the flash-light for a long time before there was even a chance that the phone would turn on.

He turned the little plastic handle of the flash-light round and round as fast as he could, knowing that the faster he turned the less he would have to wait.  The phones he’d tried before were usually broken; they would turn on but the screen would stay black or would be white but nothing happened, or there would be some pictures and noise but then they would freeze and nothing happened, or the screens themselves were cracked and useless…

…sometimes they would turn on, and by pushing some buttons or touching some of the pictures, he could find books, music and video clips. More often than not though, there were lots of little ‘messages’.  He took his time over these, reading through each one; they made no sense sometimes but if he thought about them hard enough, he could piece together what each person was talking about and imagine them living their lives, just like he’d seen in some of the video clips he’d watched.

He’d been taught how to read by a missionary, and been told that mobile phones were used by people long ago to talk with each other, play games, and to send each other text and pictures.  Of course, that was back before the Resource Wars of fifty years ago, when there was something called the ‘internet’, and there was something the old man had called ‘civilisation’.

Some time later, he tried turning the phone on; he was in luck.  Hunched over with the device cradled in his hands, he watched as the screen flickered to life.

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About TheImaginator

35 year old sciolist living in Tokyo. I like swing dancing, Twitter word games, writing, using, reading, and watching movies. I write stuff on my blog occasionally.
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4 Responses to Relics of a bygone age

  1. Suzanne says:

    Very cool story! Love the use of cellphones as artifacts.

  2. Pingback: Writing Challenge: The Demons Of Dystopia… | Mirth and Motivation

  3. Pingback: Crushed (A short story) | The Jittery Goat

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