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Like the World Is Ending · Original Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
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Waiting Is The Hardest Part
It's been too long, Ralph thought.

He had been staring at the battery operated digital clock for the last several hours. Now, he rose from the faux-leather sofa he was stuck to with a mild tearing sound.

He cautiously moved through the darkened room to a curtain shrouded window. He moved to the side and pinned himself to the wall beside it. With a shaking limb, he slowly moved the drape to allow a small crack of daylight to reach his overly dark adjusted eyes. He blinked in pain at the offending sunbeams as his eyes became accustomed to the brightness.

It was just as he had feared; there was no sign of life on the street. The empty husks of abandoned vehicles reminded him of the discarded cicada shells that used to fascinate him when he was younger. In the intense summer sun they shimmered with radiant heat. And, more importantly, Thomas' vehicle was nowhere to be seen.

Thomas had left over four hours ago and he had still not returned. Ralph hadn't thought that the task had been too difficult; it was a simple mission. All Thomas had to do was go out, get an item, and return safely. Ralph had estimated that it couldn't possibly take more than an hour or two to get what they had needed and return.

"What is taking him so long?" He grumbled under his breath.

He heard a stirring on the other sofa in the room and extricated himself from the window to better observe the unconscious form laying there. He had been worried that he had woken Sarah up with his little outburst. She was waiting for Thomas' return as well, though she had decided to take a nap rather than maintain a constant vigil like himself.

Ralph made his way over to her sofa and knelt down. He watched her sleep for a moment before running his hand softly through her hair. "Don't worry," he whispered, "everything will be all right. Thomas will return and then we'll have everything we need." He wasn't sure if he was trying to reassure Sarah's sleeping form or himself at this point.

Ralph's reverie was interrupted by the growing sound of a distant engine. He sprang to his feet with an alacrity most would not credit him with. Like a shot, he was back by the window. With far less stealth than last time, he shoved his head behind the curtain to observe the sun-baked street.

At the far end of the road he could just make out the hideous form of Thomas' car turning the corner. The blocky, half painted, half rusted, monstrosity sped down the pavement at treacherous speeds. It slowed only at the last moment as it pulled in front of the building, coming to a halt in what could only vaguely be considered, legally anyways, as a parked position.

Ralph rushed to the front door and fumbled with the multitude of locks and latches as he heard the car open and then slam shut.

"Wha," Sarah mumbled as she sat up, awoken by the sudden commotion, "what's going on?"

"Thomas is back!" Ralph exclaimed as he undid the final bolt and turned the doorknob.

The door opened, admitting a level of brightness to the room that caused Ralph to take a few steps back, and for Sarah to fall back onto the couch as she reached up to shield her eyes.

Thomas pushed himself through the doorway and kicked it shut behind him.

"D-d-did," Ralph stuttered at Thomas, "did you get it?"

"Of course I did," Thomas said with as little scorn as he could muster, "I did have to check a few extra places, but I got it."

"Oh good," Ralph said, quite relieved.

"Yeesh," Thomas said, unable to keep the snark out of his voice this time, "you act like the world is ending or something."

Ralph looked wounded. "I just-"

"Look," Thomas interjected, "next time, you can go get your own gaming system."
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