There had been over fifty in their band when they began the arduous and conceivably unachievable journey across the Poisoned Lands to reach the sea. In reality, they had no other viable opportunity for survival than to hearken to the unknown voice on the emergency radio supplying a date, time and coordinates to rendezvous with what might well be the very last vessel offering escape from the lethal aftermath of man’s final war against man.
And so they walked, with the unerring faith of those that had, and always would have, an inner core of strength and a certainty that it was their destiny to not only survive but to prosper and grow as long as their will did not flag.
When it seemed they could go no further, when nothing remained for them to give, the final seven of their number staggered at last to the beach and its roaring surf, expending near all their remaining energy in a dance of sheer, unbridled rapture they had endured the greatest hardships faced by any and had, in spite of all, come to this wondrous place of exodus.
Their happiness, their exultation, their unmitigated pleasure was boundless, it seemed, and remained so until the mysterious radio voice brought all hope, all sense of future, all….joy…to an abrupt and sickening end as he announced the final vessel had sank at sea and no evacuation could be expected ever again.
This story was written for the weekly Five Sentence Fiction flash fiction prompt: joy.