Jason fiddled with the pack of cigarettes in his pocket. What exactly was the right etiquette for smoking in here? It’s not like he could go outside. Did he just light up? He briefly considered just going for it when he came across a sign in the lobby area saying ‘garden.’ Hoping and praying that this wasn’t going to lead him to a dead end, he followed the direction to find himself looking out of a glass door. On the other side was a large open space, full of plants and benches. He slid the door to one side and went through.
He was immediately hit by the cold air that was now all around him. It wasn’t uncomfortable, just refreshing. He looked up to see a ceiling of light blue, probably to add the effect of a sky. The room smelt amazing and had obviously been designed to feel like it was outside. The designers of this place must have known what they were doing, this would save a lot of claustrophobia throughout the survivors. He briefly wondered if any of the designers were survivors as well. Did they know what they were designing the place for? He decided that he didn’t really want to know the answer to that and found himself a seat at a nearby picnic table. In the middle of the table was an ash tray which Jason took as his cue that smoking was allowed in this particular part of the building and lit up.
The voice came from behind him. Jason moved in his seat to see who it was and found a big built man who, like so many others he had seen today, looked in his early to mid-twenties. He gave the man a brief wave as they made eye contact and turned back round, not really into entering any conversation at the moment. Unfortunately, the man didn’t have the same idea.
“You know we are inside.” He said.
Jason thought that was a pretty redundant thing to say but let it go and pointed to the ash tray.
“These are out, so I guess this is the designated smoking spot, sorry.”
“Well, I was here first and I would like to mourn the death of everyone I love without gaining lung cancer myself.”
Wow, this guy sounded like a real joy.
“This is the first one I’ve had since I got in this place,” Jason explained. “I just need a moment to de-stress. I won’t be long.”
“I’d like you to put it out now.” The man persisted.
“I tell you what,” Jason said. “As you seem pretty attached to this particular spot, how about I move to another area of the room?”
“I’d still smell it.”
Jason was losing his patience. “It’s a pretty big room,” he said. “I’m sure you’ll be okay.”
Jason started to walk away, desperate to put as much space between him and the annoying man as possible.
“I think it’s pretty inconsiderate and ungrateful of you to even be smoking that thing anyway.”
Jason felt his irritation start to rise. He just wanted one de-stress puff in peace for crying out loud. But the man had accused him of being ungrateful and he had no idea why.
“What do mean, ungrateful?” He asked.
“Your life was spared above everyone else in the world and you’re repaying the favour by poisoning your lungs.”
“I’m pretty sure that if they expected us to not smoke, they wouldn’t have put out ash trays.” Jason reasoned, his blood had run cold.
“I’m just saying, what good could you possibly be doing right now?”
Jason was starting to shake, this man was really starting to piss him off.
“Well I was hoping it would calm down my nerves, but I guess you’ve put a stop to that.”
“Makes no sense to me.” The man said. “Why did they even bother saving you if they knew you were a smoker.”
That was it, he had been told he wasn’t worthy to be here too many times. Jason stormed over to where the man sat and grabbed him by the collar.
“You don’t think I should smoke?” He said. “Fine.”
And with that he put the cigarette out on the man’s arm rubbing it in nice and deep as he did so. The man let out a loud yell and pounced on Jason, throwing him into a nearby tree. Jason’s head smacked again the bark and for a moment he saw stars. He shook them off, his injury just adding to the rage that was now building up inside him. He kicked the man off him and, struggling to his feet he half stumbled, half fell into the man, chucking him to the floor. He had him pinned underneath him and started to punch. His anger boiled over and poured out of his fists, over and over. He got several good punches in before the man got control of the situation and managed to push Jason off him, switching places and pinning him down. Once he started punching, Jason realised that he was done, there was no way he was going to be able to gain control again. He closed his eyes and took the punches, which doubled the amount he’d given when Jason started to lose sense of what was going on. The punches continued and grew in intensity as Jason’s consciousness started to fade. He was vaguely aware that they had stopped as he slipped away completely. He wasn’t sure but he was pretty sure someone was talking to him as well. A woman. He didn’t know who. And then she and everything else was gone.