Extinguished, Part 1

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    Early Sunday mornings on Sunset Beach are typically quiet. The coastal ocean water grew brighter as the Sun rose, its glow unhindered by the scattered clouds overhead. Patches of tall grass, left to grow along the outlying sand dunes, were laden with glistening dewdrops. A warm, steady breeze pushed the cold air from the previous night across the land, through the dense tropical forest, back out to the ocean. Morning joggers and lounging tourists peppered the stretch of sand, welcoming the day.

    Walking along the beach was a young woman. She had rich, orange hair in a white sunhat. On her back was a small, grey backpack. With her, she carried a hefty bag of trash.
The burden of its weight seemed hardly a concern.

    She continued, looking on with curiosity as the people delighted in the last few days of Summer. College students gathered and played volleyball on the shore. Parents and their small children played in the sand. Surf-fishers, further along the coast, waited in anticipation for their catch. It was a good start to a fine day.

    Soon enough, the girl had reached her target: an Ohm-Incinerator, standing beside a Recycle Bin Machine on a small, raised platform connected to a parking lot.
    Few Incinerators existed in the lesser-populated areas of O'ahu. Despite their efficiency, they were significantly more expensive than ordinary trash-collection. Nevertheless, their existence on the island represented the State of Hawaii's determination to preserve the natural beauty which had attracted its tourist population.

    Standing next to the R-Bin were two college-age men. The orange-haired girl overheard their conversation as she approached.
“Stupid piece of... why does it keep doing that?” remarked the shorter of the two. He kicked the R-Bin as it let out an irritated buzzing noise. For the third time, it had refused his unfinished bottle of soda. The bottle ejected from the large, open orifice directly beneath the deposit slot. The taller boy directed his attention to the side of picket fencing adjacent the R-Bin.
“Dude, read.” he said.
“...'Please empty all containers before depositing for Recycling'... oh. Well...”
“Man... you stupid, dude.” the taller boy laughed.
“S-shut up. You're stupid!” replied the other, unscrewing the top of the bottle and dumping its contents onto the sand next to them. The soda woefully splattered and dripped.
“What're you dumping it for, anyway?”
“I don't feel like carrying it, okay?”
The shorter boy opened the sliding deposit slot once more, tossing the bottle and cap inside. The R-Bin responded with a brief, polite beeping sound.

    The orange-haired girl, amused by this little drama, passed by the two boys. They took notice of her for a moment, then continued their discussion, which seemed to venture into some even less interesting topic. The girl touched her palm against a button on the Ohm-Incinerator, opening its hatch. The lever on its left side rose as the hatch door slid open. With little effort, she lifted her bag of trash and dropped it into the inner receptacle.
Making sure to follow the posted instructions, she then pulled the lever down, and the bag of trash fell into the main compartment of the Incinerator, making a distinct sound against the inner metal floor, as if it were filled with grains. The button closest to the main hatch door flashed green, and the girl tapped it. The machine buzzed softly, carrying out its function.
    Her face brightened up. Finally, she was rid of the filth.

    The smell of an operating Ohm-Incinerator was never very pleasant. However, it rarely lingered. The two boys soon reacted to it.
Ah, man!” groaned the taller one, holding his nose as they both stepped backward, onto the beach. “What was in that thing, a dead guy?”
The girl giggled as she, too, stepped back onto the sand.
“Yeah, definitely!” she replied, with a hint of sarcasm in her voice.
“Well, warn us next time... wouldja, please?” asked the shorter boy.
The girl smiled, facing him. “Perhaps.”
Eugh... whatever...” the boy grimaced. The taller one laughed, slapping his friend's shoulder.

    The girl turned, making her way west. There was a cry of seagulls in the distance.

Extinguished is a Short Story set in the Highwave fictional universe.

Highwave: Extinguished by Andrew Soto
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sundayshu's avatar
sundayshuHobbyist Digital Artist

wow, future trash can
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Cyrus-the-AcceptableStudent Writer
lol yes