This is in response to Chuck Wendig's Flash Fiction Challenge. The idea was to play a song at random, and use the title of the song as the title of a 1000-words-or-less story. I queued up iTunes, and got Shawn Colvin's Trouble -- which seems eminently appropriate for a Friday The Thirteenth. So... off we go!
It was just a bottle. Just a small bottle, with nothing in it but air. Air... and just a little something else. A tiny invisible flame, waiting to sear everything away and make the world clean again. I'd been carrying it for two days now, ever since I smuggled it out of the lab. I wasn't going to sell it. I wasn't going to keep it. I was just... waiting for a sign. And here, in Grand Central Station, standing in the main concourse in the middle of rush hour, I found it. I watched the hands of the clock fall into place, tracing a lost character from a forgotten language, telling me it was time. Someone jostled me as I took the bottle out of my pocket, but I didn't drop it. I pulled the cork, took a deep breath, and left it sitting on the counter of the information desk.
It would be weeks before anyone noticed that anything was wrong, months or even years before they realized that the Age of Man was over. They would probably never realize that the world had ended on January first at five-forty-five p.m. But it had. That invisible flame was already rushing out, touching anyone close enough to breathe it in, spreading from one to the next... and sterilizing them. We would live long and healthy lives, but none of us would have children... and as the conflagration spread silently around the globe, neither would anyone else.
An overweight man in a business suit crashed into me, hurrying on his way from somewhere trivial to someplace even less important. He glared at me, annoyed by my lack of movement. "What do you think you're doing?" he growled as he lurched around me, breathing my air, taking the invisible flame into his body.
"Causing trouble," I told him.