While thunderous artillery shells ejected nearby, Private Bobby Pierson tried steadying his camera. With a quick check to the side panel, the camcorder displayed a full green gauge.
Private Roy Jenks appeared from the dark, jumping into Bobby’s foxhole.
“Hey, man,” Jenks said, surveying his surroundings.
“Hey,” Bobby replied.
“This is insane. How did this ever happen?” Jenks said.
A nearby explosion rained dirt and debris on their helmets. “Man, we’re done for!”
Bobby heard Jenks’s words taper off into the air as he shot the entire scene; he could see the rocket’s red glare and bombs bursting in air, but no sight of the flag.
“Dang, I wanted a shot of the flag,” Bobby said.
“W-what are you doing?” Jenks asked.
“Bobby, are you filming?”
“What the hell, man? We’re supposed to be fighting the war of all wars. You’re supposed to be shooting.”
“I am shooting.”
Raising the camcorder upward, Bobby zoomed in on jet fighters as they ignited the sky. The world had sent every available fighter skyward in its last great offensive. Flashes of red, orange, and blue lit the atmosphere like fireworks on acid; the earth had declared war on the sky.
“It looks beautiful,” Bobby said.
“Are you kidding me? We’re losing every one of them! The generals say we can’t lose hope, but we got no chance. None!”
“They didn’t come to enslave us. They want us all dead.”
“Figured as much.”
“Who would’a thought? Did you ever think that little green men would come down and fry us? Much less existed?”
A blast rattled the ground, showering them with grime. Bobby wiped the soil from the camcorder and, staying low, charged forward. The battlefield was littered with bodies and terrified soldiers. The air was charged with fear and death. Bobby was in heaven.
He zoomed out, capturing the wide spectrum of despair.
“What are you doing?” Jenks shouted, running to Bobby.
Panning right, bobby viewed tanks begin their advance. Men marched through the night as the bombardment continued.
“That means they’re on the ground now. We’re up Bobby. We might not make it back, so, I, uh, wanted to say good luck.”
A red, blinking light caught Bobby’s eye. The battery began depleting. He smacked the camera. The green light flashed again.
“Good, stay with me,” Bobby said.
“I will, Bobby. They’re not getting us without a fight.”
Jenks jumped up, gripped his rifle and turned, watching Bobby lick his lips as the onslaught rolled through waves of men.
“Dammit, Bobby, we’re getting creamed and you’re filming a documentary!”
“Well,” Bobby sighed. “It’s not exactly a documentary. We’re all going to die soon, people I mean.” Bobby filmed on as thousands of men thundered to their ends in a great charge. “We’re heading for extinction. And I figure that’ll make all people a work of fiction one day. So no, this isn’t a documentary, this is gonna be the world’s last great film.”
Pedro Iniguez is a speculative fiction writer and painter. His work has appeared in Nightmare Magazine, Helios Quarterly, Tiny Nightmares, Star*Line, Space and Time Magazine, Speculative Fiction for Dreamers, and Crossed Genres. Originally from Los Angeles, he now resides in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where he is currently working on his second novel. His first novel is Control Theory. “The Last Great Film” originally appeared in Battlespace, edited by Jason Tudor, Keith Houin, and Michael J. Wilstock.