‘Go and have a nice holiday with your auntie.’

Sure. Great idea. That was before whatever it was that happened, happened.

By the time I arrived in Sydney, my auntie was nowhere to be seen, and when I tried to go home the trains had stopped running, with no one to drive them.  And the phones had stopped working; my mobile just hummed back at me, same as the public phones and the ones in the private houses I’ve broken into in later days.  Sometimes I pick up a handset just to pretend it’s something alive.

I was lucky, I found Billy – or maybe he found me – and brought me to the safe-house. He said he’d show me the ropes, but he disappeared a day later.  I waited until I was starving then went out.  Only in daylight – you can see things coming at you then, kind of.  

Maybe Billy got swallowed by the night.  He boasted he’d lasted longer than anyone. That’s why he was so surprised to see me that day, wondering down the Pitt Street Mall like some half-witted lamb, eyes wide, mouth slack, staring at the complete lack of devastation. At the total nothingness.

I haven’t seen proper sun for weeks now.  It’s like it’s scared to come out.

I’m braver now, about going out for food and the useful etceteras like bottled water, because what comes out of the taps now is the colour of mud. Sometimes it just looks like blood and I don’t fancy re-hydrating with that. Some days I just wander because I’ve nothing else to do. I go to that big bookstore, Berkelouw, and pick through the stacks. My idea of an apocalypse is no new books – but it should take me an age to get through this lot.

Other days I just stay inside, under a table where nothing can see me. Those are the days I can hear noises from outside.

But here’s the thing: I cut my hand on this piece of glass. It sliced the lines of my palm that are supposed to map out my future, heart, head, and life, all snipped. That worries me especially on the days when all I can hear is the flapping and swooping noises of things that might once have been angels. And some days there’s a voice in the darkness and it knows my name.

M21 jimmied the lock on his cage. Doc had stopped coming to the lab three days before, and the mouse was alone. His food tray was empty, and hunger is a powerful incentive for a small mammal with a high metabolic rate. M21 knew why Doc had not returned. The television had shown scenes of global madness, extreme violence, and rapid degeneration. Until it went silent of course.
Five days later, his water bottle was dry. He could reach the bag of pellets in the storage locker, but he could not turn on the faucet. It was time.
The Mousemobile sat on the table. M21 didn’t need the Mousemobile. He could get out the window on paw. But it was so cool! Bright red fenders, four attitude jets, and a revolutionary new power source Doc had been testing. The back seat contained an empty container for water. Beside him lay a probe that would serve if he needed to fight. The Mousemobile rose smoothly into the air, turned towards the window, and sailed out into a warm autumn afternoon.
There were no bodies, only crumbling bones. The virus was thorough, and human-specific.
He got water from a birdbath. After an hour cruising around about 2 meters off the ground, M21 spotted a small brown mouse on a third-floor window sill. He glided to within three or 4 meters and then called out to her.
“Hey! What’s your name?” The other mouse darted through a hole in the window and was gone. M21 kept trying. He found other mice, but none would (could?) speak to him. He hadn’t even seen one since about sunset. It was time to pack it in.
He turned the wheel sharply, and as he did so, something large struck the side of the Mousemobile. He tumbled out of control, slamming into the ground. His arm was bruised, his head hurt, and he smelled blood. He unstrapped and staggered out, probe in hand. He looked up just as the owl made a second pass. He swung the probe and the owl impaled itself on the point. The bird jerked backwards and leaped heavily into the air, flapping away a few inches above the ground. M21 picked up the probe and jumped back into the aircar, flipping the power switch. Nothing. He tried a few more times, then dashed for the nearest building. Inside, he slumped against the wall, legs trembling, and dropped the probe beside him. He hoped there were no cats.
The end

Being the Story of a Man Who, Only by the Narrowest of Margins, Avoided A Terrifying And Most Ghastly Death at the Hands of the Beyond Men Who Sleep in the Margins of Reality, Preying Upon the Unsuspecting, Unworthy, Illegitimate, and Forlorn, After Also Narrowly Avoiding the Many Pitfalls of the Nine-Jaded Path That Leads the Lost and Bitter Away From Their Dreams of Redemption and/or Revenge Towards An Untimely End at the Hands of the Aforementioned Beyond Men and Which Lurks, Disguised as Nothing More Than an Ordinary Path The Likes of Which You Yourself Have Likely Seen Many Times Before, Upon The Paths We Ourselves Most Often Tread But Which Selects Its Prey Based Primarily On The Color of Their Underwear (Green Being the Color that Most Appeals to its Predilections) Onto Which This Man was Almost Led by Chriandrix, Agent of the Beyond Men, Harlot of the Nineteen Space Oceans, Mistress to the Lord of the Pits, and All Round Femme Fatale, Whom After A Spat with Her Lover, The Lord, Was Taking A Sojourn Upon One of the Lesser Known Realities and Easing Her Aching Hangover (Brought On, No Doubt, by the Consumption of An Over-Abundance of Soul Devouring and Blood Bathing) Through the Imbibing of Red Bull, Itself One of the Weakest Potions of Hellacious Redemption, Yet Which Was Less Likely to be Being Bought By Someone Who Knew Either Chriandrix or The Lord of the Pits and Which was Available at the Bodega Around the Corner from the Apartment of the Man About Whom This Story Revolves Like an Orbiting Moon of Potential Doom, Verily a Dark Moon Whose Gravitational Pull He But Narrowly Avoids Due to the Fickle Forces of Fate Alone

Waking up, after a night of heavy drinking, Dave squinted at the clock and decided that, screw it, there was no way he was getting out of bed today.

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