Sunday, 27 March 2011

Survivor

Warning... Some parts of this story may be unsuitable for small children, girls, or people of a squeamish nature.  The easily offended should also steer clear.  A mild reference to sex, strong references to comedy horror and potentially un-PC references to religion make this one to avoid.  Oh, and don't forget the blatant sexism in this disclaimer.





Where was I?  Good question.  If I was sure of the answer, I couldn't tell you - the place is no longer there.  And even if it was, you wouldn't know of it.

What was I doing?  Now that's a question I can answer.  I was simply walking home from work.  In those days, I'd walk about a mile through the town to my home.  If I had been more alert, I may have noticed there were fewer people around, but I had my music in my ears and my feet tapping out the beat on the dry pavement; hands in my pockets - not a care in the world.

Nevertheless, I eventually noticed the dry pavement was no longer a pavement.  For that matter, it was no longer dry.  Looking down, I saw the slick, sticky slew of blood and stopped walking.

The road had gone, as had the houses on either side; replaced by craggy rocks and a dusty desert dunes in all directions.  The sun was low in the sky, creating long shadows.  The light seemed to pulsate, like the sky was alive - a giant beast ; heart beating staccato.

Now, I'm a sensible kind of fellow.  Don't get me wrong - I was scared, I was confused.  But most of all, I was angry.  This sort of thing just doesn't happen!

All around me, broken and twisted in all sorts of grotesque positions, lay the inhabitants of my town.  I saw the unmistakable yellow jersey of Andy from the newsagents, now sadly mottled with his blood (his head was missing).

Somehow Mrs. Engleton from over the road, and Mr. Hughes from the brewery had been arranged in such a way as to... Actually I don't think it's necessary to go into it in any more detail.

In any rate, everyone was dead, except me.

What did I do next?  What would you do, in that situation?  I had no home to go to.  I clearly didn't have any obligation to go to work the next day.  I patted my pockets and drew out a cigarette, more to give my hand something to do while I was thinking.

Oddly, I didn't feel hungry, so I went looking for somewhere to spend the night that wasn't covered in someone's blood.  Perhaps morning would bring some answers, although I wasn't sure there would be anyone around to ask.

Closer inspection of some of the larger rock formations showed that they were, in fact, rubble.  It was as though the houses that had stood there until very recently had crumbled and decayed.  Picking my way through the remains of someone's house, I found a room that still had most of its walls.  It was someone's old living room.  They weren't in.  There was a small pool of blood in one corner, but it seemed like token gore - a pretty poor reminder of the horrors outside.

After an uneventful night, I awoke to the same, pulsating red sunlight streaming over the broken wall (did I mention the house had no roof?).  I wandered outside.  There didn't seem to be much change, but I saw some movement in the distance.  I shrugged and lit another cigarette, then picked my way through corpses to the moving object.

As I approached, I grew cautious.  There was altogether too much hair for this to be a human.  "Ahem, excuse me?" I addressed the thing.

"Hmm?" The creature turned around in surprise.  I'll be honest at this point, I nearly fainted.  I'm not proud of it, but when you're faced with what I saw then, your body sort-of takes over.  Before me stood the ugliest thing I had ever seen.  It was a good six feet tall, but hunched over, concealing its full height.  It was fully hairy all over, but with balding patches, which gave it an overall unkempt look.  It was pretty-much naked, apart from a small pair of shorts.   But the worst bit was the face; a screwed up ball of fluff and wrinkles, its eyes were lopsided.  Its mouth was half open and drooling some nasty-looking green goo and its pig-nose was not central.

It stared at me.

I stared back.

"Can I help you?" It said.  A small dollop of spittle fell off its lip and dribbled down its chest.

"Err..." I stammered, wishing I was somewhere else.

"Out with it man, I don't have all day you know."  The thing was waving something around in its hand.  Closer inspection revealed that it was someone else's arm.

"Well, I was hoping you might be able to tell me what happened here..?" I asked, lamely.

"What happened...?" The creature leaned forward for a closer look.  Its eyes squinting.  "My badness, dear fellow.  You're human!"

"Yes."

"But you should be dead!"

"Says who?"

That made it think for a bit "... The Boss?  Look, this is most irregular, I'll have to take you to the station." Then, almost to itself "Mr. Acrid won't be happy about this.  Lots of paperwork.  Most irregular."  It addressed me again "Follow me, sir.  We'll get this mess sorted out."

The creature seemed pretty amiable, despite its appearance, but something was nagging at the back of my mind.  Regardless, I followed him down a short hill to a makeshift encampment - at least it was offering company in this desolate place.

"Whaat?!"  Barked another creature, who I assumed was Mr. Acrid "A human, you say?  Still alive?!"

"It seems that way sir.  I was in the middle of a mutilation - a real masterpiece, I must add, and he..."

"Thanks, Hector - I'll take things from here.  You'd best get back to work."

"Thank you, sir.  If there's anything..."

"Not necessary, old chap.  All under control here."

When Hector had left, Mr. Acrid looked down at me and winked.  At least, his left eye screwed up a bit and some puss oozed out.  "Decent chap outside of work, but got a bit of a pole up his arse if you know what I mean?"

I just nodded, dazed.

"Right, Mr. human, what can we do for you?"  Mr. Acrid sat down behind his small desk with a squelch.  A quick glance confirmed that what I had thought was a chair made of human flesh was, in fact, a chair made of human flesh.

"I demand some answers!" I said, in my most assertive tone.  At least that was the plan, although my voice sounded thin and wheezy to me.

"Steady on fellow! Answers to what questions?"  He (I assumed it was a he, from the name) came across genuinely concerned.

"Well, firstly, why is everyone dead?"

"End of the world of course, my dear chap!  Surely, that much is obvious?"

"But I thought the end of the world involves a big battle and raining fire and stuff - I'm sure I would've noticed that."

"Ahh, but you didn't think it would rain fire everywhere, did you?  We held the battle miles from here.  Big battle too; lots of exciting tactical manoeuvres on both sides, ho yes!"  He grinned, brown teeth showing for a moment  "Haven't seen fire rain like that since the old days", he continued, wistfully "We won, of course.  Good didn't stand a chance." He chuckled, soggily.

I flicked out another cigarette and went to light it.

"Er.. No smoking, if you please."

"What?"

"We operate a 'no smoking' policy here.  You'll have to go outside."

"Sorry, I just assumed..."

"You assumed that because Evil has won the war and the entire world is draped in death and chaos that you can just go around breathing your smoke in other people's faces?"

I put the cigarette back, not wanting to cause a fuss.  "I have another couple of questions, if you don't mind?"

"Just a few more, then I really must get on.  Loads to do - we've got the Boss coming for a big inspection later and half the corpses in this district still need to be arranged."

"You have to arrange the corpses?  Why?"  I was intrigued, I'll grant you that.

"Badness, old chap! You can't just leave corpses lying about any old how; we need structure.  Proper mutilation programmes.  Old Urgan's working on a giant tree down in the town centre.  Works of art, sir!"

"A tree of ...?"

"Corpses, yes.  Oh boy, I can't wait to see it.  It's meant to be a parody of the Tree of Knowledge, of course.  Forbidden fruit and all that." He grinned again.  A small purple bogey was hanging out of one of his nostrils "Hah, irony - pretty sure we invented that."

"So, if everyone else is dead... Why am I still alive?"

"That, dear boy, is a very good question.  Let's see now..." Mr. Acrid rummaged inside a drawer beside his desk and withdrew a large collection of scrolls.

After a fair while checking through the papers, all the while muttering to himself, Mr. Acrid peered over to me with a look of consternation (or, at least, I imagine it was consternation - you have to understand, it was fairly difficult to tell).

"Highly irregular." He was muttering, then he addressed me directly "Mr. human..."

"Jason, please..."

"Mr. Jason, I'm afraid..."

"It's just Jason... there's no Mr."

"Sir... You seem to have missed the end of the world."

I stared at him, blankly.  "Missed it?  But I can clearly see it's ended..." I said, looking past Mr. Acrid, out to the desert of blood and dust.

"No, no, sir, I don't think you understand - when the world ended, all the humans were killed, except you, it seems."

"Yes, I had sort of noticed that."  I was still confused.

"Well their spirits went on to one of the many thousands of different planes - Paradise, Valhalla, that sort of thing - leaving behind just a dead world that we demons have now inherited."  He shuffled in his seat, uncomfortably.  His motion popped something and a small spurt of blood oozed down to the floor.  "I'm afraid you've missed the boat, as it were.  The last train to everywhere else has gone.  There ain't no road left to follow? Something like that... Anyway, you're stuck here, I'm afraid."

"Stuck here?!  But this is...  Well, it's hell!"

"No... I'm pretty sure it's not.  Otherwise we wouldn't have come all up here and had a big battle and everything?"

"So what do I do now?"

"Well the good news is you can't die... and you probably don't need to eat or anything.  I'd say you have the whole world ahead of you - go take in the sights!"

"Oh..."

And that was pretty-much that.  A world full of crazy demons; sculptures made of human flesh and an annoying pulsating sun.  And to top it off, no hope of any change for the rest of eternity.




What? You expected a happy ending?



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