?

Log in

 
 
11 November 2007 @ 01:55
Apocalypse Boys: Pt.1 - Death On The Thames  
Title: Apocalypse Boys: Pt.1 - Death On The Thames
Date: September + November 2007
Pairing: Charlie/Darryn
Summary: The world will change on the 16th August 2099. A new species, long awaiting it's chance below the seas off the quiet British coastline, is finally preparing to emerge. For the first time in recent history, humans will no-longer be top of the food-chain. Humanity won't know what's hit it. At the centre of this confusion, three unwitting college kids are caught up in the ensuing slaughter. Will they be able to solve their differences in order to flee the city they once called home? Will they be able to save anyone else? Will the experience draw them closer together? Will any of them survive this Apocalypse at all?
Rating: R
Warnings: Plenty Swearing, Violence + Gore, Angst... (No Shmex this early on).
Copyright: All characters, settings and storylines within this story are property of Renocchi (a.k.a. Reno-ina, a.k.a lil_lost_kitten). Plz not to be stealing anything or you will endure my wrath. Fanfic + Art are allowed provided you notify me first.
Notes: Originally started as a concept for a small novella, I decided to expand it to a full-blown novel when participating in NaNoWriMo 2007. The majority of this novel was written during November of that year. It will be posted up in parts of roughly 5000 words, as was originally intended. The posted version may be subject to later changes and editing (as it is still mostly rough-draft).
Words: (Pt.1) - 5566

Part 1: Death On The Thames
 
No one really knew where they came from at first. The Giant Walkers just turned up one day out of the blue. There was no clue as to how they arrived or how they went so long undetected. Some speculated they were an alien life form, others, that they were a secret military weapon gone wrong. But the truth, as we later discovered, was far simpler. They were a fluke. An accident. Something that was never meant to evolve, but did. And, as always, it was our fault. Humanity’s last great mistake.
 
Sightings were sporadic at first: large, bat-like heads emerging from the sea, scoping out the area then diving once more. Many mistook them for seals or malformed fish. A few snapshots taken by holidaymakers caused a fuss in anthropology circles but nothing really came of it. They swam below the reaches of sonar and were clever enough to avoid showing themselves unnecessarily. In truth, no one really cared.
Then the rumours started filtering through of tourists missing from beaches; sailing ships sunk in the Thames Estuary and oil tankers found with their crews slaughtered up and down the East coast. The government, in all their infinite wisdom, dismissed the animal attack theory straight away. After all, who had ever heard of a creature that could puncture a torpedo-shaped hole through reinforced plate iron or decapitate a man standing 20 feet from the shore? They presumed, as always, that it was another terrorist uprising and immediately heightened security at customs.
Sadly, it wasn’t until the start of the great cull that many realised the truth. And by then it was too late. The 16th of August 2099: A warm summer’s day that spelled the beginning of the end.
 
For me it was just another average Monday. Same early-morning routine, same trip to college, same amount of hassle as always. I detested Mondays and this Monday was to be hated more than most. Partly because the exam results were in, but mostly because of Charlie’s date with Saskia later that evening.
I’d always been of the opinion that Saskia was a slut. I felt that way about most of the girls, but she, above all, irritated the hell out of me. Maybe it was the way her annoying giggle could drill right to the back of your brain, or how she confidently skipped to the front of the queue in the refectory. The constant primping in her hand mirror or the way she treated others like shit. I hated her smile, her suck-up attitude and the automatic stranglehold she had over every man in the vicinity.
Charlie was my best mate. We’d been close friends since the start of high school, inseparable from the very beginning. We watched out for each other. There was no way in hell I was going to let that bitch get her claws in him.
 
It was almost noon and I was casually making my way from the photography lab to the cafeteria. In my mind I was carefully plotting what to say to Charlie and also considering the various ways I could kill Saskia without him noticing. There weren’t many.
“Daaaarryn!”
I momentarily pushed aside my homicidal thoughts and looked back down the hall. It was Clara. I slowed down and waited for her to catch up.
Clara was the ditzy brunette who hung out with us regularly. Charlie was convinced she had a crush on me. He was right of course. She’d even told me so herself, albeit drunkenly, when we’d first met at our High School Christmas bash. I’d had to turn her down, but we’d remained friends ever since.
“Miss Sylvester was in a bit of a mood this-mornin’.” She chirped.
“Yeah. I could tell.”
“Miriam says she heard the Miss speaking on the mobe to her boyfriend. Says she heard somethin’ about ‘trouble down the Barrier’.”
“Her partner’s in the police isn’t he?”
“Uh huh. D’ya reckon it’s them terrorists again?”
I shook my head. It wasn’t like I would know anything. I’d given up watching the TV news years ago. Everything was just so damn depressing. We’d probably hear the gossip soon enough. The Barrier was only a few miles downriver from Docklands College anyway.
           
Reaching the dinner-hall entrance, we typed in our codes and made our way in to the refectory. We scanned our swipe-cards at the kitchen entrance and collected our food before taking our trays through to the dining area. The large hall had massive glass panel windows looking out over the Thames and I glanced curiously out at the water. It was certainly a lot choppier today, even though the muggy air and stifling heat would seem to defy the possibility.
            “Hey youz two! Over here.”
Clara tugged on my arm and pointed to a table by the nearest window. I grinned when I saw Charlie. He was seated on his own. Hah, obviously the harpy hadn’t descended from her Social Ed. class yet. I quickly hurried after Clara and took the rare chance to sit next to my closest friend.
            “Hey dumbass,” He cuffed me lightly round the head, “you blind or something? Here I was, waving madly at’cha and you nearly go walk right by me!”
            “Well… sooorry. S’not my fault you’re so thin you’re half invisible!”
            “Bitch!”
Trying to stop his frown turning to a smile, he shoved me and rolled his eyes. I chuckled and playfully shoved him back.
Charlie wasn’t really all that thin. It was his wiry frame, mega-loose shirts and love of drainpipe jeans that alluded to the fact. In reality he was probably a whole lot fitter than me. Not that I was letting on I knew that. Teasing him was simply part of the daily best-mates routine.
We chatted amiably for a while about the day’s classes while scoffing our lunches. The conversation breezed over the events of our weekend before the topic inevitably centred on the evening’s big occasion.
 
“So Charlie,” Clara piped up, “big night tonight.”
“Could say that.” He shrugged. “Its just a date. Nothing much.”
I arched an eyebrow and wondered just how far I could play my luck on the matter.
            “Surely you’re not downplaying the experience of a lifetime!” I drawled sarcastically. “One whole night out with the queen-bitch herself. Who could ever want more.”
            “Darryn! Stop bein’ nasty. Saskia’s a… nice enough… girl.”
Charlie shrugged.
“It’s okay Clara. I know what youz two think of her. You’re probably right and all but there’s nowt much I can do about it.” He sighed. “ We’re going steady now. Plus, there’s no way I’m bailing on a relationship before I get laid!”
            “Your going to fuck her?!”
Over the general murmur of the refectory, my retort came out louder than planned. I’d also managed to splurt coke all over the table, which I hastily mopped up with a paper napkin. The mere thought sent shudders through me.
            “Seriously mate.” He continued. “What did you think I was going out with her for? I mean, if you got a chance to sleep with a piece of that, wouldn’t you take it?”
            Not able to imagine a worse scenario than a naked Saskia, I sat in silence for the next couple minutes. I was just about to give 101 reasons why I’d rather kill myself, when the portentous click of high-heels on cafeteria steps heralded the arrival of the princess-slut herself.
            Gathering my dinner tray together, I gulped down the rest of the can of coke and vacated my seat.
            “Well, best of luck with that. I’ll see ya in Computer Sciences.”
 
In too much of a mood to shoot pool in the union, I spent the rest of lunchtime sulking over my palmtop and checking my holomail. I laughed at the 3D vid Charlie had sent me during first period. Matilda Norris, chronic bubblegum chewer, had fallen asleep in English only to be rudely awoken when Mr Slater noticed. The gum had somehow got stuck to the end of her nose and the look of embarrassment on her face was beyond classic. I sighed. Maybe I was making too big a deal out of the whole Saskia thing. After all, it wasn’t like the guy was going to enter into a long-term relationship with the bitch or anything. In fact, by stomping off at lunch, all I’d succeeded in doing was making a fool of myself. I should probably go apologise. But to be safe I’d wait until Saskia was out of the way.
 
Catching up with Charlie and Clara in the corridor leading to the computer labs, I checked to see if the enemy was nearby, walked up behind my mates and tugged sharply on the shoulder strap of Charlie’s bag.
            “Sorry about earlier man. Been havin’ a pretty crappy day.”
He grinned and tousled my hair fondly.
            “Heh, its no big deal. I expect my best mate to look out for me. Maybe just tone down the prattishness a bit next time.”
I was just about to roll my eyes and laugh it off when a thunderous crash came from down the hall behind us. It was soon followed by screams.
            “What the fuck was that?” Clara mouthed silently, eyes wide.
We could hardly see anything from where we stood. The computer labs were in the auxiliary wing of the college block. Through the window we could see dust rising from the cafeteria area. Where the walls faced the water, rubble covered the grass and large shapes moved through the smoke.
            “Do you think terrorists have invaded?” Clara clutched at my arm.
            “How the hell should I know?” I snapped.
I turned to look at Charlie. He was staring silently out the window.
            “Saskia’s back there.”
            “Don’t even think about it!”
Ignoring me, he turned on his heel and ran off down the corridor in the direction of the disturbance. Damn the idiot. He was either suffering from a severe case of hero-complex or he was simply too desperate for his own good. I had no choice. I hurried after him.
 
Choking clouds of plaster dust swirled through the air and students stumbled down the halls in confusion. The atmosphere was heavy with the scent of fear. Every ounce of common sense was telling me to turn around and get the heck out of there, but I struggled onward, neglecting to notice that Clara had followed me.
When I ground to a halt behind Charlie, Clara careened into me and nearly sent all three of us crashing down the stairs. In fact, she probably saved our lives. In that moment of mayhem I grabbed out at the back of Charlie’s shirt, pulling him back from the edge. Falling in an unceremonious heap, we narrowly missed decapitation by the scale-plated, lance-like appendage that whisked over the guidance rail. It was slender, deadly sharp, blood-coated and swept right through the air where we had been standing seconds earlier. Even though we only saw it for a moment, it stopped us dead in our tracks. Through the railings and smoke we could just about pick out the huge, spider-like shapes skulking in the shadows of the floor below.
“What… what?” Clara managed to squeal before I slammed my palm over her mouth.
Screw Saskia!” I whispered between gritted teeth, “We’re getting out of here!”
Charlie didn’t argue, he just gulped and nodded towards the stairwell. A metallic click came tapping up the steps. It sounded ominous in the sudden silence echoing around the hall. It was like the all too familiar click of high-heels; only a hundred times more chilling. It had an animalistic uncertainty but a deftness of purpose. Even the padding of terrorist feet would’ve been welcomer than this noise.
 
I don’t know if fate was shining down on we three that day, but it was sheer luck that saved us. Less luck was allotted to the poor wretch who decided to run out of the adjoining classroom and try to escape down the stairs. The thing lurking in the stairwell didn’t make a sound as the figure made the dash for freedom. There was a piercing scream, cut short by the shower of red that spattered across the landing. That’d been enough. I’d grabbed both of my friends by the wrists and actively dragged them back into the swirling plaster-dust-filled corridor.
            Tugging them into the cleaning closet, I slammed the door and smashed in the control unit that switched on the auto-lighting. Sitting in the near-blackness I let my eyes adjust to the dark.
 
None of us whispered. We hardly even breathed. I don’t think any of us dared to.
            There were moments when the menacing clicking drew so near that I was sure we were done for. But it soon moved on, all the time bringing more shrill death-screams with its passing. Occasionally, explosive rumblings came from the auxiliary wing. To think: if we’d been any earlier to class we’d be dead… and if we’d stayed any longer for lunch we’d be dead. Whatever kind of hell being stuck in this cupboard was, it was definitely preferable to lying in a pool of our own blood.
            I don’t think any of us comprehended what we’d just experienced, we just sat there, staring bleakly at the cracks of light around the doorframe. In the dusky gloom, it felt as though the small sunbeams were breaching the security of our hiding place.
 
It seemed like hours before everything fell silent. The background noise was still there, crashing in the main block and far off screams, but it had drawn away from where we were.
            After peering through the small keyhole to see if the coast was clear, I sat back and let out a faltering breath in the silence.
“Now would be as good a time as any.” I muttered.
“What?” Clara’s voice came out less than a whisper. It was as if ‘what’ was the only word she could say anymore.
“No use staying here. We’re sitting ducks.”
At that, Clara’s eyes teared-up in fear and her bottom lip wobbled precariously. The girl looked about to break down in a major way. It was all too much for her.
“He’s right Clara, those things could come back. We’ve got to move so that we can find somewhere more sheltered,” Charlie put a comforting arm around her shoulder and looked worriedly at me, “Right Dare?”
I tried to give the girl a reassuring smile but it was clear my heart wasn’t in it. I’d never been a very good shoulder to cry on. Suppose it was because I was often the one secretly doing the crying.
Receiving a glare from my best friend for my feeble efforts, I shifted uncomfortably in the dark. What was I meant to say? That we weren’t going to get slaughtered out there? That we’d make it to safety and get home in time for dinner? Seriously! It wasn’t like I could give any concrete reassurances. Hell, we didn’t even know what those things out there were, let alone if we’d be able to outrun one of them. All I could do was shrug and go along with the lies we were all telling ourselves.
            “Sure Charlie.”
 
After Clara had sufficiently calmed down, I hurriedly explained my makeshift plan. The safest location hereabouts was the place where Charlie and I’d played as kids. It’d been years since we’d both hung out at the condemned water tower and gone exploring down the old sewers but we’d known the maze of tunnels like the backs of our own hands. Whatever the things were that had attacked the college, I was damn near certain they’d never fit into the underground crawl spaces.
The easternmost outflow pipe came out somewhere on the near bank of the Thames, close to the playing fields. If only we could make it that far.
 
Resting my fingertips on the handle, I nudged the door open a couple inches and peered down the corridor. As far as I could see, everything was still.
Although the dust had settled, its powdery smell had been replaced by a harsher scent. It got stronger as I stepped out further into the hallway. Looking down, I noticed the dirty red stream trickling through broken chunks of masonry. I followed its trail with my eyes until it pooled around an indistinct shape buried in the rubble. A metallic taste rose in my mouth, making me want to retch, but I turned back and nodded for the others to follow me. If we stopped to avoid every eviscerated corpse we’d never get anywhere.
Picking my way over the destruction, I glanced back as a muffled choking sound issued from Clara. She’d never been particularly easy to gross-out, but the reality of the current situation was clearly getting to her. She’d turned awfully pale and her dark eyes were wide with fear. Almost ghostlike, she clung to Charlie’s arm, the plaster dust in her hair turning her neat brown bob into a puffy white aura.
Although Charlie was trying to stay strong for her, the anxiety was clear in his eyes. I’d never seen him so uncertain of what to do next. It scared me more than any dead body could.
 
As I led my friends through the hollow shell of our college, all I could think about was what lay around the next corner. Our progress was slow to say the least. Any movement, be it the flutter of a frayed curtain or the steady drip of blood from a railing, threatened to send Clara into hysterics. By the time we navigated our way back to the main entrance hall, our nerves were on knife-edge. There was still no physical sign of our scaly-clawed attackers. Only evidence of their path of carnage.
            The foyer was a bloodbath. Looking down on it from our vantage point on the second floor walkway, it looked like someone had attempted to redecorate the place with its occupant’s innards. Clara couldn’t hold back any longer and was promptly sick in a corner. I went over and held her hair back for her while Charlie kept watch. Leaning on the railing, he shook his head in disbelief, whispering under his breath. “This is so fucked!”
I nodded in agreement and patted Clara on the back lightly. She straightened up and wiped her mouth on her sleeve. She didn’t speak, only bobbed her head once and looked up at me. She’d seen enough. Now all she wanted was to get as far away from it all as possible. Putting an arm around her shoulder, I hugged her briefly before leading the way in the direction of the stairs.
            My book bag was lying halfway down the stairs. I’d dropped it in our mad attempt to escape before. I scooped it up and slung it over one shoulder. Its contents might come in handy if we could stay alive long enough. It was powdery with dust and one corner was soaked a browny-red, but it looked predominantly unharmed. Such a thing could not be said for the body that lay sprawled next to it. The teacher who’d made a run for it down the stairs had ended up in two neatly sliced pieces. We tried not to look at the face as we picked our way over the corpse, attempting not to slip in the blood on the way down.
 
Eventually we made it through a caved-in wall in the lower foyer and stumbled out into the world beyond. The slight breeze coming in off the Thames blew away the tinny odour of blood, freshened the air and brought a new clarity to my mind. The stretch of the playing fields running down to the waters edge seemed dangerously exposed. It was a long way to run unnoticed. If we were to stand any chance of making it to cover, our path would have to be as direct as possible.
I knew that Charlie wouldn’t have any trouble running the whole way. A lifestyle of sports and regular trips to the gym had made sure of that. I was pretty confident in myself too. But Clara was a bit of a worry.
“Looks like we’re going to ‘ave to leg-it.” Charlie spoke what I’d been thinking.
“Yeah… straight ‘cross to that broken fencepost. You can see the water-tower just beyond that hollow on the far side of the green.” Gazing down at Clara, I cracked a small smile and took hold of one of her hands, “Ready to go Seal?”
She gave a defiant, if weak, smile at the use of her pet name and squeezed my hand tightly in reply. I nodded to Charlie, who gave the area a thorough perusal for any sign of the enemy. Then we were off.
 
All I remember of our flight across the playing fields was the stitch that struck halfway across and Clara’s scream soon after. My side was aching like a bitch and I’d been forced to slow. Having clasped Clara’s hand and physically tugged her most of the way, she’d noticed my speed letting up and chose that moment to look back. As anyone who’s ever seen a decent horror movie knows… the last thing you want to do is look back. But she did, and when she screamed, I couldn’t help but look too.
            From this distance you could see the full extent of the damage done to the college buildings. The cafeteria had caved in and most of the auxiliary wing was in ruins. The reason we hadn’t seen anything alive inside was because the creatures had dragged their meals outside. Like massive long-legged reptilian arachnids, they clung to the exterior walls; bodies like lumps of meat hanging from their claws as they ripped away at the flesh. Even from this distance each creature looked about the height of a double-decker, with small, bat-like bodies perched on jointed skewer-legs.
But possibly the worst thing was that a couple had abandoned their feasts in amongst the ruins and were scuttling our way. Moving like huge, lumbering spiders, they clattered onto the grass and started gaining on us. It wasn’t that they were speedy; it was the sheer length of their strides that gave them the advantage, their joints giving out bizarre clicks as they built up the pace.
“Fucking-well get a move on!” Charlie’s yell came from up ahead. He’d reached the river embankment. Neither of us needed any more motivation. We ran for our lives.
 
Throwing ourselves through the sparse trees lining the edge of the hollow, we ducked under the water tower struts and tumbled down the bank. Clara slipped up; sending a spray of mud over me. But Charlie swiftly tugged her back onto her feet.
            “C’mon… nearly there hun.”
Frothy Thames water splashed at my boots but I waded out deeper so I could see along the embankment. For a moment I couldn’t spot the sewer entrance. They wouldn’t have blocked it off, surely? If they had then we were as good as dead.
I was just about to panic when Charlie tugged at my sleeve and pointed to a ragged wire mesh nearly totally obscured by greenery. We scrambled over to the grating and started frantically tearing away the foliage. There was a crashing noise from just upriver and a splash as claws hit the water. The sprawling metal bars of the water tank had momentarily apprehended the creatures, but navigating around it had obviously not been a problem. A hand yanked my collar and I found myself being pulled through the small opening into darkness.
The fit was a whole lot tighter than I remembered it being at the age of 12. I heard my t-shirt rip and pain lanced up my front as I squeezed past the rusted metal wires. There was just enough room inside for my friends to get a good hold on my arms and drag me inside. Wriggling into a sitting position and, ignoring the grime beneath my fingers, I edged away from the circle of light around the entrance. I indicated for the others to also move further into the tunnel. Our chances didn’t look good if one of those bastards got its leg-scythe through the opening.
 
We sat in silence and listened to the echoey noises outside. The joint chattering had slowed to a steady clickity-click clickity-click every couple of seconds. The monsters were pacing around outside trying to locate us. A tall shadow eclipsed our dappled light source. No one moved. No one breathed. There came the sound of something akin to an asthmatic child in need of an inhaler. It continued for a while until the harsh rasp of metal indicated something clawing at our grate. Crap! I reached my hand up to the scratches along my abdomen. My fingers came away moist. The goddamn predator could smell my blood.
            “Hey guys, looks like we’ve been busted.”
            “Yeah, lets not hang ‘round here eh?” Charlie rested a hand on my shoulder.
Turning to him in the gloom, I noticed his concerned expression. He glanced in the direction of my injury and shook his head.
            “Doesn’t look like we’ll be getting out this way if they’re out there waitin’ for us. What’cha say we head up Junction-way and get that seen to?”
            “That’s terribly carin’ of you, mate.” I cracked a wry grin.
            “Well, we can’t have you leaving a pretty red trail of scent for ‘em to follow now, can we dumbass!” He chuckled faintly and rolled his eyes.
            There was a clatter from the entrance and Clara whimpered. The scaled killer had heard us and seemed to be getting impatient. It wouldn’t take too much clawing to rip the wire grid away from the pipe. We decided it best to vacate the area.
           
Charlie led the way and we crawled deeper into the old sewer system. Occasionally, he’d yell back to me to ask for directions when we came to a turn-off. I’d always been better at finding my way around the place. When we’d played here as kids, I’d always led the way through, intrepid explorer of the underground refuse network. The London Sewers had been out of use ever since the government introduced the Self-Sufficiency And Renewables Act back in 2074. It had been the most controversial agenda of the 21st century: all waste products to be renewed and recycled by the Domestic Sanitizers in every home across England. No more garbage tipping, no more water pollution, one step towards a more ecologically friendly Britain. After the major expansions of the sewer system throughout the century, it was nothing less than a scandal. But life had gone on, as it always does, and the redundant sewer system had been reduced to little more than a playground for pre-adolescents.
            With only the natural light from drain grates shining dully into our crawlspace, the going was quite slow. I had a penlight that I lent to Charlie for when the light faded away completely but even then it was hard not to bump into each other in the darkness. The familiar grotty passages brought happy memories creeping back. Images of ‘Chaz ‘n’ Dare: Fearless Rat Hunters’, ‘Cave Explorers Extraordinaire’, ‘Commandos Behind Enemy Lines’ and the other immature little games we’d played sprang to mind. Things had been so much simpler back then. Shrill cries ricocheted off the walls as we passed below a brightly lit drain, shattering my daydreams. I shivered. None of us wanted to imagine what was going on in the world above. Sadly, we knew it all too well.
 
Finally the tunnel opened up into a large bunker-like space. Presumably once used for collecting drain overflow, it was long dried up and known to us only as ‘The Junction’. It had been our den back way back when. A large enough space to hang out in with a couple friends, it had been a home-away-from-home when we needed to escape the parents. With its own natural light source from the numerous gutters that drained into it, the place was well lit and comfortable. Plus its location beneath the local graveyard made for a decently quiet atmosphere. Perfect for young boys to act out their chaos-filled imaginations… Only now the chaos was outside and we were the ones longing for some peace and quiet.
Clambering out of the sewer pipe, I staggered over to join my friends where they’d congregated in the open space of Junction. I was grateful to see the moth-eaten blanket that we’d dragged in years ago still there. Giving a sigh, I scraped it up off the floor, chucked it up against one wall and collapsed down into the centre of it. I didn’t care that it was vaguely soggy and smelled strongly of mildew. Charlie didn’t seem to care either, because he walked over and joined me. Clara hesitated only a moment, gave the mouldy fabric a dubious look and then also slumped down next to me. Charlie tried to get me to patch up my wounds but I brushed off the idea. The scratches had closed up for the moment: the less fussing over them, the better. I certainly wasn’t going to tell him my other reason for refusing his help.
 
For a while, none of us spoke. Then Charlie gave me a nudge. The cold concrete behind my head was comforting and I swivelled my neck lazily to stare across at him. His hazel eyes were glittering faintly in the dappled light falling from the drain. A tired attempt at a smile creased the edges of his lips. He gave me another nudge.
“Yeah? What you want?”
“Got any food in that bag of yours?”
I’d totally forgotten. I rolled halfway onto my side and unearthed the satchel from where I’d been leaning on it.
            “Should have…” I popped the clasp and rummaged through its battered contents, “Yeah… packet of salt ‘n’ vinegar crisps, two chocolate bars and one really squashed sausage-roll.”
            “Squidged sausage-roll? Eeew!”
            “It’s still in its wrapper you idiot!”
He chuckled. I swatted at his head in mock annoyance.
            “If you’re that choosy then you in’t having any!”
            “Ha-ha. Nah, only kidding. What chocolate you got?”
            “A Yorkie and a Wispa.”
            “Okay, let’s split the Yorkie. Save the rest fer later. Hey Clara, you want some?”
We both glanced over at our silent companion. She nodded and smiled weakly. It was worrying that she wasn’t speaking, but it was understandable after all we’d been through. There really wasn’t anything we could do about it. I hoped she would start speaking sometime soon, but I’d heard of cases where severe trauma could cause muteness. What we’d seen that day definitely counted as severely traumatic. The girl was in her right to shut off completely if she wanted too.
            I ripped opened the foil wrapper and regarded the chocolate inside. It seemed the Yorkie bar hadn’t been produced for equal division into three. I broke off two double chunks for my friends and happily settled for the reject last piece.
            I nibbled on my chocolate thoughtfully and fumbled through the remainder of my bag contents. I located my palmtop and checked to see if it still worked. The holo-screen flickered dubiously but stayed solid. Testing the touch-pad, I scrolled over to my Interweb Icon and clicked. No response. I tried again. Shit. Somehow my wireless connection was down. Even if I could port it, I doubted there’d be any connection to link to. The catastrophe was more widespread than we’d imagined. I clicked the projection bulb shut and adjusted the small machine’s tuning. Hopefully the transceiver would pick up something. There was a hiss of static.
            “What’s up with that thing? Is it bust?”
Charlie gulped down the last of his chocolate and prodded the palmtop. I frowned and gave it a shake.
            “I dunno. The fact we’re underground might be jamming the signal, but there’s no reason that would be blocking the high-frequency broadcasts.”
Adjusting the tuning once more, I boosted the signal for long-distance. Usually all the local broadcasts would be easy to pick up. But there was nothing. I turned the dial again. There was a slight hiss of static and a tinny voice echoed around Junction.
            “This izza recorded broadcast by Ice Pirate Radio from the Greater London District. Something terrible’s happenin’ outside and I don’t know how long t’ll be before we go off-air. I in’t bin pickin’ up no news from our bruthas north of the waterway… an’ the biggies in’t broadcastin’ neither. T’some awful noise out front now… ah gotta go mon!….”
There was a harsh buzz and a crackle before the message started up again. I switched it off. No use running the battery down just yet. The three of us sat pondering what we’d heard. Some poor bastard’s last words immortalised on the airwaves. Another potential survivor throwing his life away aimlessly. The guy would have been better off staying locked up in his radio-shack basement.
           
Twilight had started to roll in over London. The horizon began to eat the sun for another night, casting a bloody glow over everything. In our place of safety we watched as the drains cast waterfalls of crimson light down the walls. I closed my eyes. I’d seen enough red for one day.


 
 
 
Emotional State: exhaustedexhausted
Song Stuck In My Head: Still Alive (Portal Soundtrack)
 
 
 
lilithie: Agito fucklilithie on 19th November 2007 20:03 (UTC)
I finally got around to read it! =D It's awesome. When will there be more?

One thing though: The tiny text hurts my eyes >.< Are you posting this on some other site as well? squinting might give me wrinkles, ya know XD
Reno-ina, Princess Subtext.: Trigun - Wolfwood Blushlil_lost_kitten on 21st November 2007 00:30 (UTC)
Yay! Glad you like! Hopefully there'll be more up next weekend (as Part 2 is finished and currently unaffected by my Writer's Block).

Sorry about the tiny text... I'm not posting it up anywhere else for the moment... but if you really want then I can email it to you in 'Word' or 'Works' format so you can read it regular-size on a white page. You'd have to note down yer email but I'd be happy to send you over a copy whenever I finish the next part.
lilithielilithie on 21st November 2007 17:40 (UTC)
freedom_call@msn.com! =D I don't have 'word' though >_> Been trying to download it for ages but I can't find it anywhere. I think I'll be able to open it with 'open office' though. =) I'm all excited~♥ wanna read the rest now x3