I awake in an unfamiliar house and fall off my bed. I’ve got a t-shirt on and some loose fitting trousers. It is deathly quiet outside, like civilisation has ended. There is a deer looking in to the house through a smashed window, and a dresser in the far corner of the room. Hm. Looks like there is a pair of leather trousers hanging out of one of the drawers. I feel an urge to go over to them and try them on, but I quickly swap them back. I can’t get enough stuff in the tight pockets for whatever I might need to do next.
I barrel blindly through the house – pick up a pack of sleeping pills, some aspirin and some bandages from the bathroom. I take a drink from the toilet pan and my thirst is satisfied. I find a flashlight. It appears to be working.
Which is a little lucky. In this house (the house I have found myself wake up in) there is a basement. But it is dark so I switch the flashlight on. My eyes adjust to the lines at the far end of the room. A structure becomes apparent, row upon row of things filling the back wall. Some shelves. Whoever I am – I seem to have been preparing for an apocalypse. German, Austrian and Belgian automatic weapons – with ill-matching ammunition. Tinned food and a large back pack. I play with some of the little brass bullets and find some of them that fit in to the firing chamber of a long black rifle. Someone has wrapped some red PVC tape around the barrel of this particular firearm and it secures a small cardboard label stuck on with string. H&K G3 is cryptically written on the manila token, and as I weigh the gun in my hand I feel comfortable. I have done this before. I push a full magazine box in to the gun and sling it over my shoulder.
Upstairs and out the house I go to find my bearings in this strange land. It is mid morning in spring, and the sun is bright and low in the sky. I can barely see a thing, but through a squint I can make out another house across the other side of the road. I walk across, and the door is locked, but I can see a refrigerator and a copy of News Weekly in the front room through a window. Nobody is around. I could break in. I choose not to.
The deer watches me from a distance. I look down the barrel of the gun and whisper some soothing words to my four legged voyeur. His forehead lies directly in line with the iron sights, and as I whisper ‘click’ to myself, I swear I see the deer’s knees jerk. I wonder if he knows what I’m thinking. He continues on his own agenda, eating a few sods of grass and pretending everything is normal.
There is a map in the back pocket of my leather trousers. I decided to wear them after all now that I had a backpack and felt comforted by the knowledge that I had somewhere to put things. They were black, I thought they looked cool, and they might help protect my legs from unspecified danger. The map told me of a place nearby which immediately piqued my interest – a sports goods store. Sounded just the thing to satisfy the boredom I was bound to be subjected to in this apparently empty world. Perhaps there would be other people I could talk with about what is going on.
The door to the store was locked, so I smashed the front window with the butt of my gun, the smashing noise resonated around the empty streets. I walked carefully through the jagged, ruined frame. I picked up a baseball helmet. A few other odd bits were strewn around the floor and on the shelves, but it was otherwise devoid of life. A back room, a crossbow and a single steel shafted bolt. Some clothing, a baseball bat. Cool.
Some footsteps outside – People?
The glare hit me again – there was a shape in the distance. No. Two shapes. I sheltered my eyes and focused. Two men walking alongside each other slowly. They were walking straight down the street, towards me. The lush forests of New England swept away behind them in to the distance – falling in to a powder blue horizon. Perhaps they had come from there. Perhaps they had come to help me out of here. They didn’t look right. They were both bent double, and had odd coloured complexions. One ever so slightly green and the other a tinge of magenta. Did the pink one just retch? My view became clearer for a fraction of a second as a shadow appeared in front of the sun.
The ball of acid exploded across my t-shirt and sprayed up underneath the grille of my newly acquired helmet, my eyes burning and stung shut. I tore the helmet off, threw it down and groped around for the wall and pawed at my sodden top. Threads came away in my hands, and the acid started to burn my skin – first like a scratch but building to a horrible crescendo like I had been flayed.
I wiped my eyes with a rag out of my pack and looked up – the two men had closed in on me and I could now see them clearer – they were grotesque – twisted forms of what were once undoubtedly men, but with sad grins where teeth showed through decayed faces. Thin arms and distended stomachs overhanging trousers which seemed fused in to their remaining skin. I pointed the gun up and fired shot after shot after shot in to the shapes of their bodies in front of me. The noise was deafening but triumphant. I wrestled to keep the gun pointing at the creatures as each shot kicked and fought to bring the barrel higher. They fell.
Some more footsteps were coming from behind me. A few pairs of footsteps, some of them sounded much quicker than those shambling creatures. Perhaps this really was help.
I awake in an unfamiliar house and fall off my bed. I’ve got a t-shirt on and some loose fitting trousers – it’s deathly quiet outside, like civilisation has ended. I can see a rabbit on the lawn, and a dresser in the far corner of the room.
I get up and look out the window. ‘Revill’s Sports’ so says the sign. Hmm … a sports goods store right outside my house. There is a large circular deep red stain against the wall of the store. It extends in to a pool on the pavement. Looking closer I can see a sitting man in the pool – no – a body. A corpse. His skin is a mottled purple and maroon and it is shrink-wrapped around his frame. He has a pair of leather trousers on and he is clutching what looks like a long, black rifle.