17-year-old professional green tea drinker | Somehow managed to finish a novella

Message from Writer

Child of our time, our times have robbed your cradle
Sleep in a world,
Your final sleep
Has woken
-- Eavan Boland, Child of Our Time

If The Sun Goes Black

June 19, 2018

The McDonald's erupts into chaos, screams and the high-pitched whines of children piercing through the air. 
The stench of sweat hangs low above our heads, mingling with the smell of greasy food and burning.

An image flashes in my mind; the deep frying oil reaching a spark and erupting into orange flicker flames. I tilt my head up above the shorter people in the crowd, searching for another way out. Someone jabs me in the ribcage, but I've already made up my mind to move.

The back door is blocked by a light beam, intended to open upon emergencies. I lab the small button beside the glowing beam, and immediately it dissipates. An unknown foot strikes my shins, and my knees buckle. Scrambling wildly, I grab onto the handle of the door and push.

Nothing happens. It's stuck. 

Grunting softly, I slam myself into the glass, again and again, acrid smoke burning the hairs on the nape of my neck. I wipe the sweat away from my top lip and press my shoulder against the slab of glass against the door frame. 

It swings open into cold, dead space, and I tumble out onto the small steps, falling onto my knees. I breathe in the air like a beast hungry and smelling the blood of its prey. A few more people scramble out behind me, before a fire bursts open at the counter, shedding bright lights through the door and windows.

We watch for a moment, as the flames lick the mahogany wood, ripping through metal and neon lights.

Shuddering, I get up, willing my hands to stop shaking. I shove them in my pockets, turning to the others. There are three of them - a mom and her kid, and a tall black girl. The mom nods at me, a wan smile on her face, but her glazed eyes flicker behind my eyelids even after she turns around and makes her way into the dead of the darkness.

Except it's not really dead. Screams echo into the emptiness, clogging my ears, drowning out anything Anaya is most likely saying. The black girl steps closer, peering at me, hands outstretched and waving like she's trying to figure out if I'm a figment of her imagination or not.

"Are you okay?" I ask, taking a step back.

The girl blinks, dropping her arms abruptly. She smiles - a beautiful, wide thing - and shoves her hands into her dirty sweatshirt, shrugging.

"Yeah, sorry. I'm a bit blind without my glasses, which are almost certainly melted so hard they've performed mitosis with the floor in there." She waves a hand like it's nothing. "I'm Winifred, but unless you want to sound like my Aunt Jones you're gonna call me Fred."

Snorting, I force my feet to bring me closer to her side before I clasp my hand around her elbow. Why is it so thin? I could cut myself on that. 

"Come on," I wince at her vice-like grip on my wrist. "I've got places to be and you're interrupting my plans."
She doesn't say anything as I start a brisk pace into the all-consuming blackness, steering her away from mangled bushes and overflowing garbage cans that I barely manage to see myself. 

Her curly hair tickles the slant of my jaw, and I push it away, grumbling. Glancing around, I recognise the corner of the street - the nearest Vox is in a pub directly across the street. Daunting, considering that's where a good deal of bangs and clangs and shrieks are coming from.

"We're going to The Sichuan Tavern," I say, mostly to no one but myself.

Fred doesn't say anything, but nods. Nodding back, I lead her across the street without much care - all the cars in both New Ocrus and Proctor are solar-powered, and the nearest electric Glider is the one for Prosperity bridge, ages away.
For the first time in an age, I can't help but feel a little bit hopeless.

The usual glowing words on the outside of the Tavern's rustic exterior are dead and grey, and someone's smashed their beer glass right on the welcome mat.

Inside of the pub is one of the most horrifying things I've ever seen.
The wooden walls are stripped bare, dead flakes of bark have given way to clean log. Blood splatters them, an unwelcome contrast in the gloom of the pub. The owner, Mr Lieu, lies on the stone bar, limbs sprawled everywhere. Blood drips from his fingers and down the counter.

And the floor - I don't think I've ever seen somewhere so tightly packed with groaning people, muddy shoeprints and bits of glass stuck in their faces. A woman reaches up to grab Fred's ankle, and before I can push her out of the way, Fred slams the bitch in the head with her bare foot. The woman crumples to the ground again, eyes dazed and murmuring insane nothings.

A Vox crackles to life. " - Again, Mike, it seems as though the sun has turned off. Scientist Aldrige was right about something, after all. Where do you suppose the nearest oxygen depot in Proctor -"

Two armed guards appear on screen, grabbing the female reporter by the arms. She screams, and because of the Vox surround sound, it echoes louder than anything outside.

"I had to say it! It's only right that they know, too!" The lady yells, her blonde bob flying around her face. "Find an oxygen depot, members of Proctor, or you'll all be gone within -"

To her credit, Fred doesn't say anything, but a glint of something akin to determination sits in the base of her eyes. Ignoring her completely, I lead us outside of the Sichuan Tavern, glaring at the small crowd of people milling about. 
The survivors of the brawl inside the pub don't look victorious - they look vaguely sick, refusing to even spare a glance at the pummeled bodies inside.

I can't say I blame them.


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  • June 19, 2018 - 4:45am (Now Viewing)

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