Sunday, 15 April 2012

England, Circa 2052


The following is taken from a stream of ficly stories (www.ficly.com) by me, Malcolm Ramsay and Vacant Eye, started by Malcolm: http://ficly.com/stories/27946
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Amy had had enough. Life’d thrown her more than her fair share of troubles in the last few weeks. First her dog, Bonzo had died. Cheesy name of course, but she’d known a Bonzo years ago as a child, an old, fat Golden Retriever. About a 150 dog-years and seemingly as many pounds.
Then she’d lost her job. It wasn’t much, just serving at the local Bug-n-Bun. She’d done nothing wrong as far as she could tell, but some prima donna had complained and insisted she be fired. That had meant she was no longer entitled to her semi and had to move out into one of those new ‘onebeds’.
That was the personal stuff. On top of that was the political situation. Not that Amy understood it or anything, but it still bred an unrest that even she could not ignore. About a week ago had been the plane crash. Planes crash, if not exactly all the time, often enough, but this was different; it hit smack in the middle of the houses of parliament and the PM and most of the cabinet had died.
Everything went haywire after that.
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On the fourth- or was it fifth?- day of the riots that the news was carefully not calling a revolution, she had to leave the flat for food.
She cautiously left the apartment building, glancing furtively down each alley and side-street as she walked to the supermarket. The idiot eyes that were broken windows stared at her as she scuttled from cover to cover and the shops drooled glass from the slack jaws of their product displays; she caught gut-wrenching whiffs of tear gas from time to time, and once some kids in hoodies, the oldest of whom couldn’t have been more than fourteen, raced past her, shouting about “…da Feds, fam, innit!”
Fires burned out of eyeshot, plumes of thick, black smoke rising above the city, but there were no sirens. An unmarked helicopter thwacked overhead once, but it was heading south, towards the coast.
After two or three hours, she returned to the flat with bread, cheese, bottles of water- and a nice pair of trainers that she found. After all, she didn’t break the window. Somebody else had done that before she got there. “How long’s this going to go on for?” , she wondered.
Minding her own business, she munched on the cheese and bread – it was stale. No surprise there, then. Then she lay down on the fluffily soft sofabed that was artfully designed to unfold into a shower cubicle to save space in the tiny ‘onebed’ she called home.
Just as she was trying to squeeze into her brightly adorned, newly acquired shoes, it hit. The micro-machine-filled missile landed surprisingly sedately through her bedroom window with a soft ‘plop’. Not knowing what it was, she cautiously examined it, but did not notice the grey powder that seemed to be oozing out of the bottom of the device.
She started to cough and wheeze as if she’d smoked far too many cigarettes. Dropping the device onto the floor she realised her brightly coloured shoes were now as dismal as the clouds that took safe refuge in the sky. She coughed once more, this time spraying crimson dots onto the palms of her hands.
After falling to her knees she stared through the empty frame which once held her window. “Hell! Hell!” she gurgled as she tried to scream the word help. Trying once more only to fail she sprayed more crimson specks from her mouth onto her once pristine carpet. What’s the point anyway?! she thought to herself. No one in this apartment block knew or even acknowledged her existence. Was it the way that she spoke? The colour of her skin? Probably not…
They probably know about me. Disfigured and ugly he sat in the corner of the room and stared at her with hollow eyes. I’d better give Amy the fix or it’ll be too late, Brian, the disfigured one, thought as he withdrew a metallic cube from within the folds of his tunic. Placing it on the now crumbling table, he switched it on.
The seemingly unexciting machine purred quietly to itself; however the table stopped crumbling. So did everything else. An almost imperceptible grey mist drifted from all corners of the room towards the cube. Brian took what seemed to be a perfume atomiser from his pocket and sprayed Amy from head to toe. She brightened, coughed once and screamed.
“Don’t be frightened. I’m here to help you.” Said Brian. Amy stared. “Whh…wh…h…a…who”, she stammered.
“Are you trying to ask who I am… or what I am, perhaps?
“Yes.”
“Which?”
“Either. Both…I dunno.”
“Well, my name is Brian. That’s probably enough of the who for now. As to what, I’m not sure quite what to tell you. I was human, once. I lived in the Ukraine during April 1986. I survived Chernobyl only through the use of classified technology.”

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