Today’s short story is part of a series inspired while writing my science fiction novel, Survivors’ Club (debut 2018). It’s a chance for me to explore what other characters in my world would be doing both during and post apocalypse. Hope you enjoy my free short stories. Please share, tweet, and talk about my work. I look forward to your feedback.
Today’s story goes along with “In Paridisum” on 28 Days Later soundtrack by John Murphy.
It‘s the Last Day of Ever and boy, oh boy, is she ready for it!
There are only a handful of people who understand how important today is. Most of them will be gone by nightfall. Then today, the Last Day of Ever, will be hers, hers alone, her secret. A thing no one can take, because they won‘t know about it.
She smiles, studies her face in the streaked window pane. Her hair is short, better to deal with the dust and ash. Once they called her pastey, but now her skin is tan and freckled. Once they called her fat. She looks at her toes, at her sunken belly, at her boney hips.
Her tits sag alarmingly. Once a source of pride, now they‘re empty flesh bags. She stuffs them into the remnants of a pink, frilly bra.
Today, the Last Day of Ever, is here and it‘s hers! She giggles and covers her mouth, startled by the sound.
She lifts her bag and turns up hill, toward the tower. Atop the tower she will watch the end draw neigh, like the lover she always dreamed of. She turns her cheek to the burning sky of morning and lets the wind caress her face.
Streets are lined with vehicles, stolen, stalled, smoking, and abandoned. Debris moves like sand dunes driven by the wind across the vastness of the once city square. A pack of feral cats scrounges among the remains. As she climbs the city opens, lustily spreading itself for her, a display of its ravishment. Here and there the smoke still roils; greasy, sticky, oily. On rainy days it rises into the sky, falling again as a film to coat everything.
As she passes the boutiques, she hails the mannequins. They too remain serene in the face of the Last Day of Ever. She stops to pose with them, her frame not much bigger than theirs. They stare indifferently out the once windows. They used to be so elegantly aloof. Now dirt covers their feet, ash smudges their once costly garments. Their wigs are askew or gone off on adventures of their own.
She crosses the long swath of the once park, climbing higher up the long, lazy hillside. The once fence surrounding the tower is no obstacle. She steps over it, stretching her long, thin legs. Now she is finally the ideal weight, but there is no one to notice. The skin hangs loosely around her neck, along her sides, under her arms and legs, but there is no one to notice the once fat girl.
Above her the tower juts into the sky. It would pierce the sky, if it could. The once fat girl knows it. She understands the tower‘s impotent rage at the uncaring sky. They never looked at her either.
She leans her head against the tower. Ash smudges her forehead, a pilgrim‘s marking to commemorate her communion with the world. It is only right and just that she, of them all, be here.
Up the tower and up. She drags her fingers over the walls, touching the plaques which told the once tourists of the tower‘s history. Does the tower shudder now, to feel itself invaded again?
“I‘m not here for you,” the once fat girl assures the tower. Better not to get its hopes up.
At the top, she kicks open the door, breaking the lock, and steps over the ledge onto the parapet. She sits, dangling her feet into the empty air. From here, once people would look tiny. She sees no one.
Why should she? They don‘t know.
“They don‘t know what?”
The once fat girl nearly falls to her death. Furious she scrambles up. She is not missing it for – him.
The once handsome boy stares at the once fat girl. He repeats: “Don‘t know what?” in a voice like a cracked leather jacket, long disused.
“Watch,” the once fat girl says. She sits down to wait. There is a light growing in the west, away from the dawn. The once handsome boy sits next to her. They watch as the light blooms, illuminates the clouds from within, an excitedly blushing sky.
“What it is?” the once handsome boy asks.
“The Last Day of Ever,” she starts to tell him, but she can‘t. She has this thing, this one thing only.
She knows what it is. The ships, leaving like a greedy careless bedmate, seeking the other, the better.
The once fat girl takes the once handsome boy‘s hand. She pulls it to her chest, presses it against her beating heart, over her sagging tits. She smiles at his once handsome face and then she pulls him with her off the tower.