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romero
December 4th, 2010, 12:54 AM
It's always dark.
I wrap the scarf tighter around my neck as the winter tries to bite into my exposed flesh. My footsteps are the only sound as I walk down the street. No traffic. No planes flying overhead. No TV's blaring as I pass the lonely houses. No sounds at all since everyone dissapeared.
Just my footseps.
The sound seems loud, and somehow, sacriligous.
I take out my Ipod, put it on shuffle, and feel infinately more comfortable listeing to the first generic, indie tune that plays.

***

Thirty days ago there were lots of sounds, sights, and smells.
My name was Ger Thompson. Her name was Laura Marks. We were laughing.
It was a cold winter night, and we were bundled up, nice and warm, walking down the street arm in arm.
I'd just told a joke, and she was laughing.
"Whoa," I said. "Looky there."
I pointed across the street to the bookshop. It was an independant one, built to look like a crooked house in a gothic fairy tale. It had a little chimney that puffed out little smoke rings. There was a poster in the window.
The Solipsist, the poster said. By Dan Green.
Dan Green was my favourate authour and I'd read every book. Except this one.
I looked at Laura. "Lend us a tenner. Im not gonna make the cashpoint - they'll be closing in ten minutes." I gave her my best puppy dog expression.
She rolled her eyes, but smiled anyway.
"Awrite," she sighed, digging in her purse. "Some gentleman you are."
She gave me the money, and I dashed across the road, shouting thanks over my shoulder.
"Be caref--"
I didn't hear the rest. That's when the world went quiet.

***

It's hard to judge time now all the clocks and watches have stopped, but looking at the big, fat moon overhead, I'm guessing it's about midnight.
I always make this trek at midnight, Down the long empty road that leads from my house to the retail park and the 24 hour supermarket.
I walk under the dead, bony trees, rising into darkness, like skeletons from their graves. Up ahead I see Burger King, and a generic DIY chainstore.
I enter the carpark, all those empty cars splashed with bright yellow light from a dozen overhead streetlamps.

***

I turned back to see what Laura was shouting. But she was gone. Everyone was gone. A deathly silence had desended on the streets.
Cars without drivers had paused, engines still purring.
For a moment I stood there, in the middle of the road, trying to make sense of what was happening.
After about a minute I took out my mobile phone with the intention of calling Laura (maybe she'd run off somewhere), but it simply said: no service.
I wandered around the high street, going mostly in circles. The silence was deafening, oppressive, bread-thick.
I had to keep rubbing my eyes.
I passed a takeaway where a wrapped bag full of steaming food stood on an empty counter; an electronics shop where a bank of widescreen TV's showed nothing but static; a pub where a familiar song blared from a jukebox, a single lit cigarette burning to ash and filter outside the front door.
Eventually my paralysis and shock broke. I ran all the way home. It felt as if something hard had been shoved down my throat. And I could taste the salty tears that were streaming down my cheeks and into my gasping mouth.
The sound was the worse: my heaving steps and pounding feet...and nothing else.

***
The automatic door opens with a whoosh: like an old man being punched in the gut. The place is a morgue.
The lights are still on. The electrics never seem to go out. Don't ask me how. I don't ask questions.
Click-clack over the impossibly clean tiles. Past the rotten fruit, decaying meat, the tills laden with shopping, the half full trolleys. I stroll into the alcohol aisle.
Vodka, rum, whiskey.
"Ahhhh," I say. "My old pal."
I'm holding a large bottle of fine Gin.
I pick up a few bags of crisps and choclate bars.
Then I turn around and make my way home. I concentrate on the song currently playing (Pulp, or Supergrass, or whoever), and the weight of the gin in my head. But I don't concentrate on the dark starless sky. The lack of birds. The cold, dead feeling in my stomach. My back is aching again.
***
I arrived home and slammed the door behind me. My chest was heaving and I was making this whining, animal sound way down in my throat.
All the electrics were still on. But there was no signal on the telly. And the radio just gave off static. The router was flashing orange, meaning no internet either.
I had a thousand questions but they threatened to overwhelm me, To topple like dominos. I couldn't do it. I couldn't ask those questions.
I went to the kitchen instead. My back and legs were hurting pretty badly from the run, and my hands were shaking.
I took a bottle of gin from under the sink that had been hiding there since last christmas. It was three quarters full.
The bottle sloshed as I emptied it down my throat. My mouth filled with a dry, bitter taste, and the questions went away.
I must have slept all night and all day, because when I woke up it was dark again.
There was no more gin. So I went out to get more.

***

Same routine as always: I put my IPOD in its dock, eat some snack food (although I'm never really hungry) Then I down the gin, in long, measured gulps. Pretty soon the world jerks and skips. Then I'm asleep.
It's the same dream as always.
A haggard old man sits on a chair in a room that smells damp and old. The wallpaper is outdated and yellowing.
Today there is a stain in the old man's lap. But he doesn't seem to care, he goes on staring at the floor as he always does.
Eventually a middle aged nurse enters the room trailing a young trainee. The young trainee who is blonde and in her early twenties looks at the old man with mingled pity and disgust.
"Not again," says the older nurse. "Lucy forgot to put in his fucking catheter."
The girl winces, looks sharply at the old man.
"It's awrite," says the older woman. "He can't hear."
"Is it alzheimer's?" the younger woman asks.
"Nope. Higher brain function is fine. Not demenia, either." She begins taking off the old man's trousers, revealing thin, white legs. "It's nothing to do with old age in fact. He's been like this for years. He was in this accident - paralysed, he was. But he couldn't handle it.....so he chose not to --"
"No!" I scream, tearing at the dream with insubstantial fingers. "I Won't!"
"--been living inside his head for years --"
I start to swim upwards, or maybe it's downwards, toward wakefullness. I wake with a shout. The dream is going now, I'm forgetting why I'm sitting here, bathed in my own sweat. The IPOD is still playing away.
By the time I'm wearing my coat and standing in the doorway, I've forgotten the dream completely. It's dark outside - must have slept through the day again. I walk out into the night.

Draxia
December 4th, 2010, 04:53 AM
No, you introduce too many variables to maintain a viable story. It doesn't work.

Start with your character and move outward.

"My name was Ger Thompson. Her name was Laura Marks. We were laughing."

No, that doesn't work. You can't introduce yourself into a foreign environment and then introduce another a person. Start with yourself and then move outward.

Start over.