**The story below is a draft **
He was too exposed, here in this concrete mausoleum, even at night,
it was a path he would never normally chance but, it seemed, destiny
demanded it. He grunted at the concept under his breath as he
heaved himself up and over some rubble, he still wasn’t sure what to
make of the story the mysterious golden women had told him back at
that rust bucket of a town and her words gnawed at him daily. She’d
spoken of futures, spoken of pasts and then of his role in a tapestry of
time that was constantly being woven.
At first he’d dismissed it all, telling her quite plainly that what she was
saying was bull-dung, wondering for a short time if she’d caught some
kind of brain sickness out in the wastes, but she’d said she’d known
he wouldn’t believe her and that she would need to tell him also of the
other things she knew, the things about him, the private things, the
dark things. She recounted them as his eyes grew wide and his belief
begrudgingly stronger, she didn’t just know the possible things, the
things that could be salvaged from before the fall, such as where he
had once lived or what his wife’s name had been, no, she knew more.
She knew about the time he’d had to end the life of his companion
dog due to a ravager bite. She knew about when he’d scavenged for
food in a house full of the decaying remains of children and how he
wept as he passed their small bodies. She knew about that fatal night
years ago when his family was lost to him and how his dreams had
tormented him ever since. He had sat quietly for some time there after
as she simply continued to look at him, if she was mad then her
madness was catching as he asked her to tell him more.
She’d told him there was only one more story she had to tell him, the
story yet to reveal itself and of his part to play in it and the flow of
history. She spoke with an unerving confidence as she recounted it,
highly accurate in some respects and worryingly vague in others,
telling him of the events that would unfold in the coming months,
events she assured him that would lead to the end of all this pain and
suffering and to the living hell the human race had found itself in, but
only if he played his part.
He’d sat quiet for some time and she’d effortlessly waited for him to
speak again with several minutes passing before he asked her a
single question, ‘what did she knew of his life afterwards?’. She had
looked blankly at him and blinked once before saying ‘time’s history
was unclear’, given what she had said he’d need to do he was hoping
for a more promising reply.
They’d spoke a little more but it seemed everything that had needed
to be had been said. She’d followed him to the outskirts of town and
passed with him through the gates, on the opposite side to which he’d
entered, and proceeded on to the edges of the beginning of the
sprawling forest that lay before them. He’d asked her if everything
was decided, if events could come to pass differently or if history was
set in stone, she’d simply replied that ‘time is infinite and varied with
thousands of possible combinations but human nature, is not’ before
placing her hand upon his cheek then turning and walking off along
the forests edge to a path unknown.
He remembered it all so vividly, but that was weeks ago now.
He stopped and looked up.
He stayed like that for some time, with his head tilted back and his
breathing coming slow and steady, no need for urgency in this
stillness he had a small lifetime if he wished simply to take the sight
in. Above him towered a tall monolithic structure, skyscrapers they
used to call them, that homage to the ancient tower of Babylon, one of
the many mighty works of man to look on and despair. No dim light
escaped its many thousand faceted glass panes now, no thromb of
person filled it’s halls moving numbers from one imaginary place to
another, lack of purpose filled its every room. It stood now as a
forgotten guardian of some past time, like a mossy covered grave
stone that would last long after the emotion for its creation was
As he stood in silent contemplation of the ingenuity of man and the
folly that seemed to go hand in hand with it at every turn something,
fleeting, moved position suddenly in the thick scrub bush that now
covered the busy downtown grid road. He strained his hearing to
listen for something, anything that would give away the creature that
now clearly knew of his presence, caught out in the open as he was.
He slowly hunkered down low to the ground and tensed for a moment.
Like an arrow he shot suddenly for a nearby alley. The quick repeated
sound of gravel being scrunched underfoot filled the street that once
would have drowned it out with car horns, engines revving and the
cacophonic sound of hundreds of voices holding conversations.
He hit the alley wall as he passed its corner, the force of his
momentum driving him round 360 degrees, and as he spun he whirled
his rifle from his back and had it ready and cocked.
He started backwards in fast paces, keeping his gaze to the entrance,
heading for a door he’d clocked as he’d entered the passage and
cursing his luck as he tried it only to find it locked.
He crouched down and waited, his hot breath appearing in front of
him as it met the cool air as his breaths came in small puffs as he
panted in a restrained fashion after his sudden exertion.
He heard it before he saw it. The pained and confused nasal yell it let
out was a chilling sound as it echoed across the giants graveyard that
was the city, it lasted for several seconds before falling silent. The
sound of something heavy and possibly metallic being pulled along
the floor could begin to be heard now, like a shovel being callously
dragged over concrete by someone who cared not what awful noise it
made. Another ghastly screech of a yell. He tightened his grip on the
rifle as he looked around for any way to avoid this thing that was now
surely heading for him.
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