Jenkins coughed and retched, hawked back some snot, swallowed, and tried to move the chair forward without toppling himself over. His arms were handcuffed behind his back and his ankles gaffer taped to the legs of the chair. He had been awake for 72 hours and he had pissed himself twice. He was naked, bloodied and bruised. Now it was morning again and he needed coffee.
He looked out at the abandoned real estate office across the street. Next to it was a derelict tenement. It was Monday. It had to be. Surely somebody would come down the street sometime.
Since the accident, Mary had been praying every night that Tiddles be returned to her. It had been almost a year. But as everyone knows, prayer only works if you have god in your heart, and Mary didn’t. She smoked. She drank. She had a card in the newsagents window. Christmas morning, she walked down the stairs, groggy from the night before, trying to remember if she had opened either of her presents yet. And there he was. With the eyes. Talking to her without talking. MARY, he said. MARY I HAVE A MISSION FOR YOU. IT CONCERNS PRESIDENT KENNEDY.
Davey believed that the world was going to explode. He had read on an internet forum, wingnuttilidie.org, that this would happen at midnight on December 21st 2012. What he didn’t know was whether this meant midnight at the beginning of December 21st, or midnight at the end. The end seemed more appropriate but he couldn’t be sure. He had double checked with Wikipedia but it gave him no clue. So he had wrapped the world in chicken wire just to be safe. He kept it in the garage. He had other tools with him in case there were complications.
They were back. The corridor was long and featureless and now the slugs were back, and getting bigger. Since the cataclysm there had been warnings – now Elspeth kept a pot of salt in each dressing gown pocket, and empty salt containers attached to its belt in an attempt to fool them she was heavily armed. She had experimented with noise but it hadn’t worked. She had once read that they had tooth covered tongues, and she feared them. She looked down the corridor at the sun streaming in. She grasped at the salt vessels in her pockets. She was ready.
Grundy had always been the boy without shoes, in raggedy short trousers, standing outside Hamleys on xmas eve, looking through the window at all the things he couldn’t have. All the things that were just for other people. Them. Now they would pay.
He always knew it would come to this, just not in Hellacks, Utah, pop 1400. The sky a spooky blue soon after the western sunset. All of the lights on. There must be a decorative bulb for every soul here, he thought. Then he was ready.
The last town in America to have a xmas eve streaker.