Flash Fic Challenge – Kill It In The Morning
Latest flash fiction challenge involved pulling up a random song title and writing a story with that title. I shuffled my iPod and used the first song that came up. It was this one. A story of post-apocalyptic revenge.
Kill It In The Morning
It was almost impossible to tell which was worse: the noise or the smell.
In reality, it was a false choice, because long enough exposure kind of deadened you to both, But Amira found them both excruciating. The smell seemed to get everywhere, it just parked in your nose and refused to go away, and there was no air freshener in the world strong enough to cover it. Not even the scent of freshly made coffee.
Right now the noise was mainly coming from the basement, as Edgar pounded on the door, occasionally yelling. She ignored him as she loaded his hunting rifle.
She wondered, not for the first time, how the nerds felt about getting it half right. There wasn’t a zombie apocalypse, but it was close. A variation of the bird flu killed off huge swaths of people, while most of the survivors were turned into raving lunatics, like they were all on bath salts. Those survivors were dangerous and known to run around killing people until they were killed in turn. Since it was legal to take out the ravers (and that’s what they were called, although Amira had no idea why), people had a tendency to leave them where they fell, hence the near constant miasma of decay. The body collectors – a lucrative job – never came out often enough.
This entire block used to be full of people. She used to feel claustrophobic, hemmed in, but when the first wave of the disease washed through the city, it took out about sixty percent of the street. She had hoped the illness would act like karma, and take out her abusive asshole of a step-father, but, as life had an apparently ironic sense of humor, he came out unscathed. So did she, as a matter of fact. But her mother got taken in the second wave, and so did her brother. But Edgar came out fine, and so did she.
Power was sporadic. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t. She watched the lamp on the nightstand flicker, looking like it was sending out Morse code. Maybe it was time to pick up random, archaic shit like that. Now or never, right? It might be important in the new, crippled world.
Once Amira was done loading the rifle, she slung it over her shoulder and headed back down to the living room. There was a cover on the couch which caught the remains of the stew she had made, and dosed with liberal amounts of painkillers she had left from her last trip to the dentist. (Probably last in every sense of the word now.) She stripped it off and folded it up, glad the days of plastic on the furniture was over. Amira had always hated it.
Edgar continued to bellow and pound on the door, which made her wonder why Mabel was taking her time. Mabel was the sweet old lady down the street who had survived the first two waves of the virus, but not this latest one. Her age and frail state meant she was a raver of limited threat, which really wasn’t saying much, since all ravers seemed to take on superhuman strength in spite of their builds. Amira had lured her into the basement earlier, before Edgar returned from a “foraging” session (which meant he was out raiding neighbor’s now empty houses for booze). Mabel had been quiet in the basement, like she figured, because darkness could confuse the ravers, who seemed to become disoriented when deprived of sensory input. But noise helped them focus. It was why the county used air raid sirens, in a vain attempt to lure the ravers to kill zones.
Amina knew when she heard Edgar’s latest curse dissolve into a startled shriek that he finally understood he wasn’t alone in the basement. Mabel must have been close to him too, because while there was another scream and a couple of heavy thuds, Edgar finally stopped pounding on the door.
Amina took a seat in the kitchen, where she left her can of warm, flat soda. Outside the sky was slowly lightening, turning a leaden gray. She’d religiously marked the calendar beside the stove, and knew it was the day the body collectors would sweep the block.
Although it was a pain in the ass to drag Edgar’s sleeping body to the basement, Amina was willing to put up with the hardship of dragging them outside to the curb. Mabel couldn’t have weighed much at all, and once she ate a few pieces of Edgar, Amira figured he’d be a little lighter. Considering all he’d done over the years, this was probably a better death than he deserved.
For the first time since this whole thing began, Amina was looking forward to having the place all to herself. If it really was the end of the world, at least she could have some peace before it all went to hell.