Aicha Zoubair

Jessica Bell

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Man Who Lived at the End of the World by Robert Davies @ahundredstories

Excerpt 5:

Walking out through the doors I hurried past the debris of the bar and out through the gaping front windows, over the unsteady mountain of crunching glass, and onto the cracked street. Only then did I stop to look up at the sky between the towering buildings. There were patches of pure blue now parting the restless clouds, making way for the bright morning sun once again, and as I stepped out of shadow its rays exploded out in warmth across my face and painted the broken city golden. Seeing its light upon the ruins, I felt laughter once more well up inside me as I breathed deeply and set off.

There was a determined sense of adventure rising inside me as I walked. My mind began to race as my footsteps echoed through the damp, shattered streets and their hollow buildings. Old neural pathways fired back into life as if waking from slumber, and I began to plan. I was clean and clothed. I had food and water. My needs were met. The next step was to find out exactly where I was, and then where I had to go. The rest I could work out afterwards.

Lucy must be waiting for me, I thought to myself, otherwise why would she call for me in my dreams?

I walked and walked. Sometimes I saw crows fly overhead and perch high above me, or land on the rubble in the road nearby only to fly away upon seeing me, and I would pause and smile in delight at them. It filled me with hope to see fellow signs of life, but it seemed they were all that was left. Apart from the gentle mist of rainwater being lifted by the warmth, and the sound of its dripping from the buildings, there was no sound or movement.

The sun slowly rose high to beat down on me until the streets were like a desert between the cool shadows it cast, and just then I saw a mirage of washed-out colour spilled out across the road ahead of me. In the heat-hazed distance it looked like a swirling flood that had to be forded, but as I drew closer I saw that a large book shop had blown its windows and thrown out thousands of books like a flock of downed birds. The storms had soaked and battered many of their flightless pages back into pulp, but others lay fluttering in a quiet, uneasy wind.

I stopped next to them and stood, looking into the cavernous mouth of the store, its shadow darkened by the sun behind it. I knew that somewhere inside there had to be a map. I would find it and look for street names and piece everything together.

The Man Who Lived at the End of the World

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Genre - Apocalyptic fiction

Rating – PG

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