Friday, 17 January 2014


The sound of bristles sweeping cobbled streets reached her ears as she cowered in the darkened room. They swept slowly, pushing the brooms rhythmically.

Rasp... rasp... rasp...

There were no other sounds. No voices. No animals. She blinked into the darkness and pulled her knees up to her chin.

She willed it to rain. They could sweep the streets all day but the stains would remain.

Paint the town red, she thought. And she grinned.

A tear ran down her cheek and she wiped it away with the back of her hand. Her smile faded as she listened to the sweepers. She wondered if anybody had survived this time. She hoped so.

Coward, she told herself.

But still she sat in the darkness a little longer. Waiting.

Rasp... rasp...

And then silence. She sighed and got to her feet, feeling along the wall for the door handle. She left the room, shielding her eyes against the daylight.

The sweepers lined the street, their brooms still. Sun glinted off their metal skin and she squinted.
The cobbles were smeared red and brown but were no longer coated with glistening entrails. She peered down a drain to see the water beneath running almost black. Things floated on the surface.

She looked away. “Good work,” she said.

And the sweepers raised their brooms in salute.  

(First published in Everyday Weirdness in 2010)

The Gods

The beaches were lined with bones and the bodies of the dead. That was until the Gods came forth from the ocean and the dead awoke screaming and terrified.

I had seen the footage on the News. Live footage. I remember that it had cut off halfway through; I remember hearing a woman’s scream and then nothing. And I had changed the channel and watched a sitcom.

I didn’t believe it was happening or rather, I didn’t want to believe it was happening. I told people that it was a gimmick, an advertisement, something to laugh about.

But I sort of knew it was real. Deep down. I felt it in my bones.

I heard people say that it was aliens. I didn’t laugh at that. I hoped it was aliens. Aliens were less terrifying than Gods. Aliens were nothing to do with me.

Graveyards filled with zombies. But only because the Earth had pushed up the bodies, turning them out of their graves and giving them back to the world.

I remember not being afraid. I was just deeply sad. The Gods were angry and everybody was being punished for it. There was no escape even in death.

I watched from my window as buildings fell and the sky filled with dust. In my city a statue taller than the highest skyscraper ran amok, ripping up roads, hurtling bricks and lampposts and cars. And people.

Some people said that it was robots. Giant robots built by man that had turned against us. Or perhaps it was alien robots from outer space.

I wished that it was. I tried to believe that it was but by now I knew...

It was the Gods.

Other people had known before me and as forests burned and seas froze over, more people came to realise.

I wish it was the media, or aliens, or robots, or monsters, or the military, but it was the Gods. And we had angered them.

I had angered them. I had...

I stood on a sea of frozen ice and watched as the sun exploded.

(First published in Everyday Weirdness in 2010)