“You know before all this, I didn’t even know how to change a tire,” Will said. He was young, not more than twenty, with long arms and hunched shoulders. He was covered in a slick of oil and dirt. They had pulled a car out of a ditch the day before. It groaned like a dead dragon. A bunch of birds scattered out of the underbrush when they hauled it, like someone was throwing blue gems in the sky. It was a black Toyota Corolla with grey upholstery. There was cat hair all over the seats. It was white, and smelled like an old house. Will used to have a cat before he got marooned on 94 with a bunch of strangers. Now, months after the drum and the golden claws of the monsters, Will was finally working on a way to get home to Saint Cloud, Minnesota where his parents lived. He’d been heading to Alexandria when that monster thunder started and split green cracks through the world.
He wondered if the cat was still alive. Probably. The stalking shadows didn’t care about animals at all.
“Too bad the end of days had to happen to get you to pay attention,” Shawn said. He was an old public safety officer from Saint Cloud State College. He was driving back from work when the monsters crawled out of nowhere. He was lucky enough to crash his car into the forest and hide in a ravine. He was short and thin, and still wearing his public safety uniform. Every survivor was thin at this point.
“Necessity is the mother of invention. I think someone famous said that,” Will said. He was beneath the car, jacking it up to switch the tire. It was morning. Bugs were buzzing everywhere. The vines snaked into the concrete of the highway making it sore for Will’s back.
“You don’t remember who?” Shawn said. He was stripping the plastic off the steering column. He knew how to hotwire cars. His father was a thief and a liar. He didn’t teach Shawn anything except for how to bypass every decency society had constructed. With the world drowned out by the monsters and the green ash, Shawn could finally apply some of this knowledge.
“No, I just remember it being painted on the wall of my elementary school,” Will replied.
“Seems like a strange quote for that,” Shawn said.
“Makes sense now, but I doubt they thought it would be an end-of-the-world like situation. It was probably specific to becoming an engineer or doctor.”
Shawn finished tying the two wires together and tapped the two copper points together. The car buzzed to life. The radio blasted on in a shout of desperate static, like the automobile was having a bad dream. Shawn scrambled to turn it off. He ripped the knob of the dashboard in his desperation. He threw it onto the plant-warped highway like a cracked egg.
“Shit, I hope nothing heard that,” Shawn said, standing up. Will looked around pensively. Shawn was carrying a rifle with a scope. It had 12 shots. It was the only weapon between them. The world was still quiet in every direction. Bending trees, empty cars, and shattered windows reflecting the sunlight whistled at them like a requiem across the deserted highway.
“I think we’re okay, they can only see us through the mirrors, but I don’t think they can hear us,” Will said. He looked around the cars anxiously. They had spent the last month ripping out all the mirrors of the nearby cars, so the monsters couldn’t see them. They buried them in holes off the highway. It took them awhile to figure out the connection. They lost friends learning the hard-way.
Shawn walked behind the car and grabbed a few duffel bags and backpacks. He threw them into the back seat.
“I’m driving first,” he said, patting Will on the back.
“We can’t spare a second of daylight.”
There will be a part two to this story. Maybe even more. If you enjoyed this story, there are plenty more to read on here. If you want to learn more about the main narrative this flash fiction is derived of, The Greenland Diaries, you can read the first ten days for free in a sample. If you’re interested in purchasing a book through my store, I do offer two books for $25or three books for $35 with free shipping. You can also find my books on Kindle. Hope you enjoyed the story and thank you for reading. Take care!