Flash fiction challenge, disease horror.

Beans for supper.

The city survived one world war. It didn’t survive this one.

Glasgow, Scotland. One of the lucky ones to survive the blitz. Most of the bombs were targeting the Clyde at the time and the rest just missed. Now that war is over and another had begun. It is 2049, European Union dissolved and the countries ended up flocking to the Superpowers of the world, the USA, the fighters of freedom and democracy. Or more likely oil and riches. And the Russian Union, standing for communism and all that equality bullshit.

Classic war. Two superpower with different beliefs that didn’t affect one another, or wanting the resources that belonged to neither of them.

Scotland was one of the few Independent nations. But of course the oil in their oceans was rich and the country hardly had a need for it, what with renewables. And here comes the worst part of war. The worst part for a country that had no say.

Both super powers had nukes. It was a cold war, but oil; well it is more valuable intact. So that’s where the virus came in. Scotland was bombed to hell with a highly contagious disease. Who fired it, who knows? What I know is it happened. And now I need to survive in what was a lovely city, now ruins from mortar shells and riots.

It was a Monday the 20th November, I hated Mondays but just like before the war a man needed to eat. I just don’t need a desk to do it.

Buchannan Street in the city centre was a good enough place to scavenge. Plenty of clothes shops for material, chemists and a good few restaurants. I was just outside a small shop. It used to sell sandwiches and the like for busy bodies needing a quick lunch. It also did groceries, which meant canned food. Hopefully no one already visited.

So I adjusted the gas mask, and wrapped my coat around me. I brought an empty rucksack to store my loot and I also carried an old double barrelled. I don’t even remember getting it. But no one takes chances against crawlers. They were the victims of the virus, the unlucky bastards who instead of die now crawl naked on all fours despite the cold. Blind but highly sensitive to sound. And so silence is golden.

I entered the shop, broken glass crunched under my boot. I waited, listened and continued in. I approached the soup isle, empty. Alcohol, stripped bare. Medical, nothing.

“Shit” I whispered, stomach growling I snuck into the back, again boxes where smashed open. Spoiled milk and nothing good. I kept going hoping for something. Anything. I just about gave up when I saw a box of beans. With a smile I whisper “golden” and pack the 4 cans into the rucksack.

As I began to leave the back and go back into the shopping area I heard him.

Carelessly coming through the front door. A kid, 18, 20, didn’t matter. He was the classic thug. Scarf around his face, hood overhead.

His feet crushed the glass with less care than I did. Started looking around. Grapping the last pack of cigarettes and stuffing it in his pocket. It was only a matter of time before he stopped looking through there and entered here. I pulled the hammer back on the weapon. If he enters I will threaten him, if a shot it then I am dead. Crawlers can get here in seconds.

Click

The thug heard the click, stopping inches from the door separating them.

“Oh Oie Mate.”

Shit, this isn’t a thug it’s a NED. I think. Not that a NED is worst just more idiotic and unpredictable.

“The fuck is it John” A bald headed one enters, clearly the pack leader, another enters, wearing a woolly hat and trakies

“Some pure prick is in there.”

“Pipe down John. It could be a crawler”

“Crawlers can get tae fuck mate”

They carry on like this for a while; I look around spying an escape. A fire exit. Salvation.

I creapt towards it, crouching all the way. By the time I reach it I notice the fire alarm next to it.

“Golden” I think, a smile spreading across my face. I pick up an empty can off the ground and smash it against the glass. Instantly the shop was filled by noise. In a silent city the noise echoed off of building and through the streets.

Before the empty can fell to the floor I was already out the door. I look for a place to hide. Running being useless. Spying a dumpster I dive in without thinking, but as the lid closed the skin headed NED saw me. With a face filled with rage and furry he opened the dumpster and tried to grasp my shirt, swinging the shotgun around I fired, it missed but startled him enough to jump back and let the lid fall.

THUMP.

Something big landed on the bin. All I heard was the fire alarm blaring, a high pitched scream from the crawler followed by the screams on the Ned’s. I heard some gunshots and more high pitched screams. I peeked out of the bin, hundreds of pale naked bodies tearing at the skin head. I saw some sort of hooked knife used by one of them, slashing away.

I ducked back into the hiding place and prayed that it would pass.

And then silence.

One of the crawlers must have silenced the alarm somehow. The screaming stopped and I couldn’t hear a thing.

The crawlers usually feed on their victims but not now.

I heard a tap on the dumpster. Metal on metal, the hooked tip of the blade just tapping on the bin.

“Thank you friend” A croaked female voice said. “Why don’t you join us for supper?”

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