The Last Of Them

In an unknown city in the United Kingdom, a man lives by himself in an ancient, scenic city. An ancient, scenic city decimated by a fungal infection which has destroyed humanity as he knows it.

In the man's past is trauma and horror. The loss of family and friends and everyone he could ever think of meeting. Yet more importantly, in his past is the secret to where the world-ending Cordyceps fungus originated.

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7. VII.

As he drives through the city, Neville strikes the steering wheel.

He drives in a wide circle, never leaving the quarter of Ged and Doris' now destroyed house. He strikes the wheel in anger, in shame. 

He drives repeatedly around the base of the great hill in the city's East. He drives repeatedly past the castle at the centre. He drives  repeatedly through the old town, the financial district. 

He sees the hill and remembers Ged and Doris and Andy. He sees the castle and screams for minutes on end at the memory of Bronwyn and her belly. He drives past his work and remembers the monkeys. 

The monkeys. 

He remembers when it was thirteen seasons before. When it was three seasons since the outbreak. Nine months since Britain had fallen, and he had sent the seed of humanity's downfall to one of the biggest countries on the planet, in the form of humanity's earlier evolutionary ancestor. 

He remembers the ninth month.

The night of Bronwyn's return with the huge belly and the spore-filled lungs. Her increasingly scattered breathing. Her eventual shaking and swinging limbs. Her grunts and shouts. Her eyes rimming red. He remembers her first attack on him, well after midnight. He remembers the kitchen knife he had placed, in agony, beside the sofa. He remembers the knife going in. 

Driving past his work again he remembers the monkeys and remembers the thing he had spent thirteen seasons trying to forget.

He remembers the knife going in. Then he remembers waking up in a silent house in the deck chair watching the sun rise. He remembers standing up numb and walking through the house. He remembers seeing them dead in their beds. Ged and Doris, and down the hall, Andy. In Ged's room Doris is strewn facedown on their thick carpet. Neville remembers going to the living room and observing wife lying on the sofa. He looks down the corridor and sees the trail of blood snaking down to the deck chair, with the too-bloody knife lying next to it in a pool of scarlet life fluid, lit by the rising sun. He finally notices his own stained clothes.

After an hour of sitting with a blank brain next to his dead wife he notices how much he had stabbed her. It didn't seem right. Then notices he had stabbed her in the belly. In an instant, he is on the floor and he retches. He remembers what snapped him.

He remembers, minutes after killing her, while he still held her, her belly beginning to writhe and shake. 

 

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