Earl Grey at the End of the World

A very strange thing I am writing. A short story which I estimate will end up being half an hour-ish in length.

Just a heads up, in chapter three, the double dashes are the closest I could get to those super long dashes you see in books when people's speech is interrupted. If anyone knows how to get those, please let me know.


3. 3

   Michael stepped from the doors into an arid desert wind and found himself on a dusty, winding road carpeted on either side by rolling yellow sands. He looked back for the bus, but it was gone. "Find the road and just keep walking," was the only advice that he had, an so he set his sights on a distant horizon and began to walk. There was a flash of blinding sunlight, and suddenly he was in--

   The midst of an abandoned metropolis. The concrete in front of her was cracked and blades of grass grew everywhere from it. Jane's every footfall echoed boundlessly. Towering skyscrapers rose all around, but the glass was gone from their windows and the ominous creaking from all sides made her very glad there was no wind. She felt sure that the slightest gust would have brought every structure down on her head. She took another step and--

   Now Michael was in a wood. Ancient oaks formed a deep green canopy over his head. The forest floor cracked and snapped under his feet as if it were alive; but there was not a sound to be heard but those he made himself. Hard as he strained to hear it, there was no birdsong; and perhaps it should have come earlier, but it was this realisation that quickened his heart. He increased his pace and--

   A bright fish streaked past Jane's vision. Its eyes were large, luminous and apathetic, its  tail and fins light and feathery and its scales glittered in the intermittent light that shone down in pale shafts through the darkness of the surrounding water. Water? Yes, water. Before her her breath streamed upwards in a cluster of minute bubbles and her hair fanned out behind her as she walked. I'm under the sea, she thought, I'm under the sea. Instinctively she reached her arms out to swim, but realised there was no need - she was able to walk without stepping on the ground and to breath without taking in any air; she opened her mouth wide to gasp and--

   He was in a passage lined on all sides with stones. It was a little cold, but not unbearably so; candles in brass brackets lined the walls on either side to light the way. The air was rather stale and smelt a little musty - almost like a library that is filled with old books, but not quite. The passage itself was long, straight and narrow; it was wide enough, he thought, only for two people, who would still be forced to walk very close together. He closed is eyes, fully expecting another change of scene, yet there was nothing. The sound of his feet on the stones continued to echo down the passage. When he opened his eyes again, he found that he was indeed still in the corridor.

   "Is this it?" he wondered aloud.

   At that moment, however, he felt a gust of wind at his back. It smelled of salt and fish - a wind off the sea. Thinking this signified another change of location, Michael shut his eyes once again, but still he did not move. Instead he felt something ram into his elbow and at the same time as he let out an involuntary cry of pain he heard a second mirror his.

   Beside him now stood a pretty, dark skinned young woman with eyes that were wide with fear - as, he suspected, were his own. She was soaked to the skin.

  "Who are you?" He asked cautiously. "What are you doing here?"

   The young woman looked at him guardedly. "I don't know exactly. Err... Sorry, do you know where you are?"

   "I'm not sure," Michael replied. "The end of the world? That's what the guy on the bus said."

   "The bus?" She asked faintly. "You came on the bus?"

   "Yes," said Michael, rather apologetically. "Then through a desert," he added, "and a forest. I was drunk," he added, then realising that his vision was now clear and his speech unimpaired, "I'm not now." 

   "Oh," she said. "Yes. Well." For a brief moment, neither of them could find anything to say. "I came through a city," she offered at last, "and the sea. That's why I'm so wet, you must have wondered." She shivered slightly as she spoke, wrapping her arms around herself to ward off the cold. Michael meant to be gallant and give her his jacket, but when she reached out to take it off he remembered once again that he had left it in the bar. Instead he reached out his hand to her.

  "Michael," he said. She smiled awkwardly and shook his hand.

   "Jane," she replied. They walked on in silence.


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