Callum stumbled along the street up the hill. Strange figures loomed out of
the shadows that clung to the advert-clad walls, dying gasps of the hours of
darkness now departed.
Alcohol and escape, an evening like all the others, at first.
But then came the bright flashes now seared into the retina of his mind’s
eye. Then the sounds, and the scenes sealed forever somewhere within his
soul. He passed abandoned cars until he could see the city stretched out
below him. He was aware that the sun was starting to rise, but the dark
night hid the light of dawn.
Carles strained to hear beyond the roar. Bells rang in the background, a
last ditch attempt by this abandoned society to cling to some semblance of
tradition. But flames and petrol fumes were moving in with the wind, and
the bells would stop ringing soon enough.
Ten years now since the Great Separation, since the government
announced it could no longer sustain the sprawling state. The elite
luxuriated in their paradisiacal Green Zone, whilst the discarded
generation wallowed outside, in the anarchic half-society that simmered
with the blood from countless splayed innards. Carles heard a shot ring out.
“There have always been market towns. Now we shall open Supermarket
towns,” they had announced triumphantly.
Carl’s face was smashed by a hurled tin can. He spat out the contents of his
mouth: teeth and tomato sauce, blood and baked beans. It looked like vomit,
photoshopped improbably scarlet.
Upon founding this indoor municipality, with aisles for streets, those in
charge had put their faith in the compliant indifference of the apathetic
populace. But they’d reckoned without man’s dormant rage, and now the
supposed custodians of the tinned food sector were revolting, their chanted demands peppering the air as the disturbances spread and the veneer chipped away.