LWG Prompt for 04/09/2018:
The streets were deserted.
Where was everyone?
Where had they all gone?
“The streets were deserted,
for the Police were alerted…”
“Will you stop singing?!”
“But, Petre, I like singing.” said Fill.
“Well I like the sound a door makes when it is neither opened, nor closed.” said Petre, a little ambiguously.
“What?” questioned Fill, a glazed look adorning his face – and there was rarely anything going on behind his eyes.
The two petty-crooks walked through the town looking out for an unlocked shop door or an unalarmed premise that offered easy pickings.
But, it seemed that everybody had been extra conscientious about locking their doors and setting alarms tonight. Yet there was the distinct feeling beginning to cross Petre’s mind that something was not quite right.
“There is nobody here at all!” he stated, with a verbal shrug of disbelief.
“We’re here.” Fill replied.
Petre thought about that in terms of Fill being all ‘here’ and nobody else being ‘here’ at all. He dismissed that line of thought as being of no consequence – two and two were certainly making two tonight.
They tried a few more door-handles, even tried to jimmy the door on the Old Post Office (recently converted to a plush apartment) but, with no luck.
“…And it’s so quiet.” Petre hopes Fill would notice this, too.
“Well, it is night time. Everybody is in bed.” Fill kept his logic to a minimum, seeing only what was in front of him. “Except us.”
Petre persevered. “No , that’s just it. Even when we come here at three or four o’clock… in the morning… “ Petre had to put ‘all’ the information there for Fill, otherwlse Fill would be thinking of when they walked through the town in the afternoons, reconnoitring “… there is always somebody up and about – some sort of movement. There aren’t even any cats wandering about after mice, or foxes after the bins!”
“I like the cats ‘n’ foxes. Such pretty animals.” said Fill. “But, I like the mice the best!” Fill was always the Lenny to Petre’s ‘George’.
They walked on, the eerie silence was beginning to unnerve Petre.
“This is spooky!” Petre put to words his feeling that something supernatural had happened. “Maybe the whole town has been abducted by… “ and sub voce “Aliens!” But, not wanting to scare Fill, Petre restrained himself from detailing what the Aliens are supposed to do to Abductees. However, the visions were now brightly lit up in Petre’s mind – which was just what he needed.
“Eddie’s 24/7 should be open. Fill supplied a fact that may just dispel Petre’s looming worry that Stephen King had just written the pair into his latest novel –
‘Fill and Petre walked silently through the deserted town, unaware that the unseen Aliens were awaiting the last two remaining townsfolk to walk into the ‘zone’. The Alien spacecraft was primed and ready to head back to its galaxy – just two pods remained to be filled.’
“Yeah! Let’s pop to Eddie’s – we could get a soda.” Petre never drank anything soft, but was willing to break that habit tonight.
“I can have a soda at Eddie’s?” Fill’s voice had lit up.
“If he’s there, you can have two.” Petre was promising to himself that Fill was going to get a scoop of ice-cream, too. He just needed Eddie’s to be manned by the bored youth that he called the ‘Can I get you a can, can I? man’. There was no Eddie – never had been, if was just a random name for a random all-nighter, all-dayer, soda bar.
But, Eddie’s was also empty; however, the diner’s lights were still blazing brightly, and there were signs of recent occupancy – some of the partially-eaten burgers were still warm, and a ‘Bitter-Roast’ coffee-machine was trailing a weak steam cloud upwards.
“Where’s Eddie?” asked Fill, always assuming that there should be an Eddie.
“Eddie seems to have left the building.” Petre grabbed a nearly complete burger and took a bite.
“Wasn’t that Elvis?” Sometimes Fill got things right, sometimes he was wiser by far than Petre ever could be.
“Elvis is alive and well and singing ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ in Memphis, Fill. And He always will.” Petre knew that now was not the time to enlighten Fill about the ‘King’ being recently dead at 42. Not the time at all.
“Well, it’s one for the money…’ Petre hit the tune and Fill responded, as he always did:
“… and it’s two for the show…”
They left Eddie’s with less of a hunger for food and no appetite at all for traipsing around the depressing town any more. They headed for the park, where they could await the coming of the dawn.
But, the dawn never came.
Seemingly, a twilight world was destined to be theirs. A lonely, empty place without sound or movement of any sort. No hedgerow birds chorused in the darkness; no mangy hounds, affected by the Moon, howled a plainsong skywards; no bats, sonar-driven, swooped across the open expanse of Town Park searching for a meal.
Petre was considering things. ‘There were no bodies. If the people had all died, there would be bodies. Where was everybody.’
They had tried a radio in Eddie’s – nothing on any wavelength. The TV there was gifting a blank screen to the world; Petre had turned over a few channels, then turned it off. The newspapers on the counter (the most recent being yesterday’s – whenever that was) spoke of no imminent meteor strike; no Alien sightings; no strange weather fronts; no threat of nukes from Russia. No bad news seemingly not being good news.
Fill was looking for bugs, rodents, critters of any sort. He hadn’t found a one – Petre saw him crying and tried to distract Fill’s sorrow.
“This is one weird dream, Fill. One that I’m going to try and forget the moment I wake up – and that wil be soon, buddy. Real soon.” He tried to keep his voice light and bright – it didn’t seem to break through Fill’s concentration as he searched under a few rocks near to an elderly Oak tree.
Petre had chosen the Town Park as it was the best place to see the Sun rise. As that didn’t seem to be happening Petre decided that the two of them should head for the highest point in the area – Nectar Ridge. They set off and left the sterile environment of Town Park behind them.
It was about n hour’s brisk walk out of Town on the track that went by the name of Foster’s Freeway (a local joke, though nobody could recall the Foster it commemorated anymore). It was no more than a rutted, back-breaker of a way; but Petre and Fill were no strangers to walking, so they knew how to avoid breaking ankles and the like.
As they walked along, Petre tuned his ears into the frequency of Nature trying to pick up a programme that. Involved any living being – it was a disheartening exercise, but Petre kept his ears attuned just in case.
Fill was just walking – not thinking, not trying to think – just walking; walking where Petre said he should walk.
Nothing happened on the journey to Nectar Ridge, and that was altogether too scary a thing for Petre to consider. The possibility of the whole Town, County, State, World without any other life – Petre took his thoughts one step at a time so that they didn’t overwhelm him.
“But the trees must still be living!” announced Fill when they reached the base of Nectar Ridge. There was a small group of less than twenty young trees in the copse there.
“Sure, Fill! Lots of things are still living. It’s just a blip in the scheme of things that the people have left town.” Petre hoped that his voice sounded convincing.
Fill caught the words; but, continued: “But where are all the animals, the bugs, the sounds…” he tailed off as his own thoughts caught up with him.
‘I just don’t know, Fill; I just don’t know.” and this was spoken more to himself than Fill. Petre turned his attention to keeping Fill (and himself) moving – though what they they were soon to see from the top of the ridge was going to be the next point of deep thought – for Petre, anyway.
Hard work and a steep climb in the hindering gloom kept them busy for the next hour or so; then without incident, they reached the long summit of Nectar Ridge, a lengthy spine across the Town’s eastern boundary.
Petre and Fill looked towards where the Sun should have risen.