Book reading challenge 2020

My challenge has begun to read at least 20+ books until the end of this year, and the extra challenge of reading all of my Warhammer Army books.

This post will be updated when I’ve finished reading books, which I’ll add a small roundup on my thoughts on how it went.

Warhammer Army Books:

Warhammer Fantasy Army Book: Bretonnia (finished 6/1/20)

This was quite an enjoyable read for an army book that’s about twenty years and more old! Whilst it does use elements from existing fiction and tales, it does have a lot of interesting stories and structure for how Bretonnia is organised and function in the Warhammer world. If you put aside the glaringly obvious knightly tropes, the book actually has some interesting stuff like the False Grail, when Duke Maldred betrayed the Chivalry code and ended up being killed by the red pox.

There are pages in the book that explore the lore behind Mousillon as this once splendid and mighty land that was just as magnificently as the capital of Bretonnia. Comparing it to now as an abandoned place that’s overrun with undead and Skaven, a miserable ruin that is still rumoured to be haunted by the laughing ghosts of Maldred’s Court.

I’m not sure wether Mousillon is covered in the next ed of Bretonnia, but it would’ve made a great setting for a Warhammer Quest!

The short stories were enjoyable to read with some insights into the Bretonnia setting, where common men may need to arise to the challenge as a Knights Errant to slay an Ork Warboss, or to do a deed to earn his right as a Knight of the Realm. These aren’t silly stories that are just written up to fill in spaces, these stories really help the reader to understand the ideology of Bretonnia as a Chivalry coded society.

I like this book a lot, it’s got great imagery, lore and wealth of useful inspiration. Nigel Stillman, the writer of the book along with artists including Wayne England, John Blanche, David Gallagher, Des Hanley, Paul Smith, Mark Gibbons, Toby Hynes and John Wigley have done an amazing job at putting together this army book. I’d rate it on my top ten list of must have army books for any collector.

Fan fiction Fly on the Wall Podcast Post Apocalyptic Saga link post

I’ve decided to make a post to link all of my Post Apocalyptic saga fan fiction posts, based on The Fly on the Wall Podcast series hosted by Luke and Waz, into an all in one link post. This will be updated with each new fan fiction post published on the blog, links below are in chronological order.

Posts below are art posts relating to the fan fiction.

I’ve got some suggestions for listening to music whilst reading these stories, as it’s immersive to the story that’ll make the experience much more enjoyable. These are my personal favourites when I’m writing these fan fiction stories, I hope you’ll enjoy them too!

  • Mitch Murder, Hardwired album
  • Fallout 1 and 2 and 3 OST
  • Wasteland 2 by Mark Morgan
  • Sanctum, Metatron Omega
  • Impact Winter, Mitch Murder
  • Death Stranding, Ludvig Forssell

Lastly I’m grateful to Luke and Waz for letting me do this fan fiction project, despite how much I keep posting about my work I’m very thankful for the guys positive feedback and enjoyment of my work.

You can find the Fly on the Wall Podcast on your preferred podcast app (might not be on all podcast apps), Twitter and Instagram.

Here’s a link to their Twitter site and give their podcast a listen!

https://mobile.twitter.com/flyonthewallpo1

If the link doesn’t work, just type in FlyOnTheWallPo1 on Twitter.

Thanks for reading this post and I hope you’ll enjoy the fan fiction stories (or not).

-Bjorn

Fan fiction Post Apocalyptic Saga special: Sammy and me

This is a story I’ve planned on writing as part 4 in the fan fiction story, however after much thinking and writing the story I thought it would be a great as a special. It’s set years ago pre Apocalypse that focuses on one of the four protagonist in the Post Apocalyptic Saga.

Enjoy!

___________

1994, Melbourne, in a forest nearby

A dark shape was tumbling down the slope of an overgrown, secluded forest with bushes, sticks, branches and brittle plants tangling in the way of the falling object. Cloaked in dark robes that stuck out like a rolling shadow in contrast to the green and brown forest, it kept rolling and rolling down the slope. Finally the object was stopped as it hit a tree stump in its direction with a loud thump sound.

A yelp of compliant came out of the dark robed person as it tried to recover from its fall. Looking up and blinking back into awareness, Keith had only realised that he had trip from a great slope down the forest. He was alone, the only sound was nature that came from all around him. The sun was coming down as Night was drawing in.

‘I need to find my friends before nighttime’, thought Keith, as the forest started become very quite.

———

Going back up the big slope was a waste of time as getting up it would take too long to attempt. Keith needed to find the end of the slope that would be easy to climb, up towards a road or a house he can visit to call his friends. He walked on through the forest wrapping his cloak around him to keep warm. The night can get very cold as the chill was in the air as the sun became weaker and weaker.

Before Keith’s accident, he was playing with Luke, Waz, Glenn, Dexton, Flexton and Fenton. They were playing Star Wars dressing up in cloths that looked just barely recognisable to the characters in the films. Glenn was Luke Skywalker, Waz was Han Solo, Luke was Chewie, Dexton was Darth Vader, Flexton was a Boba Fett and Fenton was Princess Leila.

They were all playing at the local park pretending it was a space station from one of the films. Sometimes they would play tig, bad guys vs good guys game or hide and seek. Keith was the Emperor, he and the bad guys were hiding from the good guys. It was then that Keith had gone too far from the others and accidentally tripped on his robes and fallen down the slope.

Now he was walking alone in the cold with bruises and cuts on his face and arms, the fall was bad but at least he made it in one piece. From where he came down he would’ve broken an arm or leg, or worse………

Minutes passed in the fading light Keith was getting hungry and cold, the long stretch of the forest seemed to never end. Was he ever going to get home, see his friends or even his family? He heard stories of monsters in the night that took children away never to be seen again. Were the monsters out here now? Were they following him?

He was starting to get scared, imagination flared with ghosts with no heads, ugly monsters with glowing red eyes and big teeth, zombies coming up from the ground to tear him alive. Keith whimpered as he started to run through the woods, he wanted to go back home now. His fears grew as he kept running faster and faster as the monsters tried to grab him, they wanted to eat him alive like all the other children they caught.

Then suddenly Keith tripped over on a tree root that stuck out from the ground, catching his foot and tripping him over onto the ground. He cried out in pain as he twisted his ankle, pain flared like a sharp needle poking his leg. He was crying from fear and pain as he was alone in the dark to die alone, the monsters were close now laughing and wailing in joy and malice. Keith closed his eyes tight waiting for the inevitable end to his short life on this world. But then nothing happened. The monsters were quiet like nothing happened. He slowly opens his eye to peek around to see if anyone was there. Nothing in sight.

He looked down to see his ankle which started to flare in pain, it wasn’t broken but he’d twisted it badly. As he unloosened his foot from the root he looked up to see a barely visible man kneeling right in front of him, smiling as he looked at Keith straight in the eye. He was cloaked by the darkness obscuring his appearance.

The monster was here……

_____

“Don’t be afraid Keith, I’m a friend of yours remember?” Said the oddly jolly man as he held out his hand but Keith didn’t take it for fearing of the unknown. He moved away backwards as he tried to scrabble away from the man, keeping his eyes on the stranger. “Why are you afraid Keith? Don’t you remember me?” He said with a concerned tone with that smile still on his face.

“No! Get away from me you creep, my mom said not to talk to strangers!!!” Keith protested as he did what his mother taught him at a young age. He was sure help would come if he was loud and clear. But no one came, his protest came unheard of. The man saw Keith’s frightened appearance so he put his hands up in a peaceful sign, he sat down and crossed his legs.

“Don’t be frightened Keith, it’s okay I won’t hurt you. I’m just here to talk to you, don’t you remember me?”. Keith wasn’t sure why the man kept asking him if he remembered him, he couldn’t tell because it was too dark to see the mans face in detail. But he recognised him from somewhere before.

Keith said with some effort of confidence “No I don’t know you. Who are you and why were you chasing me?”. The man chuckled as clapped his hands like he was giving Keith a riddle. Then water came up out of nowhere in a thick sludge of dark substance, which grew into a calm river that stretched for miles all around them. Where did this water come from? And why’s the man so happy? Keith tried to move but the flood trapped him like quick sand keeping him still. No amount of effort can free him from its grasp.

Then from under the flood the stranger came out of the water and walked slowly towards Keith as he chuckled. His face was still hidden by the darkness, so he got close to Keith by arms length and got out his lighter from his pocket and flicked it. The flames orange glow sparked into life revealing his face. He said with giggling joy in his breast “it’s me Keith, your imaginary friend Sammy Simple”.

Keith screamed his lungs out in terror as he saw a man with a face that looked like a child’s drawing mould like clay into a garish and horrific form. It’s eyes oddly shaped and pulsing in its moist stare, bright blue and sharp. It’s mouth was a squiggly line that might look like a smile, but when it opened it was a nightmare of raw gums, broken teeth and sharp fangs sinking into its own flesh. It’s head was oddly shaped like a badly drawn circle, it was like a pumpkin with its forehead larger on the right hand side and shrunk on the left. Sammy’s body was a gross proportion of a mutant with one arm bigger than the other, spine twisted at a wrong angle and legs the size of a chair leg.

Sammy came close to Keith as the boy turned pale with utter fear screaming and scrabbling madly to get away.

“Don’t you remember me Keith?” It said smiling with malicious thrill as he grabbed Keith’s tiny head……….all that remained was a skull which was then crushed into a million particles of dust that drifted down into the deep sea of dark water.

____

Keith woke up startled as he awoke from his nightmare. He was scared and sweating from what he saw. Then he realised he was at the same spot where it happened, he wanted to run away from here and get back home. He noticed that his ankle had recovered miraculously as though it was never twisted, he could move it without issue. On the ground in front of him was a lighter left on the ground, the same one that monster used to show it’s hideous face.

He needed to get away now, or the monsters would find him.

_____

As he went further he saw a log cabin, finally he found life out in the forest! He came up to the cabin and decided he’d listen in from the side of the closed wooden window, he needed to be sure these were good people and not the strangers that his mother warned him about. He crept up to the side of the cabin and listened in, he heard two people talking as though they were in a heated debate. He wasn’t sure wether to knock on the door just yet, so her listened in to hear what the commotion was about.

——-

“Bruce don’t f* with me, do you have the results or not? Do you realise how impatient my boss is about delays? Or has your indulgences gone too far for your scientific mind to erode away?”. The man complaining was a smart looking man with tanned skin wearing black boots with a brown suit and trousers with a black tie. He was wearing black rimmed spectacles which made his lean features more defined, his hair was long and curly and was sporting a moustache.

“Oh you’ll get your results when I’ve got what I wanted Jackson, I’m not a charity you know. I’ve got a life to live”. Said Bruce who was very pale and frail with grey hair and sunken features. He was wearing a lab coat that was bloody smeared, his gloves were drenched in thick stains of blood.

“The test results be yours once I have what was promised, or has your boss finally changed the agreement that we agreed on?”. Jackson shook his head in frustration and rubbed his eyelids and took a deep breath “No Bruce, we’ve not changed the agreement. But for god sake just give us the result that we need and we’ll deliver your ‘essential’ indulgences”. Bruce laughed to himself and took off his gloves and put them on his desk.

His cabin was small enough for him to do off the grid work that would help him deal with unique clients. The underworld relied on Bruce to produce certain research and developments that not many people would see as moral standards. He was protected by Jacksons boss as a ghost, an off grid asset who can’t mingle with society anymore. The government has no idea he’s still alive, thanks to the organisation that made it all possible. So long as his research proved to be reliable and successful, he’d recive his side of the deal and assurance that he’ll be able to work on without issue.

His line of work involved testing chemicals in the human body and seeing what effects it may have on a person. In his cabin he had a patient on a cart who was quite certainly dead judging by her pale skin and glossy eyes. Her guts were opened a few hours ago for testing a chemical Bruce had introduced to her for her last meal.

He looked at Jackson as he took a seat near his desk. “Do you know what your boss is trying to accomplish? If you do, I think your just as barmy as the rest of them”. Jackson looked less humorous as Bruce “Yes to an extent I know what the goal is or else I wouldn’t be here now out of the trust of my boss. This project means a lot to us for the future of humanity than some utopian dream these politicians are pulling out of their asses. They only see the end goal as a profitable number, to see themselves written in the history books as the ‘greatest minds of our time’ or ‘our finest leader since x and y’. No, we care more about our species than any world leader would if they gave a minute of their time to see those from the ground. Humanity will reach a point in the future where a great catastrophe will occur, when our species will need to improve and adapt to an unstable world that is radically different from today’s climate. Wether by WWIII, climate change, natural disaster or even…….”

“A mid life crisis looking ugly and wasted like me? Hahahaha!!” added Bruce who interrupted Jackson’s great speech. He got up from his desk and walked towards Jackson and said “kids like you think the same as those in power who are In the rat race to the top. You believe what your boss says because you believe whatever s* comes out of their mouths so long as you get that promotion or privilege of being the hero. Facts, evidence, history and results? They can be altered or taken out of context just to serve their agenda, all that’s needed is the mindless masses to persuade and enlist towards their cause. Do you think altering everyone into the next form of human evolution will go down well? What if they become mindless, easily manipulated into the perfect army by your boss? You act like your the clear thinker and the future is easy to map out once things go your way. Truth is, you may think your doing the right thing, but in reality your just as much of a threat as the things your fighting against. I’ve lost interest in politics and the people when I realised we were going around in circles endlessly like a revolving cage wheel”.

Bruce lit his cigarette with his lighter and puffed out smoke from his cracked lips. “I go where I please, I’m my own master, my own boss, my life is mine. Moral or immoral I can die knowing I’m not a piece in a complex web of political bs. So long as I get my due from my clients I’m free from the war” he pokes Jackson in the chest to emphasise his statement “Unlike you kid” he laughs as he walks back to his chair whilst coughing from his smoking.

Jackson cursed at Bruce’s statement and pulls out his revolver gun and shoots at Bruce’s direction with a loud bang. Keith jumped from the loud noise and caught his mouth before he could scream from his hiding spot below the closed wooden windows. Bruce looked stone cold pale and the shock made him leak from the sudden shot, his trousers were soaking wet. The shot just nearly caught him from his sitting position on the chair, a smoking hole in the leather seat drifted near his crotch.

“Thing is Bruce your just another cog in the system, your not your own master, your a deluded lonely hedonist who’s life hangs in the balance from my bosses strings. You belong to us, you can only do what you do because we allow you to. The results of the mutagen to evolve mankind is of great important to us. Fail to deliver and we’ll deal with you like you never existed. Oh wait, you don’t exist now do you? You were officially pronounced dead years ago from a freak road collision, a coverup for your work to continue without interruption”.

Bruce spat on the floor in a foul mood like he couldn’t give a damn about this project. But he needed the support for his ongoing science project, and his addictions…….

He gives Jackson his results paper in a brown envelope and walked to the door “I think it’s time you were leaving Jackson”. Striding through the room Jackson reaches up to the door and looks back at the horrifying display of surgery, chemical testing lab full of canisters and silo chambers and his recent patients bloody remains. “I wondered why the boss gave you the nickname the ‘Butcher’. Now I know why”. Jackson leaves the cabin out into the forest.

_____

Keith crept around the cabin and peaked from the side to see the man wall off towards his car. He didn’t know what went on in the cabin, but he was sure that these people were the types his mother warned him about. As he turned away he snapped a twig by accident, his heart skipped a beat as he realised his mistake. Jackson heard the twig snapped and turned towards Keith’s direction. “Bruce, is that you?” He said as he took out his revolver and aimed it whilst walking back.

Keith didn’t know what to do in this situation. Either run back into the dark forest or reveal himself to the man. Surely he wouldn’t shoot him for he was only a teenager. If he ran the chances are he wouldn’t get far as the man could take down Keith. Even if he escapes he’d be back to where he started where the monster was lurking. Sammy Simple or a stranger with a loaded gun, none were any better.

Keith spoke out to assure the man he was a teenager lost in the forest “Hi sir, I’m lost and I needed to get back home”. Jackson kept his aim up “show yourself, then I’ll know if your real”. Keith took the risk and slowly came around the corner with his hands up shaking. His face was covered in scratches with his Emperor makeup all ruined by tear lines and his cloak dirty and ripped by his fall down the slope.

The man kept his gun out and spoke to Keith with an urgent tone “Are you part of ‘them’? They can be disguised as anyone, I can’t risk you revealing our secrets and causing the Final Apocalypse”. Keith started to shake in fear and started crying “I just want to get home, I swear I didn’t know what you were talking about”.

Jackson came up to Keith slowly, making sure he didn’t suddenly cause a flood to appear from where he was standing. Nothing appeared, this kid wasn’t part of ‘them’. Jackson knelt down and put away his gun and took out a wallet and revealed his badge to Keith. “Sorry kid, I had to be sure you weren’t the perpetrator I was looking for, I’m a private investigator. What’s your name?”

“Keith” relived that he wasn’t going to die. “I fell down the big slope back over the distance, I was lost and needed to find someone to take me home. Then this monster tried to find me…..”. Jackson cut through Keith’s explanation “What monster? Did it cause a flood?”. Keith was surprised that the man guessed about the flood “yeah, my imaginary friend found me and……he……..”. Keith started to whimper as he remembered the traumatic moment in his life that’ll scar him for life. Jackson became very agitated and picked Keith up on his feet. “S*, they know Bruce is here! Keith get in my car now!”

It was too late, the flood appeared like an otherworldly phenomenon that grew into an endless sea of darkness. Out came Sammy Simple who crept awkwardly out of the water to seek out Keith.

“There you are!!!!!!” Said Sammy as he opened his mouth with an almighty roar and charged towards Jackson and Keith like an insane berserker on chemicals. He lounged up to strike at them with his mutated claws, but he fell and shrivelled as he sunk back into the flood. Bruce had a shotgun on him as he closed the cabin door.

“There here” said Bruce who was wearing a black gas mask with eye lenses that gleaned bloody crimson. It was true, he was a butcher. No, he was the Butcher. He grabbed Keith by the shoulder and took him to the car “run down the woods from here, don’t look back or else it will trap you in its flood. It’s temporarily lost its influence on you and Jackson” he was silent for a few moments as he observed Keith’s face as if he recognised him. “Your that kids friend, Luke? I knew his pa from the war……”

He got sidetracked and pushed Keith away “Go kid, get away from here whilst we deal with this thing. If not I’ll have a new patient to add to my collection” he laughed with such menacing delight that it made Keith run away towards civilised life.

“You sick b*, why say that to the kid? He’s already traumatised by the whole situation. Also what was you babbling on about a ‘war’?” Jackson got his gun out and prepared himself for the fight of his life. Bruce, the Butcher, just laughed like he couldn’t care who he was talking to “The kid knows someone who’s father I met back during my days in the war, I’m surprised he’s not working with us anymore”.

Sammy woke up, but his form changed into two different identities for both Jackson and Bruce’s perspectives. The Dark Mind.

_____

Keith was found walking down a silent road by his family as they tried searching for him. Shaken and traumatised he was taken home where he tried to recover, he tore all reference to Sammy Simple from drawings to diary notes on his imaginary friend.

The next day he asked his parents to take him back to the cabin he found that night. Reluctantly they took him to the road they’ve found him and walked into the forest for some time until they found the site. All that remained was a burnt down cabin, no remains were found on site as a fire crew were putting out the smoking fire.

The End

Book reading challenge 2020

This year I set myself a challenge of reading books and beating my goal based on the total I read last year. This was my first ever book reading challenge I’ve set myself up for, the goal was to read more than twelve books.

Easy you might say, for me, I tend not to finish reading the whole book as I get distracted or become really unmotivated to read through the whole story. It’s trying to keep names, personality, locations and everything else in mind when reading, or else I become inconsistent. I like to imagine giving characters unique voices to keep things consistent and immersive with that characters identity and background.

How did the challenge go? Well, I thought I wasn’t going to make it, but to my surprise I’ve actually done it! Not only that, but I’ve read up to twenty books!

Here’s what I’ve read for this years challenge.

  • The Rats, by James Herbert
  • Lair, by James Herbert
  • Domain, by James Herbert
  • Chacarodons: The Outer Dark, by Robbie Mcniven
  • The Horus Heresy: Galaxy in Flames, by Ben Counter
  • The Horus Heresy: Crimson Fist, by John French
  • Nagash: The Undying King, by Josh Reynolds
  • Legacy of Dorn, by Mike Lee
  • Elric of Melniboné, by Michael Moorcock
  • A knight and his horse, by Ewart Oakshott
  • Eric, by Terry Pratchett
  • Knight of the Sword, by Micheal Moorcock
  • Queen of the Sword, by Micheal Moorcock
  • King of the Sword, by Micheal Moorcock
  • The Fog, by James Herbert
  • Gaunt’s Ghost: The Saints Omnibus which includes four novels, Honour Guard, Guns of Tanith, Straight Silver and Sabbat Martyr (note I’ve only read three books, the third book was passed on)
  • Sons of Wrath, by Andy Smilie
  • The Land Leviathan, by Micheal Moorcock
  • The Dark Powers of Tolkien, by David Day

What helped me for the challenge?

Music really helped me to read through these books, whilst I did use music last year for reading the first Gaunt’s Ghost Omnibus, it was only 40k OST that I’ve used to read it. For books that weren’t 40k related, it didn’t fit well unless it was a sci-fi book.

I’ve tried to broaden my music genre playlist to fit into the genre of the book I was reading, like the Rats for example, I used Mitch Murders Hardwired Album to immerse myself in its retro noir horror synthwave. This approach in using music as background noise has been a great motivation tool for reading, it adds weight to the stories that can’t be done with just imagination alone.

Top authors I’ve enjoyed reading

James Herbert was my favourite author for this years book reading challenge, after finding a copy of the graphic novel, The City, I was drawn to his fictional literature. In a matter of weeks I had the whole The Rats trilogy and read The Fog. His literature is gritty, realistic, graphic and strangely relatable with the characters he creates.

Micheal Moorcock was another stand out author for his Corum book trilogy. It inspired me so much that I did an art post entirely dedicated to illustrate key moments for the first half of the Knight of the Sword. A underrated fantasy that I’d highly recommend reading for it’s 70’s inspired sword and sorcery epic, with connections to the multiverse that connects a few characters from Moorcock other works.

Another book by Moorcock that really got me hooked was the Land Leviathan, an alternate history views by a multiverse traveling man who sees earth decimated by a catastrophic world war. Led by a ruthless, smart and cunning Warlord, Africa becomes the new super power of earth using technologies left over by the World War.

It’s a fascinating sci-fi story that mixes alternative history, politics and who would rise and fall in this post apocalyptic world.

Two Challenges

In 2020, my goal will be to read over twenty books. But there’s an extra challenge alongside this, as I’ve set myself a goal of reading all of my Warhammer army books from start to finish. That’s right, from 40k to AoS, I’m going to read all of them to catch up on things I’ve missed and might not have read for awhile.

The only exception is The End Times: Thanqoul, as that’s more of a book than an army book, so that will be added to the reading challenge.

My rules as follow for the challenge:

  • Book only counts as completed if read all the way through, no chapter skipping.
  • Can read book from where I left off when I last read it (can be the year before or reading on from the last month of the year) but I have to at least remember the plot of the story. Otherwise, I need to start from the beginning.
  • Army books need to be read from start to finish, rules, photos and small blurbs that’s not part of the lore section can be ignored.
  • The End Times: Thanqoul rule booklet counts as a an army book of sorts as it’s got lore on playable units that tie into the main book.

On January 1st I will be starting my Yearly Book Reading Challenge and The Warhammer Army Book Reading Challenge. I’m looking forward to staring these challenges very soon. Currently I’m reading Lukas The Trickster by Josh Reynolds, so far it’s a cracking read.

Until next time,

-Bjorn

Fly on the Wall post apocalyptic saga fan fiction series part 3: Time and the underworlds embrace

London, East End, est 1950/1960

On the streets in the East end of London, in a pact narrow rows of brick houses in Bethnal Green, a young man was watching outside through his window. Looking down at the street from his house, where people were going about their daily lives on a cool autumn morning. He opened his windows to let the breeze in like a fresh draft, but not the freshest and cleanest of air. Here it was full of smoke from the chimneys from coal fires, clogging the air in a smokey line of heavy black fog. But the man didn’t care as this was his home that he grew up all his life, he wouldn’t change it any other way.

Bethnal Green was a place like no other for it was where The Firm, the gang led by Kray Twins once ruled the streets, and the site of one of Jack the Rippers routes to escape his acts of murder. But life wasn’t all doom and gloom for the Community was strong, neighbours knew one another and would help each other when times were tough. Fathers went to work in the working class world, wives would look after the children and do their daily routines, some even worked in market stalls selling food.

The young man got his music player out which he fondly enjoyed listening to, music inspired him to draw, think and feel the music playing on his old 78. He put his favourite song in the 78 player and started playing the song, the sound was booming out of his windows as the music traveled down the narrow street like an amplified stage show. The drums and beat could be heard straight down the street bouncing around and echoing from the walls.

Somewhere nearby in a disused vegetable pile down the back of a stable house, rats were eating raw vegetables in this graveyard of dead veg. Their ears detected the booming music and hurried back into the shadows. Some skulked around ruins of bombed out houses that still stood after the Second World War. Overgrown, abandoned and deteriorating from years of neglect, these ruins provided the rats a comfortable nest to breed and expand around the East End.

Meanwhile back on the narrow street, people heard the music and saw the young man with his music player as the source of the loud noise. They danced and smiled at the music that was playing. It was a calm but catchy song that had a great drum and piano combination. The song that was playing was called Blueberry Hills.

Blinking his eyes open as if he awoke from a terrible dream, Luke was standing in amongst the crowed looking up at the young man. The man looked down at him with a charming smile as if he knew Luke. Suddenly he stood up on the windows edge, spreading his arms out wide and jumped down. He fell head down towards the cobbles, his sudden act shocked Luke by the sight of this mans death wish. Instead of cracking his neck from a height of 16ft or more high, he dropped into a pool of dark liquid that appeared out of nowhere, exactly where the man would’ve killed himself. It saved his fall as he fell onto the pool that was only a few centimetres high, but he vanished into its thick dark underworld.

The crowd froze with no concern for what just happened to the man, they stood still smiling in an oblivious day dream. They turned towards Luke with that same expression the man had given Luke, that knowing sinister smile that made his back chill by the supernatural.

The street turned dark, the sun became clouded by thick dark clouds that blotted the light. The people around Luke suddenly fell on the cobbled floor as If a great plague had struck them, he gasped stepping back in shock as women, men and children decayed into shrivelled corpses. They all looked at Luke as they decayed into piles of yellow bones, whispering his name even as their life force dissipated. “Luke” they whispered “Times running out, you’ll be with us soon”.

The street was silent and cold as a crypt as the world around Luke the streets became a dark and haunted perversion of what came before. The bricked houses had an eerie appearance like a tight wall blocking the light and outside world. Bethnal Green became a fantasised underworld that it was known for by the legends and villains that walked it’s streets. For Luke, he was walking in the physical underworld of Bethnal Green, it’s underworld.

______

Bubbling and squelching like a boiling pot of hot water, the dark pool grew wide and deep as it flooded the street up to kneecap height. The young man slowly climbed up the flooded water and up towards the surface like a revenant from the dead. Drenched in water and walking slowly, he brought his left hand up in a clenched fist and opened it up in an open palm. He smiled as the rats appeared all around Luke with gleaming red eyes and decaying fangs that gnawed on dead fleshy chunks. From rooftops to swimming in the water, they sniffed the air catching Luke’s scent. The predators have found its victim.

Luke was trapped in a narrow street with no route for escape, trapped like a rat in a corner. The mysterious man still smiled at Luke, chuckling as he came towards him with the rats circling around. He spoke in a soft and intellectual cockney accent like any East End born “It’s nice to meet you at last Luke, your getting closer now, so very close to the Final Apocalypse”.

“What Final Apocalypse? Who are you! Where’s my friends and where are we?” Luke’s anger rose in agitation at the mans amusement. The man replied back “The journey you’re now undertaking has set a chain in motion that cannot be stopped, and you know you can’t change it. Humanity is on the brink of extinction, the mutant army has grown to a mighty force that’ll invade Melbourne very soon. Even yourself time is running out from the virus that flows in your body. How long will you last until your body finally gives up?”

In rage, Luke balled his right fist tight and strikes the man down by impacting his fist to the face. But the man quickly grabs the hurling fist with ease, and flicks it backwards breaking the wrist and joint to the hand. Luke howls in pain as he falls to his knees cradling his limp hand. The chuckling echoed around the street ridiculing the futile attempt.

“This is my world, what strength you have has no meaning to me, I can make you suffer much more than that. But I’m not a violent man, I don’t believe in violence. But I will defend myself if I perceive a threat”

Luke cradles his hand as he clenched his teeth to endure the pain. He looks up with fury burning in his stare “So what’s the goal for this Final Apocalypse? World domination? Replacing humanity with your mutant army? Or sending your alien friends to earth to make a new home using it’s natural resources?” The cockney man shakes his head and says “None of them, I won’t reveal what we’re doing yet. I await for you at the Water purification power plant”.

He walks away from Luke and snaps his fingers to command the rats to engage towards Luke. The army of rats pounced at him, shredding his lungs and eyes in a bloody bloodbath. Luke screamed in pain as the blood gushed out in pools of dark red in the flood, causing Luke to fall and thrash in the flood water. The rats tore out his ears with their yellow diseased teeth, gnawing at the fleshy meat in greedy gulps. They clawed at the joints in Luke’s legs and arms paralysing him whilst he violently spasmed in pain. Gnawing at his flesh, the rats entered Luke’s body’s as the dug into his insides looking for the tasty organs like the liver, heart, intestines, lungs and kidneys.

At this point Luke would’ve died from shock and intense pain, but he was still alive. All he could hear was the chuckle of the young man as he knelt beside Luke’s thrashing carcass body. “I’m not a violent man” the young man said as the rats eat the last of the flesh that were left on the bones of a dead man.

______

Luke was still alive, even though he was just a pile of bones floating in the flooded street. The young man picked Luke’s skull, he positioned Luke’s skull to look straight at him. “You know times running out Luke, I can see it, the day the virus will clog your vital functions to breath, see, smell and move. You’ll need to hurry, find the Dark Mind, find me and I’ll give you the chance to die trying”. Suddenly he crushed Luke’s skull, and all that can be heard was Luke’s agonising screams as his soul was dragged down into the flood by forces unknown.

The underworld.

_______

Luke blinked his eyes open, sweat pouring down his face and body in a heat of panic and anxiety, heart beating so fast that Luke couldn’t breath for several seconds. Still in his hazmat body gear, he ripped off his gas mask and breathed in an out deeply in jagged breaths. He was back in the wasteland, the dry land that stretched either side of a long tarmac road that seemed better days. Trees dead and hollow like thorns appeared in the distance, with little plant life around Luke.

He turned to see the gang as panicked and distressed as he was, Glenn looked like he saw a ghost, Krakstrong angry from a great offence that caused him to roar. Waz was mumbling to himself, saying about “the heart and soul” like it was a riddle that even his vast knowledge couldn’t decipher. As for the flood, the rats and the man, they vanished like they never existed.

After several minutes of waiting for everyone to calm down Luke spoke to the gang, his nerves still shook him from his nightmare. “Did you guys see that? The man, did you see what the F he did?” They all nodded in agreement, they all saw what happened.

“We were all there in the flood right here, then all of a sudden I was alone in the same shed that my wife was in before she was murdered. The Butcher came back from the dead, standing there eating chunks of my dead wife. Then he came up to me and shredded me alive” said Glenn, he was shaken by what he saw but kept his iron will together. Luke shook his head in confusion. Didn’t they all witness what he did? Or did they see something else……

He said to Glenn “Wait, did you see a young man with an army of rats around us before and after?”. Glenn replies back confused as well “No, I saw the Butcher coming out of the flood, he came up to you before everything changed and I was alone, then I saw the shed like I awoke from a nightmare. I didn’t see an army of rats nor this young man either”.

Luke’s spine chilled as the supernatural became more mysterious by Glenn’s vision of what he saw. Is this how the Dark Mind works? By using the fears and nightmares of its victims to control them? Luke needed to hear what Krakstrong and Waz has to say to see their prospective on the situation.

“Waz, Krakstrong, what did you two see in your visions?”. Krakstrong who calmed down from his anger management looked at Luke and replied “I saw flood, I saw that man thing”. Luke smiled “So you did see that young man with curly hair in the suit too?”. But krakstrong shook his head “No, I saw my old self, Keith, he tried to posses my body and turn me back into a human”.

This was another revelation that made things more complicated. Luke looked at Waz and waited for his reply, Waz talked slowly in a dry unemotional tone “I saw the flood, it defies logic for there wasn’t any water source, not this far into land unless there were rain clouds. But there were no rain clouds, the water came from the ground. Then I saw you coming up from the flood, you asked me to take your hand……then ………” he stopped. He didn’t say anything after that.

It’s an illusion more likely, a game that the Dark Mind plays to lure its victims into a false sense of unease and lower their mental defences. But, they all saw something in the flood, but was it a being that could use powers to show different prospectives, or was it more complex than that? Why did Waz see Luke in his prospective, was Luke his greatest fear, regret, loss or jealousy?

Whatever it was, it made no sense, especially when comparing each experience with each other. One was fear, the other in denial. For Luke, his was the strangest one that was someone he never met before in the flesh. He knew the person in books he read, horror stories that would chill your bones and screw your mind by the violent and supernatural horror. The man died many decades ago, this being wasn’t the same man as the one Luke saw. It was a younger version, a mocking disguise of someone’s flesh and identity.

The man he met in the flood was called James. He was now Luke’s nightmare, the living manifestation of Luke’s fear of a slow death by the virus that’s flowing in his body. Once his time was over, the rats will surely find him and they will devour him……..

_______

The gang reached the end of their long walk across the long stretch of road leading towards the Water purification power plant. They see a gas station that was abandoned, this will be their resting point until tomorrow. Glenn and Luke scouted the area to see if there were any hostiles in the area, none were found. They enter the kiosk shop, scanning the shop for supplies and clearing the area for them to rest. Krakstrong will have to sleep outside as there weren’t enough room for him to fit into kiosk space.

As the sun went down and the stars came out, the gang rested from the long days road trip. Gathering their thoughts on what happened that day. It still shook them from the experience of witnessing the supernatural influence of the Dark Mind. But it made them more determined and stronger to stop the Dark Mind.

Waz went outside walking around the building where no one will notice him for a few minutes. He held up his symbiotic arm that withered and morphed constantly, cables, flesh, metal and bone morphed like a constant wave. He morphed a small screen with buttons to tune the signal, a small tv like device that he used to catch the signal that he was following.

He tuned it for a couple of minutes as the static buzzing fuzzed when tuning for a signal. The he got the signal, a barley visible green glow of an unidentifiable person on the screen. The person spoke to Waz through the radio speakers “So, have brought the group to the location that we agreed on? Has Luke collected the package from his father?”

Waz replied back in a dry cold tone “yes, he doesn’t suspect that I know about his package. We’re at an old gas station to rest for the night, by tomorrow we should be on schedule following the river down towards the location for three days”. The person replied back “Good, I’ll be waiting for you by day two, make sure your not delayed or this entire mission will be doomed”. The signal went as the man signed off. Waz was about to go back when suddenly he was pinned to the wall by a great force of impact, breaking his bones. A big purple hand pushed him into the brickwork pinning him to restrain his movement. He turns one of his eyes around to see Krakstrong snarling at him, radiating pure hatred at Waz.

“Who were you taking to! Answer now or I’ll tear you apart!!!!”

End of part 3

12 days of Winter|Fly on the Wall post apocalypse series part 2: Glenn’s confession

“My names Peter Pan and joining me today is Peter O’tool…..Peter Jackson………Peter……” Said Luke as he tried recording his and Waz’s podcast on an old recording device. Unfortunately for Luke, the recorder kept skipping every couple of minutes making the recording jarring to listen back to. But he didn’t care as he was far more concerned about what name could follow Peter Pan. He gave up trying and carried on.

“Well after two days of walking across the long road with no sign of immediate danger to life, I thought I’d record this episode with my good old friend Waz. Because the mutants, raiders and other nasties would see four the us in our van trail of dust like a big red target, it would attract their attention and would result in our destination of being devoured” Luke gestured a noose hang as if in conversation.

“How’s your day been so far buddy Waz?”.

Waz, now a half man half machine who’s not a mutant, or at least in his case a rare mutation, looked at Luke with a stale and unemotional blank stare. His right side of his face constantly changed as organic and bonded metal, wires and lights shifted and reformed like it had a life of it’s own. His human side had become gaunt, pale and sickly as it would slowly over time be completely consumed by the biomechanical mutation.

“Waz?” Said Waz dryly as if it didn’t recognise the name as it’s own, to it that name and personality died years ago after it first began to change. “My name is…..my name is…..” it struggled to remember it’s name as it tried thinking hard to search for it’s name. No use it thought.

The conversation stopped, Luke paused the recording and packed the recorder back in his rucksack. He tried his best to bring the Waz he knew back, the friend he grew up with for many years. Sometimes he thinks that Waz may have truly died and was replaced by a stranger in the flesh.

He could never understand why the mutants regarded Waz as a non mutant when clearly he is changing physically and mentally. What made him different from the rest? Are mutants racist or something? Bigotry perhaps? Whatever it is, Luke would love to trigger a bullet in the mutants head every time he hears that phrase ‘none mutant’.

But even the friendlier mutants in the town they now live in say Waz isn’t like them, something doesn’t add up. Whatever’s changing Waz, Luke’s going to find out who or what caused the virus in that water purification power plant and blow the damn thing sky high!

~~~~

Glenn, a wasteland hero forever damaged by the Apocalypse and the years of hardship in this new world, was checking his sniper rifle scope to see if there were any nearby groups of raiders or mutant hunting packs in the distance. You can never be too sure if your completely alone for sickos like to gang up on traveling merchants and foolish travellers.

He lowered his sniper rifle when he felt just assured enough to know nothing was nearby, yet. He looked to his left to see Krakstrong carrying the supplies on his broad back. Once a friend before the apocalypse, Keith was Glenn’s pal who would watch movies together on a Saturday night. ‘Godfather Glenn and Keith Gordon’ were their nicknames based their favourite movies, even dressing up as them in fancy dress parties. Glenn’s wife usually dressed up as Batman, expertly designed and crafted as a cosplay recreation of Tim Burtons Batman movie. She took the role on seriously despite her soft voice, even so by Glenn’s beating heart did she scare the crap out of him.

But she’s dead now, murdered by the Butcher. He too was now dead by Glenn’s own hands. Soon Glenn might have to kill Keith/ Krakstrong when the time came to put down this monster that was once his friend………

~~~~

Krakstrong was bored, carrying all of the supplies on his back was stressing his muscles after two days of walking. He was getting irritated by his man slave (human ambassador), Luke, with his constant monologuing about vulgar and innuendo subjects like “sp@@9e pancakes” or “Luke’s surprise ”. Krakstrong will give Luke a surprise if he mentions the pancakes one more time!

He saw Waz in front of him, that abomination was living and breathing, it shouldn’t be alive at all. Machines and organics can never truly bond, only replaced or grafted. But to bond to metal as if it were apart of you is a sign of something worse than being an overgrown mutant. Imagine if you could bond to your computer, databases storage facilities, even AI technology. Would the symbiotic relationship be an extension or an evolution to form a greater intelligence?

Krakstrong can understand that mutants are a man made event, but nature had a role to play in developing them to exist in the wasteland for stronger or weaker existents in the food chain. Woz on the other hand was different, nature had no influence in his evolution because nature has no bonding to the machine.

He’ll kill Waz when he has dealt with Luke by keeping him out of his way, a way for him to tear this monster apart before it can cause a greater sin that’ll destroy everyone.

As for Glenn, Krakstrong can’t decide wether to kill him too or leave him alive, barley.

~~~~~

Luke came beside Glenn as the group walked down a long stretch of road, not much traffic goes down these roads after the apocalypse. Some cars were abandoned by their owners due to running low on fuel, or targeted and taken down by crazy scare mongers who would beat people if they saw a car. But in most cases the driver and passengers died from the virus, their bodies left unattended as they’ve rotted inside the transport. No one dare attempts to loot these vehicles for tales of the dead rising up from their Pestilence have been spread around by traveling merchants.

Glenn sees Luke and nods, area clear for now. Luke smiles at Glenn, “I’m surprised there hasn’t been a sighting of any mutant warbands or raiders for days, we’re pretty lucky so far but I have a feeling the Dark Mind wants us to think that. I find it odd to call this entity the ‘Dark Mind’, it sounds like a childish villain created by a conspiracy theorist”.

Glenn agreed, chuckling at the thought that a conspiracy theorist, probably Luke and Woz, would create a name like the ‘Dark Mind’. But his amusement turned to thinking on his toes as he looked around to see anything suspicious. Nothing in sight. Even he was thinking how easy the journey has been so far. It wouldn’t be a trap unless the mutants wanted the gang to follow a specific route, or to spring a surprise shoot off. No, there’s more to this than merely tricks and games. “The Dark Mind is the only thing we’ve not seen so far, yet we hear the mutant army praise this thing like a Great War general or some eldritch entity. Despite the name sounding childish, it’s what the mutant army wanted to call it wether it’s because their intelligence is very low and unimaginative, or that’s what it wants them to call it. Whatever it is, I doubt it would naive enough to not anticipate our mission. I should know, it predicted the downfall of our world and went under the governments radar” said Glenn as he was talking to Luke.

Luke’s smile turned to a serious expression, a thought on his mind now took place. He said “So are you going to tell me what happened to Melbourne after the apocalypse? We haven’t talked much about the wider scale of things since you left years ago”. Glenn was silent for a few seconds to gather his composure, letting much of his mental burden go out. “After I left you and the others years ago, I had to face my vices and rebuild myself. After losing my wife my world was destroyed completely, all that was left was the hate and wanting of deaths embrace”. He coughed as he opened up about his feelings to Luke, something he hadn’t done for a very long time.

“I needed a goal, a redemption for the way that I’ve been acting, so I became a bounty hunter and did some small jobs. Killed a few, lost a few but I became better at my job after awhile thanks to some training by an ex copper. He was like a second father to me, rebuilt me and gave me a chance to make myself useful in this world”.

Glenn continued “It was during one of my hunts that we both came across a group of escapees, all in rags and hungry for food. After we took them back and offered them food and clothes they told us who they were and where they came from. The Melbourne we knew I’d dead, it’s now the A.N.P’s deluded paradise”.

“Who are the A.N.P? Are they some sort of fascist military?” Said Luke, although Glenn’s expression of coldness implied that Luke answered his own question. Glenn continued where he left off “During the apocalypse the government and all political parties were escorted to a safe vault in an undisclosed location. The idea was that all sides of the political compass would be housed in a safe place until the storm passes, then they could go back outside with surviving citizens to rebuild and grow Melbourne. But putting all the parties in one vault was a fools joke”.

“Insiders from the extremes had supplied their members with weapons to take over the mantle of leadership, A.N.P party leader John .E and the People’s Cross party leader Andrew Summer armed their side for an all out firefight. Guess who won that fight? The rest was history, all parties that didn’t side with those two were killed, along with democracy and individual rights. The People’s Cross fled with only two surviving members into the ruins of Melbourne. The A.N.P soon established itself as the only rulers of Melbourne and soon the rest of Australia”.

Absorbing all this information made Luke’s knuckles turn white, his heart beating fast like a racing horse, his face turned into a sneer of anger hearing Glenn’s story. Will life ever return to how it was before the Post Apocalypse, or will this go on forever until everyone is gone in a field of blood, bones and corpses. Luke finally spoke to Glenn, his anger can be detected by the tone of his voice “How long will it be before they reach our settlement? I don’t want them to take a single foot on our land if they dare try to take away the home we’ve built for years now. I won’t stand for anyone who will harm my family and friends, no one”.

“They won’t harm us for now, they’ve got too many issues to deal with before they can expand and enslave us. We’re way too far for them to travel to us, not when the mutant army is on patrol in hunting packs. The A.N.P is currently dealing with a rebellion group created by the People’s Cross who are slowing the A.N.P’s rapid progress to take control of Melbourne. Only time will tell when this rebellion group will be destroyed to the last fighter. That’s when we should consider our choices on what to do” Said Glenn.

He checked his surroundings for any signs of threat. None in sight for now.

“About a year into the job as a bounty hunter I met a women out in the desert. I knew her before the apocalypse at restaurant in Melbourne where she worked as a waitress. Her name was Gwen. She was pretty shook up by the virus attack that killed most of her family. Her father, brother and friend all moved into an abandoned house in the middle of nowhere, they were lucky enough to not be in the city when the outbreak happened. When I met her she was alone, her father was killed by a raider gang called the Sunset Devils, they also took her friend. As for her brother…….”

Glenn coughed again, his body reaction became more fidgety as he kept talking “I killed him thinking he was like the rest, a mutant. I didn’t know he was just scared and wanted to protect his sister. But I thought he was like Keith, a soulless monster out to dominate and kill the humans”. Luke didn’t like what Glenn said about Keith, but he put aside his irritation to let Glenn carry on his story. “I was told she needed a bounty hunter to kill the Sunset Devil gang. So I went out to hunt them down, no one lived to tell what happened in the end except for me. When I came back to lonely woman, she thanked me and rewarded me with pay. I couldn’t leave her alone as I had concerns that she wasn’t safe on her own, so I offered to protect her and take her to a safer place the next day”.

“But it soon became apparent that we had feelings for each other, we clicked together due to our similar situation with losing a loved one. It was only later on that night that Gwen confessed that she had a brother who became a mutant. Her description and photo of him made me realised that I killed an innocent man. I killed someone Luke, not a raider, not a deranged mutant……just a protective brother……”. At this point Glenn was shacking from the memory, his expression of regret and shame showed on his face.

Luke understood how Glenn felt, he knew Glenn did a big mistake by killing an innocent life no matter if it was a mutant. He took Glenn by the shoulder and said “Glenn look at me, Glenn look at me. What you did was bad and I don’t condone what you’ve done. But you did what you had to, you saved that girls life by taking down that raider gang, heck they could’ve got her next if you hadn’t took on her request. Did you tell her that you killed her brother?”.

Glenn broke down in tears as he sunk his head down. “No, I couldn’t, not after we fell in love……how could I? Not now when I’m a father……..”. Luke’s face turned into shock by Glenn’s admission of not telling his sin to his lover and him becoming a father. “Your……a father? The child was hers wasn’t it?” Said Luke who was still shocked by the revelation. Glenn wipes the tears away and took a deep breath before replying back. “Yeah…..who else would it be?” Luke grinned like a mischievous little goblin, this was a sign that he was going to spill his beans on Glenn. “Well, it could be mine and Woz’s, we’d make a good couple. Ain’t that right woz?” He called out to Waz, but as usual Waz was a soulless being of emotionless understanding.

~~~~

Glenn recovered from his breakdown as he brought some composure back, Luke made sure Glenn was okay and brought him back from his grievances. Waz walked alongside Glenn not out of comfort but to stay away from Krakstrong who eyes Woz with venomous hate. Luke was between Krakstrong and Glenn and Waz, acting as a middle ground to prevent a full infighting.

As they walked down the empty road something changed as the weather became misty, ahead of the road a green mist came up to them in a blink of an eye. It’s sickly appearance was like a miasma like disease that grew in its airborne environment. At first the gang thought it might be some sort of airborne virus that they’ve not seen before. Luke and Glenn quickly got dressed in their Hazmat suits to protect themselves from the airborne mist. Luke only just managed to seal himself before the mist reached him, sweat was running down his face by the close call.

The strangest part came next as a puddle reached towards the boots and feet of the gang, it was like sewage water with a dark consistency of sludge. It grew into a lake, then by the time it stopped it reached up towards their kneecaps. Was this a flood? But it just came out of nowhere in a strange way, flood would happen much faster and flow like a stream. This phenomenon was a calm flood with no wave direction.

Glenn couldn’t move his feet as the dark sludgy water trapped his legs. So was Luke and Woz finding it difficult to move, only Krakstrong could barely move in this strange environment. “What is this?” Shouted Krakstrong as he tried to move around the rising water. “Is it the bad energy like Gornicus wields?” Krakstrong May not be the brightest in the group, but when he senses the ‘bad energy’, that’s a sign he knows a threat is incoming. He wasn’t wrong, something was coming.

Small red dots appeared in the heavy dark green mists like small flowers in distance. These red dots moved closer and closer to the gang like laser targeting, there were eight, sixteen, thirty two and more red dots getting close now. It was only until the gang realised that the dots were actually eyes that it was all too late to escape to safety. They were red eyes, eyes of the mutant rats.

Big black creatures from the deep dark underworld that they breed and multiply in, these creatures are monsters of the wasteland that have caused untold destruction to settlements. One day there’s a small thriving village, the next day. A ghost town with dried blood as the only evidence of its previous occupants.

They swam in the sludgy waters like it was an easy flowing lake, their black furry bodies paddled with their tails swishing like worms behind them. Soon the gang were all surrounded by these vermin, trapped in a circle of hungry malicious rats.

Luke’s Heart was beating fast in his chest as he saw the gathering of what looked like a million rats. He unsheathed his gun in preparation for the battle to come, a futile one by his guess. Glenn had the same thought, his sniper rifle would be useless against the horde so he got his close combat weapon ready. Woz was frozen still like nothing was happening, lost in thought in his own world. Krakstrong snarled as he saw the ambushers as they stared at him with keen interest, and not the good kind of interest.

The tension was high, eyes unblinking, muscles ready to move by the merest action, hearts beating fast and sweat glistening by stress. But nothing happened. The rats floated still in their position just staring at the gang. Why were they staying still? They’ve got the chance to get an easy kill with the number of rats surrounding them. Where did this miasma of heavy mist and dark water come from?

The answers were clear as suddenly a song could be heard from all around them, neither at a distance nor in sight, but clearly where they are. Luke thought it was his recorder so he checked it to see if he left it on. It was off. He looked at the others and they couldn’t understand where the music was coming from either. What was odd was that it was directly in front of them by a couple of yards, but nothing could be played as there was no radio in sight, just a big space of the water.

It took him a couple of minutes to realise the song, it was Blueberry Hill, a 1950’s song he heard once in the car on a road journey to work. Just as he remembered the song, the water in front of him by a couple of yards bubbled and popped as something emerged from the depths of the dark river. A head emerged from the water, stepping up as if it was going up an underwater stairs. It wasn’t recognisable at first because of the water dripping down the figure, it was a man in smartly drenched business suit, slightly short, dark hair and a fairly fair face with creases from ageing. He looked at the gang who were looking at him in surprise by his sudden entrance.

The man made a hand signal as if pointing to go ahead, the rats suddenly started to come closer as they were commanded to go for the kill. Luke couldn’t remember where he saw this man, but he knew him from somewhere years ago.

The man looked at Luke for the first time eye to eye.

He smiled as though he read Luke’s thoughts.

Luke looked into his eyes, lost to the gaze of someone he tried to remember but couldn’t find the answers to.

He realised that he was looking into the eyes of a dead man, the name finally came to him as all the pieces slotted into place in his mind.

The rats were near and ready to slaughter and gorge their fangs on soft meaty flesh.

“It can’t be…..I know you, your…” Said Luke, lost for words as his eyes were wide with shock and fear.

“I always knew Luke, the Dark Mind knows……..” said the man, who’s name was…….

End of part 2

12 days of Winter|Fly on the Wall post apocalypse series: part 1

In the distant future of today, life had changed dramatically after the outbreak of the virus, a plague that had struck the modern day society with one fell swoop. The virus was believed to have been similar to the Ebola virus, based on the physical signs that matched medical research into the Ebola virus. Anyone in contact with the virus would surely die slow and painfully, as the virus takes hold of the innocent, the damned and the foolish.

At first it was believed that the virus was Ebola, which somehow infected the world uncontrolled, and free to kill anyone in contact to it’s sickening spread. Those that lived past the first stages of the virus soon realised that it wasn’t Ebola, for the virus wasn’t just a disease, it mutated. The infected started to mutate, growing new limbs, animalistic features and reformed into monstrous proportions, like an accelerated evolutionary change of nature’s doing. Birthing a new variety of races of mutants, these. Creatures would form their own clans, warbands or isolated lives away from the rest of it’s kin.

No longer did the virus kill the weak, for the weak were all dead, and the strong were rewarded with new changes as they became mutants. However, these enhancements came at the cost of their own freedom of individuality and expression, mindless to the whispers of its new master.

But the survivors of Australia had not been easily defeated into misery like other nations, for this is a land of fighters and survivalists. They started to form communities, organised law groups, traders and hunters in this new and disturbing world.

As the wasteland recovered from the apocalypse and started rebuilding itself for over six years, a new threat emerged from the shadow of a vast army of mutant soldiers. They call their master the Dark Mind, the one they followed and enacted it’s will to kill and eradicate the human population to make war for the new earth.

Who is the Dark mind? What are its goals and how did it came to be for it to have outsmarted the government, the military and the world. No one knows for sure, it’s a spoken blessing by the mutants to give praise to this foul leader. Like a hive mind in the shadows it has so far not been seen by human eyes, more than likely to be in a safe place to be able to wove its malicious plans.

It’s army marches on as they raid settlements for fresh meat, Slaves and vessels to absorb. Mankind is now on the brink of extinction.

They proclaim that this act of atrocity will be heralded as the Final apocalypse, and the new mankind will flourish and prosper. Wether populated by the mutant army or something far more disturbing is as of yet up for debate.

Now in the wasteland desert of Australia, four travellers set off to find an old water purification power plant facility in the wastes. There they believe that this is the source of the virus that caused the apocalypse in Australia. Still producing clouds of pollution into the atmosphere and the lake it’s sited on. Pumping the virus into inland Australia where it can mutate or kill those inland that survived the apocalypse.

Soon, our race will die and fade into the desert like a forgotten civilisation of old, our history, linage, hate, war, achievements and prosperity will die along with us.

The Final apocalypse begins………

Part 1: Dark minds

The four of them prepared themselves to leave the comfort of the scarp built town settlement, a place they called home for a year since defeating the mutant army and it’s undercover agent, Jackson Creeker. Built from several trucks, cars, bricks and other materials, this town was like a shanty town made of steel. It wasn’t as grand or appealing to look at the rusting metal and smell of waste, but it was far better than the wasteland.

Decorated in flags of various colours and tied rows of light decorations, the town looked more lively and festive despite the season not being appropriate. Life was simpler, less taxing in daily office jobs and city commitments. Now families had more time to bond to develop stronger ties, fathers and mothers taught their children how to survive. Older brothers and sisters would leave shelter to work on defending the town or went hunting for food. For once in a community that for many decades slowly become disconnected by technology and social and political divide, people started to work together for a common goal wether they agreed or disagreed with each other.

But this didn’t mean life was without its problems, the wasteland had ways of punishing the lucky survivors. The virus is still a major threat as in recent years newborn were mutated from birth, crime was rife now that law enforcement was at its lowest and thinned out, mutants that are not under the influence of the Dark Mind, and surviving humans who share the town with the mutants were on the verge of civil war. But the biggest threat of all is the growing possibility of a another mutant army invasion, which seemed like an inevitable prospect.

But it was the virus that really caused much suffering to the survivors, and as of yet there are no signs of it stopping nor a cure in sight. Soon humanity in the wasteland will either be extinct by the mutant army’s push for total extermination or the phasing out of humans as mutant newborn are on the rise.

Luke, Waz, Keith/ Krakstrong and Glenn say their last goodbye to friends and loved ones.

~~~~

Before he leaves his house, Glenn pats his Pug dog, Keith, knowing that it would be too dangerous for his only friend to venture with him. He knows Luke’s family will look after Keith well, a temporary family that might need to adapt to Keith’s bad breath.

Glenn takes one last look at an old photo of him, his friends and his Wife, taken years ago when life was different. His wife’s dead now, and so was his old self. He leaves his home as he takes his dog out the door.

He arrived at the huge entry gate where he and the group were supposed to be meeting up. It was 6:00am in the morning in when dawn is just starting to rise up. Glenn was very early arriving at the spot as the meet up was supposed to be at 9:00am, which gave Glenn spare time to check his equipment and buy some supplies from early opening merchant stores.

Sometimes Glenn still thinks the Butcher is still alive in his mind, even though he killed the monster years ago. He can still see the way the thing butchered his wife like a butchers Workshop. The shadow is the Butcher as he still lingers in Glenn’s mind, sometimes around him like an invisible shadow that taunts him for his failures.

He sets off to get ready for the long journey ahead.

~~~~

Krakstrong (once named Keith when he was a human) fist bumps his brothers and sisters like a solid rock on impact, they respected Krakstrong as their leader of their species who risked life and limb to protect the clan. The origin of their mutant line came about because of an ass infection by the virus which turned Keith into a massive hairy four armed ape.

Rumour had it that years ago Glenn’s wife preferred the then changing mutant Keith because he bit her and she somehow liked…..it…….(???), which resulted in her having a mutant childlike chimpanzee with silverback fur and big tusks. This was supposedly what drove Glenn to hunt down Krakstrong, not because Keith bit Glenn’s wife, but it’s only rumours………..

As Krakstrong began to leave the converted truck shelter of his clan house, his mother was waiting for him at the exit, a big grey furred wise woman who was a well respected woman by all. Her voice was the sound of strength and dominance second only to Krakstrong. She spoke to him with gazing yellow eyes like sunflower “You going I see, to help your manslave find the bad energy that’s fuelling our enemy, Gornicus. Good, your getting too stuffed, lazy, not cooking your own food and stink like kangaroo $£it for too long now. Now go, ya stinking dirty ape!”

She laughed, heaving her lungs and clapping her hands, slapping Krakstrongs back really hard as he nearly lost his balance. Krakstrong couldn’t contain his amusement as he laughs with her, slapping her back so hard that he pushed her to the floor. “Good one muv’s, very good!!!” He picks his mother up and waves goodbye to his family as he sets off and leaves his kingdom to his mothers hands. He turns one last time to see his family all watching him leave, his mother, farther, brothers, sisters and twenty kids of his own. ‘Time to stop the mutant army, and Gornicus the Face Ripper’ thought Krakstrong as he strode down the streets to meet up with the gang.

~~~~

Waz had been waiting at the meet up point where he was told to meet the others, he saw Glenn buying some supplies to load himself with various self defence equipment. Krakstrong and Luke haven’t arrived yet, just an hour before the deadline to meet up.

Part of Waz wanted to meet his family again after being so isolated for so long in his efforts to expand his knowledge and modifications to his body. He somehow had a strange sense of feeling lost, like an emotion that’s not been felt for a very long time.

But another part of him, the machine bonding, dominating his human emotions and suppressed any attempts to return to his family. The goal is to find the location of the source of the virus and stop it before it got out of control. He may be a cold and logical abomination, but his calculations suggests that the world needs humans and mutants to live together to care for the planet. Preservation must continue or else the Dark Minds victory may well be the end of the story.

Waz stands under a shelter waiting in the shadows as his body morphs constantly, parts change and form into new and strange shapes. The Woz he was was long gone under the constant changes of organic, metallic and manmade parts that change his body. Unrecognisable now, his identity as well as his personality is slipping away from his grasp.

He waits under his waiting spot as he sees Glenn in the distance carrying crates of supplies back to the meeting point. Then he sees Krakstrong coming up to meet Glenn as he lets Glenn tie a rack on the big apes back to carry the supplies. Krakstrong sees Waz and glares at him with hatred and anger, he hates Waz just as much as Gornicus. It will only be a matter of time until Woz is murdered by this brute.

~~~~

Luke says goodbye to his family as he leaves home to join up with the gang. He got Glenn’s dog earlier in the morning for his family to look after, it stinks bad but a nice dog to look after. Luke couldn’t quite understand why Glenn called his dog Keith, was it out of grief, loss or replacement of Keith/Krakstrong?

As he walked down the stairs of his mayor office house that was made from an old log built house with scrap welded on, he hears a voice behind him calling his name. He turns to see his father out through the scrap built greenhouse on the left side of the house. Luke walks over to see his dad as he was tending some mutated plants, these ones were called wrinkly sack eggs. I don’t need to tell why they’re called that…….

“Son we need to talk” said his dad, he looked distracted and anxious by something on his mind. Luke in his not so serious attitude knew what his dad was worried about, but tried to lighten up his father. He said to his dad “look, I know what your worried about pops, I don’t know how long it will be for us to find this water purification power plant location Waz had found out. I don’t want to leave you and the family, I’d rather see everything else die out and save my friends and family. There again, I can’t stand by when innocent people are turning into mindless monsters controlled out of their own free will”.

“But I promise I’ll stop what’s causing this virus that’s changing everyone. I’ll save you too……”. He looks at his dads hands, they looked different due to the purple veins running down his hands from his fingertips. It was making the rest of his skin go pale, an encroaching change that will likely turn for the worse if the Dark Mind can control his dad.

His dad was changing into a mutant, and he couldn’t stop that for no cure currently exists that can reverse or stop the virus.

“Son it’s not about me, it’s about you. Unlike me your going to die soon and I want be able to see you for the last time”. His dad wipes the sweat from his forehead and breathes out in frustration. A few years ago during a massive mutant attack at the old safe camp, Luke was caught in an ambush by the Butcher, who instead of tearing Luke apart injected his arm with a special virus. Over the years rather than mutating, he was ageing rapidly with side effects of losing sight, control of his body and balance for a temporary time. But his failing health had only deteriorated much more as the virus destroys his body. So far certain medication has delayed the virus and offered him some freedom to be active and capable of defending his friends and family (just not his appearance, not even that can be reversed unless the fountain of youth existed down under). But he knew soon enough his only source of support will go eventually.

Luke puts his finger to his lips to hush his dad, “ssshhh, I don’t want the family to know that, nor the settlers either. They’ll never let me go and you know they’ll try locking me up in a basement to keep me from fighting”.

Luke’s dad went silent out of sadness and regret for what he was about to do. He turns to collect a box he took with him to the greenhouse in the morning, then locked up his greenhouse with his keys. Then turns back to Luke with a wooden box in his hands, about 3 to 4 ft in height that was aged by decades judging by the quality of the wood. He gives Luke the box and looks at him straight in the eye with an expression of a calm storm.

“This was passed down in the family for many generations kept safe by the code of the linage. Inside you’ll find everything you need to know, it’ll come in handy on the long journey”. Luke looks at his dad for a few seconds as he saw a side to his pops that he didn’t like. He looked inside the box which gave him a stone cold stare at what he saw, he knew what this meant.

Luke slurred his words until he finally could form a coherent sentences to his dad “Why give me this?”. His dad didn’t replied back, he just nodded to Luke as is to say “you’ll know when the time comes”.

His dad finally spoke after several minutes of silence. “I’ll take over your role as deputy Mayor with the help of Kei… I mean Krakstrong’s mother. Don’t worry, we’ll keep things orderly whilst you and your friends stop this madness that’s infecting our country”.

Luke nods to his dad and puts the box down, embraces his dad for one last time before taking the box with him to the meet up point. Luke tried not to cry as he walked down the stairs of the abyss to the dark underworld of his grave.

~~~~

Meanwhile somewhere in the desert…

Deep below the ground, far from the bright light of the suns blazing incandescent light, where tunnels run with wires, tube pumps and steel wall shafts lead to utter darkness. The tapping of damp water was the only sound that can be heard, a calm before the storm that was about to take place…..

A.N.P special squad were sent to investigate the virus that they believed was located at this old water purification power plant, their task was classified and only shared with themselves, the inner circle of the A.N.P supreme military HQ and their president.

Melbourne wasn’t the sunny city that it once was before the apocalypse, now, your more likely to be shot dead if you weren’t praising the government for taxing your livelihood and taking your freedom of expression away.

The special team were heavily armoured monsters who had the firepower to shred you into chunks of meat. They were trained to serve and to kill. Democracy always came last.

They entered the power plant very easily, too easily.

What they found was unlike anything they had witnessed in the war torn city of Melbourne, even the horrors of the wasteland couldn’t compare to what they’ve seen here. They would also die with what they witnessed, as giant mutated rats attacked them one by one with malicious intent. These men and women were the elite that survived many battles against the revolutionary traitors, those that would destroy the core values of the A.N.P’s mission to unite Australia into a single mega power. These elites had personally shown their utter devotion to the cause of the A.N.P, they were hand picked to do this mission and successfully take control of the facility into the presidents cause.

But, the Dark Mind wouldn’t allow it, it knew all along what these fools were trying to achieve by coming here. Toying them into its underbelly

As the last man stood alone in the dark with his gun swinging erratically left and right, sweat running all over his body and his eyes wide with fear. His heart was beating so fast that his chest was in pain, stress levels reaching an all time high. He can hear the chitter of teeth all around him in the deep darkness of the tunnels.

His mind started to lose it’s composure, logic and conformity to the ideology that was drilled in his head since childhood, he slowly broke down as his reality was smashed like a cheap vase. What was the point in fighting? Why serve a president who broke his nation into pieces after the apocalypse already destroyed society? Why should people suffer from the A.N.P because they aren’t worthy to the dictatorship future of Australia?

He could feel something taking over his mind as he slowly lowered his weapon. He tried to resist but the eldritch invasion was stronger, it made him drop the gun to the floor. He could hear a song near him, an echo of a song called Blueberry Hill. It played on and on repeating for what seemed like hours. How long was he standing there for?

Then from the shadows he could hear footsteps and from the shadows he could barely make out a form of a man. His features were hidden in the shadows but his form could be seen from the A.N.P troopers shoulder mounted torch. The man made a gesture like ‘engage’ or ‘move forward’ with his left hand to someone or something the trooper couldn’t see. “I’m not a violent man, believe me” Said the stranger who sounded genuinely pacifist for what he was about to do. It was the last thing the A.N.P special Squad trooper, Andrew, heard before thousands of gleaming red eyes with yellow corrosive fangs lashed out and ate him alive. His screams were so loud that it echoed down the tunnels, but no one ever heard his pleas for help………….

End of part 1