After The End. Short Story.

Tony looked out the window, at the people walking past on the sidewalk, at the sun shining in the sky and the clouds floating serenely above, it all seemed so perfect, but it was wrong, it had to be. Tony turned from the window, he couldn’t shake that feeling, he knew it had to be only a dream, but yet part of him still insisted it was true. The apocalypse had come and the world had ended one hundred days ago, yet things continued on as normal. He didn’t know why no one else seemed to remember, though he himself was unclear on the details, he remembered the sudden all encompassing terror, the wave of darkness that had washed over them all, then he woke up in his bed like nothing had happened.

Tony made himself a cup of coffee then went into the back garden, it looked a little overgrown, but it had always looked like that. He couldn’t remember the last time he had actually bothered with it. He took a deep breath, then released it slowly, what ever complaints he had he had to say the air was definitely cleaner now. He suspected that was because people weren’t using their cars anymore. Sure he had memories of doing his shopping, or going to work, but he couldn’t remember anything specific, there was nothing to link them to a specific time. He couldn’t remember what he did in work last Tuesday, but he knew he was in work, he didn’t know what the weekly specials in the shops were this week, but he knew he had gone, he had memories of driving around, but he couldn’t remember the last time he actually filled the car with petrol. Every so often he would think to check the odometer on it, but something would inevitably come up, he’d lost his keys or he’d drop a glass, or he’d be stopped by one of the neighbours and by the time they were done chatting he forgot all about what he had been doing. He didn’t suspect any of the neighbours were in on it, or if they were they were all amazing actors. Any time he mentioned the apocalypse, or his theory of false memories people would act strange around him, but it never seemed to last long, a day at most and then everything was back to normal.

He finished off his coffee and put the mug down on the small table, today was the day he was leaving. The idea had been in the back of his mind for a while, though he was always afraid to act on it, whenever he did think of it he would feel a spike of anxiety worming its way through his chest. He walked through his house and out the front door, not stopping. His heart was beating quickly, he could feel the sweat start to drip down his face. Everything took on a strange appearance, slightly too bright and somehow everything was happening slowly but all too quickly. As he walked down the road people stopped what they were doing and stared at him. The woman across the road, Lily? Lila? Stood at her front door, newspaper clutched to her chest, her eyes were slightly too wide, her mouth was held tightly. He ignored her and kept going, he just needed to keep moving that was all. Nothing strange about going for a walk on a nice day, that’s all it was, a stroll to the shops, he just needed to keep calm, look like he wasn’t doing anything wrong.

He made it to the end of the road before someone stopped him, Bob put his hand on Tonys shoulder, the sudden touch made him jump, “Hey, what’s going on? You ok? You look kind of out of it, too much coffee this morning?”
“What? No, sorry just lost in my thoughts. Figured I’d just walk to the shops.”
“Why? What for? Do you need something? I’m sure we could help out with what ever you need.”
“What? No, I just wanted a walk, that was all.”
“Are you sure that’s a good idea? It is pretty hot out, maybe you should wait until it’s a bit cooler, a nice evening stroll. Or you could just do it tomorrow, we were thinking of firing up the barbeque, want to join us? A few ice cold beers would really hit the spot wouldn’t they?”
“Bob it’s not even ten.”
“So? It’s the weekend, live a little.”
Bob’s fingers were starting to dig into his shoulder, “No, I really shouldn’t be drinking this early. Thanks for the offer, I might pop in later if that suits?”
“Yeah, of course buddy, anytime.”
Tony started walking, Bob held onto his shoulder for a second longer then let go, bob stood there, arm at his side, staring at him. Tony picked up the pace, he was almost jogging. He could see the exit of the estate now, he looked back and saw that everyone on the street was still and all of them were staring at him.

His stomach churned, he felt like he was going to be sick, a wave of dizziness hit him, he slowed but didn’t stop. There were footsteps behind him, heavy and quick, like someone was running after him, Tony couldn’t stop now, he was so close.
“Hey!” it sounded like Bob, “Hey! Stop!”
Tony tried to move faster but it felt like something was pushing his entire body back. “Tony!” He turned, stumbling back as he did so, Bob was running at him, his arms pistoning up and down, in one hand he gripped something long and shiny. Before Tony could react, Bob plunged the skewer into his eye, Tony screamed as Bob pulled the skewer back and started stabbing him again and again. Tony collapsed to the ground, Bob kept stabbing, his expression blank.

Tony woke up, his heart pounding heavily, someone was attacking him. He looked around his room in confusion, it must have been a nightmare, something about the neighbourhood or…? He shook his head, what ever it had been it was gone. Tony got out of bed and stretched, he looked out the window, another nice day, of course it was. Everyone was outside enjoying the sun and not one of them seemed to notice that the world had ended and the apocalypse had already come. Maybe today would be the day he’d finally try to leave.

About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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