From Above. Short Story.

Hope everyone is having a good week, haven’t been feeling great myself. Been really exhausted the last few days but what can ya do? Didn’t get up to a whole lot on Paddy’s weekend, watched some movies with a friend, enjoyed the brief snow (heavy enough for Ireland but was gone within 24-36 hours.)

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It was a Wednesday, that meant it was shopping day. Karen Franklin pushed her rattling trolley through the car park of the big Shop-N-Save, just off Westland street. The sun was high in the sky and glinting off the too shiny cars, Karen squinted as she walked, she’d forgotten her sunglasses at the house and each flash of light stabbed at her eyes. She’d had slightly too much wine last night and now she was paying the price. Really it was Harold’s fault, he’d come in from work pissed off about something and he’d taken it out on her and Karen, stressed from trying to help Anthony with his damn math homework, had given back as good as she got. She didn’t know how long they’d be screaming at each other but by the time they’d wound down the dinner was cold and the kids had eaten and put themselves to bed. Karen sat in the sitting room, curled up on the couch with the TV on and a glass of wine clutched tightly in one hand. She didn’t know where Harold had gone and frankly she didn’t care. If it weren’t for the kids she’d have been gone long ago, but she had been young and they thought a baby would fix things, that it would give them something else to focus on. Anthony, the second child, was the result of grudgingly given birthday sex and a broken condom.

Just ahead three women stood in a huddle, gossiping with one another intensely, Karen didn’t know them by name, but she’d see them around the town together and they were always looking around furtively. Above her there was a faint whining noise, so faint she almost missed it, Karen turned and looked up, the sky was full of small black dots, she squinted as they started to descend. They looked like drones, small black things with little rotor blades, Vanessa had been going on about wanting one for Christmas. Karen rolled her eyes, must be some kind of new promotion or viral marketing, no doubt the drones would start dropping leaflets or candy. She’d heard about them in one or two of the bigger cities, though slightly surprised it was happening here, she didn’t have time to wait around and enjoy the spectacle. She’d been late getting out of bed and the kids would be home soon, she’d need to get a start on dinner for them. Her mind flashed to Anthony’s math homework and she pushed down the flare of irritation, there was that to look forward to as well, god love him he tried but Anthony just wasn’t that bright. Sighing to herself she pushed her trolley a little faster, one of the women in the trio pointed at a drone, “What the hell is that thing?”
Karen opened her mouth to tell her when there was a loud pop and hot blood splashed across her face, the coppery taste spreading across her tongue. One of the women, slightly older with a short, severe haircut and equally severe lips started screaming, the other who was wearing too high heels and a pair of too tight jeans, took off running there was another pop and the screams stopped. The one in high heels stumbled, there was a loud crack as she slipped, her foot turning sideways she screamed as she fell. She didn’t even try to stand, the woman started to crawl, sobbing as she dragged her leg behind her, her foot limp and useless. Karen couldn’t move, around her she could hear more popping, it was almost like popcorn. There were more screams and shouts now, there was a loud crash as a car ran into a lamppost. The jarring shriek of rending metal startled Karen from her stupor. The sky was full of the things, there were thousands, hundreds of thousands. It looked like there were enough to kill every man woman and child in the entire town. Karen knew she needed to get out of here, get somewhere safe, she looked behind her shoulder, the entrance to the Shop-N-Save was too far, she’d never make it through the swarm of drones, that left the car. She turned and started to sprint, it was just ahead. Karen grabbed her keys from her pocket and started stabbing at the unlock button with shaking scrabbling fingers. She was going to get out of here, she was going to make it home. This wasn’t her time to die, she was going to survive this, she knew with absolutely certainty that she was going to get out of this, she knew it right up until there was a loud pop and everything went black as Karen’s head exploded, coating the cars around her in gore. She was among the first to die but was not the last. Over the course of the next hour all one hundred thousand residents of the town died. Harold was hiding under a park bench when he died, cursing his stupid bitch of a wife, if she had remembered to make his goddamn lunch he would have been safe in his office. Anthony was walking across the playground, he had so much homework to do tonight he’d never get it finished in time to watch the new episode of Vampire Unlimited, he couldn’t wait to find out if Brad survived the fight. There was a loud pop as Anthony’s head exploded and the girl walking behind him started screaming. Vanessa was hiding in the girls bathrooms, the stall door was closed and she sat on the toilet lid, arms around her legs as she cried. Something was happening outside but she didn’t know what, she’d dropped her phone when peoples heads stared exploding. She thought maybe there was a shooting in the school, but she couldn’t be sure. She’d just ran in and locked the door behind herself before locking herself into a stall. She was safe in the bathroom, the only other way in was the windows, but they had bars across them, no one would climb in or out. A low buzzing filled the bathroom, the sound bouncing off the tiles. First there was a shooter and now there was a goddamned bee trapped in here with her. No, it didn’t sound like a bee, it was more like a whine, like a wasp. Vanessa cursed herself, she should have closed the windows, she just needed to stay calm. The whine moved closer to the door, she looked up just as the drone come into view, she screamed, there was a loud pop followed by a squelch as her brains and skull coated the walls of the stall. Her body slumped forward, falling against the door.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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