Unfinished draft of a short story:
And Planes fell out the Sky
by Colin Peter Snuggs
On the night that planes fell out of the sky there was a clear sense that humanity was entering a new age. Cities burnt across the globe and people ran around screaming, some with no arms. London was badly hit but no-one there could tell anyone because nothing worked. Nothing worked. The power stations just stopped working, cars stopped driving, trains careered into buffers, and planes fell out the sky. Deirdre Noakes was somewhat perturbed that her TV was not working.
‘John, John, will you get out of that bathroom and fix this bloody telly.’ She said with annoyance.
John lumbered down the stairs looking at his gut and wishing it would go away.
‘Why don’t you change the remote’s batteries, Love?’ He said with a puff.
‘I’ve tried that; look come on Felicity Reid is on.’
Normally John was the last person you would call on for anything electrical but he soon found what he thought was the source of the problem.
‘Don’t worry, Love, the fuse must have tripped, I’ll put a new one in.’
‘Yes, yes, hurry up; come on she’s about to begin.’
He changed the fuse without any problems but still the telly did not work. Infact nothing worked, the gas supply was off, there was only a trickle of water from the taps.
‘Excuse my French, Love, but what the fuck is going on?’
Deirdre slumped onto the sofa, more concerned about missing her program; she went to pick up her magazine.
‘John, the words are missing.’ She said.
He screwed his face up ‘What?’
‘Look!’ She said thrusting it towards him.
He examined it before shaking his head and scuttling out the front door. Deirdre went to shout but instead slung the remote on the floor and put her head in her hands.
John saw that some people had gathered near the end of his road. Mark Gryson was the dominant figure in the pack, being a six foot six rugby player with a booming voice. John couldn’t usually tolerate him but if anyone knows it is bound to be Gryson.
‘Yours down too, John Mate?’ Said little Tim Brammer the road sweeper.
‘Yeah, what’s going on?’
Gryson was still talking loudly to some others. Something about a plane landing on the substation has knocked out everything. John interrupted him.
‘What about the words, there are no words?’ John was getting very anxious.
‘It’s the plane crash, John.’
John waved him away as he tried to catch his breath, Gryson returned to eschewing John’s questions by declaring himself de facto leader by way of his extensive knowledge of managing people on a large scale. He is a tour guide a local Country Manor house. He dealt with groups of fifty people at a time and his understanding was substantial. That was for the history of an old manor house, not of people with no means to live by.
Time went by and it wasn’t long before all the residents of Turnley were assembled near the junction with Bluetop Road. A small convenience store was on the corner. Mr Brady, the owner, had not joined the mystified throng gathered near his door. Mr Brady was inside, locked tightly away because he knew those people would soon become very hungry and he had food ready to eat. His fear soon turned into defiance and he pushed an ice-cream freezer across the door and loaded his Smith and Wesson with six shiny bullets. If they wanted chaos then they can have chaos, he thought. Some people had rattled the door handle but he just sat quietly behind the counter, waiting.
A small child wandered in the street that no one recognised.
‘Where’s my mummy?’ He said.
A middle-aged woman called Karen ran towards him. ‘Where do you live, Sweetheart?’ She said anxiously.
He was still in his pyjamas and pointed back up Bluetop road ‘Up there somewhere.’ He started to cry for his parents.
None of their phones worked or their landlines, or internet. Cars wouldn’t start and food wouldn’t cook. Tempers had lasted well persevered, surprisingly, considering, but snapped eventually. It started with Bob Mackey nearly killing Ben Frost. John and Gryson pulled them apart and everyone stopped when they heard a cry from the alleyway at the top of the road. It was Bentley the copper. He ran towards the crowd of at least sixty people, shouting.
‘Everything is out.’
‘Yes, we know that.’ Said John before Gryson could talk.
‘What’s going on and when will it get back to normal, nothing is working?’ John became more assertive.
‘Well I was hoping you lot would tell me that, oh dear.’ Said Bentley taking his hat off to scratch his head
Groans all round and people started to walk back towards the shop. The bright November sky started to turn grey and these folk so accustomed to the conveniences of modern started to feel very alone, detached, and possibly primitive. The small village of Turnley with it’s sixty or so residences, small shop and estate agents, was no different to all the other settlements across the globe. Some had been wiped out because of planes, some seafront properties had been smashed to pieces by ships that ran aground. People in some places took this as an opportunity to kill. In the small town of Hextling, Sussex, there is a church called The blood of Christ. They take the bible literally and vehemently shout down any opposition. One of the congregation picked up his axe and hacked to death a dozen people before being wrestled to the floor and having his head smashed against the curb until it cracked.
The World had shut down. All its systems were broken. The entire earth blacked out and no way for people to communicate over long distances. They could not fix anything because all the ink in all the books had vaporised. All knowledge was gone apart from what remained in people’s heads. That’s why the planes fell from the sky and killed hundreds of thousands of people. They just stopped working. What was crucial now was for people to survive the first night. The first bitterly cold night in the northern hemisphere for many folk. For the Burghers of Turnley, tired through arguing and fighting, although taking their mind off of food, they barricaded themselves behind their double glazed front doors and feverishly fashioned weapons by candlelight.
John wanted to kill Gryson.
‘That Bastard!’ He yelled at Deirdre.
She stood, still in her dressing gown, soaked in urine, and bawled her eyes out. A gurgled, spluttering, nasal, cry, that tore through John’s nerves like a Surgeon’s scalpel.
‘You do realise that it doesn’t matter if I fucking kill you, don’t you bitch.’
‘Because if you carry like this I’ll fucking have to.’
‘Don’t kill me, John.’ She dropped to her knees and grasped at his greasy trousers.
‘I want to see how all this ends, like a good story.’ She sobbed.
‘This isn’t one of your books; now get the fuck off me.’ He walked towards the garage. ‘I’m a fucking savage, now.’
Timmy Brammer ran through the garage doors and immediate tried to placate John while gently shooing Deidre away.
‘Just go inside and have a scotch, let’s calm down a bit.’ He put his right arm around John.
‘I know you mean well, Tim, but I’m murderous after earlier, I fucking mean that…’
Timmy was an affable chap, industrious but people knew not to upset him. He spent nine years in prison for armed robbery back in his twenties. He heisted a post office and shot a have a go hero who tried to wrestle the gun of him. Unfortunately, the brave chap got shot in the arm and was blinded by the shrapnel.
Copyright@ Colin Snuggs 2013