Authors: Britten Thorne
Copyright 2014 Britten Thorne
All Rights Reserved
This book is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead, places, events, or locales, is purely coincidental.
Warning: contains adult content
Skeletons of skyscrapers clawed at the brown clouds as they crawled westward. Dust was swept from bent steel beams in waves, but no rain would fall. Far below, the ground remained undisturbed by wind or creature or man, except for one. She crouched examining a footprint in the dust and determined it to be her own. She rose slowly and moved on.
She stepped around broken pieces of pipe, thicker than her arms, heavier than she could lift, around broken piles of concrete that towered far over her head; she breathed in a dust of rust and drywall. She slept huddled in doorways and hollowed out cars and elevator shafts, and built fires from tables and chairs, keeping her back to the smoke. She moved, and was warm, and fragile, and alive, and completely and utterly alone. She did not belong here.
She came down an alley between two crumbling brick walls and swung over a pile of debris at the end. There were piles of white painted chain link that once were a fence. A patch of dirt sat centered in the former backyard garden. Surrounded here by red brick walls in the shadow of looming gray walls she wondered how anything could have ever grown here at all. The light was brown and blotted out now, the dirt hard-packed and salted and covered in dust. Life would not exist here again. She sprinkled the patch with water anyway, almost thought "just in case," but changed her mind to "for old time's sake." Even whatever had died here was long gone. Not a remnant of leaf of stem or seed remained.
On weary feet she climbed the stairs of what was once an office building. The top was wide open, as were many of the floors. Some were gaping completely, and she wondered how the structures above them held together. Four floors gaped wide open before her, piled one on top of another below. Floors still higher remained. No windows were intact. She had to stop and rest every few landings. The stairs were stable, but she didn't trust any of the floors. She took a brief nap on the twentieth, staring out across a field of crooked and fallen cubicles that ended at a deadfall. The wind touched lightly here; the dust shifted.
At the top of another ten flights, the roof had caved in and crushed down two floors. She hesitated but climbed out and up a short ways. She was too light and too small to shake the rest of the building down, to drop the roof another floor or two, to do what the wind had yet to accomplish here. But still she imagined it happening. It wasn't the tallest structure still standing but she had a long view of the dead city. Its buildings, its bones, stood ruined and empty and broken and bent at odd angles. The roads, its veins, lay still. She watched dust rise and swirl and rush at her eyes. She pulled on her goggles, pulled up her scarf. No birds flew as far as her eyes could see. "Did you deserve this?" she asked the city, "Do I?”
She had no food stores up here. Her backpack held few supplies, but it would be enough to spend the night.
The strange sound shook her from her ghost-like haze. Like continuous thunder. Like a choking tiger. She couldn’t form an image in her head of what it might be, so she rose, throwing back her hood and rubbing her eyes as they adjusted to the sunlight. It streamed into the little room she’d holed up in at the moment, illuminating the dust that rose around her as she moved.
Knowing it was unsafe but drawn by the sound, she crossed the roof, leaving boot prints in the deep layer of dust and ashes. The noise was louder out here. It tickled her brain; she ought to know what it was. She
know. The words just weren’t forming in her head.
She ducked behind the ledge as soon as she spotted him. A man, alive, in her city. Something twinged deep inside her. Something stirred, started to wake up. She pushed the feelings down, mentally willing her heart into a slower pace.
There was no way he’d notice her as far up as she was, as far away - but still, she ducked. When she peered back over, he was moving down the avenue on a motorcycle. “Engine” was the word she’d been searching for. Frozen with indecision, she watched him ride around a pile of rubble in the middle of the road, slowing and taking a careful path around. Then he turned west and disappeared down another street, between the abandoned and ruined buildings. Some she’d lived in. Others were too dangerous to enter.
Her dead city had another life-form in it. He wasn’t one of the shambling, hungering dead that had wandered these streets before. The corpses had migrated outwards long ago. And they couldn’t drive, as far as she remembered. They weren’t that high functioning. No, this was a man, and very much alive. She was no longer alone here.
It was a tough thought to process, so she didn’t process it at all. She banished it from her mind and crawled back to her spot in the stairwell. Her dreams were troubled.
She didn’t think about the man, but she took care to leave fewer signs of her passing. She wiped away footprints when she crossed the desolate streets. Her paths would have led to her food supplies, and even now, even after being so alone for so long, her first instinct was to protect them. Some she didn’t visit at all, though her closest piles dwindled. She built no fires.
Somehow he learned of her existence anyway. She didn’t hear the motorcycle again, but she found little chalk messages scrawled where there were none before. A “Hello!” on the corner of a broken brick wall. A “Come out, stranger” on an unbroken stretch of asphalt.
She blamed the city. Projecting at the skyscraper skeletons, she screamed, "You're lying! There's no one else here!" But the messages kept appearing. “Come say hello on Lanegan Street.” “Will trade for food.” “Leaving soon. Sorry.” Her stomach clenched each time she saw one of the chalk notes. She rubbed them all out with her sleeve so she could pretend they were never there in the first place.
She fought her way over a crumbling tower of cinderblocks. The city howled. Dust stung her cheeks and her hands. All light was blotted out by the violent wind storm, but her goggles offered poor visibility anyway. She carefully picked her way through the doorway into the building's lobby. The wind chased her inside and created a tornado-like cloud of dust. She knew where she was going, she'd been here before. Holding her scarf over her mouth she made blind progress to the back wall, then felt her way to the elevator shaft.
She huddled there, finally protected from the wind. It howled outside. She had just enough space to stretch out flat, her feet touching one wall and her head only an inch from the other. In the dark and the dust, it felt like a grave. She'd been buried alive. The weight of the city sat above her and she took deep slow breaths through her scarf. She ate from the small food supply she’d hidden here; she kept her eyes open and waited for light.
She didn’t think about the man, but her body did. Lying still, alone in a dark so deep she couldn’t even see her own hand in front of her face, she felt feverish. Too warm. She couldn’t seem to control her breathing or her beating heart, and a wet heat blossomed between her thighs. Her mouth went dry as her hand wandered downwards. Her pants were loose, and after undoing her belt, she easily slipped a hand inside. She inhaled sharply at her fingers contact with her damp and swollen lips. “Are you watching?” The city was dead, it couldn’t watch, but she asked anyway. She circled the little hood hiding her clit until the little bud was coaxed into appearing. Gathering moisture from her needy recess, she touch the sensitive button; her hips lifted from the ground. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d done this; but then, her sense of time was completely askew.
She rolled onto her side and pushed her other hand down the back of her pants. Two fingers found their way inside her waiting cunt, shoving inside hard. She stifled a moan. The position twisted her body uncomfortably, but she didn’t care. Hips undulating with a desperate need, she thrust her fingers again and again while circling and teasing her clit.
Tears rose to her eyes as she fingered herself. This was why she hadn’t done this in so long. She
. Words rose in her otherwise silent mind -
Each thrust built towards a rough and rapid climax. She rubbed her clit harder and writhed, there on the concrete floor of the elevator shaft, there alone. Her heart ached with it; but the rest of her body had other needs, and there was no stopping it now. With a cry somewhere between a blissful wail and a despairing sob, she shuddered with a white hot orgasm. Pulses of ecstatic sensations surged through her as the tears in her eyes finally spilled down her cheeks. Sniffling, she redid her belt. The moment of awful clarity faded as the aftershocks of her pleasure died down. Her mind sought the daze it had been living in. Soon, she’d sleep, and feel nothing again.
Something stirred far above her head. Her half-closed eyes shot open once more. A torrent of dust and dirt rained down and a metal clang echoed from high above; a rush of wind disturbed and dropped more debris her way. The cable audibly snapped somewhere above, and went slack next to her. Her eyes went wide. She heaved herself onto her side, then onto her knees, and dove out of the shaft. She scrambled forwards on elbows and knees, unable to get a good grip on the ground in all the dust, toppled over, covered her head. The elevator smashed behind her. If it kicked up more dust she couldn't tell. The volume shocked her, reverberating around the empty lobby and back up the elevator shaft. Heavy pieces of debris hit her back and she cried out.
Then she laughed. She rolled onto her side, felt blood running from a shoulderblade, dropped her scarf and choked on the dust. She shouted up at the ceiling. "You want me to leave?" The wind howled. The building groaned. The city crumbled around her. She laughed again, the sound closer to hysteria than mirth. Her scarf was gone.
The messages stopped. She didn’t hear the motorcycle again, but she assumed the man was gone. Yet she couldn’t relax. She felt eyes everywhere - she knew they were just empty windows, empty doorways, empty cars; but as the city’s dead eyes stared at her, she could feel his amongst them.
Her guard was down. She wasn’t looking for the signs of his passing, and maybe there were none. The sun was up, and she was wandering the streets like a wraith; no direction. She wasn’t even confident that her body had a form anymore, sometimes. She just floated. When she rounded a corner and saw him standing there as if waiting for a bus, waiting for
, she froze in place.
He remained still, as if dealing with a frightened animal. Maybe that was all she was anymore. He wore sunglasses, hiding his face as surely as she hid her own behind the goggles. He wore a ratty, worn pair of jeans, also similar to her own. The black leather jacket, though, stood out. It was clean, well-cared for, and had patches near the collar. She couldn’t make them out from where she stood. So, hesitantly, she approached.
The patches were forgotten as soon as she stood close. The smell of leather and sweat filled her nose and made her dizzy. It was the smell of another human being. She removed her goggles. He stood frozen still, so she reached up and removed his sunglasses and placed both on the nearby windowsill.
She found herself at a complete loss for words. She hadn't spoken in so long. Even the words she directed towards the sky, she wasn’t sure they came from her mouth. She might have just thought them. Standing in the dead city, bereft of everything she'd ever had, she found she had nothing to say to this stranger. It felt as though she'd lost her voice along with everything else.
Her body, though, could speak its language, and it screamed. She hadn't been touched in longer than she hadn't spoken. It wasn't even entirely sexual, though he looked big, and strong, with a handsome face and blue eyes that had probably been bright during better times. He'd likely lost as much as she had. If she couldn't reach him with words, she could let her body speak.