Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Played around with Neil Gaiman's Magnificent Oracular Journal, which basically plucks out lines from his blog.

After a couple of tries, it came up with this: There may have been more.

I thought it was a pretty interesting line to start a story. So now, I have this little tale:

There may have been more.

Then again, who was I shitting?

According to the most recent government survey, which was dated three years ago, the village of San Esteban was home to four thousand seventy six souls. It was a farming community in the middle of nowhere. With the bad road conditions, it would have taken us five hours to get there. Our mission didn’t give us that much time.

The village’s plaza was the designated landing zone. Even with the helicopter still high above the heart of the village, we could already see the old man sprawled near San Esteban’s sole clinic.

We hurried to where he was as soon as we landed. Apparently, he was a doctor. His coat was torn, grimy and splattered with blood – mostly his, judging by the wounds. Unable to speak because of the bubbling gash on his neck, he begged, with his eyes and a trembling hand, to be shot.

Sarge turned towards the squad’s medic. A silent question that the medic answered simply by shaking his head.

With the helicopter back up in the air, it had been quiet in the plaza.

The single shot sounded particularly loud.

Yet no dogs barked. Not one panicked bird flew away from the overgrown church belfry, or the nearby trees. There were just mute echoes.

Sarge lowered his pistol and ordered us to proceed.

We scouted the structures around the plaza. Broken down doors. Smashed, shattered windows. Fluorescent lights and electric fans switched on, then abandoned. Mosquito nets put up for the night, torn apart, and now looked like dusty cobwebs in the fading daylight. It was the same everywhere.

The vicinity beyond the plaza was yet unexplored. Stretches of empty streets stared back at us.

But our orders were clear.

Fifteen minutes.

Just fifteen minutes to look for survivors of what Sarge simply described as an infestation.

Fifteen minutes and all we found were lots of bloodstains and body parts - even in the police outpost. Now that I think about it, aside from the old doctor, we didn’t see a single intact corpse.

Fifteen minutes and we were heading back for the plaza, firearms raised towards the gaping doorways and windows as the helicopter landed behind us.

Fifteen minutes and San Esteban would be blasted off the face of the earth courtesy of the air force. Hopefully taking whatever infestation with it.

I didn't think it would work.

From the helicopter, I was sure I saw the old doctor scuffling away from the plaza.

Not bad, man. The last line was a nice kicker. ;-)
Thanks Banzai.

From you, a "not bad" feels like high praise. Heh.
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