It Wasn’t Supposed to End Like This

There was chaos – children crying, adults shouting, the scuffle of feet and creak of trolleys and hospital beds. Doctor Orson stayed where he was, slumped against the door of his office, with not even the strength to bring the whiskey bottle up to his lips. At one point someone banged on the door, called his name – one of the nurses, though Orson couldn’t recall what he was called.

Even with the pandemonium outside, it wasn’t hard for Orson to get to sleep. He’d been awake for a full week, necking pills in lieu of sleep, preparing his patients for the evacuation. He’d earned his rest, and if there were any last-minute emergencies then that was too bad – the others would have to make do without him. He wasn’t leaving.

When he awoke, there was silence.

Doctor Orson staggered to his desk and picked up his phone. He’d been asleep for about twenty hours. He’d surely missed the very last of the evacuation craft by now. He shrugged and retrieved a half-eaten packet of crisps from his desk’s drawer.

It wasn’t enough, but it would have to do. Doctor Orson staggered out of his office licking salt and vinegar from his fingers. The hallway was empty – there was vomit on the wall opposite his office, but other than that, there was nothing. Orson nodded to himself: it looked like everything had gone according to the plan. Nobody left behind, except those that wanted to be.

He stopped off at one of the surgical supply closets, then made his way to the ground floor. The lights were flickering, which he took as a sign that the lifts might not be the best idea.

He had enough change to get another packet of crisps and a fizzy drink. It’s really not good for you, he’d chided his patients so many times. But, Hell, it wouldn’t make much difference now.

He’d finished the crisps just a few moments before the first rumble broke the silence. The building shook around him. That’d be the big ones, walking around outside. The little ones would be inside the building soon. Orson sighed, gulped down a mouthful of the sugar-water, and stood up.

Doctor Orson got to the hospital foyer just as two of the creatures opened the front door. He saw them before they saw him: they were spindly things, with those huge black eyes like those of a fly. They looked so fragile – how was it possible that they’d beaten back all the armies of man?

Hell. It didn’t make much difference now, did it?

‘Right,’ said Doctor Orson. He pulled the scalpel from his coat pocket and advanced on the creatures.

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