Prologue: ‘It’s the end of the world as we know it’


Somewhere in a cavern not too far away from Golders Green…

Everything had ended. Not with a bang. Not with a whimper, but just, ended. Like that, finger snap, gone.

The end of creation. The end of Starbucks, MacDonalds, college classes and car parks. The end of polystyrene cups, burnt fingers as the match dies down, Sunday evenings wondering how the Hell to avoid your homework and blissful Friday nights drunk off your skull and staggering around on the sticky cider-soaked carpets of the Tumbledown Dick.

The end, it would seem, of my life too.

And yet. Here I am.

In a cavern.

Stuck underground.

In Golders’ Green.

Where even the fuck is Golders’ Green? London? Outer London?

I look down at my digital watch – it’s smashed. I rest my head on my wrist and groan. Of course. The air in here is cool and filtered. I can hear a weird background humming, something electrical is whining softly. And right under that, I can hear my heart, thudding contentedly in its own smug rhythm. You’d think I’d be freaking out about now, but no.

I’ll let you in on a secret, I don’t know what’s happened yet. I still have to open the door, and look outside at the wasteland that was my life, my world. It’s all yet to come. So here, I’m just mildly hung over and deeply confused about my current location.

I push ratty hair behind my fingers and gnaw at a thumbnail, raking my teeth across a split in my lip. ‘Shit,’ I mutter touching a fingertip to the fresh blood. I lick at it and stand up, gazing around the room.

Beige. A lot of institutional beige. And stacked up office furniture. Whatever I’m doing here, and I’m really not sure about that, as I mentioned, this seems to be a depository for the kind of crap you’d find in any office, anywhere. So that didn’t help much.

In the stark light of the flickering overhead fluorescents, I noticed a filing cabinet, with a half-open drawer. I stagger over a pile of boxes and lever arch files, and pull it open all the way. Inside, I find a broken kite, half a bottle of cheap scotch, a biro with a chewed lid, and a notebook. I unscrew the scotch and take a swig, then immediately splutter, choking on the harsh, bitter liquid. I’m more of a scrumpy and black girl, myself. Wheezing, I close the bottle and stash it in the back pocket of my jeans, ignore the kite and take out the notebook and pen.

I wander around the room making notes as I go:

*No windows

*No doors

*No phone – wait, a phone but with the cord cut

*A kite (broken)

I stop scribbling for a second and perch on the edge of a desk, swinging my legs underneath. The lights flicker, I look up, they go back on. I swing my legs faster and chew the pen lid, then spit it out as the worn plastic splinters into my mouth.

The electrical noise seems louder here. I put down the notebook and pen, and poke into the corners of the room – desk, chairs, broken bookshelf…wait.

There’s a sliver of light, natural light from behind the bookshelf. I pull myself back against the wall and brace my legs to heave the heavy shelf away from the wall. Gritting my teeth, my legs trembling, I push it away. The bookshelf teeters, wobbles and falls. Crashing to break the silence. My heart thumps, but no one hears, no one comes.

Daylight streams in through the dirty window. I spit on my cuff, and rub at the glass – it smears and clears slowly. I rub the patch until I clear a circle of glass and peer out. My jaw drops. Everything had ended. Gone.

This is the prologue to an urban fantasy/dystopia novel that I wrote earlier on the year. It’s got some interesting ideas and I quite like the tone. It’s definitely a piece that I want to extend more into.

Image from Pixabay.


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