Â [This is the second of two stories written for the Lancaster and Cumbria Nanowrimo groups first creative writing challenge]
Ed looked into Lily’s eyes and saw nothing. Once they were filled with laughter, love, intrigue and sometimes sadness. Her eyes were truly the gateway to her soul and would reflect every inner thought. In the throes of passion and in each tumultuous fight he would know her inner feeling just by looking into those green seas.
Seas, the ever shifting landscape that they both loved, it is why they stayed in Blackpool. For all its cheapness, bright lights, wailing sirens, dilapidated arcades with wind-faded signs and streets littered with bargain shops. They loved the seas, the winds, the dunes near to Lytham, it was change and decay in equal measure. Like a fading relationship filled with contradiction and melancholy. You could come to Blackpool and just let yourself merge into the miasma of broken dreams and empty promises. Here you could let things fade away slowly hanging onto a facade filled with wild smiles and madness with nothing underneath.
Even in the days of Austerity, with its investments culled and ambitions slaughtered the town survived. Every boarded shop and for sale sign patterned with a thousand billboards and stickers, moated in vomit. Empty holes like the sockets where teeth once stood. The rest of those teeth kept all bright white and artificially straightened to hide the decay inside, the rotting core and receding gums.
Blackpool was a period piece that was condemned repeatedly yet still survived. A dinosaur with the tenacity of a turtle, out evolved but still plodding along cocooned in a hard shell. That was what Ed and Lily loved. To them it was a treasure, a peasant in a toilet who knows that even princes have to piss. Blackpool was not restrained by its past, it was proud and even mocking.
Blackpool saved them. It brought them back together all those years ago. They had returned to this town, near to their birth and closer to their hearts than each other and had found themselves. The fading matched the shift in their lives. The decay, hidden beneath the apologists polish, a match for the hole in their lives.
But the ever-shifting seas, the sands and the skies.
The rich red skies of morning, the deep reds of night, had rekindled a deeper understanding. They saw themselves as a part of the tapestry, they were matched to this scene and as Blackpool’s fortunes shone and dimmed, so could their love. But is still went on, the tides would never stop, the winds would blow, the skies shift and the world would turn and they could see that together.
But now her eyes, those emeralds highlighted beneath the gathering brows of age were dulled. They no longer shone, or danced with laughter, they no longer held that love for him.
But he held no love for her.
Ed had loved Lily more than he knew. He had held her in his arms through all of life’s rich melody. They had come to understand each other’s needs so perfectly that they could explore the deeper relationships. He knew that he would stay with her until the end of his life, that without her life itself had no value. He just did not want it to be so soon.
Endings are inevitable, not even the universe would last forever. Lily had said that mankind’s destruction was itself and she was right. It was man who made the compact with the forces of darkness and unleashed the hell upon the world. It was man who sold his sould to the devil of science. It was science that created the virus and Hell the creatures that caught it.
As the world went insane and the virus spread Ed and Lily had prepared for the end. they had shored up supplies and built defences and held each other in the dark as the lights all faded and Blackpool went dark. But they could not hold out for ever.
The creatures did not stop, did not pause, did not feel. Finally the barricades fell and they came in and Ed and Lily fled, here to the seafront, to their special place in the dunes, to look at the seas and watch the sunset of mankind. But even here in the stillness they had come.
The creature had launched itself at Lily but Ed had got to it first. The fight that followed had been beyond belief, even now Ed could not believe his own anger, hatred and fear. He had taken the life of a woman, an infected near dead creature, but still a woman, a mother or a sister, a daughter at least.
But she had already killed him first. She had bitten his arm and transmitted her filth into him. Impregnating him with a hateful seed that would turn him into a monster. Lily had cried and held him as he started to turn and in his last moments of conscious thought. Before he became an unthinking thing, a zombie he had made his decision. They would be together still.
That was when Ed had bitten her, had sunk his teeth into her flesh drawing blood despite her screams, impregnating her one last time.
Ed looked into Lily’s eyes and saw nothing. Just the milky white of death as her limbs twitched and she lurched upwards. Deep inside of him the last of his humanity went away, and milky-eyed he stood next to her and stumbled across the sands.
* Zombie, The Cranberries