(Friday Fiction) Urban Gardening

Writing 150I’m currently at Biggest Little Fur Con, a furry-fandom convention in Reno, NV. One of the things this particular con is known for is its incredible attention to theme and atmosphere. In 2015, a propaganda-filled dystopian theme slowly fell apart through the weekend to reveal the theme for the following year — the Resistance. This year, only its fifth, they developed an intriguing alternate universe centered around kaiju. Their website has a ton of great art and stories on it, and I can’t wait to see what they do with the hotel space.

In honor of the convention, I thought I’d try my hand at a small piece of fiction exploring the theme. Enjoy!

Ash didn’t pay any attention to the air raid sirens until the first hard jolt shook the library. Dust spilled from the ceiling and the hushed buzz of conversation quieted as the main lobby grew still. When the building shook again, the librarian at the reception desk stood up and spoke in the loudest voice she could muster.

“The city is under attack, folks. This is not a drill. Please make your way to the shelter below the library as quickly and orderly as you can. Walk, don’t–”

The library rocked suddenly, as if another building slammed into it. Books and animals fell to the floor, and then there was panic.

Ash watched as patrons poured towards the exits, screaming. He flattened himself against a bookshelf at the edge of the lobby as the crowd grew, filling the space between the huge glass double-doors and the reception desk. The librarian, an old groundhog with fur streaked silver, barked and whistled to bring everyone’s focus back to her, but it was no use. She couldn’t be heard over the screaming.

The meerkat swallowed the hard ball of panic rising from his stomach. He picked up a large volume — it looked like one of those atlases that, while thorough, were outdated as soon as they were published — and clutched it tight to his chest while he wracked his brain. The pressure helped, but he couldn’t remember what he was supposed to do in this situation. Was it better to shelter in place right now? Or should he try leaving the area as soon as possible? What would it be like outside?

The entire building rolled unnaturally, a visible shockwave popping tiles from the floor and cracking the brick walls. The lights flickered, then went out. The crowd was briefly quieted by the sound of steel and glass bending in ways they were never meant to, then surged and roared its panic once it realized what that meant. The library was no longer safe. There was the very real danger of collapse.

Ash felt his hackles rise and his heart thump inside his chest. The sudden realization that he could die here turned him cold, made his fingers and toes tingle. Images of unimaginable destruction flashed in his head — news reports of attacks in other cities featuring entire neighborhoods flattened, smoke and debris obscuring bright red smears that had been scrambled and blurred “for sensitive viewers”. But never enough to miss what they were — all that remained of the victims.

He threw the atlas to the side and rushed towards the opening more than a hundred feet away before he realized what he was doing. He couldn’t die here, not now, not researching for a paper he didn’t even want to write. He was supposed to go to college; he was supposed to figure out the great mystery of the kaiju appearing in cities all around the world and destroying as much as they could before the military put them down; he was supposed to at least have sex once before he died.

The set of stairs leading to the underground shelter was to his left, and the thought that he should go there instead slowed him down just enough. A horrific, high-pitched whine exploded over his head as the ceiling and the top floor of the library peeled away to reveal the impossible hulk of a kaiju peering down at the space it had just opened.

It was covered in black fur and had vaguely lupine features — pointed ears, a broad boxy muzzle with sharp fangs, wide shoulders and a barreled chest. Its eyes were a solid sanguine red, the same color of the hard, round “pearl” that sat in the middle of its forehead. As massive paws curled around the edges of the hole it had made, Ash saw two matching pearls on the back of each one.

The midday sun was hidden behind the monster’s deep shadow and the smoke from fires that were no doubt raging through many of the blocks around him. The whole building shuddered as it tugged at the edges of the ceiling, widening the jagged hole it had made so it could fit its head and shoulders in. Ash couldn’t hear anything but his own heart. He stared dumbly, like everyone else trapped in the room.

Then the kaiju growled, its lips pulling back to reveal double-rows of sword-sized teeth. The crowd in front of him howled; animals threw themselves at the sheet-glass windows until they broke. The librarian, finally seeing that there was no hope of saving order for this situation, threw herself at the small opening at the back of the circular desk.

The kaiju’s shining eyes landed on her, and a fat drop of drool fell from its lips. It landed on the librarian and a heartbeat later the air filled with a hissing sound and a whistling shriek. Ash backed against the wall as half of the groundhog melted under the viscous liquid, the other half gurgling, then spasming, then falling with a wet thump to the floor. The sludge of the librarian’s remains continued to dissolve the desk and floor. After a few moments, the smell slammed into Ash’s nostrils. His gorge rose.

The massive head followed, instantly filling the lobby as it snapped up the remains of the librarian and most of the desk. The sound of its growl and splintering wood competed with the horrific wailing of the crowd as it pushed through whatever openings were available. Ash could just see the animals sprawled in the entryway, trampled in the panic and left behind.

The monster looked up and saw the ground in front of it covered with more food. The lobby flooded with eerie red light as it squirmed its vast bulk deeper in, scooping up multiple bodies at a time with flicks of its tongue. Wherever it touched, drool burned through wood and glass and brick, adding to the overwhelming acrid scent that whirled around it.

Ash was too frightened to move. His stomach lurched several times until he finally purged his breakfast. The retching was violent and prolonged. He doubled over, clutching his stomach as if he was trying to keep it from leaping out of his throat. His head pounded with each violent heave until at last it was over.

A low growl drew his attention upwards. When he looked up, he saw the kaiju staring right at him, bathing him in the eerie red eye-shine of its gaze. Ash’s knees went weak as he stared back, frozen.

The monster looked curious, almost concerned. For a moment, it almost felt like they connected. If he didn’t know any better, Ash would have thought that the beast was forming some kind of theory about him, that something else was going on in that enormous head beyond destruction and insatiable hunger.

An explosion rocked the opening above the library, and suddenly the kaiju rose and roared. The building shook with the sheer volume of it. Ash felt his eardrums flutter and burst. Pain lanced through his ears, and the sensation jarred him into action.

Clutching one small, round ear in a hand, he stumbled down the stairs towards the shelter. He didn’t look back.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.