"Carrion"

It is a story of flesh. It is the oldest of stories. One that repeats again and again. It is the end of ours, but another will come. It always does.

First came the rat, scurrying from deep within the sewer. It crawled out of a simple gutter. A dog on its routine walk spotted it and yanked its leash free from its master’s hand. Its jaws bit down hard, rending the rat’s flesh and breaking its bones. The master walked over to her sitting dog, panting proudly at its kill. The master uttered a weak “ew” and kicked the dead flesh against the curb, where it wouldn’t be disturbed, and she and her happy dog continued on their walk.

A child walking home from school found the rat, its eye dangling loosely from its cracked skull. Where the dog saw a toy, the child saw a tool for scaring his sister. So he picked the rat up and put it in his bag, taking it home with him. Then the child laid the rat down on his sister’s bed and waited nearby for the inevitable screams.

In time they came, and the child squealed in his gleeful mischievousness. Then came the illness. First, there was pale, jaundiced skin, then a rash, and quickly death. His sister followed. Their mother cared for them, cleaned their faces, and held their hands. After her children was gone, she too fell ill, and she too died.

The dog fared differently. Its eyes grew redder, and it was lethargic at first, refusing to eat. Then it started growling as its master approached to pet it. Then it bit the master. She grew ill, and then her girlfriend. When they were both gone, the dog chewed through their wooden door and fled. With its bloody, bare jaw, it bit another dog, and that dog bit another. And they bit humans. And the humans succumbed.

The streets are empty now, save for the bands of roaming bloody-jawed canines. Their story will end soon too.