Af­ter Hu­man­ity

A short story by James Lo­max, cur­rently un­der­tak­ing his Duke of Ed­in­burgh bronze award. Part seven of 12

The Wokingham Paper - - EDUCATION - To be con­tin­ued…

FOR Car­los, the ini­tial tense­ness is over. Hav­ing suc­cess­fully saved a Gor­gon from death by blood loss, he has started get­ting it back to health, and has hid­den it from al­most all his col­leagues. What could pos­si­bly go wrong?

Over the next few days, Car­los al­ter­nated be­tween work and pri­vate life, pa­trolling the perime­ter and check­ing on the Gor­gon, with­out any more wor­ries. The Gor­gon was get­ting bet­ter, and even started ex­plor­ing the house, al­though Carl­son did rec­om­mend rest.

Car­los prac­ti­cally fell through the week, the days go­ing as fast as a bul­let from a gun. But all bul­lets have to hit some­thing even­tu­ally, and he hit it with as much force as a bul­let, too.

One week af­ter the Gor­gon was saved from its fate, Car­los trudged through the door, gave his clothes to Carl­son and de­cided that af­ter a busy week, he could do with a pizza, one of the few clas­sic foods that sur­vived the cen­turies. Carl­son coded it into the mi­crowave and the

cheesy de­light was 3D printed in a few min­utes. One plate, one Car­los, one sofa, one pizza and two movies was enough for an evening of fun.

As he watched one of his favourite re­boots (That’s all movies were), Car­los heard a bit of noise com­ing be­hind him. He turned round to in­ves­ti­gate, and what do you know, the Gor­gon was climb­ing out of his win­dow! He im­me­di­ately tack­led it to the ground and shouted in its face, ” WHAT DID I TELL YOU ABOUT ES­CAP­ING?!”

It was then that he no­ticed some­thing was wrong. The face was dif­fer­ent, thin­ner. Con­fu­sion fol­lowed, but then he re­alised. Had other Gor­gons been vis­it­ing his Gor­gon un­der his nose?

He stared back at the Gor­gon he had pinned to the floor. It was mouthing like the Gor­gon had done pre­vi­ously, but he couldn’t tell what it was say­ing, so he knocked it out while he checked the base­ment. His Gor­gon was there, look­ing at him with a puz­zled look as he ran back up­stairs, then back down again with an­other mem­ber of its species.

Car­los had a few ques­tions in his head: What was this Gor­gon do­ing here? How did it know his Gor­gon was here? Were there any more? What was all this mouthing about?

He wished the Gor­gon would tell him, but it just stared at the other Gor­gon that Car­los had de­posited on the bed, un­til it ran over to it. A mate?

It looked at him, but it wasn’t sad. It looked re­lieved. It started mouthing at Car­los, but he still had no idea what was go­ing on, so he left the base­ment.

Carl­son asked if he should keep watch, but no an­swer came. He was lost in thought.

Strid­ing into his bed­room, a sud­den thought struck Car­los. If it was a mate, then it would un­doubt­edly have aided his Gor­gon in the fate­ful riot, so it would have died. But if it wasn’t a mate, then what was it? Not any­one close, or they would have re­volted with it. But it was close enough to find its lo­ca­tion and visit it at least once, and for his Gor­gon to spring to its aid, and for it to teach it the weird mouthing, if it got that from Car­los.

He was so con­fused, so many ques­tions in his head, but out of it all he cre­ated a the­ory: The vis­it­ing Gor­gon was too scared to protest, but it felt guilty that it got out of the mas­sacre.

It some­how found a survivor and vis­ited it to say how sorry it was, but pan­icked and ran out.

Car­los caught it and brought it back to his Gor­gon, who was re­lieved to be able to talk to it more. The mouthing must be some kind of lan­guage.

It was a per­fect the­ory ac­cord­ing to Car­los, but it was just a the­ory, and as he slept he re­alised he still didn’t know for sure what it was all about.

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