The dead shall rise.
Ruby stared at the fly on her wall. It’s ugly, dark body, no bigger than the nail on her little finger, was such a stark contrast against the pale rose colour of the paint in her room. It was not moving, not flying around her head irritatingly, and yet it had annoyed her greatly. It had come into her personal space, uninvited, and ruffled her. It had disrupted her; invaded her tranquillity.
But Ruby knew deep down it wasn’t the fly she was mad at.
Feeling very perturbed all of a sudden, she decided that now was as good as ever to get ready for school.
She took time going through the motions of preparing for the day ahead. She started with a warm shower, washing her hair and moisturizing her skin. Her next step was to pick out an outfit for the day. Judging by the weather, it was going to be hot, so she selected a pair of denim shorts, a black vest top underneath a lightweight flannel jacket and her traditional converses. After she had had breakfast, brushed her teeth and done her hair and make-up, she set out for school.
Almost instantly, she noticed something wrong.
There was a funny smell in the air, like warm waste rotting in a sewer somewhere, the heat only made it that much more unbearable. Her street was also unnaturally empty, with a sense of desolation lingering in the atmosphere. A little way up the street, Ruby spotted something. It looked like there had been signs of a fight or vandalism on house number twenty four; a bin was tipped over, the contents decorating the grass like artwork, the normally neat white picket fence had been smashed to pieces and the window on the front of the house was shattered. The door was open ajar.
‘What the…’ Her gaze drifted further up the street and to her shock, she realized this wasn’t an isolated attack. Each of the houses had been vandalised in some way and a lot of the cars were missing. Joyriders, perhaps? Drug dealers on the rampage?
The street rarely had any trouble; it was reputable and always spotless. Seeing the contrast now was shocking.
Ruby’s mind reeled and she stumbled forwards, clutching her chest, to the front of her house.
It had been left untouched.
Puzzled to say the least, she pulled out her phone, dialled in her mum’s number and waited for her to answer.
‘Ruby?!’ the voice on the end sounded distressed. The reception wasn’t very good either; static crackled the line and distorted the words her mother was trying to speak. ‘Where…home – now!’
‘What? Mum?’ Ruby began to grow a little uneasy; her mother wasn’t usually this upset. She was always so calm and composed. The only time Ruby had seen her mother’s poised disposition fall apart was one time only: when her husband, Ruby’s father, had passed away a year before.
‘Everywhere…don’t…please – don’t panic Rubes. I’m coming home now.’
‘What’s everywhere? Why are you coming home? And why is the street trashed?’
Three distinct beeps told her that she had been cut off.
She didn’t know at the time that those were the last words she would hear her mother say.