It was way too hot. The air conditioning in my apartment sucked, and wasn't very good at it, either. I couldn't really focus on my writing in that heat, and it didn't help that the walls of this place are paper-thin – I could hear the kid on the floor above screwing with his beat machine, which made everything worse. It wasn't the kind of city you could just go out and take a walk in either, so I was stuck with it, lying exhausted on my bed, trying to enjoy the sound of what that kid was doing rather than just get annoyed by it.
The sun was just setting. With the heat haze it looked like it was starting to go down long before normal. How does that even work? I don't know. I couldn't wait for it to sink below the horizon once and for all. Then maybe it'd be cool enough to get some work done.
A bit later, the kid stopped messing with his music and must have gone to do something else. The air con had broken down completely, so I went to open the window, but there was a huge crow standing right on the sill outside. I didn't want to let it in. The whole building was swarming with them, by the looks of it. Crows don't normally do that. More alarming, though, was the sight of the city. Bright flashes everywhere. They looked sort of like little rocks falling from the sky. I started to panic.
It's a few hours later now that I'm writing this. My boyfriend had managed to navigate the horrible mess of the city's roads to rescue me. We've stopped a good way from the city to watch; there's a whole shower of meteors pouring into it. It's really quite pretty, even if both our homes are in there.
There's something not quite right on the air today. I can't quite place it. My lapine lusus is pretty spooked by something, and she's a vicious animal. I'm not even sure if I've ever seen her scared before, except when I've been in danger. That's often enough with the kind of wildlife you get round here, though between Bannog and the huntress girl in the cave hive it's mostly kept in check. Whatever out there is frightening her, it must be pretty big.
There's a hint of glow in the sky, which isn't right for this time of sweep. We won't be seeing the sun for a good while yet, and in any case the sky is the wrong colour for it – it's kind of reddish. Maybe a forest fire somewhere? It'd have to be a big one to get the whole sky like that, so probably not. It's windier than normal too, and while that's not really worth noting, it might be related.
I've been trying to find out what's spooking Bannog. No luck. She's normally pretty easy to read, too. I can't even tell if the danger is from above, or below, or out on the ground. For all I know the world is ending.
Everything's going to hell. Half of the city is in ruins now, I think – most of the tall buildings have collapsed. A good few still stand, though, toward the city centre. I'm pretty sure the one I live in is among them. Looking through my boyfriend's binoculars I can just about make it out. There's some activity on the roof, which is weird. Something white up there that I've never seen before. I thought I saw a dog there too, but when I blinked it had gone. What the hell is going on?
There's a really huge meteor hanging above the city now. It's either going very slow or it's really big. We should probably get somewhere further away. The blast from that thing could level the whole city, and might just kill us too.
Earthquake. We never get them around here, so I'm pretty damn worried. I'm holding Bannog to my chest, trying to reassure her, but my heart just isn't in it. I'm scared too.
The hive is probably going to collapse soon. We should get out of here. I already heard what sounds like a cave-in from the huntress girl's hive. It sounds like she's crying. I'd go over and see what's going on there, but, frankly, I don't want to go outside.
I'm in the front room writing this now, so I can get out in a hurry if I need to. But I feel safer here. At least for now.
I managed to see the blast through the car's wing mirror. I'm glad we got moving further away. We're lucky to have escaped with our lives – a lot of people probably just died. I hope my friends have got out, but I have doubts. For now, though, we have to get somewhere safe.
It's not easy. There are meteors falling everywhere now. Not quite as thickly as in the city, but enough that I don't want to stay in any one place too long. There are no cars on the roads now; everyone else who escaped the city are probably much further away by now, and certainly nobody's heading toward it. That doesn't mean the roads are clear, though. Trees have fallen everywhere, and landslides too. There are even a few craters where space rocks have hit the road directly.
The cave-hive just vanished in a flash of light. I have no idea what just happened there. What happened to the girl and her cat? Is she dead? Somewhere else? I don't know. What I do know is that one of the arms on my star-shaped hive just caved in and I'm not waiting around for the rest of it to fall.
Bannog and I are sitting in the open, now, on a hill not far from our hive. There's no one else around. There were only three hives in the area anyway, and the guy in the third one got culled not too long ago. I really should have learned their names. Now I'll never get the chance.
Just over the crest of the hill I can see someone. There's something really strange about him. He has no face at all, not even horns. Just a blank white ball for a head, and a white suit. He's looking at the crater where the cave-hive just stood, I think. I don't think he's noticed me. I don't think I want him to.
We've managed to find a shack some way off the road. My boyfriend's car has broken down, clogged with dirt and dust and sand. The meteors are doing something strange. The winds are really strong now, and the ground's started shaking. Whoever lived in this shack must have been tending some plants in a garden, but it's been torn up by the strong winds and shifting ground. I can scarcely imagine what might be happening if this isn't localised.
We couldn't get very far by ourselves. The white man vanished. I can still see what's left of my hive off in the distance. I at least had the foresight to pack something to sleep in, because I really do not want to be indoors tonight.
That's if I can get to sleep. There are meteors falling now. A pretty large meteor just obliterated the space where the cave-hive used to be. I could feel the heat from it. I really, really have to get away from here, as fast as I can. Scanning the horizon, I can see something way, way off in the distance. Looks like there was a forest fire after all. That will be no good for shelter. I can't see anything else that could do either. I guess I'm just walking for now.
The meteors must have stopped overnight. There are no flashes of light any more, and I can't hear any explosions. It is by no means calm, though. The winds are stronger than ever, and the earthquakes haven't stopped. This shack will probably collapse, and not long now, I think. But we can't go anywhere, either – the car is still not working and it's not safe to stay outside in this weather. I hope it lets up. For now, we're trapped.
I've been walking. I haven't slept. I got as far as the burning forest, and it's still alight. I'm working my around it. Carrying Bannog around is quite troublesome, too, and she's too scared to run alongside me. Meteors are coming down thick and fast, too, but none as bad or as close as the one that hit the cave-hive. We have a long way to go yet. I don't even know where we're going.
Nothing has changed. It's been a few days. We've run out of food, and the winds and quakes have only got worse. We can't go outside, and we can't stay here. The ceiling will give at any moment.
We're going to die here.
I leave here my record of our journey that, should anyone that survives find it, they may know what happened here, and to us. Perhaps you may find what remains of our bodies, together at the end.
We're doomed. Trapped in a ring of fire, and it's closing in. There's nothing I can do. I'm clutching Bannog to my chest, fearing the end. I spent my last moments running from the apocalypse. Not the worst death, I suppose, but could be much better.
Years in the future, but not many…
Two exiles search the desert, one white, one black. One reads a miraculously-preserved notepad, one reads from what remains of a computer. One stays, and pays her respects to the departed. One ignores, and moves on.