“Whoa! Peter Jackson really did it this time,” said Mario amid flushed cheeks.
“I can’t get the dwarf song out of my head,” muttered Pierre more to himself than to his friends, as was his way.
“Richard Armitage is so hot! I feel dizzy though,” put in Francesca while feeling her forehead.
“I told you, forty-eight frames per second is going to be awesome,” replied Mario talking hurriedly.
“I said I’m dizzy, how is that awesome!”
“But you get dizzy standing on a chair, it doesn’t count.”
Francesca hit her boyfriend on his arm and continued messaging her head.
“It’s very quiet today,” muttered Pierre sending popcorn-spittle flying; he was still half-way through the oversized bucket and was still slowly humming his way through it.
Francesca and Mario looked around. They had been to the late show and the few cinema goers that were with them in the theatre had already scurried away in the opposite direction to the parking lot. Since neither Mario, nor Pierre nor Francesca had achieved their driving test yet, they still had to walk all the way through the one-mile squared Capital up to the bus stop outside of the old city.
“It’s always quiet here at night,” said Mario.
“Yeah but it’s Christmas, Valletta is never this quiet at Christmas and it’s not even cold,” insisted Pierre.
They were walking up Republic Street by then, flanked by bright shop windows on either side. Elvis’s Lonely this Christmas was chiming through the speakers at each corner, white LED-lit Christmas trees stood blindingly every few metres but, up the one-mile long street, not a single soul could be seen.
“Pick up your feet, will miss the last bus,” said Mario, practical as usual.
The three friends hurried their step and only paused a couple of times while impatiently waiting for Francesca to coo at handbags and evening gowns paraded behind the shop windows. It was while hurrying away from one of these interludes that Mario gasped. He had bumped into a man that seemed to have come out of nowhere.
“Oh man, I’m sorry, I didn’t see you there.”
The man staggered and did not reply.
“Are you okay?”
The man growled.
“Sir, it was an accident, I honestly didn’t see you there.”
What happened next was a complete blur but what Francesca saw was the man launching himself at her boyfriend and Mario, with an astonished look on his face, spreading out his arms to receive the other man. His face then turned to agony as the man’s growling turned to a gorging frenzy. Mario cried out in pain and horror. Neither Pierre nor Francesca could understand what was going on until the blood that was spluttering out of Mario’s neck started spilling across his shoulders and became visible in the blaring Christmas lights.
Pierre lunged forward and pulled the man from Mario’s neck only to tear a chunk of Mario’s skin which was caught up in the attacker’s teeth. Mario screamed and fainted, falling to the pavement in a red bundle.
The man, now held in Pierre’s tight grip, turned his attention to the other two and it was only then that that Pierre realised his unnaturally dilated eyes and the serrated edges of his teeth. Holding the man at arms length, Pierre glanced at Francesca who was now kneeling next to Mario, “Fran call an ambulance, or the police, both, call them both.”
“Pierre…” The whimper in Francesca’s tone caught Pierre’s attention and tugged at his insides. He turned round to see that Republic Street was now crowded. Dazed, hungry faces started silently at them, coming out of side-streets, out of cafeterias and from behind Christmas trees were they had been crouching out of sight.
“What the hell is going on?” muttered Pierre.
Nothing happened for a long moment. Then the growling started, from a hundred throats all around, echoing against the old buildings. Until one man, dressed as Santa his red coat matching his dripping red beard, came one step closer. That was all it took. In an instant, the three teens were overtaken, their screams resonating louder than the growls. Until all went quiet again and by the time Elvis finished his song, Republic Street was once again deserted.
All year we have been listening to news reports and documentaries claiming that the 21st December 2o12, will be the end for us all. So I envisioned one way how this will happen (if at all, obviously). Since I will be going to watch The Hobbit next Friday, I thought; Hey, why not place this story in Valletta my capital city?
If you are intrigued, I will be posting scenario two tomorrow: The Mayan Countdown, 21/12/12: Scenario Two
Ho Ho Ho!