Michael Wombat’s Picture Choice: Both
Since I was seven years old, I have been able to see things that no one else can: the weeping shades in the graveyard; the dancing fires of the forest; and sometimes, looking down, I see ghoulish faces in the Earth, contorted in agony. These visions hold no fear for me, yet no prize in the universe would convince me to again glance upwards on a starry and cloudless night.
How long ago was that midnight when my eyes were drawn to the stars by an unnatural curl of movement? A flicker only, it was, but a motion so, well, wrong that it turned my stomach. Six months or so, was it? Maybe. It’s hard to keep track of time way up here, now that the signals have stopped.
No one believed me when I told them what I had seen that night. That was hardly surprising, since disbelief had been the one constant reaction every time I reported the strange things that I saw. Over the years I had learned to keep quiet about my visions, to avoid rocking the boat and frightening people away.
That night, however, what I saw was so terrifying, so horrific, that I had contacted the police, the army, politicians, priests and reporters. Even the National Enquirer laughed me away. I decided then that if I could not save humanity, I might at least save myself.
So I Googled ‘northernmost inhabited place in the world’, cashed in my life savings and took a train up to foggy Vancouver. From there my remaining money bought me a flight to Alert, Canada, way above Greenland and just 800 klicks from the North Pole. I harboured some hope that we might go unnoticed this far North.
I became Alert’s only permanent resident, tolerated by the rotating military and scientific personnel as long as I pitched in and helped. Or at least the personnel had rotated until a week ago, when the scheduled flight had failed to appear. All communications had ceased, suddenly, and the military signals intelligence radio receiving facility had fallen silent. Then we knew. Then the other personnel slowly began to take my warnings seriously, and they too stopped looking up at the night sky. Not that that stops them, you understand. All that it achieves is to slow down their inexorable advance, to force them into methods other than mind control. Methods more... visceral.
Two days ago the GAW atmosphere monitoring laboratory suddenly went haywire, giving impossible readings from the troposphere. So now we know. We know that it is not possible to escape this fate, no matter how far North we are. The invaders will infest the entire globe. They will find every single living creature and devour it from the inside out. The Earth will become a festering, noisome midden bubbling with countless bubo-covered pus-oozing maggot-rats, all scurrying to kill and maim their neighbours while fat fleas dig into their filthy flesh and drink their fetid blood.
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Michael Wombat has published several books - search for him on Amazon, or go talk to him on Twitter where he is @wombat37.