It had begun with a wind, that was all. Or it would have been all if it hadn't been so strong. If hadn't been the hottest, if it hadn't blistered the glass like bubble wrap. If it hadn't melted their skin. If it hadn't torn them screaming from their loved ones and burnt their shadows into the already blackened asphalt. If it hadn't screamed and begged for its victims.

They hadn't known it was coming. They should have--hell, they had lived their whole lives with the threat. But they had become complacent, years of non-action numbing them to the whispered warnings of madmen on street corners. Only now, she didn't consider them so mad.

She had spent two days. Two days with the others who had been on the tube with her. Underground. They had been safe there. All they had felt was a vibration of the ground. Like an earthquake. Except she had known that there were no earthquakes in London, and that's when she had realised something was terribly and frighteningly wrong.

What would you do if you were the last survivor? A seemingly metaphorical question that she and her friends had often pondered. And they had always said such stupid things, really.

"I'd go into Harrods and raid the food hall for caviar."

"I'd take a plane to Australia."

"I'd watch TV all day and never have to go to work."

"I'd live at the cinema."

So stupid, so trite.

So hollow, when the streets were covered in ashes and flakes of bone. When the smell caught in her throat and filled her nose until all she could do was vomit. When her hair hung greasy ribbons down the back of her neck.

They were the lucky ones, she thought.

The quiet struck her the most. She never realised just how noisy London was until it wasn't any more. The silence hung in the air, as if a portent, gently threatening them. She laughed hollowly at it. They had lived through this. What more could it do to them?

They had all gone to ground, she was sure of that. The Ministers, the MP's--she had heard once that the Royal Family had a bunker in Somerset. With cinemas and pubs. Cinemas and Pubs. So lightweight, so *everyday*.

Among the ash, though, she felt something. Felt something stir, the hope of new beginnings dawning on her as if someone had turned the lights back on. Felt that in the streets of Camden Town there would be some life again. That they would start again, and maybe not fuck it up this time. That they wouldn't fail themselves this time. That they would no longer sit in their ivory towers and play games, fucking *games*, with lives that weren't theirs to take.

  But for now, she had enough to deal with. So she walked back to the shopping precinct, the one that stayed standing, charred mannequins lying in grisly imitations on the floor. A scrap of crimson fabric had survived around the neck of one pseudo-woman. She stared at it with glassy eyes.

For now, she'd had enough.

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