June’s Guest Storyteller, Dave Farmer
Dave Farmer escaped the crowded industry of the West Midlands, England, and enjoys the big skies and open country of rural Cambridgeshire every day. Although his Midland accent has softened he still refuses to pronounce it ‘parth’ and ‘barth’ because it doesn’t feel right in his mouth.
When not writing, he resumes the hunt for the perfect sandwich, plays with the family dogs, and discusses how to survive the end of days, should it ever happen.
To find out more you can read posts on his blog, www.davefarmer.co.uk, where he shares his thoughts and ideas of the world around him.
And yes, Cambridge is as posh as everyone thinks.
Sarah says: Hi Dave, thank you so much for guest storytelling this month. I’m a great fan of your blog: especially your wry observations re human behaviour, as well as your scarier stuff about zombies and the like.
For those of you who aren’t already followers of Dave’s blog and are unfamiliar with his work, he writes speculative type “what-if” fiction that concentrates on things such as courage, loyalty and friendship, but with an apocalyptic slant. Below, is a short extract from his novel-in-progress.
Extract from The Range & Chapter 2 called 2.47
When the video started, the footage was blurred and shaky.
Trees lined a busy intersection. Traffic chugged around pedestrians as they crossed the road. After several seconds of watery blue sky, the sun low on the horizon, a pale-faced kid with chubby cheeks filled the screen. He grinned then panned the camera over a statue of a naked guy stood next to a horse.
‘Lou, that’s Pont d’Iena, right next to the Eiffel Tower. We went there on a school trip, remember?’ I glanced up at her. ‘Sure Denise sent the right link?’
‘Yeah, keep watching.’
After half a minute I clicked pause. ‘Seriously, Lou? This is boring. Denise must be laughing her arse off.’
‘She says it happens at two forty seven. Play it.’
We watched more footage of trees and people talking into the camera – two girls around five or six years old with, who I assumed were, their parents taking pictures with their phones. The sound was choppy and out of synch. I tried to change the quality with the controls below the video but it was stuck on 360p.
It happened before then. I don’t think anyone else spotted it. The younger of the two sisters wore a sleeveless yellow dress with white lace around the neck. Her long brown hair was woven into two neat plaits tied with wispy pink ribbons.
She began to fidget and her bottom lip quivered. She reached up to grab her mum’s hand. Her eyes widened before she buried her face against Mum’s hip. At 1.31 the camera panned around.
Crowds rushed across the busy intersection. A FedEx truck slammed into a small group of children. The impact knocked them into a surge of screaming tourists.
No one stopped to help them.
The camera jolted and swung as people were swept down the road. Half way across the bridge the chubby kid stopped. The camera angled down and appeared to lift off the pavement. A head appeared and two arms reached up. Traffic slowed to a crawl, an orchestra of horns wailed like sirens of panic. In contrast to the solid Eifel Tower the crowd beneath it moved in waves. Large groups split and reformed, a tsunami of screaming people hemmed in by the bridge. Dozens were forced over the side before a gap opened in the stampede.
This new wave showed no signs of panic or fear. At the centre of the group a man in a blood soaked shirt jerked upright and collapsed. Blood pumped from deep lacerations on his neck and his right forearm was missing.
Behind him two teenagers with bloody faces carried between them what looked like the survivor of a tiger attack.
At 2.47 the camera focussed on a young girl. Her dainty yellow dress was smudged with dirt and drops of blood. A plait had lost its ribbon. Frayed hair floated in the breeze. One arm was raised to grip a hand. The rest of her mum had been left behind. The girl turned and stared at the camera with milky yellow eyes.
I felt Louise’s hand clamp down on my shoulder.
The girl had no throat. She opened her mouth once or twice before moving off with the rest of the crowd, still holding the hand.
My other flat mate, Karla, threw back her chair and puked into the sink.
‘Turn it off.’ Louise’s voice sounded a million miles away.
My hand on the mouse wouldn’t respond.
Louise slammed down the laptop screen.
The touch of her steady hand on mine made me jump.
I couldn’t stop trembling.
I looked at my friend’s white faces and knew they too could smell fear’s foul breath.
You can find the links to previous guest storyteller posts at https://sarahpotterwrites.com/guest-storytellers-2/