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The Opener

By Spacewarp All Rights Reserved ©


The Opener

Listen to that wind, my beloved! How it howls and whines! I would not care to be out on a night like this, would you? How lucky we are to be inside, so snug and warm. Yes. So warm. In front of such a lovely hot fire. But we shall need the fire a lot hotter shan't we?

There. More wood. And now a few sharp pokes. Yes, that's good. Soon be nice and hot. Hot enough for our purposes.

Take a while, though. Yes it will. Long enough for a story.

Yes, my beloved. A story. You like Mummy's stories, don't you. Well, this one you've heard before, but it doesn't hurt to tell it again, does it? A good story always bears repeating, I say. Are you comfortable?...No...don't struggle.

You are comfortable, aren't you, my beloved? Of course you are. Then I shall begin.

A long time ago, my beloved, long before you were born, it was. Well, in those days, you could walk outside you know. Every day. And you didn't have to wear lots of clothing to protect you from the cold and rays that make you sick. No you didn't.

In those days, my beloved, you could see the sun almost all the time. That's right. The sun. I've told you about the sun before, haven't I? Well, it was warm outside in those days, and bright, and it didn't turn your skin funny if you stayed out too long. No, just a dark brown colour, which was alright. Not black and smelly like your late Uncle. Not greeny-blue, like Mummy's fingers, the ones that fell off.

Dark brown your skin went. And it was called a "sun-tan". And people used to fly all over the world, in search of places where they could lie outside in the sunshine, just to get one of those sun-tans.

Sorry, beloved. Mummy's drooling...

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes.

Well, it was like that in those days. Lovely it was. Not like now, when it's always dark outside, and everywhere's covered with snow, and if you stay outside for too long, you go all stiff and dead like your Auntie Janet.

Yes, it wasn't always like this, my beloved. You see, now, all over the world, we are living in what they call a "nuclear winter". I've told you what a nuclear winter is, haven't I, beloved? Yes, I have. How the sun never shines anymore, so all the plants in the world have died, all the crops and all the forests...and now that all the plants are dead, well then so are all the animals that used to eat them.

And we used to eat the animals, didn't we, my beloved.

Yes, all because of the bombs it was. The nuclear bombs. But we were lucky, beloved - your Uncle and your Auntie, and your Daddy, God rest their souls. We were all lucky, because we weren't killed by the bombs, and we managed to find this place, didn't we. Deep, deep underground. And filled with...filled with what, my beloved?

Food! Cans and cans of food. Enough to last a lifetime! And so, beloved, we never needed to leave here. So long as we had enough wood and coal to keep warm, and plenty of clothes to wear for going outside - you know, the ones with the funny helmets - we could be happy for ever and ever!

And you were born here, weren't you, my beloved.

Well, that was nearly ten years ago now, beloved. And your Uncle and your Auntie got ill and died of the sickness from the outside rays, and then your Daddy left to get some more parts to repair our radio - and we never saw HIM again, did we?

So then it was just you and me, beloved. My little baby girl, who was born in this very room. Yes, the room we are in now. The room with the fire that is almost hot enough.

And we could have lived here together for years and years, my beloved. Just the two of us, and all those cans full of food.

But you had to go and lose the can-opener, beloved. Didn't you.

And we've had nothing to eat for five days now.

So you see why Mummy has to kill you, don't you, my beloved? Mummy's just so hungry, she can't think of anything but food. And you're the only thing left that she can eat.

The fire's almost hot enough for roasting, beloved. And I know this knife isn't too sharp, but it's all I've got, now that I ruined all the others, trying to open the cans.

So, my beloved, are you sure you can't remember where you put the can-opener?

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