Gulls

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: The Imaginarium

Submitted: June 06, 2018

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Submitted: June 06, 2018

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Gulls!

No one expected it. There had been the odd isolated incident of gulls swooping at people on beaches; even some cases of them flapping at those in the water and causing some distress. Had anyone realised quite how many gulls existed before they all turned to attack?

First to fall to them were other birds, probably taken as much by surprise as we were. There was never much left of the smaller species but the carcasses of the bigger ones soon mounted up, and the sight of those gulls feeding on them was enough to turn even the strongest stomach.

Gulls have never been confined to the coasts, but more and more of them headed inland, creating havoc with flight paths, bringing traffic to a stop. They were not scared off by people no matter how much they moved around and threatened them. In fact, many of us were to fall foul of the species too.

It started on the coastlines. The gulls were ferocious in the attacks they would make, pecking and clawing, always targetting the face, the eyes. People tried to take cover indoors, but the birds would soon break through the glass. All the windows, chimneys, any entrances at all would have to be thoroughly boarded up to keep them out.

I think no one quite believed it when the reports came pouring in. Birds just didn’t behave like that, did they! Perhaps it was some kind of avian virus, one that specifically targetted gulls. The govenrment would send out teams of scientists to investigate, but it was a case of too little, too late. Either the teams never made it out there or they never found a way to report back.

And then the gulls hit the city.

The panic they caused was instant as they streamed along the enclosed streets. Those lucky enough to make it inside, soon found they were not so lucky as the birds attacked the plate glass in a formation that seemed to set the store windows shattering while leaving the gulls themselves pretty much unscathed.

Vehicle crashed in to vehicle as all views from the windscreens suddenly vanished in a mass of grey and white feathers. Windscreens crashed, birds attacked through open windows. It was chaos and it was carnage.

Anyone that tried to attack them found themselves instantly surrounded. It was impossible to keep hold of any weapon when being attacked from all directions with both vicious talons and beaks. No matter if you killed a few, there were hundreds more ready to take their place.

Was this just local? The power lines were down and so much action in the air was playing havoc with radio signals. The internet was still there, for those able to get a connection, but information was hard to share.

We all sought shelter wherever we could. Subways seemed to be the safest bet but even there the occasional gull would show up. They were not going to starve, that was certain. Stores were broken in to, their food stock there for the birds to help themselves to, and as they had turned carrion there were enough bodies to keep them fed for months.

People got covered up from head to toe, and went out to attack them with guns, bats, anything that could be used as a weapon. There were just too many of them to beat back. Fewer people returned than left, most with pretty horrific wounds.

Days passed and our situation worsened. We had no water, no food, no sanitation. And most of all we needed medical supplies; bandages, antibiotics, steri-strips to hold gaping wounds closed.

They looked at me as though I was mad. I went out without covering up, two blades supplied from fellow refugees strapped to my back. I had a large satchel ready to fill with supplies. It was not far to the drug store. I’d make it there and back.

I could feel them approach, the breeze stirred up by their wings, giving me time to remove one of the long daggers, bring the birds down with a slash to the wing, a stab to the underbelly. But I only attacked when I had to. Mostly, I tried to avoid moving any more than necessary, walking slowly, steadily forward.

The drug store windows were shattered but I could see no birds inside there. A lot of glass though, that needed careful avoidance. I found my way to the first aid but the drugs were harder. I had no idea what I was looking for, so just grabbed whatever sounded like antibiotics. I picked up dozens of tubes of ointment, at least it would be antiseptic.

Back to the subway but there’s something different now. The gulls, they are falling from the sky. Some are dead when they hit the ground, others writhe for a while as if in agony before giving up their struggle to hold on to life. By the time I make it back there are very few gulls left in the air.

It’s going to take a while but at some time we’ll get answers to what caused them to become such cruelly vicious enemies. The death toll in humans will be high, even more in injuries. But we’ve survived, those of us that made it here at least. The question that is uppermost in everyone’s mind is; will this same thing happen again?


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