The Adventures of the Urban Survival Squad in Post-holocaust Britain

Submitted into Contest #80 in response to: Start your story with a major news event breaking — one that will change the world forever.... view prompt


Fantasy Fiction Funny

In the beginning there was that which was not, and that which strove to be.

A single point of infinite potential, floating gently in no-where, un-waiting in no time, existing quietly and unremarkably in Void.  Until suddenly (although ‘suddenly’ is used here for dramatic narrative effect as no time yet existed and therefore nothing could happen in any linear manner, suddenly or otherwise!), and for no readily apparent reason, exploded. Hmmm. Exploded, hardly does the moment justice. Gargantuanly humongous colossally shaking the pillars of heaven type crash of near-infinite massiveness would be closer to the mark. However, scientists have reduced this entirely extraordinary event to be rendered simply as, the Big Bang.

Everything that could ever be was born in that single, shattering moment; matter and anti-matter, light and dark, all and nothing, sentience and life. And it was from the marriage of sentience and life that awareness was born, and thus, the Universe noticed itself.

The Void, which had been quite non-happily existing in blissful null, awoke and noticed it as well. The Void, coveted and hated what it saw.

The game was on.

A cloud of chaos scurries across the land...

North Wales, 2.30pm.


In a field.

It's wet.

If the rocks and stones that stud the field had eyes, they would have seen it all before. Born in the heart of a fiery volcano and spewed forth aeons before, they would have watched the world come and go. Scorching summers, frigid winters, walls of ice appearing and receding. Ages passing in the blink of an imaginary eye. They would have seen the first human figures scurrying across the lands chasing slow moving gentle creatures, and being chased by faster fiercer ones; the long slow move towards the taming of the land and its penning. The first enclosures, the surrounding of the field with their brethren stacked into high walls. Yes, they would have seen it all before.

Except for this.

This would be new.

A farmer stands knee deep in mud, half of his rumpled figure encased under the bonnet of a battered old Land Rover. Crackling words pepper the air with Celtic oaths as he struggles to coax some life back into the aged engine. Entreaties are made to ancient spirits, promises to newer gods, but all to no avail. The engine remains stubbornly lifeless. He does not notice the airliner passing far above, powering its way through the thickening atmosphere as it toils towards far flung lands. Nor does he notice the oddly sparkling cloud that follows in its wake.

The cloud passes over the field, the air rippling and dancing and changing…and the farmer has just enough time to make one last, heartfelt oath as the tired old car suddenly, and quite unexpectedly, transforms into something not quite unlike a huge angry bear. Unfortunately for the farmer, it is enough like a huge angry bear to bite his head clean off.

Something is not right.

Later that same day...

A small fishing boat bobs gently in the great green swell of ocean forty two miles West of the craggy Irish coastline. The sun is slowly sinking below the horizon, a blazing disc that leaves a golden track invitingly across the seaway, sparkling edged waves lapping gently around. The boat is silent.

Had anyone on the silver airliner flying far overhead been able to look back, they would have seen a strangely sparkling opalescent cloud swirling in the plane's wake. And had they been able to see the fishing boat bobbing on the still waters, they may have been surprised to note the long spindly arms that suddenly sprouted from its sides, the toothy mouth appearing at its prow and the dark eyes that opened at its side. The crew were certainly more than a little surprised when their cabin below deck transformed into a stomach; their surprise, however, did not last for long.

Something is definitely not right.

The two men sat back to back on a small hill overlooking the town below. The sound of a passenger jet, high above them as it cuts its way through the air, can be heard. One of the men, clearly the taller, heavily built, and frowning as he examines his mobile phone. He moves forwards and grunts.

‘What are you doing, Kes?’, says the smaller, slighter man with evident annoyance. His sparse beard and stubbornly fly away hair blow around his face in the soft summer breeze.

‘Something’s not right, CJ.’, says the bigger man. ‘I am getting loads of notifications. The whole web is going nuts!’

CJ shifts himself round, putting the can of beer he has been sipping from carefully down onto the grass.

‘What sort of notifications?’ he asks.

‘Weird ones. Something very strange is going on. The news sites are full of it. Alien speculation is rife, amongst other things. There seems to be a bit of a breakdown in….er, reality.’

CJ lifts himself to his feet, his brown flowered shirt and faded corduroy trousers fluttering as the breeze picks at them. He lifts his chin and strikes a heroic pose, a purple velvet cloak flutters magnificently from his shoulders, even though Kes knew no such cloak had been there a moment before.

‘Kes, the Urban Survival Squad are on the case!’

Kes sighs and rolls his eyes. It was going to be one of those days. He hadn’t even known they were the Urban Survival Squad in Pre-Holocaust Britain until just now.

Aboard the jet winging its way across the Atlantic, safely ensconced in a comfortably plush first-class seat, a man sits scribbling frantically in a notebook. The equation that he is working on has been haunting his dreams for weeks, tantalising him with its simple elegance, its beautiful complexity.

The Department of Theoretical Philosophy for which he works is a hotbed of competition, and for years the man had sought for an idea that would raise him above his fellow lecturers. And then the dreams had begun. Just glimpses at first, caught fleetingly between the moments of sleeping and waking, a shining shadow of promise. Every night became a meeting place for the tendrils of possibilities and the man's subconscious, a meld of that which is, and that which could be.

The equation that haunted his sleep had taunted him at first, leading him on with its promises of success, a way to describe reality once and for all, to demonstrate the essence of existence at all its levels; broken down for all to see. But it had eluded him. Until one month ago, when he had realised what the problem was. All his attempts to translate the equation from the dream-realm to the here and now had utilised three-dimensional principles, and then the answer had come. He had to write using his dream state as a fourth dimension, an essential component of the equation. Meditation, yogic mantra, trance-states, all had played their part in allowing him to tease apart this mystery of mysteries.

And so, the equation had been born. So simple, so graceful, and drawn up in a single night of frantic scrabbling. Now it sat on his lap, safely contained in a locked briefcase, the one and only copy of a discovery he was certain would change the world, would make him the very centre of the world’s attention once he had given the paper at the conference. His smile was broad, and ever so slightly, insane.

 What Professor Jertzy Lugbender did not realise as his flight took him ever closer to the symposium on unarmed philosophical combat in New York, was that an equation to describe reality, was also an invitation to unravel it. There are forces in the universe that would welcome this, and they were aware of him, had waited ages for a mind just like his. To be infected with the knowledge.

The world’s press awaited, not yet realising they were waiting, but waiting nevertheless. The story would be huge, and so would the consequences.


February 06, 2021 23:30

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Palak Shah
15:29 Mar 08, 2021

This story kept me hooked till the last moment and I can definitely say that you are an amazing writer. Good job :)) Hope we can be friends ~Palak Shah


David Francis
08:19 Mar 09, 2021

Thank you for your kind words, they are much appreciated. Of course we can be friends :-)


Palak Shah
11:41 Mar 09, 2021



Palak Shah
18:30 Mar 12, 2021

Hey David, could you please read my recent story and share some feedback on it. Thanks :)) ~Your friend Palak


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