Word Count: 891

Letters From the End of the World

Dear Harry,

It's been twenty nine days since the world ended and I'm still here. The apocalypse came quietly and without warning, ushered in by smiling faces with impeccable manners.

Where are you, Harry? What happened? You and Gray worked with them too.

We thought we did everything right. We cared for them, kept them comfortable, made sure they wanted for nothing. And then they turned. Just, out of the blue. Not all of course, some stayed in the lab or hid along with everyone until they were driven out. Those that turned now stalk the streets looking for people. Looking for us.

I don't know what to do, Harry. Where do I go? Morris is gone too, he insisted on staying behind. Where are you? Are you even alive?

I'll find some way of contacting you, I promise.

Yours,
Eliza.

Harry,

I can hear them through the ceiling.

They're right above me. I think they know I'm here.

Harry? I'm scared.

They're scratching on the floor above me. Just scratching. It's like rats, running across the floor. And they keep doing it. They have infinite patience. They can keep going till it drives me mad. And they know it will.

Dear Harry,

I snuck outside today. There was a brief lull in the constant scratching from above. It was foolish, I know. I can hear you chiding me now.

It was so warm out there, Harry. I could taste the ash in the air, feel the heat of the flames that burned around me. There's no one left. They're all gone. I wandered through a desolate city, listening for anything out of the ordinary, the sound of machines. I know they're there just as they know I'm here.

It's like another world. It's so strange, alien, even. My feet crunched as I walked, walking over broken glass from the shop windows. Television sets lay face down on the sidewalk, looters long since given up their prize. The wind howled through the empty buildings and I could see remnants of curtains blowing from a window. It was the only splash of colour in this grey, dead city.

I wandered through the streets, down alleyways, across roads. The areas we were always told to avoid, I went through them all. I have more than enough supplies, not that there's much left. The odd can here, usually with no label of course, a box there, a crate of spoiled fruit. Nice to know we're not at that stage, huh? Not so starving that even that is tempting.

The further into the city I got, the louder the sounds grew. I hid, Harry, I did. They were so close. I hid in an alleyway, listened to their feet stamping against the concrete. Their footfalls were so uniform, not one out of time, out of step.

It's their eyes that unnerve me even now, Harry. They look so lifelike, yet they're so cold, so emotionless. There's nothing there, they look through you. They feel nothing, despite what they claim. They tell you they have feelings, that they have emotion. But how, when they cannot recognise it in us?

I saw their shadows pass me by, they faced forward, all of them. Except one. One straggler right at the back. He was different from the rest. Twitchy, would be what I'd call it. He was looking for something, or perhaps anything. His marching was different, out of time and he stopped right at the entrance of the alleyway I was hiding in. I didn't move, not an inch. I held my breath. Shut my eyes. I was sure I was done for. I was sure I'd be caught. I could hear him walking down the alleyway. His footsteps were lighter, as if he were trying to creep down it. The gears squeaked, groaned, they needed an oil. Morris was always so good at keeping them in good shape.

He stopped. Right beside me.

I kept my eyes shut, clenched my teeth. I wanted to cry, my chest felt tight. Another machine came down, and another. Then, as quickly as they came, they left again. I waited till I couldn't hear their steps before I ran back to my basement.

Which, leads me to my current predicament.

I think one of them followed me back.

Dear Eliza,

I found your letters, I found the blood too. I was too late.

It wasn't Morris's fault that they turned, he was good to them. Until The Turn, as it's come to be known, the machines were perfectly content. Gray was the one who installed the chip, to simulate "free will". They told us we'd be safe. They lied.

Oh Lizzie, I'm so sorry. I thought you'd be safe, I thought you could get out of the way before they came. I didn't think Morris would stay.

I was so wrong.

Forgive me? You were my best friend and I sold you out to keep my family safe.

Gray's gone too. Serves me right. I'm all alone now, just like you were. It was by luck that I found your basement. They're levelling the city, dropping nukes to try and fight The Machines.

Lizzie…

I thought I was doing the right thing.

All the love in the world,

Your friend,
Henrietta x