The Clackers

a Short Story by Raquel Swann

The diner shop was relatively quiet considering the disastrous conditions outside. It had been two days since the attacks begun, but Meg and Daniel just sat there holding hands as if they were in a dream. The waitress, who was also the owner, approached them gently trying not to disturb the harmony and love of the moment they were sharing.

“You’re whole bill is on the house,” she said. Her accent was undeniable. It was obvious she had been a native of New York City since birth.  “You guys remind me of when my husband and I were together and how nothing else mattered, god rest his soul.”

“Is your husband-,” Meg attempted to ask but could not bear to finish her sentence.

“Yes, he died months ago,” she replied, bowed her head, made the sign of the Cross with her hand, raised her head, and continued, “A part of me is relieved that he didn’t live to see such terrible, awful times.” She stood there awkwardly smiling for a few seconds and turned around and walked off and started to clean up.

“Why is she cleaning up? I mean, does it even make sense,” wondered Daniel.

“Pride, I guess. Maybe she’s just trying to forget what’s happening out there, like we are.”

“And did she really think I was going to pay for this meal? I, mean we’ve been sleeping in this diner for two days. Just us three. This is like the sixteenth time I heard about her husband,” Daniel spoke loudly but the woman paid him no attention.

“I know! Stop it,” returned Meg and continued to speak softly, “That’s why I keep asking about him. She seems to forget she knows us. I just want her last days to be as happy as ours.”

Daniel’s frustrations poured out of his mouth and without hesitation, “Lady, you never told us your name, you’ve been pretending that we are new customers for days! You told us our meals were on the house every time! You keep telling us about your husband. I bet he left you! You don’t have any memory loss! I know this because you keep calling me ‘asshole’ every chance you get. You hear me!” Once again the woman continued to clean and paid no attention to his rant.

“Sweetie who cares at this point. This is just about me and you, now,” Meg continued clinging to Daniels hand over the table. She did not ever want to let go.

“I love you Meg. Forever. Even if that means one more day or one more hour or even a minute,” Daniel lovingly said as screams of terror from outside the shop began.

“I love you as well. It may not even be an hour. I think they’re coming now,” Meg replies as they both look out of the glass window to the diner.

They could clearly see civilians of the city running away from the terrors that lurked in the trees above. Meg and Daniel continued to hold hands as they approached the window, still holding hands, and watched in horror as those creatures attacked. Thousands and thousands of them jumping from human to human biting and scratching until a last breath was drawn. The little furry assailants held no mercy as they continued this vicious onslaught, again, again, and again.  Meg shook her head in disbelief and rested her head on Daniels broad shoulder. She knew even he could not protect her from this disaster.

Suddenly, one of the creatures stood in front of the window watching the two lovers with great interest. It starting making hissing noises and other creatures grouped together until there were hundreds. Meg gripped Daniel’s hand as tightly as she could. The creatures began thumping against the window one at a time. Those that weren’t knocked out by the impact got back up and sacrificed their bodies in an attempt to gain entry to the diner.

The woman stopped cleaning, threw the dirty towel over her shoulder, walked up behind Daniel and whispered gently in his ear, “asshole.”

Daniel shook his head and smiled smugly at Meg and gripped her hand tightly.

“Daniel, I love you. I can’t believe these innocent little, cute creatures would be the end of humanity,” Meg said with a tear forming her eye.

“Squirrels. Who would have thought they would ever attack us,” Daniel responded as the window finally shattered inwards. The clacking of hundreds of squirrels would be the last sound anyone in that shop would hear.

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