Tertiary Phase - Episode Fifteen
Having spent several minutes trying to remember exactly where she had parked it, Emily eventually found her car again and set off in the direction of home. As the light of the headlamps somehow refused to penetrate the prevailing darkness, progress was of the painfully slow variety. She had only got to the end of the road before she managed to hit an unlit 'keep left' bollard which had been craftily placed right at the edge of the pavement so that it could strike when least expected. Emily cursed and then questioned why exactly she was trying to drive home, considering the current conditions. Her first thought was that she was feeling slightly hungry, slightly scared and in need of a stiff drink. She decided to leave the car where it was and find the nearest off-licence.
Ten minutes later, Emily arrived at 37 Travers Road with a plain blue plastic bag in each hand. She wasn't sure whether John would have made it back home or not, a consideration heightened by the presence of cake monsters roaming the streets, and so she decided to climb in through the large window that John had left open despite having locked both the doors. John didn't seem to notice her arrive in the kitchen, and so Emily plonked a can of beer down in front of him as noisily as plausibly possible. John looked up for a second and thanked her and then went back to toying with his bowl of yellow and orange mush, irritating Emily to the point that she dropped the bags and went off to mutter about how ungrateful men were and how they took every single bloody thing for granted at the first opportunity.
She eventually wandered back into the kitchen to find that John had finished off his meal, but was still looking nonplussed. She gave him a cold hard stare, but this only led him to apologise and ask if she'd wanted some of the cheesy carrots he'd been eating, only he hadn't been sure and he had assumed that she didn't like cheesy carrots and so hadn't offered her any. Emily pointed out to John that this was not the problem — the problem was that she had braved a post-apocalyptic world and broken into his house just to give him a beer and he hadn't even asked if she was okay. John pointed out that he was sorry, gave her a hug and asked if she was okay, to which Emily replied that of course she bloody well wasn't. John asked why this was, thus giving Emily the necessary permission to explain every detail, large and small, of her not-being-okay-ness. John listened and nodded empathetically at appropriate moments until Emily seemed to have cheered up, thus giving him the opportunity to slip in the question of whether she had any food or drink in the bags she had brought in. Emily rolled her eyes and was about to make a remark about men and their stomachs when she realised that she had been the one who had bought the stuff in the first place.
Meanwhile, Cedric was sat wrapped up in a coat in the passenger seat of Emily's car. While not the natural habitat for a swan, Cedric found the spot rather warm and comfortable and thus began to doze off once more. In doing so, he entered a dream world which he didn't quite understand, but which seemed to send a chill down his spine even while wrapped inside the nice warm jacket. The warmth of the car was quickly replaced by a cold, hard room filled with angry people. All eyes were on Cedric, who was seated at the centre of the room in a sort of wooden stand, tapping his hands and feet nervously against the wood as if waiting for some vital piece of news. Cedric was just starting to realise that something wasn't quite right when the dream started to progress a little too quickly for his liking.
'Would the defendant please stand? Cedric Vesalius, you are charged with unlawful interaction, malpractice and interference with humans. How do you plead?'
A sigh. 'Guilty, your honour.'
'Then I am forced to impose the recommended punishment for your crimes — I hereby sentence you to twenty-five years of amnesia and disguisal on Earth. You wanted to meet the humans? Well, you'll have plenty of time for that now...'
'Please, your honour! I didn't mean any harm!'
As these words passed his lips, Cedric's dream started to fade again, leaving him once more as a solitary, and now rather distressed, mute swan.
Emily heard the quacking from inside the house and came running outside to find Cedric in quite a state. Something had spooked him, but she couldn't tell what, and so she decided it would be best to bring him inside, much to the surprise of John, who was currently working his way through a packet of hobnobs and a can of bitter. Emily realised that she had forgotten to mention that the swan that John had been paid a five-figure sum to look for had been sitting on the front seat of her car for the last half an hour, but John didn't seem to mind — after all, how important could the swan really be now that the end of the world had come?
'But how do we find it? It could be anywhere!'
Lluchmoor had come up with a very good point, and Pyrodæmon almost considered making a note of such a rare event. However, the reality of it all was starting to get him down a bit, and so he simply sulked off towards the tow truck in the hopes that there would be some un-cremated jelly babies still sitting in the cab — Lluchmoor had set some up there, too, so that they could enjoy the view. As he wandered through the darkness, Pyro muttered to himself about the inanity of it all, and how if life had been at all fair to him then he wouldn't be in the stupid situation he was in now. As he rounded the side of the house, he noticed that the truck had an eerie sort of glow to it, which on closer inspection turned out to be coming from something stuck to the floor of the truck's flatbed. At first Pyro was only a little curious, but this soon changed as he discovered exactly what the source of the glow was, and his foul, rotten teeth were exposed as a broad grin spread across his putrid face.