OK, so the Prime Minister is dead. That’s bad. That, not to put too fine a point on it, fucking sucks. There were 25 of us left before one of those big storms came along and killed the Prime Minister, which now means there are only 24 of us. If it was anyone else, say, for example, Todd, or maybe even Patricia, someone who nobody likes, then it would be a different story. We probably wouldn’t even be having this conversation, if I’m being honest.
Which I am.
“That’s the way it is,” we always say whenever someone dies, but before the people who were dying were not the Prime Minister. Usually we don’t even really get sad when night falls and those things shimmer in through the darkness and drag the corpses away, off the front lawn of the big plantation house where we’re all holed up. By that time all the windows have been covered and when we hear the terrible howl those things make, the one that makes your ears bleed if you haven’t stuffed them with cotton balls, as we learned to do, we are usually just sitting around playing Uno, the dead already forgotten.
“We should give him a proper burial,” said Patricia, who nobody likes. “We shouldn’t let them take him away. He was the Prime Minister after all.”
“What the fuck is wrong with you,” said Steve, not asking.
Patricia, who was once forbidden from talking to or even looking at Janine because she was giving her splitting migraines with her terrible vibes, had her heart in the right place. For once. Having the Prime Minister around kept our hopes high. It felt like we might be able to get back to normal one day, like we might be able to stop worrying about those storms that break all your bones and the horrible shimmering things with translucent skin that crawled onto our lawn every time one of ours died and did horrible things to their bodies.
“If we don’t leave the bodies on the lawn they’ll come inside,” said Steve, flicking Patricia in the forehead over and over again, emphasizing each word. Her eyes welled up but she let him because he was right, she was being stupid, she was getting sentimental. Even the Prime Minister would have to go on the lawn, and even the Prime Minister would have those horrible things done to his dead body, to his dead penis, specifically.
So we did what we needed to do. We stripped his clothes, placed him in the box with the gut-soaked velvet where all the dead bodies went, and covered him with flowers, at Patricia’s request, because we all felt a little bad about Steve flicking her in the head so many times.
Then Steve and Max put on the suits, the big metal diver’s suits that they wear in case a storm starts, which it often does, and hauled the box outside. And as soon as they stepped outside we saw the clouds darken and Patricia screamed at us to shut the door and we did. Steve and Max banged on the doors and begged us to let them back inside, but we did not. We would wait until the storm was over like we had all agreed upon, even as we heard the wet crunching of bones and the sizzling of flesh and, hours later, when we still hadn’t opened the doors, the delighted howls of the things as they crept onto the lawn.
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