Another naked man bounced off the bonnet, and the sickening way the car jumped made it clear he had fallen beneath the wheels. A glance in the rear-view mirror confirmed it: a bloody mess of crumpled muscle and bad angles.
“Fuck fuck fuck!” Melitha swore through gritted teeth. Ahead, naked bodies lay in various stages of decomposition, rudely shoved to the sides of the road by earlier collisions. The smell here, like the smell everywhere, was insane.
Melitha floored it.
“Melitha,” said Thophie, trying to keep it together as the car sped along a road slick with blood, “where are we going?”
“Away from the hadron collider,” Melitha said, narrowly missing a stiff and flyblown woman on the road. “Just away.”
Thophie was certain none of this was anything to do with the hadron collider – how could it be? – but she refused to get into that argument again. And in the end, it really didn’t matter what the cause was. What was happening was happening.
A fly buzzing on the dashboard caught Thophie’s attention. It was on its back, spinning, wings a blur of sporadic panic. It seemed so normal, she almost sighed.
Another naked human – maybe once a rabbit, maybe once a fox – leapt out in front of the speeding SUV. Melitha swerved but hit, and the naked woman spun in a grisly pirouette and fell.
She would probably live.
(Was that a good thing?)
Thophie checked her phone again, praying that she could just google some kind of answer to all this – but the phone was still blank and lifeless. Whatever was turning the animals into humans had also fucked with the satellites. “What if it’s like this everywhere?”
Melitha laughed, a noise that was nothing to do with joy.
“It’s not. It can’t be.”
A thump on the roof as someone who had, moments ago, been some kind of bird plummeted onto the SUV from above.
“Fuck!” Melitha instinctively ducked her head, but the roof was strong. Thophie turned and watched the naked body bouncing and rolling on the road behind them, getting bloodier and bloodier, before coming to rest on the sticky wet bitumen.
It had started with the mammals. But now it was happening to birds too. Bodies fell from the clouds, heavy, flapping, scared.
(Melitha said she’d seen it happening to fish too – apparently the bay was now filled with men, women, children, all drowning. That had been Melitha’s last straw.)
Suddenly the dashboard was filled with naked flesh. A full-grown man, thrashing and wild-eyed, was where the fly had been. Melitha slammed on the brakes.
“Oh, now the insects? Great, just great.”
As they dragged the man out of the car and threw him weakly onto the road, a horrifying thought occurred to Thophie.
More than 90% of the cells in the human body are parasites.
“If it’s spreading,” she said, feeling instantly uncomfortable in her own skin, “how long until…”
“Come on,” said Melitha gruffly, “let’s get the fuck out of here.”