Well, littl'n', it just happened, all of a sudden. The source of all life flipped the bitch on us, every one, and with unexpected speed. We had no time to run. The closest colonies off Earth were just as fucked as those on the surface. The missions further out into space? Who the fuck knows? Some desperate fools really hope they're gonna find a way to save us. Not me. The sun turned baleful and red. They're gonna keep as far away from that hateful orb as possible. On even days the thought of people, somewhere else, living life without the weight above and the blood-colored light; well, it gives me hope. On odd days it makes me wanna breathe the deep.
Oh, you wanted a history lesson, young blood? Wanted to know how it came to this? What lies waitin’ in the shadows?
Well, we fled to the only place left, the bottom of the goddamned sea. This place wasn't meant for as many as came. This place wasn't meant to be lived in beyond the span of a few months. This used to be a research station, here ‘neath the waves, looking at life that didn't need that fucking sun. Life that wouldn't care that parking lots were turning into molten patches of tar. I think there was a short war--- Yah. There was. Don't know what bodies won, but the ones as did sent the "best and brightest" of humanity down here into the heavy, down here to the red: Artists and titans of industry, athletes and senators, lawyers and doctors, scientists and philosophers, all of 'em at the top of their fields, the strongest damn personalities they could find. It blew up in no time at all.
Now, I was too small ta know, but the one who walked me weren't. Every last one of them turned wicked. They split into smaller an' smaller factions. They killed each other. They had themselves a bloody war 'tween dozens and dozens a sides in this dozen miles of tunnels. Something happened. 'Knocked out the main power and kicked on these fucking red lights.
Don’t rightly know how long it took, but folk sorta fell to the pressure. You can’t help but feel the weight of it, wherever ya go. And the heat, awful damn hot down here; air’s sweaty, too thick. And them lights, it‘s all blood or black and hateful heavy. People went strange.
Some of ‘em could hear other’s thoughts or feel their intentions. Some of ‘em can do damn strange things with their brains. Some, well, some of ‘em changed... got too strong or too fast and quit thinking like folk. Some of us got bent by the pressure, for good or ill. Some just cracked all together...
Still though, this place keeps a’runnin’, just barely. The farm's, they're automatic and so are the desalinatin' fountains and sinks. 'Course every blood knows that and knows where they’re at; yer gonna have to fight, every damn time you visit either. Most of 'em hide in the darkness, skipping from shadow to shadow. Fools have gotten afraid of the light.
Me? I like to stick near the viewin' ports. Sure them lava flows give the same goddamned red glow as the hell-lights… but every once in awhile something'll change in the glow, or a creature’ll float on by. I seen blue and yellow and orange down here, plenty of times. But just once, a long time past, I caught a glimpse of green. Green like that grass I can barely remember. Still dream of it, though. Every fucking night. Anyway, the ‘cracked never go near the windows. Dunno why. Guess maybe they hate the light as much as they hate everything else.
Yer getting' that look in yer eye, missy. I seen it too many times. Well, if yer gonna do it, take me out while I'm dreaming, little girl. I don't hate the grass 'til I wake up anyhow.
Her stomach wouldn’t allow anything else. She kept shaking her head. She crouched behind a broad scalding pipe, made a feeble fist, and pressed it into her aching abdomen.
Her skin prickled and burned, but she couldn’t sweat. She glared at the closed, windowless hatch and swallowed hard. Her tongue stuck unpleasantly against a dry throat. Her heartbeat pounded desperately in her chest.
She’d be ravenous, she knew. She’d be sloppy, she knew that too.
She hated the slow measured seconds and loud, angry hinges on hydroponic bay’s hatch. It was a terrible danger and told everyone nearby where she was.
Still, she found herself turning the wheel and tearing open the entrance. Her sinuses sang with the sharp vegetal shock of tomato vines. She ran to them, greasy white locks flowing lankly behind her. Sharp teeth sank into fat red juicy orbs. She took two heartbeats to swallow before she took off at a run through the verdant, orderly rows of the hydroponic bay. She quickly stowed a dozen tomatoes and half as many squash; some were small enough to still bear blooms. Quick work with a small sharp blade brought her two long bearing a wealth of pea pods.
She serpentined madly towards the back hatch before stopping short. The back hatch was open. Behind her, the other entrance slammed automatically closed. She dove directly beneath the nearest plastic vat of growing compound and tried to shrink into nothingness.