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Spitzer Wayne Kyle

The Lost Country, Episode Four

First came the time-storm, which erased half the population. Then came the Dinosaur Apocalypse …

How did it all begin? Well, that depends on where you were and who you ask. In some places it started with the weather—which quickly became unstable and began behaving in impossible ways. In still others it started with the lights in the sky, which shifted and pulsed and could not be explained. Elsewhere it started with the disappearances: one here, a few there, but increasing in occurrence until fully three quarters of the population had vanished. Either way, there is one thing on which everyone agrees—it didn't take long for the prehistoric flora and fauna to start showing up (often appearing right where someone was standing, in which case the two were fused, spliced, amalgamated). It didn't take long for the great Time-displacement called the Flashback—which was brief but had aftershocks, like an earthquake—to change the face of the earth. Nor for the stories, some long and others short, some from before the maelstrom (and resulting societal collapse) and others after, to be recorded.

Welcome to the Lost Country.

From “The Devil's Triangle”:

There were six of them, as I said—all of whom rushed us the instant our feet touched the ground. All of whom snarled and charged us like wolverines as we raised our weapons and fired—the flare gun cracking and hissing, blanching the scarlet haze (for the sun had painted everything red and gold), its projectile punching through one of the raptors’ chests and lighting it up so that its ribs were backlit briefly and I could see, if only for an instant, its burning, beating heart.

Yet still they came, another one leaping at me even as I dropped the gun—which clattered against the planks—as I dropped it and grabbed the thing by its neck—then brought the knife down with my other hand and stabbed it between the eyes.

“Run!” I shouted, even as Amanda shot another—her second—and then bolted toward the shore, drawing the others so that I was able to snatch up the flare gun and quickly reload it; so that I was able to pursue them and to shoot one in the back—while Amanda turned and took out the last of them (shooting it in the head so that the back of its skull exploded like a spaghetti dinner thrown against the wall; so that it collapsed, writhing, about 10 feet in front of her—whereupon she quickly approached it and shot it again, just to be sure).

And then she looked at me (as the dead and dying animals lay all around us) and I looked back: our chests heaving; our faces covered in sweat, our worn clothes bloody and disheveled, and I knew that she knew—which was that today we were the predators, the thing needing to be feared—the killers. And that neither of us needed to worry; not about food or other predators or mysterious lights in the sky or anything. Because we were the masters of our fate, we and no one else, not even God. And we were the master of the world’s fate, too.

At which she ran to me and we collided and I held her fast, there on the long jetty in the Atlantic Ocean (in the Bermuda Triangle), there beneath a day moon and the blood-red sky, in an instant in which it was good, so very good, not to be afraid, not to be alone. And as to what may or may not have happened in those breaths, those pulse points between that moment and the next—the next day, the next search, the next milestone; as to that, I offer only a quote from Gandhi: “Speak only if it improves upon the silence.”
135 printed pages
Original publication
2021

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