The Party at Ray's
My watch had stopped working when The End happened, so my concept of time and how much of it had passed at any given moment wasn’t reliable. What seemed like an hour to me, could have been half of that, and visa versa. It wasn’t just my watch however, as all watches, clocks, anything that could tell the time, had stopped working after The End, and I’ve yet to find a working timepiece, so as far as I know, time died on Monday along with the rest of the world.
So I’m not sure how long it was before I had packed some personal belongings in a rucksack, locked up my house and began walking down the road with my cats, but it seemed to be no time at all before I had gotten close to where some of my friends lived.
Professor Humperdink and Simba were keeping an eye out for anyone or anything, but all the way there we didn’t see a single soul, however that was about to change as when we approached our destination we heard music. Cheesy pop music to be precise, and there was only one person with an eclectic taste like that, my old buddy Ray.
I sighed a sigh of relief when my brain connected the music to him, as surely he must still be alive if his music was blaring out? So I ran, with my cats ahead of me, to the home of Ray and Shav.
Ray had been a hardworking bloke who was a bit of a jack the lad back in the days when life had a meaning, but as he grew older and wiser he mellowed out, met the beautiful Shav and settled down with her. His day job was helping troubled youths become valued members of society, which was a job he loved and one he was good at.
Shav was a highly intelligent motivated pretty lady who you couldn’t help warm to as she was as clever as she was funny. I helped her get a new job with my CV writing skills just before The End and the four of us (my long suffering lady wife Louise being the 4th) were going to go out for a meal sometimes that week, but the world ending kind of scuppered that idea. Ray and Shav were very much in love and everyone was happy for them, but thanks to The End, like most of us, their happy ending wasn’t quite what anyone had expected.
As soon as I saw the house, I was surprised, as there were large balloons outside, and a handmade sign which read “All Welcome” hanging over the door.
Simba spoke up “I’ve got a bad feeling about this Gunva!”
I ignored his cockney apprehension however. I was just glad that there was other human life, as much as I had enjoyed talking to my cats, their interests and mine weren’t really the same. Apart from living together, we didn’t really have much in common, which was a bit of a shame.
It was only a few moments after knocking the door that it opened to reveal a overly happy Ray. Before I could say anything he put his arms round me and gave me a massive hug, which lasted just a little too long. You know when hugs can go from nice to creepy, well this hug was just about to go into creepy territory when he let go.
“I can’t believe you survived Adamicus, I mean, no offence, but out of everyone you have the survival chances of a slug on a salt flat! I expected Hagley and Myke, and the Grays to survive, but you!?”
With that, he ushered me in to “the party” past several of the troubled youths who he’d worked with. As I past them, I thought I noticed something odd about them under their hoodies, but I thought that my eyes were playing up. More fool me.
His house was full of people, people I’d never seen before, and people Ray didn’t know either. They were all having a massive party. Professor Humperdink went straight for the punch bowl, but Simba went looking for his sister Lilly who lived with Ray and Shav.
The booze was flowing and the cheesy music was playing, I put my bag down for a moment and took a beer from a cooler. It was the tastiest beer I’d ever had, and the last one I’d have for a very long time. If I’d known that then, like a lot of other things, I would have taken my time with it.
I then put my foot in it by asking the overly merry Ray, where Shav was. The music seemed to suddenly stop and everyone looked at me. Ray sighed, looked me in the eye and told me that Shav died when The End came and that she’d always said
“Ray, if the end of the world comes and I die, please have a non-stop party and invite everyone and anyone along to it”
It was one of the crazier things that Shav had always said apparently. In retrospect, this was a lie however, so just know that before The End, she was as sane as most people.
Now as I’ve said, I had no concept of time, and I could see Ray was upset so I didn’t want to leave his party too soon to find my long suffering lady wife Louise, as that would just be rude. So I agreed to stay for a bit.
Simba came up to me and told me that he couldn’t find Lilly anywhere, and that he was worried. I told him to chill out and enjoy himself, but he couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong. I should have listened to him really as cat’s hunches are usually right it turns out.
Some hazy time later, and after several long chats about the old days with Ray, I noticed that the room had thinned out quite a bit. I decided that that was my queue to use the toilet. As I went to use the facilities I saw Simba scratching at the door that led to their basement.
“What are you doing Simba?” I asked him.
He looked up at me and told me that he’d seen some of Ray’s work youths take people down here, and when the youths came back up, they came alone. He was sure there was something going on and that we should investigate. I reminded him that curiosity killed the cat, so he should be careful, but he insisted, so I opened the door and stepped into the darkness.
I’d only ever been down in Ray’s basement once before, to watch a transformers marathon and when I got down the stairs it was pitch-black. I recalled that there was a cord for the light hanging down near the bottom of the stairs so I felt my way blindly to it and pulled.
This is what I found.