16 - Emperor Gray
I'd been knocked out (yet again) by someone I used to consider as a "nice person". Myke, the Wolverhampton partner of my crazed companion Hagley, was no longer a "nice person" as he had killed Hagley's arachnoid sister and the other mutants that I'd been "performing" with in pantomime.
So what happened to him?
He, Hagley, Molly and Irish, had all been together when The End happened. For those who can't remember, didn't read, or can't be arsed to go back and read, when The End happened everything went dark and the four of them had stuck together to try and get out of town as everything had gone bat shit crazy.
On their way out of town they encountered gigantic insects that carried Irish off and stung Molly, making her head swell, her neck elongate and her skin to turn purplish. Also it made her really docile and odd looking. Myke, thinking he could use the years of survivalist skills he'd picked up over the years, decided to go after Irish whilst Hagley looked after Molly in a school they had found shelter in.
Myke didn't find Irish, but instead got caught in a "rain storm" and rain these days is made from fire. He lost half of his face (the good half) and now didn't looked more like Jeff Goldbloom from The Fly, then he did Ryan Reynolds from... any movie with Ryan Reynolds in.
(Jeff Goldbloom is still alive by the way, he's now the president of what was once called America and is now called Jeff Goldbloom Land, I don't know Ryan Reynolds fate but a pretty boy like him is probably somebody's bitch)
Myke became disorientated and wandered into some woods that were full of Badgers. (Badgers being the deadliest predator in the woods) It didn't take long for them to find him and surround him. Myke would have been a dead man had it not been for an intervention by Elliot Gray, the ruler of the Gray empire, and now my host.
I awoke to the feel of sandpaper against my face. I opened my eyes to see my cat Professor Humperdink licking me awake. I'd totally forgotten about the posh cat and was so glad to see a familiar face, even though it was feline. I hugged him tightly till he wiggled free of my grip
"I'm glad to see you too old chap, did you find the other mother?"
He was of course referring the my long suffering lady wife Louise, who was lost to me after The End. I felt ashamed, as the Panto had taken over my life, I'd not even thought about her since the first night of "Robinson Crusoe 2"
I told him I'd still not had any luck and he looked a little glum at that news. He was always very fond of Louise, as was my other cat Simba. Professor Humperdink, I noticed, was wearing a little grey cape and had a little grey cap on his head. The room I was in smelt of strong spices, and was decorated in black and red striped wallpaper that made me feel a bit queasy if I looked at it too long. I asked my cat what happened, where I was and how he got here.
He told me about the Gray soldiers finding them at the school and that Molly, he and Simba had been taken to see Emperor Gray. The Emperor wasn't fond of "mutants" but Molly made him laugh so she was appointed official Jester. Elliot allowed to the cats to stay as long as they joined his growing army of soldiers. Simba had been on the front lines at the battle of Daventry and Professor Humperdink hadn't seen him since.
Humperdink then told me that we were in one of the Emperor's many "houses", which used to be a Nandos, and that Elliot had asked to see me.
"What's he like, Elliot?" I asked. I hadn't seen Elliot since he was a baby so I guessed that since The End he had suddenly grown into a man, as time does all manner of things these days.
"Well, he's... It's best if you see for yourself."
So, I was lead, by my cat, out of the Nando's house I had awoke in, and out onto the streets of Norfamtonne.
Things had changed a lot since I was last here, as all around the high street there were large grey banners with "Long Live Gray" written on them. The streets were full of market stalls and people browsing. It seemed that "society" had survived after all!
We walked for a while through the crowds and after a short time we came upon the Imperial Palace, which was a series of shops all merged into one. The golden arches of McDonalds were still visible under lots of grey paint.
In the "foyer" there was amazing pieces of artwork that I recognised straight away as my friend Matt Warb's handiwork. So this looked as though he had made it through the end too, I was looking forward to meeting him, even if it was just so I could do a joke about his mum for old times sake.
We walked up some stairs and into a large room. There was a huge dining table stretched across the width of the room and several mismatched chairs around it. The table was piled high with various foods and it all looked and smelt amazing. The seats were all empty except for a high chair in the middle, and sitting in that little chair was a baby. A baby named Elliot, who somehow, was the ruler of all that I had walked past.
Humperdink who just shrugged at me. Cat's shrugging is pretty odd to observe by the way. I stood for some time looking at the little fellow before he decided to speak up.
"You were a friend of my fathers I seem to recall" His voice, by the way, was booming and very deep. He sounded not unlike Brian Blessed.
"I am, Elliot"
"Then you shall dine with me, me and my whole family. Please, help yourself to a change of clothes and come back after you've changed."
For a moment, I forgot that he had ordered the deaths of several "mutants" I had befriended. Anyone who is kind to me after The End, is usually wanting to kill me, enslave me, eat me or wear my skin as a suit, but I didn't fear the Baby Emperor, after all, he was just a baby.
That belief, that he couldn't harm me, or wouldn't, cost me my eye.