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(A short story of 2331 words)

Access Denied

Fantasy - Sci-fi Fantasy Fantasy - Speculative

by Gill James


You could smell them, the people who lived in the underpass. The stench hit you before you were even within 200 yards of them. There must be about fifty there now. More arrived every day.


You could smell them, the people who lived in the underpass. The stench hit you before you were even within 200 yards of them. There must be about fifty there now. More arrived every day. Bob was used to it though. This was the only route into town now that he couldn’t renew his transport chip.

It got worse the nearer he got to them. Even he, hardened as he was, had to hold his breath and rush through them. He knew never to indulge in eye contact. Keep looking at the ground. That was the trick. This was fine until he tripped over what he had assumed was someone’s bag. Then the outer cover fell away, revealing the corpse of a new-born baby.

The mother locked eyes with him for a moment and he couldn’t help but hold her gaze.

“Sorry,” he mumbled.

Two dark eyes looked into his. Why? She blinked and nodded slightly. You too?

Bob shuddered inside and hurried on.

The still-functioning ATM was on the corner of Park Road and the Avenue. There had been a bank there once but it was a smart Italian restaurant now. Even today it was packed with diners in smart casual. It was all still working for some then. At least they’d left the cash machine there. There were fewer and fewer of them these days.

There was no queue. Bob took out his debit card and slid it into the slot.

The words Processing Your Details flashed on to the screen. Next, Enter Your Pin.

Bob tapped the day and month of his first girlfriend’s birthday on to the key pad. The machine clicked and whirred for several seconds...
 

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