He had seen infestations before and knew to stand well back, but there was something else about these creatures that alerted him to danger.
For a start, they were much bigger than any rats that he had seen before and then there was the thing with the humming. The rats seemed to be humming as they went about their work. There was nothing rushed or disorganised about their attack on the large plastic refuse bin in which he emptied the unwanted meat and pitta. There was a definite voraciousness, but this was controlled. They were working as a unit set on the total demolition of the bin and all its contents.
The kebab shop owner stood for a period of time entranced by the creatures and then he became aware of something else watching him. At the end of the alleyway, clothed in the night’s darkness, was a figure. For a long time, he had not noticed it because there had been something hypnotic about the rats and their work. Then, he had perceived a movement or, as his dreams would tell him later, he had heard a sound.
The sound was of an old bouzouki from his own country and to listen to it sent him into memories that echoed of his childhood. As he listened, the sound floated towards him, coiling around his senses. There was an invitation to return to a time when he was not a foreigner, where he belonged. He heard his mother’s voice in those notes and longed to see her again. She was gone, dead these last thirty years, and he hadn’t seen her for more than forty.
He found himself walking along the banks of the river that flowed past his town. The night was fresh with the promise of spring; the smell of jasmine captured his nostrils. He was home. Now he would sit down and watch the water flowing by. He would listen to the sounds that he had long forgotten, and then he would sleep.
The tune changed. It had become higher and more frantic. His body felt the urgency in its notes yet he still reclined himself on the cold, wet floor at the back of his shop. The rats flooded over him like the midnight strings he had been listening to. They took their time and sank their teeth precisely into his flesh. One by one, they stripped away the meat from their willing victim’s bones and the tore open the marrow.
Again, a video appeared on the new website. It made compulsive viewing for those who had not seen this type of work before. For those who had, this was added delight. In the prior world such a thing could have been reported. Nobody felt the need to do such thing.
The police, if they had known of NuNation, did nothing. They also did nothing about the crimes that were increasing on a nightly basis.
All in all, as the world was falling into anarchy, only a few thought to take notice.