When the World Ended…
Pip and Kitten were hiding in an ancient, six-foot tall, industrial fridge-freezer that had been rusting in the back garden of the home where they lived with their Aunt Cribbage.
Shielded in their lead-lined hidey-hole, they were totally oblivious to the moment when a technician accidentally dropped a ham sandwich into the Large Hadron Collider, opening a small but glutenous singularity, and starting a chain reaction that swiftly obliterated every human being on the planet.
Animal life, fortunately, was unharmed with the sole exception of pigs, who were also rendered extinct. There is some debate as to whether this is due to the similarities between human and porcine anatomy, or whether the contents of the aforementioned pork-based sandwich played some part in the horrifying development of a world without bacon.
None of these details were known to Pip and Kitten and, in fact, they remained in the fridge-freezer for a further 45 minutes, until the air began to taste like cabbage, and Pip decided that they should venture outside.
Pip, an eight-year old boy, somewhat short for his years, had a crop of unruly blonde hair, sad, brown eyes and a bottom lip that had a tendency to jut outwards when presented with an unhappy situation. Being forced to hide in a rusty fridge-freezer to avoid being whipped with a wet towel by his aunt, for example, had produced a pout of approximately forty per cent. Maximum bottom lip extension was saved for her more serious abuses.
Not that this was a problem Pip was likely to encounter in the near future, given that the atoms that once made up his aunt’s grotesque form were now scattered into the ether, searching for a more useful purpose. Such as coating the outside of an empty tin of spaghetti hoops. Or lying in a puddle of badger urine.
Kitten was a full-grown cat, two and half years old, making her name somewhat out of date. Yet she tolerated it because Pip was always nice to her and fed her scraps of meat under the table when no one was looking. Aunt Cribbage, on the other hand, was intensely despised by Kitten. In fact, so visceral was her hatred of the woman, instead of spitting and hissing at her approach, Kitten pretended to be warm and affectionate in her presence, biding her time until Aunt Cribbage died and she could eat her face.
A pleasure that Kitten would sadly never get to enjoy given that, as we’ve already established, Aunt Cribbage’s face had already been vaporised into a billion, trillion impossibly-small pieces. For a cat of Kitten’s size, that would be less than a single crumb from a single cat biscuit.
Initially, Pip noticed nothing amiss when he prised open the door and Kitten, being a cat, was only concerned about finding something to eat or fight. But they both received their first hint that something was catastrophically, apocalyptically wrong when they registered an eerie, deafening silence.