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Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Sci-fi · #2314315
Natalie, Derrin, and the crew must find homes for rescued girls while fighting vicious Nan

Summary of NAN 1:

By 15,454 A.D. humanity had been usurped as the dominant species on Earth. Replaced by the Nan, hominid-like creatures looking midway between long-legged bears and short-ish gorillas. Savage carnivores who ripped their prey limb from limb, then ate them alive.

In January that year Natalie Coleman, a pretty-ish pixie-cut seventeen-year-old brunette, and her sister, Holly, a redheaded fifteen-year-old had had several run-ins with the Nan. One day when Holly returned from lunch she found her boss dead and Holly hiding in the supplies room.

Unwittingly Natalie had locked two Nan inside the building. In the basement, the girls found cases of foodstuffs and household luxuries. Then Nat used a pellet gun to kill one of the two Nan inside the building and managed to release the second one into Lonsdale Street New Melbourne where the building was situated.

Summary of NAN 2:

Returning to their flat in Collin Street New Melbourne, they discovered that their younger sisters Petra and Talia were missing. With the help of Derrin Baiotto -- a handsome black teen of Zaire ancestry, soon to be Holly's boyfriend -- they began tracking down and killing child slavers. After seventeen days, D'Arcy Clover joined up with them and took them to Dominic Alexander, the boss of the child slave trade in Victoria, who had their sisters. They managed to kill the gangster and his cohorts and to free Petra and Talia, but Derrin was shot in the confrontation. D'Arcy called a doctor he knew who saved him but most of them had to stay in New Glen Iris until Derrin could be moved.

After they returned from taking the young girls to Lonsdale Street New Melbourne where they had plenty of food stashed, Dr. Robinson asked:

"Any major problems?"

"Other than having to shoot a couple more of the Nan, nothing," said Natalie.

"Ah," said the doctor a little guiltily: "Maybe it's time I unburdened myself and told you exactly what the Nan are."

"Are they aliens?" asked Holly, lying on the mattress on the floor, next to Derrin Baiotto.

"No, they're not aliens. They're..."

NAN 3:

During their travels, Derrin, Holly, and Natalie had slaughtered a number of child slavers, which left them with a small harem of underage girls, whom they had transported to a location in Lonsdale Street, New Melbourne, in the Coleman girls' former boss's workrooms. Where they had discovered a veritable cornucopia of foodstuffs and household goods that George MacDonald had bought and sold on the black market.

With nowhere else to take the girls, until managing to find homes for them, they had taken them to this warehouse, along with twelve-year-old ravenette Petra Coleman to look after them. D'Arcy Clover, a tall, athletic man in his early fifties, or Natalie visited the girls every day, from their temporary base in New Glen Iris.

On the 3rd of March, they were getting ready to drive to Lonsdale Street, when they heard screaming from outside the mansion which was their temporary base.

"What the Hell?" cried Holly. Who had spent the last couple of weeks nursing her injured boyfriend, Derrin, assisting Doctor Jason Robinson, a tall thin redheaded man in his early sixties.

"That sounds like Thompson?" said the cook, Martha, a bosomy matronly woman of forty-five or so.

"The gardener?" asked Natalie.

She and D'Arcy checked that their handguns were loaded, then raced toward the front door. They typed in the code to raise the cast-iron shutters outside the door, then raced outside into the lush, well-kept garden...

Where they saw the tall, but age-bent gardener, Tommy Thompson being attacked by three two-and-a-half metre tall, bear-like Nan.

One of the Nan ripped Tommy's left arm right out of its shoulder. Making the gardener scream even louder as his life's blood gushed from the damaged socket.

Raising his Smith and Wesson S&W500, D'Arcy fired three times killing the Nan that was still holding the severed arm -- intending to eat it while the gardener bled to death.

The second and third Nan spun round to shriek in rage at Natalie and D'Arcy for interrupting their meal.

Natalie opened fire upon one of the bear-like creatures with a Smith & Wesson Model 457 point-four-five-seven magnum semi-automatic pistol.

The Nan roared its rage at the seventeen-year-old brunette, at first seeming impervious to the gunfire. But as Natalie emptied the chamber into the creature, it roared one last time, then fell face down on the lawn ... dead.

The third Nan started toward them at a run. But three shots from D'Arcy's Smith and Wesson S&W500 stopped the monster in its tracks. Its final vocal sound was more of a squeak, than a roar, as it also fell dead, face forward onto the grass.

Running across to Thompson, D'Arcy said: "Grab his arm, and give me a hand getting him into the mansion."

Racing to do as instructed, trying not to be squeamish, the brunette grabbed the arm, then grabbed the gardener by the right arm. Leaving D'Arcy to try to staunch the flow of blood from his shoulder, with his jacket. Then between them, they half dragged, half carried the man back into the mansion. Careful to lower the cast-iron shutters behind them.

"What happ...?" began Jason Robinson.

Then, ignoring the screams of Martha the cook, who dropped the pile of Wedgewood fine bone china that she was carrying, the doctor raced across to see what he could do for the gardener.

"Is it serious?" asked Holly, still snuggling next to her boyfriend, black youth Derrin Baiotto.

"It's always serious when you have an arm ripped off at the shoulder," said Jason, drawing a huffy silence from the redhead.

"Can ... can you reattach it?" asked Martha, starting to pick up the shards of the expensive crockery that she had dropped. Just grateful that her former employer was dead so that he couldn't kill her -- his main punishment for employees who angered him.

"Not a chance," said Jason Robinson: "If hospitals were still operating, and I had a full staff to assist, there'd be a better than even chance. But as it is, the best I can hope to do is staunch the bleeding and try to keep him from dying."

Although Thompson had passed out from shock by then, Jason showed Natalie how to apply an anæsthetic drip. Then the doctor went to work upon saving the gardener's life.

It took a couple of hours to fix the shoulder as much as possible, without the use of hospital facilities. But finally, they had done all that they could for the man.

Then with Martha's help, they brought another mattress down from the first floor for Tommy Thompson to lie upon until he either recovered or died.

"At least it was his left arm he lost," said Holly.

"He was left-handed," said Martha, making Holly blush from embarrassment.

Damn! I can't ever get it right! thought Holly, snuggling up for comfort to her boyfriend, Derrin.

"Another worry," said Natalie: "Is that the Nan have now managed to get into the gardens surrounding this place."

"We'll have to try to find out how," said D'Arcy: "Till now the three-metre tall yellow brick fences, topped with barbed wire and electrified gates have been enough to keep them out. It also means I'll have to go with you, Nat, when you go to Lonsdale Street each day. You had to empty your 457 magnum into it, to stop one of the Nan. If you encountered two or more by yourself, you wouldn't stand a chance."

"Good thinking," said Derrin. He took the opportunity to place his right hand on Holly's shapely backside as she snuggled up to him.

After lunch, except for Tommy, who was still unconscious, Natalie and D'Arcy finally set out for Lonsdale Street. Arriving there just in time.

Checking that they weren't being followed by any Nan, they exited the water-driven minibus and entered the foyer of Nat's late boss's premises. Making certain to bring down and lock into place the steel-mesh shutters to stop any Nan from following them into the building. With over a hundred young girls in the basement, they had to be even more careful than normal.

A few minutes later Natalie and D'Arcy entered the basement, to find twelve-year-old Petra, one of Nat's younger sisters pointing her point-thirty-eight snub-nosed revolver at three burly men. Standing just outside the basement, they had managed to open a large loading bay door, by punching in the access code on the outside.

"What gives?" demanded Natalie, pointing the Smith and Wesson 457 at them.

"We collect girls and junk from George MacDonald on a regular basis," explained one of the men. Who looked barely more human than the Nan.

"MacDonald is dead!" explained D'Arcy.

"So we heard," said a second of the goons.

"Well, as his second-in-charge," lied Nat: "I'm claiming ownership of all of Old Smuck Donald's stuff."

"Okay," said the goon. Although his look suggested that they had intended to clean out MacDonald's warehouse: "But we've still got a worksheet for thirty girls, and a hundred boxes of foodstuffs."

He held up the worksheet so that Natalie could read it.

Instead, she shot him twice in the chest right through the pink worksheet. Which made the other two goons reach for concealed weapons. But not fast enough to stop D'Arcy from gunning down both of them.

Hearing squeals from the back of the canvass-covered truck, D'Arcy pulled it aside, to reveal the contents:

"More girls," said Petra.

Eleven more girls, plus a couple of dozen boxes of condensed milk, baked beans, and assorted one-point-three kilogramme bags of lollies.

"Come on out, girls," said D'Arcy: "We're the good guys..."

"And gals," added Natalie.

Looking hesitant at first ... finally, the girls allowed D'Arcy and Natalie to help them down from the back of the truck.

"More girls," complained seven-year-old blonde Talia (the youngest of the four Coleman sisters): "Have hiff we don't have heenuff!"

"You won't mind when you see what they brought with them," said Natalie, as they started to unload the boxes of lollies.

"Wollies!" cried Talia, trying to grab a whole box for herself. Although Petra took it first, saying:

"I'll mete the lollies out as sweets after meals, like always."

"We've just had wunch," pointed out Talia.

"Okay, follow me," said Petra, leading the girls back into the basement.

Leaving Natalie and D'Arcy to unload the supplies from the truck.

"What'll we do with the truck?" asked Natalie, when they had finished.

"Keep it, if no one comes to claim it," suggested D'Arcy: "We can always use it to transport Derrin back here when he's recovered enough."

"In the meantime, we need to reset the password on the control panel," said Nat: "So we won't have any more of Old Smuck Donald's cronies turning up and letting themselves in."

She took MacDonald's wallet out of her shirt pocket and started trying all of the numbers/codes she found on business cards in the wallet.

After more than an hour and God knows how many attempts, Nat finally found the right series of numbers, to allow her to access the control panel and change the password.

They gave the new password to Petra, then refilled the minibus's fuel tank with water before starting back for New Glen Iris. Taking with them a single box of lollies.

"What's in it?" asked D'Arcy driving the bus.

"Chocolate-coated aniseed rings."


"They're also Talia's favourites. So don't tell her, in case we took the only box."

"My lips are sealed. Or at least they will be once you fill my mouth with some of those aniseed rings."

They had to shoot dead two more Nan to get back into the mansion, where they told what had happened.

"Ooh chocolate-coated aniseed rings," said Holly: "Tal's favourite."

"Yeah, so don't tell her we got them," said D'Arcy.

The next day, armed to the hilt, D'Arcy and Natalie set out after breakfast to try to find out how the Nan had managed to invade the grounds of the Glen Iris Mansion. After walking more than a kilometre around the perimeter, they found the answer:

An eighteen-wheeler had been driven through a section of the fence, allowing access. Not that it had done the ram-raiders any good, since their skeletons lay in the grass within a few metres of the truck.

"Stupid bastards only managed to get themselves killed," said D'Arcy.

"So how do we fix it?" asked Nat.

"Damned if I know. Driving the truck outside would only make the gap wider. And unfortunately, we don't have any bricklayers or stone or steel masons on tap to make repairs. Even if we could trust the Nan not to push the new part over before the mortar had set."

"So, we just have to stay alert, and kill any Nan we find on the grounds?"

"That's about it," agreed D'Arcy. Leading the way back to the mansion.

Where they found two Nan hammering on the steel shutters outside the front door.

"Surprise," said D'Arcy. Before shooting one of them in the back with the Smith and Wesson 500.

The second Nan turned around and roared at them in rage.

So Natalie emptied the chamber of the S&W457 into it.

Inside, they told the others of their discovery.

"So what will you do?" asked Jason Robinson: "You still have to make daily trips back to Lonsdale Street, to stop the young girls from panicking."

"Be ready to shoot them down, whenever you go out," suggested Derrin: "And make sure to stick close together for security."

The next morning, after breakfast, they got the chance to test out the theory. When they raised the cast-iron shutters to get out, they found two large, nearly three-metres tall, Nan waiting for them.

Growling in anger, the larger Nan stepped forward, and then D'Arcy shot it in the head twice with the S&W500.

As the first Nan fell over backward, the second started forward. Only to be shot in the chest twice by Natalie.

Growling without stopping the Nan started toward the brunette. Only to be shot twice in the heart by D'Arcy.

"Hey, leave one for me," protested Natalie.

"It's not a day at the shooting gallery," called Derrin.

Nat and D'Arcy started out. Needing the help of Martha and Jason to pull the two Nan corpses back outside, so that they could close the cast-iron shutters behind them.

Late March - 15,454 AD.

It was now a month since Natalie, Holly, Derrin, and D'Arcy had returned from New Glen Iris to their hideaway and storeroom in Lonsdale Street, New Melbourne.

Taking with them Tommy Thompson, the Gardener, and Martha Jones, the cook.

"No point staying in that mausoleum, when you can both be useful in looking after the young girls," said Nat.

"Well, Martha can help out cooking meals for them, but what can a one-armed gardener do?" asked Tommy.

"For the next few weeks nothing, until you've recovered more," said Natalie: "But another month or two down the track, you can help out with looking after the younger girls."

"When the rest of us have reached the point of wanting to scream from looking after little girls," said Holly.

"Hey!" protested Talia and some of the other young girls.

"Sorry, but it's true," said the redhead, refusing to back down.

"Hey, I think today's Good Friday," said Petra, to change the subject.

"I don't suppose there are any chocolate Easter Eggs in the boxes of supplies?" asked Natalie.

"No. Dey all got Heeten," said Talia.

"Why am I not surprised?" said Holly, making everyone except Talia laugh.

Leaving Martha and Tommy at Lonsdale Street to look after the young girls, Derrin, D'Arcy, and the four Coleman girls returned to their main base at Collins Street.

They set up a small camp bed for D'Arcy to sleep in, in the dining room-cum-kitchen-cum-lounge room, while Holly and Derrin shared one of the two king-single beds in the bedroom, and Natalie, Petra, and Talia shared the other bed.

"Hey, how come we got three to a bed, and dey only got two?" demanded seven-year-old Talia.

"Trust me, you don't want to share a bed with Holly and Derrin when their humping and grunting is going on," said Natalie: "It's hard enough sleeping with them in the same room."

"What's humpity bumpin'?" asked the little blonde girl.

Petra and Nat both rushed to cover her ears with their hands.

"Oh, somfin my widdle ears shouldn't hear," said Talia.

"Trust me, no one should have to hear it," said Natalie.

"I'm just grateful that I'm sleeping out here," said D'Arcy.

"I wish I were too," said Natalie.

"Well, she did kill her old boyfriend a month back," teased Holly: "So if D'Arcy is ready to share his cot, she's available."

"Firstly, that Nan which Derrin and I killed was not my boyfriend ... he was merely hunting me. Secondly, even if I were interested in starting a relationship at the moment ... that cot isn't big enough for two."

"Well, she was diplomatic, so I'm not offended," said D'Arcy, making them all laugh.

Stretching wide, Holly said: "Well, I guess it's time for Derrin and I to get to bed."

"Hits not heeven seven a qwock yet," said Talia.

"Trust me, just pray that they've finished and are sound asleep before any of us feel like going to bed," said Natalie.

"Have we got anything to block out the sound of them?" asked Petra.

"We can watch TV?" suggested Nat.

"How?" asked D'Arcy: "Even the emergency broadcasts stopped yonks back."

"Yes, but we've got a dozen different USB drives laden with stuff that we can watch, and our generator provides enough electricity for the lights and to watch up to two hours of TV a day," said Natalie. She switched on the generator, then cranked the handle, before she turned on the thirty-inch TV, which only gave a static hiss. Until she plugged in a large fifteen-hundred-gigabyte drive and said: "Right what should we watch?"

"Something very loud," said Petra.

"World's Stupidest Stuntman Hepisodes," cried Talia. To D'Arcy: "I specially love de hepisode where de German broke tried jumping a motortrike from one buildin' to 'nother, and halmost castigated himself ... whatever dat means."

"She means castrated," explained Petra: "And anything to drown out moany and boney."

They selected it on the USB drive and began to watch the ninety-minute episode. Before finally risking going off to bed.

The next morning, over a breakfast of Wheat Bix, skim milk, tea or coffee, they discussed their next options:

"First things first ... all the girls," said Derrin. They now had over a hundred young girls whom they had rescued from child-sex traders: "We can't keep them all, there's not enough room in the Lonsdale Street premises. We need more room for them."

"There is the plaza," said Natalie.

She went on to explain about the plaza where they had got the pellet gun from. Near the corner of Swanston and Lonsdale Streets.

"In which there are two Nan. One possibly still alive," pointed out Holly.

"So Derrin and I go check it out, shooting the second Nan, if it is still alive," offered D'Arcy.

So after breakfast, Derrin and D'Arcy went down to the plaza. Using a key borrowed from Natalie, they unlocked a small control panel and then started the steel mesh shutters up into the ceiling.

Just inside the plaza doorway, they found a rancid long-dead Nan, plus another one further into the foyer area.

"We'll have to move them outside, before bringing the girls here," said D'Arcy.

"How?" asked Derrin: "They must weigh a tonne each."

"This used to be a shopping plaza, so they should have some kind of lifting equipment designed for carrying big crates of stuff. Let's find a way down to the basement."

It took them twenty minutes to find lifting equipment capable of handling a Nan corpse, then another twenty minutes to get the equipment up the non-operational travellator to the foyer level. It then took another forty-five minutes to dump the two Nan corpses, plus the skeletal remains of Bertie (an old friend of Holly and Nat who had been killed by Nan two months earlier) out the back of the plaza.

Then the two men did a floor-by-floor search of the plaza, tricky with the sagging travellators not working. To ensure that there were no more Nan or other dangers in the multi-storeyed shopping plaza.

"There should be some way to get the damned travellators working if the shutters work," said D'Arcy as they slogged up them.

"There was stuff down in the basement," said Derrin: "Maybe there's a generator down there?"

"If it's water-powered, like the minibus, everything is swinging, to quote Eddie Cochran."

"Who the Hell is he?" asked Derrin.

"Some classical musician from æons ago," said D'Arcy: "Used to be massive in the British world I think. Not so much in the U.S.A."

On the second storey, they found a Beds R' Us store, with dozens of beds, complete with mattresses, for the rescued girls to sleep on.

"They've even got pillows, sheets, and blankets," said D'Arcy opening a walk-in cupboard to show Derrin.

"Okay, then let's go check on the generator," said Derrin: "Then we can start moving the girls in here."

Down in the basement, they noticed a number of grubby-looking machines. Mostly no more than thigh height. However, there were a couple of much larger machines. One with an array of red, green, and yellow lights on it. Two of the green lights were flashing.

"I think this is what powers the steel shutters," said D'Arcy: "Nat's friend, old Bertie, must have kept it going."

"But what does it run on?"

Looking around the machine for a few minutes, D'Arcy gently tugged and pressed various parts. Finally, he said:

"There's a hose pipe running into the wall, with a couple of spare fixtures for emergencies. So hopefully that means it's water-powered."

"Then why aren't the travellators, or lights working?"

"Give me a mo," said D'Arcy.

Picking up an ancient-looking manual, which was chained to the machine, he began skimming through it. After nearly forty minutes, he began flicking switches on the generator, still referring to the manual from time to time.

"Try one of the light switches," said D'Arcy.

Derrin did as instructed, without any result.

"What's wrong?"

"Don't know," said D'Arcy.

He read through the manual more carefully for another half an hour, checking the machine from time to time.

Finally, he said: "Not enough water is getting through."

He stepped across to the hose fitting on the wall, and with difficulty began to turn it.

"The tap was almost turned off. Guess old Bertie only needed enough power for the shutters."

After a few moments, they heard a roaring whooshing as the fuel tank of the generator began to fill. Followed by a whoomp sound a minute or so later, indicating that the tank was full and had stopped taking water.

"Okay, try the light again."

Derrin flicked the switch. There was a flickering of the fluorescent globes for a few seconds, then the lights came on.

"Let there be light!" said Derrin.

"And there was light," said D'Arcy: "Now, let's go see if we can get the travellators going."

Walking upstairs to the foyer area, they went over toward the travellators. Neither was going, but they each had flashing green lights on the black control panels.

After reading the tiny golden writing on one of the panels, D'Arcy flicked a switch and then pressed a couple of buttons. And with a grinding of the mechanism, the travellator started moving upwards.

"Now if only we'd thought to do this before we nearly knackered ourselves walking up them earlier," said Derrin.

"Better late than never," said D'Arcy going across to the other travellator. Which he soon had moving downwards. This time with much less mechanical groaning than the first one.

Switching both travellators off, D'Arcy said: "I think it's time for us to be making tracks."

"Before the girls make the mistake of coming looking for us," agreed Derrin.

Outside the shopping plaza, the two men saw a young brunette walking toward them.

"Natalie?" called D'Arcy.

Startled, the girl stopped. Then screamed as two Nan started across Lonsdale Street toward her.

Taking out his point four-five-seven magnum revolver, D'Arcy said: "Fancy some target practice, Derrin?"

"As a matter of fact, I do," said Derrin, taking out the S&W500.

Racing toward the terrified girl, the two men started shouting to attract the attention of the two two-and-a-half-metre-tall bear-like Nan.

Growling in rage, the Nan changed direction, allowing the girl to run away as they charged the two men.

The two creatures got within four metres before Derrin and D'Arcy opened fire upon them. Their handguns boomed almost like cannons as they shot down the two Nan. Which fell face down on the bitumen path, less than a metre from the two men.

"Well, the point thirty-eights might not stop those monsters," said Derrin: "But we know that these two will."

"That's something," agreed D'Arcy, as they started back up Lonsdale Street.

The rest of the day, with rest breaks and meal breaks they moved the one-hundred and seven girls to the plaza. Having to take them in groups of no more than six or seven at a time, in case they were set upon by Nan. The last thing they needed was a hundred-plus girls running off squealing in a dozen different directions, making themselves easy prey for the Nan, and almost impossible for Derrin and the others to find again.

They also took several crates of food from the storage room at Lonsdale Street. Although they had managed to find some canned foodstuffs on the third and fourth storeys of the shopping plaza.

"Is it safe in here?" asked a tall, thin thirteen-year-old strawberry-blonde, Tiffany Waterman.

"Sure is Tiff," said D'Arcy: "Derrin and I spent a couple of hours checking all six storeys."

"Which would have been Hell if the travellators had been working," said Derrin: "Without it, it was whatever is worse than Hell."

"Being paralysed with a group of Nan charging toward you," suggested Holly. Making most of the rescued girls squeal in terror: "Sorry!"

"Fortunately, we've got them working now," said D'Arcy, going across to switch the up-travellator on.

"We'll come back tomorrow and every day or two, to see how you're getting on," promised Natalie as they headed back outside. Leaving Martha and Tommy to look after the young girls.

"Tea time coming up soon," promised Martha as she went to start preparing their food.

Back out in Swanston Street, Holly said: "You know this is only a stop-gap fix?"

"Yes," said Nat: "But what can we do for a long time fix?"

"Take them back home," suggested D'Arcy.

"But many of them were sold to child slavers by their own parents."

"But not all," said D'Arcy: "And the ones that were, might have been sold by one or two of their family, without the rest knowing."

"So what do we do?" asked Derrin: "Slaughter the ones who sold them, then ask the other family members to take them back."

"Sounds good to me," said Petra.

"Me too," said Natalie and Holly together.

Shrugging, Derrin said: "Well, as long as we all agree."

Over the next day couple of days, they took home twenty-seven girls who had been kidnapped without their family's involvement.

Then the following day, they started with Tiffany, the attractive strawberry blonde.

"My mother and brother Pete sold me when the rest weren't home," said Tiffany: "I'm sure the others didn't know."

"Well, let's go find out," said D'Arcy.

Half an hour later they were standing outside the small blue-painted door, of what had once been a nightclub decades earlier.

They hammered on the door with the pellet gun, for which they now only had four pellets left.

"What is it," asked a fat redheaded woman of fifty or do," after opening the door to them.

"That your Mum?" asked Derrin pointing the W&S500 at her.

"No!" shouted Tiffany: "That's my Auntie Vera." Then as an equally fat fifty-something blonde walked past behind Vera, Tiffany said: "That's my bloody Mum."

"Tiffany, what happened to you?" asked Vera: "We've been worried sick."

"Mum and Pete sold me to child slavers," explained the strawberry blonde.

"Those bastards," said Vera, hugging Tiffany to her enormous bosom.

"Pardon us," said D'Arcy as they pushed past her into the refurbished pub. To the shock of the insiders seated around a round table with a vinyl tablecloth: "We've brought Tiffany back."

"What?" asked the shocked blonde, dropping a skillet she was frying eggs in on a large wood-burning fire.

"Tiffany sends her loathe," said Natalie.

Then Nat and Derrin both shot the blonde in the head.

"What the Hell?" asked a fat dark-haired man standing.

"Is one of you her brother Pete?" asked Holly.

"Why?" asked the fat man.

"He and the trollop sold Tiffany to child slavers," explained Natalie.

"Jesus," said the fat man: "Poor Tiff, my little..."

Then at the sound of footsteps, they looked around and saw a tall, thin, raven-haired youth approach from the Little Russell Street side of the house.

"That's the bastard, now," said the fat man.

As Nat, Holly, Derrin, Petra, and D'Arcy all aimed their weapons at him, the youth dropped a leather backpack he had been carrying, spun around, and raced back through the badly lit lounge room-cum-foyer of the converted nightclub.

They fired half a dozen shots at him, missing in the poor light, then chased after the fleeing youth as he exited into Little Russell Street.

As they reached the doorway, they could hear his fleeing footsteps, so knew that he had not stopped to ambush them.

They finally reached the door, turned left, and started running after the youth who, however, was fast on his feet and was rapidly putting distance between himself and his pursuers.

"He'll get away if we don't shoot him soon!" cried Holly.

They stopped to take careful aim at the gangly youth when suddenly he stopped and turned to run back toward them. Just before two three-metre tall, bear-like Nan raced forward and grabbed the now screaming youth.

"What'll we do?" asked Petra.

"Nothing ... Nan gotta eat too," said D'Arcy.

So the five people backed slowly away as the two Nan started to rip Pete limb from limb.

"Help me!" shrieked the youth as the Nan ripped his legs out of their sockets.

The two Nan looked at the small crowd of watchers for a moment. Then when the five people backed away further, they turned back to rip Pete's arms from their sockets, enjoying the feeling of his hot blood squirting across them.

"No!" shrieked the limbless torso and head, that had recently been a young man.

Ignoring Pete, the two Nan greedily consumed the flesh and muscle off his limbs, before cracking open the bones to suck out the juicy marrow. Then moved across to start ripping pieces and organs away from his living torso. Until one ripped away his heart and the youth finally stopped screaming, as he died. Finally, they split open his skull and began to chew away his now lifeless brain.

When they had finally finished eating, the two Nan shrieked once at the five watchers. Then, bellies full, they turned and ran off down Little Russell Street.

"I think our work here is done," said D'Arcy. Before turning to lead them down Little Russell Street in the opposite direction to the Nan.

"Who's next?" asked Natalie, when they returned to the shopping plaza in Swanston Street.

Three little brunette girls, obviously triplets, put up their hands. After confirming that they were sisters, Natalie said:

"Okay, sweeties, come with us."

Nat, Holly, and Petra each picked up one of the little girls to carry them since they had to walk all the way up to and past Flagstaff Gardens.

This time it was a yellow-painted two-up two-down hovel they lived in. When they hammered on the door, a tall, obese man with greasy hair opened the door.

"What the fuck?" he said, his eyes almost popping out of his head as he saw the three little girls.

"Dat's him," said one of the girls pointing at the obese man: "He sold us when da west of how fambly was hout."

Derrin shot the man dead, then they walked into the ground floor lounge room, where five people had stopped watching DVDs to stare at them.

"Sugar! Spice! Honey!" cried a tall thin brunette racing forward to snatch the three little girls up.

"Don't tell me that's their names?" asked Holly.

"Dat's us," answered Honey.

"Your stepdad said you'd been taken by the Nan," said their mother.

"No, he sold us for a towzand dollars, to swavers," said Spice.

"That pig," said the woman.

"Well, we'll leave you all to get re-acquainted," said Derrin. Then to D'Arcy: "Help me to pull Shit out into the streets."

"Shit?" asked D'Arcy.

"Well if they're Sugar, Spice, and Honey..."

"That makes him Shit!" Holly finished for him, making them all laugh.

"Exactly," said Derrin, as they dragged the obese corpse out into the middle of the road.

"Seems a waste," said Petra: "Hopefully some Nan will come along to scoff him down before he goes cold."

As she spoke, they saw three hulking Nan in the distance heading in their direction.

"Waste not, want not!" said Petra, making them all laugh.

"I think that's our cue to leave," said Natalie.

The next couple of girls whom they tried to take home, they discovered that their families had moved. Without leaving their new address. And a couple of other families they found had been massacred by the Nan. But gradually they managed to deliver back to grateful families most of the girls, leaving themselves with twenty-seven that they could not find homes for. Finishing up a few days before ANZAC Day.

"So we gonna celebrate the departed soldiers?" asked Derrin.

"What for?" asked Natalie, ever the pragmatist: "They failed us in the Nan wars. Letting those monsters take over the planet."

"So what do we do now to amuse ourselves?" asked D'Arcy.

"I know what Derrin and I can do, now that he's much better," said Holly.

"Okay, then, what do we do so that we don't have to hear Holly and Derrin amusing each other?" asked Petra.

"We could always spend our time hunting down the Nan," suggested Nat.

"The entire armies, navies, air forces, coast guards, marines, etc., of the whole world, weren't able to erase the Nan," reminded D'Arcy: "So what chance will we have?"

"Well, we know Dominic Alexander's network of child slavers is still working," said Petra: "After they tried to half-inch our supplies a while back. So how about we try to wipe out some more of them."

"Well, we've still got George MacDonald's lists of names and addresses of his contacts," said Derrin.

"We barely got through half of them before," said Natalie.

"But there were only three of you then," said D'Arcy: "With me and Petra helping, there are now five of us."

"You realise we'll probably be adding to our supply of rescued girls if we go back to hunting down more child slavers?" asked Holly.

"So," said Nat shrugging: "That'll give us something else to do: taking them back to their families again."

"Okay, I suppose," agreed Holly, less enthusiastic than the others.

A week or so later they were just starting out when Petra called: "Wake up Holly! Your country needs you!"

"Sorry," apologised the redhead: "I was just remembering what Jason Robinson told us a couple of months ago."

"About the origins of the Nan?" asked Derrin.

"Yes," said Holly:

Mid-February 15,454 A.D.

"Are they aliens?" asked Holly.

"No, they're not aliens. They're throwbacks!"

"Throwbacks?" asked Derrin, not understanding.

"According to the scientists, the moment when we changed from mere hominids, if you like proto-humans, was when climate change forced Homo habilis to change from an all-fruit and vegetable diet to eating meat. Within ten thousand years his brain had doubled in size, so that he became the first of our ancestors to be able to think. And to speak in real words, rather than just making monkey gibberish sounds as our previous ancestors had done.

"After Homo habilis came Homo rudolfensis, Homo erectus, Homo antecessor, Homo heidelbergensis, Homo floresiensis, Homo neanderthalensis (the Neanderthals) and the most recently discovered Homo naledi. Before finally there came along Homo Sapiens, the thinking man. Although technically from Homo habilis onwards all of our ancestors could think.

"Then in the second half of the twentieth century certain fanatics calling themselves Vegetarians and the most extreme Vegans, started to say that eating meat was murder. They ignored the fact that our ape and monkey relatives also ate meat. And also that whole species of animals would have been extinct by the middle ages if we weren't breeding them to eat: cows, pigs, chickens. Without us breeding them for meat, milk, cheese, butter, eggs, etc., all of those species, plus many others would be extinct.

"But the main problem was devolution!"

"Diva who now?" asked Holly.

"Devolution," explained Jason Robinson: "Negative evolution, or reverse evolution. Evolution doesn't always go forward, it can go backward. For instance in Germany in the 1930s along came a brutal group of sadistic genocidal maniacs, the Nazis. The Nazis believed that they were a great evolutionary leap. And they probably were. But not a leap forward, but rather a devolutionary leap backward. Into something far less human than Homo sapiens. Not back to Homo habilis, but to something I like to call Homo brutalis, the brutal man. Something completely lacking in conscience, in the soul, in any kind of human decency. Something with no knowledge of morality, or of right or wrong.

"The vegetarian and vegan loonies did the same thing. After twelve thousand years or more, they devolved, degenerated if you like into what scientists, when there still were any scientists, called Neo Neanderthals, or Nan for short. Ironically Nan are vicious meat eaters, not inane vegetarians or Vegans like their feeble-minded ancestors!"

© Copyright 2024 Philip Roberts
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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