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Rated: E · Fiction · Contest Entry · #2252310
They come to the surface and can’t survive the canine zombie apocalypse
In the year 2050, a scientist with a beloved terrier mix decided to help his dog survive the coming World War with a genetic splice. Gus the terrier merged with Brood X, the 17-year cicada; the resulting canine-insect, with a cute pup’s face and translucent golden wings, burrowed into the earth as planned.

The apocalypse came and went. A few humans made it to Mars; Mars, whose radiation-heavy atmosphere contains 96 percent carbon dioxide compared to Earth’s 0.04 percent; where the best technology could only yield the billionaires some miserable years of shivering in spacesuits.

Meanwhile on Earth, they had avoided the atom bomb and died of disease, each outdoing the other in studying it until the biological weapons race itself did them in - they were always promising things to supporters and shareholders, always equating the word “unknown” with weakness. But they did not understand how fatal disease can be; even rabies couldn’t illustrate it.

The scientist was among the lucky few; he was also the first to leave Mars for a return to Earth; being the only one with someone to come back to. The others couldn’t stand the comparison of what it was with what it used to be, and choked on their Mars dust and died young.

When he had been back a few weeks, he wondered if his timing was off or if his dog would not return, but then he heard a mighty sound. The buzzing was horrendous, as though the devil himself was emerging from the earth.

When Gus came to the surface, he was not alone, for cica-dogs did more than eat sap underground. All around him, holes opened in the earth up to four feet wide as the cica-dogs emerged, blind and unadapted to the sun.

They flew into each other, sightless zombies, and unwittingly ran into each other’s wings. They stressed and hurt each other at random with no control. They could not find food or water and quickly died, their pitiful bodies thudding heavily onto the earth and leaving small pits like meteorites where they landed.

The scientist retrieved Gus, from the coordinates he wrote down many years before. The blind insect-dog, with his sweet face and wings, the scientist thought, like an angel, got into the ship with him, together with a custom-made space suit, and together they returned to Mars.
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