Mammals, I Think We Are Called: Wolphinia

Wolphinia: A woman drives a car, a wolphin surfaces, a handgrenade is between the two pics.


Number 9 of the eighteen stories in my debut short story collection, Mammals, I Think We Are Called.

In a world poisoned with mercury, where people do nothing but drive, a young woman sacrifices her life to save the wolphins, the only mammals with any hope of survival.

Read an excerpt:

It used to be that I didn’t dare stop driving around – people would notice; I’d make them feel guilty and they might attack. Now on my walks through the harbour, all I have to do is duck the cars that smash through the barrier high above my head. And flinch when they hit the heap of metal that lines the sea wall.

Ride not riot. That’s the tiny government’s latest slogan. Not that anyone’s listening since the election turnout dropped to 2.3 percent. But the people keep queueing up for their petrol. Fucking lemmings!

I follow the harbour wall that ends at the old customs house, tucked underneath the flyover, now the seat of the tiny government. I’m wondering what they actually do, besides doling out petrol, when out of the mucky water pops this wolphin and I jump a fucking mile.

I put my hands up. Wolphins aren’t stupid. It’s very likely to be pissed off: every time another car ‘forgets’ to take the curve and flies off into the sea, a wolphin floats belly-up afterwards.

Still, what on earth do I expect it to do? Gun me down? Wolphins don’t have hands.

I look closer. It’s way too big to be a British wolphin. Maybe the rumours were true, maybe it’s ex-Russian. Not that anybody cares. Even the Nationalists have given up – more important fish to fry and all that.

The wolphin half-rises from the waves and opens its mouth, as if it’s struggling to say something. I’m interested. Conversation is pretty scarce these days. I edge closer, keeping my hands up, but the wolphin moves back. You can’t blame it for being suspicious – I am a human, after all.

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