Where were you when the apocalypse came? When the alpacas descended in their thousands and lay claim to our cities, our homes, and our fields? Do you even remember the time before?
My brother is too young. George was only three when our alpacan overlords arrived. He has known no other world but the mist and the Alpacaracy–one llama one vote. But I remember.
I was nineteen and cycling through Belgium, the last summer before real life was supposed to start. Jobs and rent and mortgages. A thousand and one worries. Two thousand and one dreams. All gone in an instant.
We were just outside the town of Lambert Saint-Martin, peddling up the winding hills when the fog rolled in, thicker than I’d ever seen. We could barely see the path in front of us, let alone the curves in the road or the sheer drop waiting for us.
Jake and I wanted to stop, to find a safe nook or cranny, snug against the mountain where our footing was secure, and wait out the fog. But Molly was having the time of her life, laughing and yodeling at the top of her lungs. We had no choice but to follow her into the mist.
It was a long, slow, nerve-wracking ride and I was certain that at any moment I would ride my bicycle over the edge and plummet to my death. To this day, I’m not sure how we survived. Perhaps Molly’s pure, unalloyed joy was enough to hold back the grave.
After what felt like hours, but was probably twenty minutes at most, we reached Lambert Saint-Martin, an isolated outcropping of houses clinging to the mountainside and drenched in mist and fog. There was not a soul in sight.
Apart from the alpacas.
They were everywhere. Lying insolently on the road and along the edge of the cliff and staring. Their eyes were terrible to behold. They seemed to look right through you, as if humans were barely worth their notice.
It wasn’t until that night, huddled around a tv set and the local pup, that we learned the alpacas were all over the world–in every city, town and road–as if they had multiplied over night.
Even listening to the Belgian newscaster’s breathless report, none of us took them seriously. They were alpacas for christ’s sake. The world was supposed to end in nuclear war, or global warming, or asteroid impacts. Or aliens. No one expected the Invasion of Alpacas.
Then the killing began.