Snow always seemed like a suitable medium for death. Red on White, the symbolism already had its gory fingers all over it, so what backdrop could be more appropriate than this snappy little winter morning to shuffle off some coils, mortal or otherwise?

‘To be honest… Daniel cursed as the spectre of his ill-chosen words billowed a badly conceived Halloween costume into the piercing air.

Luckily the creature didn’t seem to notice, it was too busy staring at his hands.  They both knew that he was officially on the menu now, along with every other bastard on the planet.

He tried again, ‘No way back, no way forward and the last thing we want to do is to stay where we are, eh?’ The creature shook, flicking a rainbow of foul smelling saliva out across the snow. Behind it, a set of dark lines crackled sarcastically across the royal icing sky. Hope may have switched sides weeks ago but Daniel still missed it, ‘Feel free to chip in with any last minute amendments or additions,’ he spoke with more joviality than he felt.

‘So,’ the creature whispered. It was the first time it had spoken since they’d stopped running, ‘this is how the Great Species ends, not with a bang, but with a supplementary form?’

‘We just like to make sure it’s done right, that’s all.’ Daniel could feel the creature getting impatient. It had edged forward another few inches. He tried not to stare, a black ice was already crystallising a new set of scales onto the kaleidoscope skin. Despite excelling in his level 3 integration training, Daniel still shuddered. Some things were just too weird to get used to.

‘Do you not see that the notion of right and wrong seems to have fled along with the birds?’

‘You ate all the birds,’ an irritating wobble had wriggled past his vocal chords, ‘right after you installed the net.’

‘The birds were given ample time to submit a counter proposal, just as your kind were.’

‘Time is weird like that,’ Daniel said, more to the situation than his companion, ‘it follows you home all bouncy and full of hopeful ideas.  But then it has some supper and curls up quietly next to the fireplace of your mind, and after a while you forget it’s still there, right up until someone knocks at the door.’

‘You wish to use your last few hours discussing future policy for effective time management, Human?’ the creature circled behind him.

‘There are worse ways to go, and I can always pop the paperwork in the post, save you hanging around.’

‘You know I’d laugh,’ the creature’s breath was warm on his neck, ‘but my mouth is busy savouring the stench of your mistakes.’

‘Hey that’s not fair, they didn’t seem like mistakes at the time.’

‘I’m curious, why did your species choose to continue with this strategy, even though you knew it was not working?’

Daniel shrugged, wrapping his arms tight around his chest in an effort to keep more than the cold at bay, ‘Don’t forget, it was you who made us all Civil Servants, being concerned with whether something is working or not hasn’t factored in our lives for a very long time.’

The creature grinned, because natural selection loved a bit of irony, ‘If it makes you feel any better, I can show you my pp13.452?’

‘Ah, permit to picnic in this quadrant of the park,’ Daniel rallied, ‘I think you’ll find that a pp13.452 doesn’t cover….’

The creature blossomed a tendril, coiling it chummily around his shoulders, ‘Supplementary form 1b, attached,’ it whispered into his ear.  And then it grinned again.

But only with its teeth.