Free Skyquakers by A.J. Conway

Book: Skyquakers by A.J. Conway Read Free Book Online
Authors: A.J. Conway
that was when the dog showed his true colours: the white of his fur suddenly
began glowing green, florescent, making his whole body illuminate in a soft
aura. The border collie’s tongue, ears, and underbelly
burned with brilliant green incandescence. It made him look radioactive, and it
was quite startling for Ned and Jackrabbit to witness.
    ‘Whoa. Did the dog just … or am I … ? ’ Jackrabbit checked how much he had drunk.
    ‘That ’ s so freaking awesome! Look at
him! He ’ s glowing! ’
    Ned ran out onto the grass and began rolling around with the
dog, playfully tackling him and letting him bite his sleeve and lick his face
with his glowing green tongue. The fur of his belly didn ’ t feel any
different when it shone, but the vibrancy of the colour was incredibly
striking; a beautiful spectrum of light in an otherwise bleak and gloomy world. Moonboy , Ned called him. He ran about with him in the
dark for hours, captivated by his green glow. They played fetch with a stick in
the fields, and Moonboy – who could never be lost in the
dark – returned loyally each and every time, until eventually he tired Ned out.
After that, Ned went back to sitting on the porch and the dog sat by his side,
always facing the fields, keeping watch over them.
    Ned turned to Jackrabbit. ‘ We ’ re
keeping him. He ’ s a glow-in-the-dark dog. We
are definitely keeping him. ’
    ‘You ’ re keeping him, ’ Jackrabbit corrected, then he declared he was going to bed.


    At the crack of dawn, the dog was barking again. He was in
hysterics, scratching at the door, howling and wailing.
    Ned and Jackrabbit slept in separate bedrooms upstairs that
night, cosy in the abandoned sheets of someone else ’ s home. It
was the best night ’ s sleep Ned had had in weeks.
With his new alien pet at his feet, he felt safe enough to not need a fridge
within three steps, and he was exhausted enough to sleep undisturbed all night.
    Until morning, when Moonboy woke
them both with a start. Ned sat upright in his bed only to hear Jackrabbit
announce loudly from a distant room, ‘ FIRE! ’
    Ned hastily pulled his clothes on and ran downstairs. He
arrived at the front porch, where Jackrabbit and Moonboy were standing, and gasped at the sight.
    ‘Holy shit. ’
    All the fields were on fire. Roaring red flames and thick,
black smoke rose on all three sides, destroying hundreds of hectares of wheat
crops, and the blaze was drawing near. He could already feel the heat and smell
the smoke. If they stayed here much longer, the fire would trap them in a ring
and engulf them.
    ‘Bushfire! ’ Ned cried.
    ‘ Ain ’ t no
bushfire. This manmade. ’
    ‘What? By who? ’
    ‘Get your shit. Go! ’
    They rushed to collect their things. Moonboy ,
back to his normal colours under the rising sun, was still barking at the
flames. Ned hurried to get his shoes on, grab his bag, and steal some cans from
the cupboard. He heard Jackrabbit yelling for him outside. He emerged onto the
porch, but then cried, ‘ Lily! ’ and ran
back in.
    ‘No, don ’ t! ’
    Ned clumsily scurried back into the living room. The fire
was right in their front yard now, the flames burning up everything in their
path. The air was becoming thicker, smoky, and hard to see through. Ned coughed
and covered his face with his singlet. He seized the radio and shoved it in his
bag; he was not losing Lily, the only girl left in the world who understood
    He ran out and met Jackrabbit. The dog ran ahead. They
followed the hybrid, knowing he probably had better survival instincts than
they did. Moonboy managed to weave through flames,
finding clean routes, occasionally halting when he came across a barricade, a
wall of fire, or a fallen tree. They ran back to the river, towards the desert
again; they would be safe on that side, as the winds were sweeping the blaze
the other way.
    At the river, Moonboy halted dead.
Ned ran in, waist-deep, while Jackrabbit trudged through

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