The Oldest Member

The Oldest Member occupied his usual seat, by the window, looking out over the golf course. As he sat his mind drifted back to the time when the view was of manicured greens, lush fairways, neatly pruned trees and bushes. The fairways and greens had been long subsumed by The Wild. No golfers measured their stately progress round the course any more, stroke by stroke. To venture out now would be instant death.

His domain had shrunk to these few rooms on the first floor of the clubhouse. The ground floor was uninhabitable, at least by his kind. He knew that his time here was limited too. Every day the creepers reached higher, and the animals and god knew what else became bolder. He lived in squalor, eking out a miserable existence, always on guard, never truly relaxed, never fully asleep.

But he was The Oldest Member. Muirfield Golf Club had always had an Oldest Member, and he was damn sure he wasn’t going to give in to the savage world without a fight. When he had first joined the club, as a young boy, before The Fall, whoever had held the post had been a venerable age, usually in his 90s. He was 42. The rest of the members had fallen to the savagery that now colonised the world. 

He and four other members had made the decision, scarcely a month ago, to set up base here, thinking that it would be easier to defend than a town, which had been the focus of the savage attacks right from the start. Perfidious nature had shown itself, over the next few years, to be extremely red in tooth and claw. And purposeful. The purpose, it had become clear, was to destroy mankind, to wipe it off the face of the earth. And who could blame it? Mankind, as The Guardian had put it in its final issue, had brought this on itself by continuing to abuse the planet, blindly, until it could take no more.

His colleagues, fellow members, friends all, were gone now. He was alone.

A sudden noise behind him brought him to his feet. He swung the barrel of his gun round and caught a brace of baboons, teeth bared, full in the chest with a hail of bullets. He would have to find the breach, repair it quickly. He dropped the empty magazine on the floor, took a full one from the canvas bag at his feet, slammed it in. He lifted the bag. Empty. With a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach he stepped over the fallen bodies and through the open door.

by Ross Burton


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