See What I See, Hear What I Hear
I was dead. There was no other explanation. All the same, I opened my eyes and sat up. My eyes wouldn’t focus, or maybe they finally did, but the images they registered seemed meaningless at first; colorless, lifeless mounds of ash, heaped together, sculpted into things familiar. Bricks of ash, stacked on top of one another, formed buildings on either side of me, and beneath me, the ash had been packed into the hardness of pavement.
I could really use a drink right now.
Ignoring my thirst, I found my feet. Walking was automatic, cost nothing. It took several steps before I registered what really drove me, and then the alley seemed to go on and on forever. The pressure that urged me on, that bid me “Run! Hide!” rose steadily behind me, and I sensed the ensuing heat and light would be my destruction. I spotted an entrance to the city’s sewer system I dove for it, fumbling awkwardly with grate until panic fueled unnatural strength and I ripped it from the ground. The pressure faded behind me, balked by the darkness that enveloped me.
I sat there in the cold, wet darkness, marveling that it was neither cold, nor very dark. Everything had taken on the dull, grey pallor of ash, even the water that flowed beneath my feet. It was liquid ash.
God, I could really use that drink right now.
I shook my head to clear the urge and started moving again. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for, but sensed I would know it when I saw it. I rounded the corner and stopped. There, ahead of me in the tunnel, shining as bright as if it were lit from within, was a rat the size of a house cat. It lifted its rat-shaped head and sniffed the air, but deciding there was nothing there, it went back to rooting through the solid tangle that had caught its attention.
Fascinated by the rat’s glow and the thought of whatever must have caused it, I didn’t notice at first how my thirst had intensified. But it caught up to me soon enough and I was soon frantically looking around for something that would sate it. Desperate, for a moment I even considered the liquid ash, but it repulsed me. It was dead.
Thud thump, thud thump, thud thump. The sound drew my eyes back towards the only thing in this place that wasn’t dead. Liquid poured through the creature with each beat, liquid life that my throat ached for with such intensity that I was hurtling towards it before I’d made the conscious decision. The rat, hearing the noise of my splashing, turned and scampered down the tunnel, but I was faster and snatched it up. Hair, skin, and a thin layer of flesh weren’t in my way long, and as the liquid I craved so badly pumped into my burning throat, I closed my eyes and breathed deeply, the first breath I’d taken all this time.
Copyright 2011, Laurie E. Still
Journal Entry 11 May
Ok wow. Woke up with the worst hangover ever! I remember going out with the guys, hitting up the new club down on 29th, but after that… Did we get separated? There was a girl… Cindy? Celia? Shelly? They were all fawning over her, but it was the other girl, the quiet one in the back I couldn’t stop staring at. This is where everything gets hazy. Did I go up and talk to her? I don’t remember now. I seem to remember her perfume though… Yes I did talk to her, dropped some smooth line about it smelling like the woods right as the rain hits and she laughed. I remember her laugh anyway. It was low and deep and sent shivers up and down my spine. WOW. So me and… guess I didn’t get her name. Damn. Or her number. Shit. Probably for the best though because I think she might have drugged me. I’ve never felt worse. I still feel like shit. Gonna lie down for bit. Try to remember the rest afterwards…
Ok, back. Sleep schedule’s all out of whack. Not sure it’s even the 11th anymore. I’d look outside but I can’t bring myself to open the shades. Nap didn’t help much. Head still feels like someone encased it in stone. God, I wish I knew what she gave me, damned bitch. Hope we enjoyed ourselves, damn.
Anyway, trying to reconstruct the night isn’t happening so I’ll write about what happened when I woke up….
It was totally fucking weird. It was like the sky and the world and everything around me had all turned to shit, like literal shit. It was all grey and shitty, even things that normally are supposed to have color like stop lights and trees. Maybe that should have freaked me out, but I didn’t even notice at first. I was dying of thirst. Felt like I was already dead really. Never felt worse. I got up, went hunting for a drink, ended up in the sewers for some reason. Well, I mean, I went down there to get out of the sun, but don’t ask me why I thought this was necessary. I was too out of my head to really think about it. Anyway, sewers, yeah. Not a lot to drink down there… And I probably shouldn’t even be writing this, but when I did finally find something to drink, well this is going to sound weird, but I could have swore it squeaked when I bit into it. Yeah. Disturbing right? After it gets dark out I’m going to venture out and see if I can’t find something a little less uh, squeaky to drink. Fucking thirsty as shit and everything in this apartment’s turned flat and tastes like I’m drinking liquid clay or something. Gotta call and complain about the tap water at least. This is getting fucking ridiculous.
Copyright 2011, Laurie E. Still