Monday, March 14, 2011

A Break in the Clouds

Day 90
The clouds finally broke today. Not for long and not over any wide area, but it was enough. For the first time in months one tony corner of this dark city was illuminated by real sunlight. Everyone in old downtown saw it, a few people barricaded in the old hotel had it stream through their windows. For me I had the gift of being in it. On top of that old, run down, brick lodging the sun struck me through a gap in the clouds and it felt good. The first sun in three months. Five minutes later it was done, but if it happened once it could happen again.
The city hasn't been doing well lately. Three months ago clouds settled in over the entire county. For a while it was just odd, then things started going crazy. Phones and the internet stopped working, people fled to relatives, we can only hope they made it. The power station shut down, all we had left were individual gasoline powered generators. The people started getting twitchy. Some said it was aliens, others the judgment of god, and one street preacher proclaimed it was the government come to control all of us in some sort of test. I don't know which is true really. All I know is that things ain't right. You can feel it in your skin, like the air is oily. Dark things lurk in the back corners of the alleyways, we find bones from time to time.
It may have started bad but at five weeks in it got worse. No one was coming into the city, and fog blocks every road. We may be the last people on earth for all we know. Not that it matters to these people. Gangs are roving the streets, some just thugs with bats and crowbars, others are former cops with full riot gear. The innocent hide, the university is a barricaded fortress, and downtown is a patchwork of territory wars. I was staying in the old hotel when it all happened, visiting the city of my birth. Now I was stuck here again.
I did what I could to keep things safe. The hotel was a safe house now, no gang would touch us. They were getting closer every day though. Defending this little slice of sanity and health was getting harder. It was old enough that the walls were thick and the construction solid. Anyone was free to join us, to make a call for sanctuary from the darkness and the blood thirst. Some people were stumbling in claiming the rotting walking dead had returned. Some rest and they always denied it, but I had seen the things myself when on food runs. This city was hell on earth now, humans and twisted flights of fancy racing to outdo each other. Yet somehow I was sane, or just insane enough to fight. In the land of the blind the one eyed is king, but in the world of the madman the half sane is the vigilante.
But today the sun was out. The sun still exists, even if we are just a tiny dirt clod running around it. Maybe the earth is still out there, just past the fog. Again, I don't know, all I do know is I feel touched. That short ray of sunlight hit me dead on and I haven't felt so warm in weeks. For whatever reason, luck fate or divine intervention, I feel chosen. I'm one of the only sane people left in the known world, and protecting is no longer enough. Carving out a tiny slice of safety won't save the kids stuck in dorms, the family hidden in an apartment. They need help too. It's time to take back the eternal twilight.
Day 91
Something changed yesterday, the game is different now. The freaks and the dead are more bold. The dark horrors of hidden ways are creeping out. I went on a run across rooftops and nearly got eaten by something with tentacles. I didn't have a gun, the noise attracts to much attention, just the crowbar I had been carrying since week two. I swear the thing started glowing though. It felt like the sun hitting me all over again and I beat that, that thing back into whatever corner of hell it came from. Resources were scarce when I managed to make it to the old convenience store. Still I managed food, bandages, some aspirin and (for my private enjoyment alone) a case of coke. The rest I will share but I earned that soda.
Day 92
Things keep getting stranger. The wanderers who occasionally hide in the hotel are telling tales of more and more beasts, but also rumors of strange men about town. Men fighting entire gangs and winning, healing bullet wounds, and pulling off other stunts. I might not be as alone as I thought. No time to wonder at it though.
Today I took the fight to the gangs. One group of thugs in particular has been pressing our borders, armed with crude weapons they are desperate and half mad. Negotiations failed quickly but with some work, and a bow I had scavenged, I managed to beat them back. The leader is dead and the gang won't last long. Some might reform but the rest will just wander into new groups. At least that's what I tell myself. It's hell out here but killing doesn't get easier. I took a few hits but I'm already better. No idea why the sunlight did this but I'll take it. Tomorrow I will leave others to defend and see if I can't find some answers.
Day 200
I found the source. The city will recover.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Waiting Room

 In the back end of nowhere is a small door. The word "Rejected” is scrawled on this door in every language imaginable. There is no handle, merely a metal plate to push on to open it. A tall painfully thin man in black walks towards the door, his footsteps pounding on the flat grey ground half a second after each of his feet touches the ground. The door opens and he steps through it. Into a brightly lit room.
The door cannot be seen from the other side. Instead there is simply an airport terminal, with no visible way out. Creatures are splayed out on chairs, some sleeping on the floor, a few float silently through the air. As the tall man surveys the crowd they size him but no one makes a move to confront him. No one, that is except a hunched dark skinned humanoid in the corner. He shambles forward and introduces himself as a spinal tap vampire.
Speaking without words the tall man asks where he is and who all these people are. The vampire response simply “We are all rejected ideas. Mythologies that never had a chance to fully exist. So here we wait in perpetual limbo.” The tall one looks about with an eyeless face. Some of these creatures are variations on a theme, some are twisted monsters of fevered nighmares, and others are almost nothing but a thick fog in one area. Arrayed on the wall are photos. It points to them. “Ah yes,” says the spine sucker “the escapees. Somehow these bastards got free, reached the mortal realm and got just enough attention to exist. The rest of us? Just irregular creatures, rejected goods from the mind of man. Still at least a few made it. Mothman, the gray aliens, Jersey Devil and Springheel Jack. Hell some people say Cthulhu started here but we try not to think about that possibility.” The thin man questions his surroundings silently. His blank head betraying nothing but mild curiosity. “No easy way out my friend, but better than being killed I suppose. Still I would have loved a chance to transcend to common myth.” the vampire stares wistfully at his razor sharp claws each one a hollow needle. He shuffles back to his corner and the slender man examines the pictures. He is still only partially formed, a blank slate of a tall thin humanoid in a dark suit. The rest of him is a grey miasma.
Weeks pass and the slender man forms himself, in the hope, however slim, of getting out of this wretched timeless place. Nothing changes and most of the residents seem to far gone to care, they sit and rot slowly to nothingness, their bodies and minds breaking down to the component parts of mythology. But the slender man will not do that. With effort he claims the unformed nature of himself and grows to craft himself as an creature of fear, of loss, the loss of a child, of a primal terror of the modern age. Had he a face he would smile as he grows tendrils from his back and stretches to truly inhuman proportions. His body becomes a mockery of the world, a bald faceless businessman, black suit, white shirt, red tie.
A physical form crafted to stick in the mind the slender man tries to escape. It is slow going, finding a mortal mind to nest in. Six and twenty minds are contacted but each has no ability to spread his word or properly give credit to his horrendous nature and sinister purpose.
Months more pass, as time is counted in that grim place. The vampire now is nothing but a single needle on the ground, twitching weakly, but the slender man persists, casting his mind far and wide to find a nesting mind to spread from. Then success strikes in a flash. Someone, thinking themselves clever, crafts an image of the him, dark and terrible, and apparently real to the untrained eye. He whispers terrible secrets in their ear and they write them to go with the photo. Still this isn't enough but it's a toe hold. Within days though he is realized in this world. Fools mix with magi anonymously and spread tales they think they have made up about him. And so the universe slowly shifts itself. The Slender Man is real. He always has been after all. A child killing terror of the fog, invisible to all but the mad, the children, and the legions of Anon. His chest rises and falls as he fades from the terminal of rejected ideas and begins to raise hell in the land of mortals.