Since I was at Busch Gardens all day yesterday and got home at about ten PM, it completely slipped my mind that it was Writing Wednesday yesterday! I haven’t written as much as I’d like to have this week, so I’ll just share with you one of my short stories. This is one of the favorites that I’ve written this year, and it’s a bit dystopian/science-fiction-y, but I hope you guys enjoy it!
Hands held tight, sweaty palms slippery and nails digging into the pinked summer skin. You were biting my wrist, baby teeth lost and adult ones barely breaking the surface, the ribbed gums trying to fit around my flesh, trying to keep in the screams, scrabbling at my other hand, the one over your eyes. We had to be quiet, very quiet, stay quiet, please, they will find us, don’t listen, don’t see, don’t be scared, I have you, I have you, I have you. And you were cradled in my lap, the last of life I had left, if they found you I would kill you before they got a chance, and keep in those sobs, please, don’t listen, it isn’t real, this isn’t anything, this is just like TV or a video game, OK? It isn’t Will; it isn’t his flesh that they’re tearing apart. It’s someone else, someone not real, not Will, definitely not Will.
Hands and knees in the dirt, slowly slowly so they don’t hear, but they did anyway and they always had guns that didn’t shoot bullets, that shot rays of light that tore through bodies. The wrenched at my struggling arms, shouts of laughter that wasn’t human coughing from their mouths, and I was too weak to pull away, too weak to grab one of their guns and shoot them through their parasite-infected brains. The woods were dark around me as they hauled me along, my limbs thrashing, my mouth hoarse from screaming. But there was no one coming.
My arms protested painfully when they bound me to a tree, examining my gums, giggling like children with the voices of hyenas, with distended teeth and red, glistening eyes. It was easy to not think of them as human; they didn’t look like us anyway. They left me there while they made their fire, dashing together steel and rock, like cavemen, and I imagined them drawing on rock walls, but instead of conquering mammoths, they conquered cities; they conquered the human race.
He burst onto their campsite like a fallen angel, ragged and haggard and wielding one of their guns and soon gore was the only thing surrounding me, pressing into my corneas, but it felt good to watch their blood spill to the ground, to watch the life flow out of them, and maybe I wasn’t the only one and he untied me from the tree, my limbs sore and we slipped in the blood, but we ran and we didn’t ask questions.
We hid in the lee of a boulder, our bodies sheltered from the wind, warm bodies and cold wind and I did not say anything until his voice rang the air. He smelled like sweat and blood and earth.
“How old are you?” His voice was deep and low and rumbling.
He sucked in a breath, the lines around his eyes creasing. “I’m Will.”
“Hollow,” I replied and sometimes I didn’t know if it was my name or the feeling.
I watched him sleep, breathing easy and wrinkles relaxed away and he was not handsome and he was too much older than me but the world was ending anyway so I kissed him and I don’t know whether he was dreaming or not because his eyes never opened but he grabbed me and twisted me against the rock, pressing hard against me, so hard it was human, and it felt like life. His hands furrowed deep into my matted hair and my teeth broke his lips like the skin of a fruit and his blood tasted metallic and he threw us against the ground, grinding me into the stones of the earth, and it was like a star bursting inside of me, this feeling like an animal was taking over, the instinct I hadn’t known I possessed.
Baby, you fell asleep with my hand over your eyes, rocking back and forth and maybe I should have covered your ears because you could still hear him and maybe that stayed with you and maybe it’s better that you didn’t watch your him disappearing. I couldn’t close my eyes, baby, I couldn’t let myself think it would be the last time I saw him. I’m sorry I couldn’t save us. But you are my only life now, you are my world entire and you will grow up and someday they won’t take us and the world will be back to normal and you’ll get to eat ice cream on a cone, just like I always told you about, or go visit the ocean, the roiling, beautiful ocean, don’t worry, one day, one day.