Appearances are not Always as They Seem

GRAPHIC WARNING: I don’t get too grotesque in this, but there is mention of guns and blood near the end. If this is upsetting to you it may be best not to read. The good news is though most of my other writing doesn’t contain anything like it!

As the sun dawned over the blissful horizon, it slowly drifted higher into the smoggy, gray sky. It drifted over the peaceful scene, and reflected off every watered surface from the quick rain the night before. That night a large storm blew through coastal Miami, leaving everything it touched a distorted mirror.

The rain left a scent like molded bread in the already rotten smelling air. Miami- or what was left of the once lively city, at least- was now defined by that choking scent. Sometimes it began to grow so thick and unbearable that breathing in deep enough meant drowning in its waves.

Miami had become a ghost town. An artifact of memories long past. Since the dawn of the end of the world it had become a desserted prison for those creatures. They too were held in memories long past. Almost human, but not entirely. Everything human in them had died when they caught the virus. They were simply the rotting husks of what used to be. They held the faces of daughters, brothers, mothers, but no longer the humanity that made them whole.

Hugging close to the dirtied brick wall of a nearby convenience store, I held my breath and balled my hands into fists, digging my nails into my palm. One of the creatures stumbled by, dazed and broken. An old man. Or what was left of him. He struggled with a limp, his broken leg dragging slowly behind him. His dark eyes drooped, and his skin sagged in its gray, undesirable form.

They all looked the same, in my eyes at least. Nothing but broken hearts and long lost memories. I tried my hardest not to run into them whenever I could. Not because I feared them, but because I didn’t need the displeasuring memories they brought forth.

The old man continued past my hiding place, and I breathed a quiet sigh of relief and released my tightened grip.

On the inside, the convenience store was rotted and deteriorating. Not much was left on the shelves to pick from, I assumed from the raids when this new world began. There was no order. Just chaos. Men and women latched on to crumbled boxes and gripped on to young, small hands. You either joined in the chaos or risked getting trampled. But that was only a memory, and memories like to distort themselves.

Perhaps it wasn’t as violent and grotesque as my memory would like me to believe. Maybe it was simple, peaceful, quiet. Everyone squeezed their children’s hands and risked strained smiles. They grabbed canned goods, and filled up their carts. Maybe they apologized when they bumped into someone, and excused themselves when they needed to pass through.

Or perhaps not.

The freezy sign spun on the check out countertop, and flashed distorted lights across the damp, dark room. I risked sneaking through the dark. The lights scared me more. There I had opportunity of being seen. And being seen was not something I enjoyed in this new, strained world.

I used to be scared of the dark, but not now. After you live in the dark for long enough it becomes comforting. The unknown envelops you like a blanket, discreet and ever present.

I searched the destroyed aisles, looking for something to eat, anything. I hadn’t eaten in a while. Food was hard to come by these days. And I knew if I went any longer without a meal I’d join my brethren decorating the streets.

I heard a familiar groan from outside. The door shook, and I braced myself behind one of the many empty shelves. Shuffled steps echoed through the small room, and the scent of dirt and blood wafted through the air. A familiar, comforting scent. Much like the dark, I no longer feared it’s metal taste, it meant living.

I peaked out an eye from behind the shelf, and saw a man and 2 children searching the front, wandering and dazed. The man shuffled with a limp. The old man from before. He had the same stumbling steps and grayed skin. The children looked much in the same, but smelled more of life.

They reminded me of the grumbling pain in my emptied stomach, so I stalked until they moved closer. And launched at the old man, teeth barred and ready. A chunk ripped out of his shoulder, blood covered my dirtied face, and he screamed in agony.

The older child lifted her arm, and I felt a sharp pain shoot through my temple.

And I collapsed to the floor, another body littering the conscious.

Sorry I haven’t updated in a while, everyone. I got sick recently, so I’m a little behind on my blog updates. It’s not anything too serious, just a bit of a respiratory infection.

Featured Image by Tilly Williams.

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