Alone

I hear the worms first.

I hear them crawling. Wriggling. Forcing their way through the dirt.

Then I hear the pounding feet. My bones vibrate in time with them. One two, one two, one two three four.

Then I hear the chanting. The sound is muffled. I can not make out the words. But I hear the voices, and I hunger.

During my life, I had wondered what it would be like. Under the ground. In a box. With the worms. I had written about it. Poems. So many poems. And stories. Worms and gravestones and the deaths of beautiful women. These had been my favorite things.

Down, down in the ground, black and dark and dead in the everlasting night, boxed up. Alone. Even as the flesh rots and the seasons turn and the grass grows. Alone. Alone.

Alone.

I had not been conscious, before. I remember a gutter. I remember being dizzy. I remember being cold. I remember everything fuzzy, everything blurry. Then my memory stops. There is nothing in the space between that blurry cold and now, between my death and the worms, the feet, and the voices.

And the hunger.

The hunger is enormous. It is not like anything I remember feeling when I was alive. It licks at my bones. It burns like fire. I lie here in it, dormant and dead, and it urges me to get up, go up, find the feet and the voices. It pricks me. The hunger is pain, and the pain grows and grows.

I lift my arms.

The hunger rises, sharp and strong. It rides my bones. It guides what’s left of my fingers as they scrabble for purchase, as they shove the dirt out of their way, as they pull me up and out of the ground.

I feel the wind on my bones. I see the moonlight, shining on gravestones. I hear the sighing of the leaves in the trees.

The pounding feet stop. The chanting voices go silent.

The hunger wants.

It drives me forward, toward the warm living skinned ones, the ones who were dancing and chanting. The ones who brought me back.

I hear their screams.

The hunger takes.

Everything has changed. The gutter where everything went blurry and cold, where I died, is no longer there. There are no horses. There are large metal containers on wheels in the street. They go much faster than horses.

I stay in the shadows.

I took the clothing of the ones who freed me to hide my bones. Their clothes are warm. They smell of this new world, of the large wheeled containers and the black topped roads. I draw the collar of the shirt up.

I feel the hunger, underneath. It is quiet now, but it will come back.

I need paper. I need a pen. I need to write.

I see a living skinned one. He is stumbling, drunk. The hunger smells him. It rises. It wants.

I skulk along behind the drunk man. He weaves and wanders. He speaks to the air. I wonder if it answers him. Perhaps it is saying watch, watch, death follows behind you, but he does not hear.

The hunger forces its images in front of me. It shows me the bodies of the ones who raised me. It shows me their brains. I do not care. I do not want brains. I want a pen. I want to write.

The drunk man fetches up against a house door. He fumbles in his pocket for a key. He misses the keyhole, scratches up the doorknob. I come up behind him. I can smell the alcohol on his breath.

What would he think of bony fingers appearing to guide his skinned ones? I am tempted. But the hunger will not do it. It wants surprise. It wants cover. It does not want a skinned one running screaming through the streets.

Finally the drunken man hits his mark and unlocks the door. I am his shadow as he steps into the house. I slide behind him as he turns to close the door. I spot paper and a pen on a small round table to the right.

The hunger wants. I tell it I do not care, that it can have him. I just want the paper and pen.

The hunger takes.

The drunk man lies on the floor, surrounded by blood. I arrange his body so that he looks peaceful, like he just went to sleep and lost his head. I wish the hunger had waited before taking his brain. I cannot ask him how to work these new things, this pen that does not need ink, this stove without fire, these switches on the wall.

I play with the pen, twirling it around my bones. I press the top, and something comes out of the bottom. A nib. I press it against the paper, and it makes a smooth mark.

I begin to write.

I write of the worms, of the grave markers, of the young warm living skinned ones dancing and chanting in the night. I write of the moonlight, of the wind, of the brightness of my bones. I write of the hunger, its pricking pain and its constant gnawing need. I write through the night and into the next day. The hunger is quiet. Interested. I feel it watching me.

I go out, wrapped in the clothes of the drunken man. I found clean ones in a small room inside the house.

I wander through the streets, keeping away from the large metal containers. They scare me. The streets are still as I remember, though they are solid and black and have changing tricolored lights strung across them now.

My publishing company is still in the same building. I go back to the drunk man’s house. I find an envelope, address it to my publisher, and stuff my story inside.

I do not know how the mail works now. I have to drop it off myself. I go back out. The sun is setting. Warm living skinned ones are everywhere. The hunger awakens.

I tell it that it must wait. I must drop off my package first. I go into the office. There is a large desk facing towards me. I drop the package on it and hurry out. The hunger wants.

This time it is a woman. Tall and beautiful, with raven dark hair. She is hurrying home. I slip ahead of her and hide in an alley. As she comes by, the hunger reaches out. It takes her. My bones must feel so cold against her warm skin.

I bite her shoulder. She struggles. The hunger urges me on, riding my bones, guiding my fingers up to her hair.

She twists away from me. We both stumble. She recovers first. I reach out for her, the stolen clothes forgotten, my bones tinted warm yellow in the setting sun. My fingers grasp the air. She is running away, screaming. Screaming.

The hunger is cruel tonight. It does not let me write. It burns.

Always, always, the hunger wants. I do not know how long it has been since that first night. The hunger drives me. It finds its victims. It takes its brains. Sometimes they get away before the brain is touched. The hunger roars then. It roars in my head and it will not leave me alone. I cannot write on those nights.

The other nights, when the hunger has had its meal, it is quiet. It lets me write. It watches. I feel that it reads.

I have seen my stories in the windows of bookstores. I have also seen stories of the mysterious anonymous author in the newspapers. This makes me sad. No one remembers my style. No one remembers me. They have no idea who could write such stories of the worms, the gravestones, and the deaths of beautiful women. I am forgotten.

I also see stories of a serial killer. The Zombie Killer, the newspapers blare. Every week, there are more bodies without brains. More than the hunger can account for.

One night I see the beautiful raven haired woman. She is changed. Her skin is gray and slack. Her hair is dull, and much of it has fallen out. Her eyes have no soul, no beauty. They have only the hunger.

I watch as she stalks her prey. She has no class. No sense of style. There is nothing artistic in the way she takes her victim, nothing darkly beautiful in the way she eats the brain. She leaves the body in a heap in an alley, next to a large pile of rubbish.

The hunger has reproduced itself. It has made for itself unconscious unalive children.

I retch.

I will not allow the hunger to use me to make more monsters. I procure heavy chains, a trowel, mortar, and bricks.

The hunger fights me. It wants. It wants to go out into the city. It wants warm pulsing flesh. It wants living brains.

I tell it that it should have taken my brain first.

I go to the house of the drunken man. It is still empty. No one has come. The man must have been alone in the world. He still lies in the front hallway, still at rest in the pose I created for him. He is beautiful in his decay.

I walk past his body. I open doors until I find what I want. A stairway leading down.

The hunger rises. I scream, my voice hollow and creaking. The hunger burns inside my bones. I grip the banister and force my legs downward. The hunger is pain, and the pain is unbearable.

I go down into the drunken man’s cellar. I chain my legs to the wall. The hunger screams, and I scream, and the screams of the dead and the burning and the hungry echo off the cellar walls.

I brick myself up. The hunger screams with every brick I lay. It wants. It wants it wants it wants. The heat of its wanting sears my bones. The bricks blur. I cannot see. Still I lay them, one on top of the other.

The hunger rides my legs. It forces the bones against the chains. It hurts. It hurts and I am dizzy and I am cold and I cannot see, but the chains hold.

I lay the last brick in place. The hunger jerks. It throws me against the wall. It takes my fingers, forces them to scrabble against the bricks, loosen the mortar. I scream. I am on fire and the hunger is pain and I am drowning in it, I cannot see and I cannot think and the cold blurriness comes, the last thing I remember before waking in my grave, and then it is dark.

—-

I hear nothing.

Down, down in the ground, black and dark and dead in the everlasting night, boxed up. Alone. Even as the flesh rots and the seasons turn and the grass grows. Alone. Alone.

Alone.

The hunger is gone. My bones are cool and mildewy. Nothing rides them. Nothing controls them. I do not feel pain. I do not feel anything.

The chains are rusted. They come undone easily. Many of the bricks have fallen. I move a few more. I step outside of my cell.

I still hear nothing.

I walk up the stairs.

The drunken man is still there. Still undisturbed. He is now just bones, just as I am. I step over him. I walk out the front door.

I hear nothing.

I see everything.

Weeds are growing up among the cracked pieces of the black topped road. There are rusted broken large metal containers everywhere, their tires flat, their doors hanging open. The other homes in the neighborhood sit derelict, their windows broken, their roofs sagging.

There is not a living thing in sight.

The hunger wanted.

The hunger took.

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4 Responses to Alone

  1. Jessie says:

    …wow… Just wow…

    Like

    • medleymisty says:

      Thank you! I hope that’s good, lol. 🙂

      A few weeks ago I had a slight head cold and I took Nyquil. I then proceeded to write a random crazy post on my LJ about raising up Edgar Allan Poe as a zombie and letting him eat my brain in a dark beautiful artistic way and then he could write stories about it. The topic in LJ Idol that week was “in your wheelhouse”, and someone suggested that eating brains could be in zombie Poe’s wheelhouse, or something.

      Anyway. I went nonfiction that week, and then the next week was an intersection and I had a partner. This week though – this week I was on my own, and the topic was “sated”. LOL! 🙂 I had a really busy weekend, but I’m on vacation from work this week. So I got up Monday, played around on Farmville and Castleville, finally took a shower, took a walk and thought about the story, and then wrote it in maybe four hours. Got it in an hour before the deadline. And it’s doing better than I usually do in the poll, so I reckon I might survive yet another week in Idol. 🙂

      Like

      • Anonymous says:

        You’ll still be there hon. Or the judges arent very bright.

        Like

        • medleymisty says:

          Awww, thanks. 🙂 And generally the people who vote are the other contestants, and sometimes their friends. After this week, we’ll be down to the last 40 contestants. I’ve made some great friends and I’ve met writers who I really respect, and I’ve tried to learn from them. One especially is great at worldbuilding and lots of little details lightly woven in without weighing the story down, so I’m definitely trying to learn from her – she was my inspiration the week when the topic was to write an entry inspired by another person in Idol. 🙂

          Yay thank you!:)

          Like

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