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Chapter 5: Your New World
Wet, pulpy red fibers of blood rise from my boots. The ground here is not like any other ground. It was awake; flayed open, a body that suffers. Enormous, stretching as far as the eye could see. Tentacles wiggle and flagella run out like blades of grass. Wandering in this land of misery felt particularly, wrong. There was nowhere to go but through. I had deserted the colony to be locked in a latent horror for some other explorer to know. I was alone. No one in the world around me. No one to listen to my laments, not anymore at least. Slight chunks of asphalt warned that this was a road before whatever this fleshy thing was, dominated the road. In the distance, glass towers rose where a metropolis previously was. Webbed in fleshy features, fragmented, and all collectively dead.
Broken slabs drove out of the drudgery; bones from the remnants of houses past. There were a considerable many, which lead me to figure out; if this is a road, formerly at one point this must have been part of a township. At first I would cross the old dusty pieces by, but as I went I spotted something scrawled on the collapsed walls. I wandered over to the hunks to have a glimpse at the inscriptions. Something had etched deep slashes into the face of the walls; bizarre characters, no scrapings. A lot of odd scribbles. Someone made these, and if they were near, maybe they could help me. I looked around the maze of fallen walls and as I was exploring them, there were far more of the remains than I had first thought.
The hall of concrete ruins troubled me. Something in the pit of my stomach was twisting. All these buildings that previously stood with multiple floors, now were these hollowed out corpses. What could have done this? I queried. A few had a second story, but most of the roofless buildings had broken down over time. Ultimately I came to the resolution that there was no way I would encounter someone in this labyrinth. So the best option I had was to give up to hope something followed me. The city was a lot farther off than I first expected. So, I walked for what seemed like ages and I felt no closer than I started.
“You!” A youthful man spoke from behind. I turn heel to witness a man whose body looked dreadful. He wore rags over his crumbling bones. His open chest wounds plainly evident, baring his ribs. Cables lined along a youthful mans swollen face like a rigidly stretched canvas atop a metallic machine. His right arm was a long needle and his left arm was a claw of some sort. His legs were as if gnawed on by some predator. Yet, parts of the limb were sewn onto rods of metal peg legs like pirates. “Why do you mock me!” He wailed. Fixed in fear, I just stood there gawking at him. He pointed the huge needle blade at me with an angered howling, “You look human. Why do you mock me!”
“I am human.” It was a spontaneous retort.
His eyes wagged as they labored, veins sticking out. “Liar!” Typically I would have been resentful, but my sole thoughts were of dread, instead I merely exhaled slowly, and his booming words kept me in terror. “You bastards stole everything from us. You even stole our looks. As if to say you were one of us.”
“I don’t know what you want, sir. I am a human, I swear.” The guy carried on staring at me, as if working to think of something to say. “I need help, sir. Please, can you help me?” I could follow his blood pushing through the cables and there were gaps. Which was all wrong, because there can’t be oxygen in the blood.
“Oh, yeah.” he added, his face distorted in far too much delight. “I will help you.” He suddenly drove his first strides toward me and I carried out some of my own away from him. A waltz of trepidation. “Whats the matter?” He sank his skull as he approached me. “You afraid, machine.”
My steps twisted into a trot as he built up his pace. “I am not a machine.”
“Sure, why don’t I cut that little stomach of your’s open so I can see the cables!” He screams, splitting into a full sprint. I yelped as I turned heel from the crazy man. I was not looking where I was going, I just had to get away. To my surprise, I happened upon a ledge where the ground had ruptured. With no time to reflect, I plunged off the cliff. Through the air I soar, past several rods sticking out of the ground. I struck the ground rolling head over heels forcing myself up in an instance. I didn’t have enough time to recover, for the man was right on my tail. Still I noticed the thorns that drove out of the ground like tall bayonets.
“You can’t run away from me!” I heard the man screech from behind. He let out a groan as he landed onto the ground. Up ahead the earth was split again and that meant there was another drop. My heart burned, but to stop now was death. I decided if I would die, I would die on my terms; not cut up by some lunatic. “Don’t worry little robot, I am just going to rip all those little pieces out!”
With tears streaming from my eyes, I carried out the next leap of faith. This one turned out to be just like the last one and like a cat, I touched down on my feet this time. That is when I heard a thrash. I spun around to glance and my jaw fell. I saw the man on the mast, hung, impaled. His mouth swung open in that pained look I have only seen in movies. I faced him as he slumped down the spike. Slowly I turned my way to him. Too fearful to reach for him, I remained an arm’s length away. “Sir,” I replied to him. “Sir.” He eventually stopped slipping down as his feet reached the ground. “I am so sorry.” I moaned.
In a flash, the man had jabbed his needle at me. It stopped mere inches before my eye. I hopped back, letting out a shriek. It startled me to put it simply. “Impostor!” he hissed out as he reached out for another stab. His face looked as though his eyes would fall out of his head from the strain of his muscles. “Impostor!” Teeth like nails defined as his lips separated.
The man was deranged. Most likely anyone I would meet would be just as mad. I felt the snot building deep in my nostrils as I broke down. I was alone out here. After regarding him try to skewer me for a few moments, I wound and started trudging away from him. “Impostor! Impostor!” He was delirious, and there was nothing I could do for him now.
Suddenly I heard a gut wrenching chopping noise. “Impostor!” I peered over my shoulder to catch the man’s mouth had slobber coming out of it, like dog’s froth mixed with blood. However, that was not the sound. He raises his needle in the air and down again with a focused stab into his rips. His torso ripping and tearing as his entrails became uncovered. “Impostor!” He was cleaving himself free. Bile filled my mouth as I spit up. I covered my mouth with my hand, but there was no holding the surge of vomit. Fleeing from the grotesque sight with a deep breath. Not sparing any time, I made my course to the metropolis.
I made the lengthy walk to the city. Likewise, the tumorous growths covered everything. Slimy and thick pustules of fungus atop the modern metal of buildings; it was as if some slowly spreading creature devoured the world. There I found the same cryptic towers. Tall spires with hive like things atop and threads like webs stretching between the human constructions. My stomach released a low moan. Needless to say, I was hungry. The question was, where do I find food in a place like this?
I wandered the streets for a while, passing by wads of things best left unknown, but my curiosity got the best of me. I approach the wad and as I approached it, I could make out a leg. Frozen in place, I looked at the thing. Meaty flesh crumpled together with pinkish ooze coming out of it. That is when the whole thing registered to me. It was a curled up body covered in grime. I turned my head in the other direction, but I saw another on the sidewalk. I then looked around myself and discovered there were bodies everywhere among the rubble. Gagging, I swallowed and continued along the empty roads.
Down the road was one old building with a thick layer of grim over it. The smooth muscle that lined everything had not reached the store yet. It crept along the ground though, twitching as I stepped over the last of it. Torn to pieces and rusted beyond recognition; the only thing giving it away was the hallowed out gas pumps. It was a convince store.
Traveling inside the archaic ruins, I am greeted by shelves thrown about, products on the floor, and magazines act as burial paper. I looked at the floor. There was a thick scent of rot in the air, and a dried up puddle of sludge, gray brown in color. Wading through soiled magazines, I pawed through the broken and disheveled goods. Most of them were not preservable goods, so that is where the smell was coming from. Thick layers of dried mold broke into dust in the air. I choked on the vapors I was creating. I did however get my hand on some cans. I could not make out what they were but cans last forever so it did not matter what I would be eating. Heck, some cat food would be good enough at this point.
I carrying the cans into a clear spot in the back of the store, slump down onto the floor. Grabbing the little pull tab, I open the first can. Immediately I was assaulted by a foul scent. A pungent odor, sloppy with rotten eggs and something else. I threw the can across the room, sending the disgusting contents all over the wall. The can rolls a few times with that distinctive can sound as I moved my hand to my face I wept. How was I ever going to survive? I will starve to death. Helibore was right. What the hell is this place?
Rubbing my tears away with the sleeve of my shirt, I looked up across the sea of garbage to the large shattered shop window to see someone. My heart fluttered. Someone, someone like me. I burst from the tile floor, and ran to the glass window, or at least what was left of it. I was so happy. Without much thought I ran outside calling out “Hey!” The person stopped as I was running up to them. “I am so happy. I thought there was no one around here anymore.” It turned its head towards me. The face that looked back at me was like an insect. The eyes were small, and the amount of tongues it had was mind bending. It opened its mouth and let out a terrible scream.
I turned to run, screaming myself. Its legs broke open to reveal another pair, and that thing chased after me. Through the dusty street I ran right into a dead end. I turned to run back, but around the corner, more of the humanoid things. They immediately charge at me too. As if sentient, they try to block my path. However, I was not about to let them corner me like that. One creature tries to grab me, at which I punched it in the face. It staggered, but I did not wait to find out what it was going to do to me. I dodging their wild flying arms; I darted past the insectoid things.
Running for who knows how long, I found myself deep in the city. At least I was alone at that point. The sky is a haze of rusted clouds. I stop to catch my breath. There was no telling of how long I ran, I just ran. “This city. Is it alive?” I wondered. Listening, I could hear the veins pumping blood. As if this place wasn’t odd enough; if it was alive somehow, that would be even stranger. I certainly was not in the time I had come from. Humans were no longer the rulers of this world, but ruled by these monstrosities.
The alleyway I had stopped in front of had a hole in the concrete. I walked up to the hole and looked inside. There was a light on. Where the hole lead to? Question was, is a random hole safe. It was then I heard the creatures coming down the road. I didn’t have a choice. I had to go down that hole regardless of the hell it lead to.
Walking up to the fleshy hole, I place both my legs inside it and sat. “Here we go.” I said as I plunged myself into the hole. I land on my feet. The drop was about ten feet. Not too bad. Inside, I see what looks like a normal building. Looking around, I discover I am in a hall next to a wall. Seems it is the end of a hall. I looked down it noticed a lot of doors. Curiosity got the best of me because I walked down till I got to a random door and pushed it open. Dust appeared I did. It was a storage room. Not unlike many other strange rooms. In the corner there is a twisted and manged body. It must have been there for years. Most of the muscle was dried to the bone. Let alone the skin. It looked as though it had weathered so thin that it had become brittle. Sad. Whatever happened to the world must have been terrible and sudden.
“Pundunk” I heard something go from behind me. Unsettled by this, I look out the doorway. “WAAAAAA!” a human like thing screams. Out of the room, I rush down the hall in the opposite direction. It does not take me long though to be stopped. On the other end other the wall come several other human like things. Their faces were unfamiliar but an amalgamation of animals and fish and creature. Their bodies strange, and scaley, hairy, hard, like an insect’s carapace. I am trapped. I grab the door nearest to me and hide myself in there. The creatures battled against the door as I held it shut.
“Go away!” I yelped.
A low groan made my skin crawl. It was not outside of the room, but rather inside. I turned my head to see a four-legged creature who had two stubby arms and skin covering its body. It limped towards me letting out low guttural groans from its canine like head. I burst into screams as I kept my back against the door. I looked around the room to spot an old dusty shelf next to me. I grabbed it, throwing it down in front of the door. The weird creature got closer as I looked around for an exit. Then the door was pushed open. Many arms grabbed from the door as I tried to find an escape. The four-legged creature all the while snarled at me. I spotted it. A vent. That would be my escape. I ran around the dog monster and crawl up inside. Good thing I did too. I could hear those things screaming. It was unreal.
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