A World Apart
Throngs of pulpy red blood rise from my boots. There is something unique about the ground here. It lay awake, flayed open, a body in pain. A vast expanse that stretched as far as the eye could see. Like blades of grass, tentacles wiggle, and flagella run out. The feeling of wandering in this land of misery was particularly uncomfortable. Nothing else was left to do but go through. Having deserted the colony, I allowed a latent horror to be revealed to some future explorer. There was just me. It is just me and the world around me. Certainly, no one will listen to my laments anymore. A few pieces of asphalt hinted that this was a road before whatever this fleshy thing was occupied it. On the site of a metropolis, glass towers rose in the distance. A web of fleshy features, fragmented, and all collectively dead.
From the drudgery drove out broken slabs; bones from the remnants of houses past. It became clear that if this is a road, it must have been part of a township at one point. Initially, I would pass the dust-covered pieces by, but as I walked by I noticed something scrawled on the collapsed walls. I wandered over to the hunks so that I could see the inscriptions. Along the walls, something had scratched deep slashes, but there were no scrapes. It’s full of odd scribbles. These were made by someone, and if they were nearby, maybe they could help me. As I explored the maze of fallen walls, I noticed that there were many more remains than I had anticipated.
As I stared at the hall of concrete ruins, I felt troubled. I felt something twisting in the pit of my stomach. Previously, there were multiple floors in these buildings. Now, they existed only as hollowed-out corpses. What could have caused this? A question arose. Some of the roofless buildings had a second story, but most had crumbled over time. As I worked my way through this labyrinth, I concluded that I would never encounter anyone. As a consequence, I had to give up on finding anyone in these ruins. My first impression was that I would be much closer to the city than I actually was. Despite walking for what felt like an eternity, I felt no closer to my goal than when I first began.
“You!!! There was a voice behind me saying. As I turned my head, I saw a man whose body looked awful. There was nothing to cover his crumbling bones except rags. The open wounds in his chest were readily visible, exposing his ribs. A swollen face of a young man was encircled by cables spreading from one end to the other like a rigid canvas tethered to a metallic machine. The right arm of this man looked like a long needle, and the left arm looked like a claw. As if a predator had nibbled at his legs, they looked like they were gnawed. Yet, parts of the limb were sewn onto rods of metal peg legs like pirates. “Why do you mock me!” He wailed. My eyes were fixed on him as I stood there gawking in fear. A howl of indignation emanated from him as he pointed the huge needle blade at me. “Why do you mock me?”
“I am human.” The statement came as a spontaneous response.
A wagging line of veins could be seen in his eyes as they labored. “Liar!” Normally I’d be resentful, but I was filled with dread, breathing slowly as I endured his strange words. “You bastards have stolen everything from us.” Yes, even our appearance was taken from us. As if to say you were one of us.”
“I don’t understand what you want, sir. I swear I’m human.” He stared at me for a while, trying to think of something to say. “I need your help, sir. Can you help me, please?” As his blood pushed through the cables, gaps appeared. Obviously, this was all wrong, because a stop in the flow is not possible without spasms or, worse, death.
A distorted smile spread across his face as he added, “Yeah, yeah.” with a smile that was far too broad. “I will help you.” His footsteps began to drive toward me as I took my own steps away from him. It’s like a waltz of trepidation. “What’s the matter?” He sank his skull as he approached me. “Your afraid, machine?” he said.
He picked up the pace as my steps twisted into a trot. “I am not a machine.”
“Why don’t I rip open that little stomach of yours so I can see the cables?” he screams, breaking into a sprint. After turning my heel from the crazy man, I yelped. In my haste to escape, I did not look behind me. A ledge had formed where the ground had ruptured, much to my surprise. The cliff was too steep to contemplate, so I plunged off without any reflection. As I soar through the air, I fly past several rods sticking out of the ground. My head landed on the ground as I rolled over and was forced to get up in a matter of seconds. It was too late to recover since he was right behind me. However, I couldn’t ignore the thorns that emerged from the ground like jagged bayonets.
“There is no escape for you. It’s just you and me, and a whole lot of murder!” The man screamed behind me. An outburst of groaning was heard as he landed on the ground. Immediately after, the earth split again, which meant another drop. There was a burning sensation in my heart, but to stop now would mean death. In the event I was to meet my end, I would make sure I did it on my terms, not being chopped up by some lunatic. “Don’t worry cute robot, I am just getting ready to rip all those bits and pieces out!”
With tears streaming from my eyes, I made the next leap of faith. Like the last one, this one too turned out to be similar, and like a cat, I was able to stand up this time as well. As I listened to the thrash, I heard someone screaming. The moment I turned around to look, my jaw dropped. On the mast, the man was impaled and hung. There was a look of pain in his expression that I’ve only ever seen in movies when his lips swung open. He slumped down the spike as I faced him. Taking one step at a time, I approached him. Because I was too fearful to reach for him, I stayed at a safe distance. “Sir,” I responded. “Sir.” His feet stopped slipping once they touched the ground. I moaned, “I’m so sorry.”.
The man jabbed his needle at me in a flash. My eye was just inches away from it when it stopped. As I jumped back, I let out a shriek. For lack of a better word, it startled me. “Impostor!!! ” he hissed as he reached for another stab. From the strain on his muscles, his eyes looked like they might fall out of his head. “Impostor!” A nail-like set of teeth appeared as he separated his lips.
There was something deranged about this man. It is likely that anyone I meet would be just as mad. Breaking down, I felt the snot building deep in my nostrils. I was all alone out here. My wounds ached from watching him attempt to skewer me for a few moments, so I wound and began trudging away from him. “Impostor! Impostor!!! His condition had deteriorated to the point that there was nothing I could do. An unsettling chopping noise struck me out of nowhere. “Impostor!!! “I glanced over my shoulder and saw slobber coming out of the man’s mouth, similar to bloody dog froth. That wasn’t the sound, though. With a focused stab into his ribs, he raises his needle in the air and then lowers it again. The exposed entrails of his body tore and tore as his torso ripped and tore. “Impostor!!! The man was clenching his teeth. Spit filled my mouth as bile filled my throat. The surge of vomit was too strong to hold back. I covered my mouth with my hand, but it was futile. Taking a deep breath, I fled from the grotesque sight. Without wasting any time, I began my journey to the city.
I walked to the city over a long distance. All of the surfaces were covered with tumorous growths. There were thick, slimy pustules of fungus covering the modern metal of buildings; it was as if some slowly spreading creature was devouring the world. My search led me to the same cryptic towers. Hundreds of tall spires with hives atop and threads like webs stretching between the human structures. Low moans emanated from my stomach. It goes without saying that I was hungry. I questioned, where can I find food in a place like this?
For a time, I wandered the streets, passing by wads of things best left undiscovered, but my curiosity overtook me. When I approached the wad, I was able to make out the leg. My eyes were frozen in place as I stared at the thing. The meaty flesh was crumpled together, with pinkish ooze coming out of it. As soon as I realized what was going on, the whole thing made sense to me. In the midst of the grime, there was a curled-up body. Upon turning my head in the opposite direction, I spotted another. As I looked around myself, I discovered bodies scattered everywhere. As I walked along the empty roads, I began to gag, swallowed and continued on.
I noticed one old building that was covered in grime down the road. The smooth muscle that lined everything had yet to arrive at the store. Nevertheless, it snaked along the ground, twitching as I stepped over the last of it. All that remained of it were the hallowed-out gas pumps, torn to pieces and rusted beyond recognition. Essentially, it was a convenience store.
Upon entering the archaic ruins, I see shelves thrown about, products left on the ground, and magazines being used as burial papers. Observing the floor, I looked down. A thick rotten smell filled the air, along with a dried-up puddle of gray brown sludge. My hands filled with soiled magazines, I pawed through the broken and disheveled items. Since most of them were not preservable goods, the smell was coming from them. As the air became dusty with dried mold, thick layers of it broke apart. The vapors I was producing choked me. However, I did manage to get my hands on some cans. Although I couldn’t make out what they were, cans last forever, so it didn’t matter what I ate. At this point, some cat food would be enough.
When I finally reached a clear spot in the back of the store, I slumped to the ground. Taking the little pull tab from the first can, I open it. A foul odor immediately assaulted me. The smell is pungent and sloppy, like rotten eggs and something else. As I threw the can across the room, the disgusting contents spilled all over the wall. After hearing that distinctive can sound a few times, I wept, moving my hand to my face. What chance did I have of surviving? I will starve to death if I do not eat. Helibore was right. What the hell is this place?
As I rubbed my tears away with the sleeve of my shirt, I glanced up across the sea of garbage to the large shattered shop window and saw someone. Suddenly, my heart began to flutter. There is someone like me. As I burst from the tile floor, I ran to the glass window, or at least what remained of it. My heart swelled with joy. Calling out loudly, I ran outside without much thought
“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 and looked at me. It was like looking at an insect when I looked back at it. The eyes were small, and the number of tongues it had was mind-boggling. Suddenly, a terrible scream erupted from its mouth.
I turned around to run, screaming to myself. When its legs opened, another pair emerged, and it chased after me. As I ran through the dusty street, I came to a dead end. Trying to sprint back, I saw more humanoid things around the corner. As soon as they see me, they charge at me as well. My path is blocked by them as if they were sentient. In spite of this, I wasn’t about to be cornered like that. In response to one creature’s attempt to grab me, I punched it in the face. While it staggered, I did not wait to find out what it would do to me. Dodging their wild flying arms, I darted past the insectoid creatures.
My race through the city took so many miles that I ended up deep in the city after running for who knows how long. As far as I was concerned, at least I was alone at that point. There is a haze of rusted clouds in the sky. It takes me a moment to catch my breath. The distance I ran was unknown to me, I just ran. “This city. It’s alive, isn’t it?” I wondered. As I listened, I heard the blood pumping in the veins. Besides being bizarre enough, if this place was alive somehow, that would bring it even closer to being unreal. There was no doubt that I was not in the time that I had come from.
Rather than human beings ruling over this world, monstrosities ruled it.
In the alleyway I had stopped in front of, there was a hole in the concrete. My eyes were captivated by the hole as I walked towards it. It was dark, but there was a light on. To what does the hole lead? The question was whether a random hole was safe. When I heard the creatures coming down the road, I knew they were coming. As a matter of fact, I had no choice. No matter what hell it led to, I was going down that hole.
Sitting inside the fleshy hole, I placed both my legs inside. “Here we go.” I said as I plunged into the hole. Landing on my feet is no problem for me. It was about a ten-foot drop. The worst part is over. Upon entering, I see what seems to be a regular building. After taking a good look around, I find myself in a hall next to a wall. It seems to be the end of a hallway. There were a lot of doors as I looked down.
Curiosity got the best of me so I walked down the hallway and opened a random door. As a result, dust appeared. The room was used as a storage space. Like many other strange rooms, this one is also unsettling. The corner of the room has a twisted body that is mangled. It must have been there a long time. The muscles were mostly dried up to the bone. Not to mention the skin. There was a sense that it had weathered so thinly that it was brittle. It’s sad. There must have been something terrible and sudden that happened to the world.
The sound of “Pundunk” came from behind me. This unsettling experience causes me to glance out the doorway. “WAAAAAA!!! ” screamed a human-like creature. As I rush out of the room, I go the other way down the hall. My progress is quickly halted, however. There are several other things that resemble humans at the other end of the wall. In their faces were a mixture of animals, fish, and creatures. Unlike an insect’s carapace, their bodies are strange, scaley, hairy, and hard. A trap has been set for me. As soon as I reach the nearest door, I grab it and hide myself inside. It was a struggle for me to hold the door closed as the creatures smashed against it.
“Go away!” I cried.
My skin crawled as I heard a low groan. This wasn’t something outside of the room, but rather something inside. Upon turning my head, I saw a four-legged creature with a stubby arm and skin covering its body. A low guttural grunt emitted from its canine-like head as it limped towards me. Screams erupted in my ears as I faced the door, back against it. The old dusty shelf near me caught my eye as I looked around the room. My hand grabbed it and I threw it in front of the door.
As I searched for an exit, the strange creature got closer. The door was then pushed open. My escape attempt was impeded by many arms grabbing from the door. At the same time, the four-legged creature snarled at me. My eyes spotted it. There is a vent. That would be my escape route. As I ran around the dog monster, I crawled inside. I’m glad I did too. Those things were screaming, I could hear them. It was unreal.
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