The Languished

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a story about the weeds that have taken over the earth and the events that conspired with possibly the last woman on the face of it.

Submitted: October 29, 2019

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Submitted: October 29, 2019

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Sheila is stuck in the walls of metal. The world is changed around her when he stayed in her car as the world fell down all around her. She is tired and the food is dwindling in her car. She drove in silence as the world fell down all around her. It happened in less than three days when everyone around her home town went insane, killing in the spite of something that went wrong in the spatial sense of something that happened in the world that makes little sense to her. The gas tank in her car is full when she drove from the outskirts of town, noticing that there is something that is growing on the sides of the road that is shaded in the colors of lavender and purple.

She did not know what that is when she continued to drive, seeing something that is growing upon the weed-like protrusions that is coming from the ground in the shape of some leaf-like pod that she had never seen before. Sheila drove past that with the tires of the road pulling up dust as the world changed in the days after.

The world turned into some horrid field trip that dazzled her eyes in horror to the core. She kept both hands on the wheel of her car when the days turned into nights and the nights turned into days again, seeing through the fog of firefly light when she noticed that the lights are off key from the firefly light that she remembered before. The gas in her tank started to drop when she noticed that the food in her car is getting less and less full in the backseat. She started to feel scared when the firefly lights started to grow more and more over the many nights when the world continued to change around her, changing into a mitosis that is far comprehensible for her to understand. By morning, the fog around her became dense as she turned on the radio, tuning it to some station that is about fifty miles from her location as she heard about the distressed voices that are coming through her speakers.

She is disturbed by the sound of the voices that are coming from the speakers when the sounds of those voices are not human at all. The voices are the convictions of aliens, speaking with their dialects of languages that she cannot understand when she turned off the radio and trudged on upon the road with the lavender growth of weeds growing over the asphalt of the road. By midday, she stopped in front of a local market in a town named Drake, turning off the ignition of her car, opening the door when she looked at the lavender of weeds that is growing upon the street when she stepped on the weeds that crunched beneath her sneakers. She looked at the buildings that are in Drake, seeing the local theater that is convoluted in weeds that is alien to her and the post office that is engulfed in the weeds as well. The local market looks untouched when she closed the car door behind her as she smelled the air upon the winds, tasting the smell of the air when she felt something queasy about it as her stomach rolled in her body.

She hasted into the market as the door is unlocked, opening and closing the door behind her when she looked around the market for any signs of disturbance. The freezers are dead against the wall and the electricity has ceased in this town some time ago in the three days since the world ended. All the food that is upon the shelves is untouched and the cash registers are starting to show the signs of dust upon them as well. Shelia looked at all the food that is upon the shelves when she veered at the carts that are in the corral. She grabbed one and started. In the thirty seven minutes she collected the food – along with other things – she pushed the cart out of the local market when something sounded off in the distance that she had never heard before.

The sounds are not the sounds of nature that she had ever heard before. The birds are gone off to roost far from here even if they are still alive. Now the sounds are the sounds of something that is new and disturbed. It is the sounds of something odd to her senses when the air around her smelled of something toxic in her lungs as she pushed the cart all her might to the car. The weeds are too strong for its wheels when she gave up halfway to the car and decided to carry the food to the car as the sun came up in the east, casting sunlight on the weeds as they created off colors that poured upon the ground. Sheila looked at this for a spell when she left the cart where she found it.

She continued to drive for many miles when the gas needle is upon half a tank. She had to find gas soon before the sun went down upon the world that is changed in color and in shape. By midday, she found some cars on the side of the road when the idea popped in her mind, never thinking of doing it before when she pulled to the side of the road and geared the transmission into Park. All she needed is a hose when she opened the car door, smelling the air being toxic as she came out of the car and closed the door behind her. She kept her car keys in her hand when she walked up to the van to peek inside. There is nothing inside of there but a few boxes of food and other perishables with no bodies inside of it. Sheila sneezed a few times when something moved in the trees. The weeds intertwined around the trunks of the trees when she looked inside further and found nothing in there when she led herself back to her car and jumped in it.

She started the car and continued to drive when something came out of the woods with eyes as pure as snow white and a murderous smile upon his lips. It looked around when it sees the van that is parked on the side of the road. It looked inside when it sees the crates that are in the back of the van, opening the back doors to grab the crate that is there. There is no conversation between another when it morphed back into the woods like a silent shadow. Nothing else happened at this scene when Sheila drove into the late of the day, blurring into the night when Sheila started to feel the tug of sadness in the back of her throat.

The world around he has changed when she parked on the side of the road in a middle of nowhere and locked the doors in her car, getting little sleep as the night is poured into many colors that is coming from the fireflies that are unnatural and getting bigger in size.

She knew little of this for that it is so damn dark when she only slept for three hours. By the time she woke up, it is three hours before the sun came up as well. She turned on the car to ACC and glared the headlights down the road, seeing the purplish weeds that are getting thicker and thicker on the road as she wiped what little sleep that she has from her eyes. Her back is hurting her like sin when she cracked open the window a little with the air being stale in the car. The smell of the air is god awful when she started to cough, feeling that the air is getting toxic while something stomped near her car, jumping her in her seat a little when she wondered what that was.

“Who is there?” Sheila asked the shadows that are outside when nothing answered. She tried her cell phone multiple times, calling an assortment of people that she knows before the phone died and the world is pulled into blackness with the electricity going down in the entire world.

“Who is there?” She asked again when nothing answered. She rolled the window back up and then shuddered as she looked out through the windshield, seeing alien colors in the night when she felt that she is in more of a pickle than ever now.

By morning, she drove into the town of McCleary with the weeds being thicker than ever now when she looked at the many colors of purple that is forming into the colors of yellow. The town square looks like something happened in a point of long ago when she wondered what is under the weeds when she did not think of the idea as she looked at all the cars that are on the sides of the streets. All she needed is a hose when she drove in walking slowness, noticing that her gas tank is about a quarter of a tank when she felt the air being close to the point that it is heavy and for her unable to breathe. She looked around the car when the sun peaked over the buildings like a natural lit monolith, not seeing a soul in sight when she got out of the car with the keys in her hand. The signs on the building are so illegible that she cannot read them when she can see all of the weeds that are upon the ground that are getting thicker and thicker with the air changing into something primordial.

What is she going to do? Sheila did not know when she looked at the cars in hope that there is gas in them as she started out, piecing together what she is going to do. There are a couple of houses in her vicinity when she came up to the first one, knocking on the door to see if there is anyone there in the sake of being mannerly. She waited and heard nothing when something beside her whistled. There are no birds perched on the trees when she turned, feeling the oxygen getting thicker and thicker as her muscles are starting to hurt her some. What made that sound? She did not know. She was not greeted by anyone when her heart fell to her feet. The sun felt like fire upon her back when she walked down the steps and rambled over to the next house. She knocked on the door and waited for any signs of anyone in there, hearing nothing on the other side of the door as she realized something that is not sought as being frightful to her.

Sheila is in a town of the dead. Just like the last town and the town before that. Is she really alone with the world changing around her? She did not know when she looked at the door, checking the knob on the door when she turned. The door opened when the smell hit her like a whiff of one thousand pounds of moldy cheese that is rotting in the hot sun for more than five days. There is death in the house when Sheila backed up and placed her hand upon her nose. She scrunched her nose when she missed the step on the top of the porch and fell onto the alien weeds that are growing faster than she realizes when she brought her body back up from the weeds that are icky to the touch.

The weeds are not normal. The weeds are probably the cause of all this madness.

Then she also came to the fault within herself when she wondered why? Why she was never infected? That realization is still a mystery to her when she looked at the open door, not wanting to go in there when that same whistle erupted on the other side of her when she turned to that direction.

Who is making that sound? Sheila thought with her mind moving in many directions. She still had to find the tool that she needs to fuel her vehicle when she looked around the houses for any sign of a shed. She had to find it and find it soon when the sun rose higher in the sky and the world is changed into the many colors of the world that is not appeared to be natural. She looked around for more than two hours, finding three gas cans with some fuel but not enough for even six gallons to fuel her tank. She expensed that all into her fuel tank, dropping the gas cans into the back of her car. When she closed the trunk lid, she saw someone stand on the passenger side of her car, wearing casual clothes with not even dirt or grime on them when she gasped.

“Hello dear.” The person who is thought to be dead leered at her with his eyes dead and cold.

“Did you get my present?” The dead came from around the car when Sheila felt like there is a pebble in her throat. She looked at the face of the person that died a long time ago of heart failure at a young age, being that of her late husband Earl Mason that is wearing the same clothes when he died.

“I have a present for you. Come here.” His leer became a murderous smile when she looked at the car and started to sprint. She decked him when he sprawled his hand like a sufferable lion that is purulent for the lurch. He rebounded and looked at her as he started to run after her, gaining speed.

“I have a present for you!” He said like a man in a dream like trance. She fumbled the door latch and then pulled up, dropping into the car when he came after and tries to grab her from the car.

“I want to give you a present!” He screamed with gales of sensational laughter. Shelia closed the door and locked it when he dropped his hands on the window, not even going for the door latch when he looked at her like he wants to eat her.

“I want to give you a present!” He laughed. Sheila fumbled the keys into the ignition and then dropped them on the floorboard.

“I am gonna get you and when I do I will cook you over the fire!” He slammed his hands on the glass, looking like a man who has never done that before when he looked down at the latch of the door like something he had never seen before either.

He moved his hand down and tried it as she rebounded with the keys in her hand and pushed the key into the ignition.

“What are you going to do?” He frowned when he started to slam his hands onto the glass.

“What are you doing?” He bellowed through the glass.

Sheila started the car’s engine and gunned out of there when his late husband started to run after the car with his feet pumping.

“I love you, Sheila Mason!” He called after the car.

“Don’t leave me alone here!” He kept pumping his feet as she looked at the rearview mirror. While looking at the mirror, something changed in her vision as her mouth dropped. Out of the shape that should have been there the shape of her husband vanished like he was not there to begin with. He vanished as Sheila drove on in the accompanied silence for a while, not finding the hose that she needs but finding plenty of food in Drake.

The sun moved through the day when she passed fields of corn, soybeans, green beans, and potatoes. The fields are tainted with the weeds that are intertwined when she kept driving, not knowing where in the hell she is going as she tried to find another person in this nightmare. The day turned into night when she stopped on the side of the road, looking at the gas tank needle being on a half a tank again before shutting off the engine of her car. She cracked the window and heard nothing, not even the sound of a cricket playing its mating song when she noticed that the air is getting heavy and she has been getting loopy all day, laughing for past experiences that are running through her mind. Then she stopped as her normal breathing patterns are more at the point of keeping her mouth open like a fish that is pulled out of water. Her visions started to double from time to time when she pulled to the side of the road, looking into the rearview mirror for any signs of someone coming up the road.

There is nothing there. No sign of dust pluming up, no sign of a car trailing behind her, no sign of anything when there are no sounds of nature all around her. She parked the car and rubbed her eyes when the passenger side door opened and the dead face of her late husband Earl popped into the hole like a peekaboo surprise.

“Hello Lady.” He spoke like a man with no care in the world. Sheila screamed as he started to crawl in.

“I want to give you a present now, if you don’t mind.” He came closer and closer to him with the clothes that he is buried in. She pushed him away with her feet when one foot pushed him by the face and pushed him out of the car.

“Ow!” He retreated, touching his face.

“You bitch!” He screamed as he laughed when he looked at her with a murderous smile.

She geared the car and sped off with her dead husband pulled out of the passenger seat like a reverse Jack-in-the-Box as the back tire ran him over as the car bucked. The car actually bucked when she felt the back tire rise up and down when she looked at the rearview mirror, seeing something for a second before the movements sensed of her late husband coming up from the road with green ooze pouring down his shirt like grape jelly. What she saw for a split second is a monster in the rearview mirror that is woven in weeds that are all around the body so much that the shape can be recognizable. Then the image shifted to the reveal of her late husband Earl Mason. The image became smaller and smaller in the rearview mirror.

She felt like she needed to go to the bathroom and bad, finding the beacon of hope just twenty minutes shy from where this happened. She opened the door to the rest stop bathroom stall; she looked at the toilet with very little water in the bowl. There are writings on both walls when she looked at the toilet and sat down, looking at the writings that are on the walls with the light that is coming from the open door that she propped. She did not want to be in the dark when she did her business in silence. Three minutes went by when she cleaned herself and then flushed the toilet out of habit, seeing the water in the bowl go down with no water replacing what is in the bowl. She opened the stall and walked out, noticing that there are small traces of the alien weed that is growing between the floor tiles of the floor when she kept her thoughts from it, walking around the weeds that are upon the floor with the consideration of washing her hands but remembering that there is no water going to the faucets. She left the bathroom and walked back to her car.

She dropped into her car and then rooted around the center console for that travel-sized bottle of hand sanitizer, bringing it out and cleaning her hands off. She looked out through the windshield and sighed when she wondered where in the hell is she going? There is no road atlas in her car when she heard nothing in the air, feeling the air getting heavy when she felt it day after day with the oxygen getting less and her senses getting to that it is almost past the point of dementia.

Where is she going? Where? She did not know when she started the engine to her car when something came from the shadows under the tree that is coated with the weeds that is killing it off. She adjusted her eyes when she sees the weedy figure that is stumbling from the darkness with many grotesque bulbs that is growing from the body that is wrapped in the alien weed. What those bulbs are, she had no idea. She almost froze when the weedy figure morphed into a mixture of colors and shapes, forming into something or someone that she remembered when her mouth became unhinged. What the image is the image of her mother that is long since dead as well.

“Come here and give your mother a hug!” She crooned the joy of happiness as the walk started a jog and the jog started a run.

Sheila geared the ignition into Drive and drove out of there like a bat out of hell, kicking up dust as the car roared out of the parking lot and slid on the weeds that stopped the car from sliding to the point that she lost control. The weed thing that looked like mother tried to grab on the car when it lost its balance and fell on the road. Sheila bursts into tears when she tried to keep the tears back but couldn’t. She almost wrecked the car when she pulled to the side of the road and let it all out. She was not disturbed by anything else upon this day.

Before the night came upon the land, she did some digging around some of the cars that she found on the side of the road – keeping her mind at bay with two or three of the bodies that are lain inside of them that smelled to high heaven with the alien weeds growing all over them – and found something that she is in dire need of needing it. She looked at the coiled clear plastic and held it on for dear life when she found another thing that is sitting in the car. What she found is a .357 four-inch Magnum that is resting in one hand of the dead. She pried it out of that hand when she looked at it, not knowing how to open the gun as she kept her finger off of the trigger and sauntered back to the car with the hose and the gun in hand. She dropped into the car and wondered if this is going to work. She hoped to god that this is going to work.

Night came over the land when she drove to a town named Carlisle and stopped on the main drag, turning off the engine as she started to feel bad for all the happenings that are going on around her. She climbed out of the car and shut the door as she walked to a nearby house, hoping that the door is open when he pondered up the stairs and tried the knob on the front door. The knob turned with ease as she came in and shut the door behind her. She started to cry when she looked around in the darkness for any signs of anyone in the hallway or in the living room that is adjacent. She has not slept on a couch or any type of furniture in the past couple of days when she looked at what appears to be a couch in the darkness when she felt the sleep before her head hit the cushion. She slipped into sleep almost immediately when she slept for more than seventeen hours, waking up with the night still around the inside of the house that is still dark with no odd smell coming from around her.

She came up from the couch and stretched, looking around the living room when she felt something in between the cracks of the cushions as she pulled it out, feeling the plastic in her hand and knowing what it is when she dropped it beside her.

“Simpler times,” She spoke in the silence of the night.

“Simpler times that I wished I had back.”

She went back to sleep when the day came up again. She woke to the sound of thunder when the dim gloomy light came through the windows like curtains pulled over them, filtering little light that is coming through when Shelia yawned and stretched, hearing nothing that is coming through the house when she looked around and felt the coolness on the bottom of her feet. Out of all of her unknowing, she realized that there is not one speck of weed that is growing on the floor of this house when she also realized that she can breathe better within the house.

What is this power she wonders when she came up from the couch with her imprint still on the cushions? She pondered to the kitchen to see what is in there when she did not see any dead bodies or anything out of the ordinary. All she saw are cabinets that are closed when she went to those cabinets and opened them.

She spent the rest of the day in the house, looking every inch of the place with her mind thinking about the past before the world went to hell in a hurry. She found the door to the basement, not daring to go down there when she thought of the weeds and closed the door on the whole matter. She can breathe a lot better in this house, wondering why in the hell this is so when she found something that raised her spirit. What she found is a jar of peanut butter as she wondered if the bread is still good that is in the bread box that is upon the counter space. She opened the bread box and peeked inside.

Oh good lord! God really does exist! She cried in her mind when she made eight folds of peanut butter bread and ate them greedily. She came back to the living room and sat on the couch when she looked around the room, not seeing any weeds that are growing from the walls when she did not feel depressed at all – not for a few minutes when she realized that everyone in her hometown is probably dead and dust by now. This made her sad, crying sad when she felt the tears welt up in her eyes again. She dropped the sandwiches from the plate that she found, spilling onto the couch when she looked at the wall of the living room and felt nothing for the longest time.

Time moved on and the sun cascaded across the sky. The dusk started to settle into the west, creating colors of purple and yellow when she kept wondering if they are all dead. The night encroached on the land and there is not one sound of any cricket at the vicinity of the house when she got up before the night is settled to find a lantern that she is in hope that she will find. She found a Colman Lantern that is half full of kerosene as she sat it down on the table and lit it with a kitchen match that she also found on a nook in the kitchen. She sat there, wondering what to do next when she thought about puzzles and other nonsense that keeps her mind busy.

Sheila looked out the window, hoping for a sign of someone, anyone to show up outside the window when she sighed and looked back at the lantern that is burning in mere silence with the exception of a hiss that is coming from the burning metal mesh that is coiled inside. She remembered playing outside of her mother’s house when her and a few friends were little. Her mother had a small playhouse that fits about three little young bodies inside of it. The three children are pretending to drink tea from the cups that are empty, sharing stories of imagination that never existed when time seemed endless to them. The day last forever to them before the sounds of their parents on the phone brought them back to their houses when Sheila is left alone to ponder the thought that alone is mostly what she knows in life. She has no brothers, she has no sisters. She is alone on the many nights with her mother that is probably cooking the same food that is most of ritual upon every night when the nights seem routine and fixed.

She thought of this now, wondering how long a person can go through loneliness before a person goes insane. She did not know. It only depends on the person; she guesses when she looked at the Coleman Lantern that is burning upon the table that is in front of her when she did not want to expense the fuel that is in the lantern. She knew she is tired when she put it out, lying down on the couch to look at the ceiling that is too dark to see. She did not drifted off to sleep for the longest time with the gun sitting on the table, seeing nothing but darkness around her when she heard nothing outside these walls that is keeping her safe.

She locked all the doors that lead inside, locking the windows as well if that is going to do any good. She wondered about the things that she had seen when that kept her up as well. She did think about it but she did not want to think about it when she did not know that she went to sleep before she opened her eyes again to the morning glow that is coming into the window. She came up from the couch in wonder of what she is going to do today.

She came out the house as the air felt thick with something that she should not be breathing in when her jaw became unhinged to the air that she is trying to inhale. She looked at the alien weeds that are growing thicker around the town of Carlisle. How are they growing? Are they growing like every other weed; and also she wondered, how are they reproducing? She did not want to touch the weeds when she set forth to stroll around town before looking into her car that she locked a few days before. The doors are locked when she peeked inside, knowing that everything she left in there is still intact when she rebounded back and then walked down the sidewalk, feeling the weight of the magnum that is pushed into the waist of her pants like some road agent that strolled into town looking for mischief. She went forth to look for items, goodies, and other objects that people left behind when she came up to the strip of buildings with the weeds starting to grow upon them, looking through the dusty windows of anything that she can see when all that she can see are the many tables that are stripped from their cloths and not a sign of anything that was touched inside.

It is the signs of deserted rooms in a deserted town with no sign of life anymore. She had to find something of use when she pondered to the next building and the next building, seeing the same absolution that is rousing through her mind. The cars and the trucks that are sitting on the sides of the streets are dusted with no one using them with the batteries on the battery plates dead from the lack of using. Sheila felt the growing despair in the pit of her stomach when she arrived to the fourth building that is in her path, seeing the entire building stripped from everything inside of it when she felt her heart leap from her chest.

She did not want to call out and raise the suspicion of the enemy coming out from whatever hole that they are hiding. That is bad news on her luck when she remembered that she cannot even gather the oxygen to raise her voice up past the point of normal talking volume. The day is gloomy again. Another sign of a gloomy day when she kept looking, trying to find something with little thought of her own health being a stake when the time rolled by with no sound of anyone in the vicinity that she is sharing to the entire world. She continued to look around town for anything when she came to the library that is departed from the weeds, looking at the foundation of brick that is not touched when she marveled at the quality of why the library is not touched to begin with? She looked around before entering the library with the doors unlocked, coming into the foyer area with many papers that are posted upon the corked boards. The notices of times that are long since pasts dazzled her eyes when she only thought of that being less than three weeks ago, sending a chill down her spine when her hands started to shake. She left that shaking her head, entering the inner door to the library when she can see the computer monitors that are sitting behind the reception collecting dust. She looked at the keyboards that are sitting upon the wood countertops before turning towards the shelves that held all the books that only measure speck of human imagination, history, truth, and evil.

Sheila Mason used to read in times of long since passed before her world got in a hurry. She wanted to have children but her first husband did not. That is before he died of circumstances that are natural in a world that bends the order of natural sentiment. Then her second husband came along when she was busy writing her own stories to keep her mind at ease. Her husband when they first met as just a man and a woman is dreamy, it seems. He had a wild sense about him, a sense of youth of a man what will never get old and boring like a cold draft blowing through a cold house in the middle of May. He is the measure of her dreams when she remembered the way they danced on some Friday nights in the bar that is so far away from here. The whiskey flowed and the music played from the juke that played all the tunes from times that will never repeat itself ever again.

They dance in a world from another world when she looked at the books with tears streaming down her eyes. She went to them and looked at all the titles that are printed on the spines. The rest of the day she read the books that she read when she was a child. She did not dare to read the horror stories that are filed in the back part of the shelves when she wanted more happy stories in her life than the stories that will never be read or heard of ever again in real time of the few that are still left alive at the end of the world. She read these books in the daylight when she noticed that the light is getting dim in the library; not knowing what time it is when she got up with a growing anticipation of fright in her eyes.

She did not want to venture at night on foot when she gathered three books that she never finished and hurried out of the library, hitting the door when the sun is set on the western winds and the alien weeds are getting thicker with her breathing getting thicker and thicker with the weeds choking out the living of the world that is slowly dying. She had to move when she tried to run before the air came out of him like a person in the late stages of heart failure. She doubled over in a quarter of a mile, looking at the cracks that are upon the ground when she saw the many cars that are parked on the sides of the streets. The weeds are taking over. She knows this when she started to job again, seeing nothing but the hell that has been plaguing her for so long when she moved in quick speed towards the house that serves her bubble.

She is three quarters of the way there when she dropped her foot into a pothole and almost fell onto the street, gaining purchase when she looked up to see the standing figure of her dead mother that is in front of her.

“It is better this way.” She unfolded her hands towards her.

“It is better if you give in.”

“No.” Sheila cried.

“You are not her.” She spat on the cracks of the street.

“You are messing with me so just leave me alone.”

Sheila got up, pulling the gun out of her waist. She never fired a gun ever in her life when she leveled the gun and pulled the trigger. The hammer jumped back and then flew forward, hitting the firing pin when the gun jumped back in her hand as everything around her boomed before it became deafening. She could not hear anything for a few seconds when the bullet went right through her so-called mother’s head when it bleeds green all over her face as it fell back onto the street, growling out an alien throat that she could not hear when Sheila stood on her bad ankle, seeing the green blood ooze all over the thing that is not her mother.

“What a lie.” Sheila barked at the dead horrid creature that is using her memories as bait. Sheila continued on upon a limp.

She came to the house, looking at her car first before pouncing up the stairs tending to her bad ankle in the process. She grabbed the railing for purchase as she came to the door and opened it, smelling the oxygen inside when she breathed in and out, wondering how in the hell is the oxygen so better in here when she closed the door behind her and walked into the living room to sit, dropping the books onto the floor in the process.

Night fell upon the land, bringing the moon up in the sky and casting an odd glow on the earth below that is changed in landscape with not a sound upon it. The land is dead, showing no signs of any masses upon the world that is silent as Antarctica in the middle of black winter. Sheila in her course is enjoying a book inside a house that is making her breathe easy, hearing the hiss of a Coleman Lantern while she is reading the pages of the novels of Frank Baum, John Grisham, and Lisa Jackson. She is content when she reads these, feeling on the spur of being complete with not a sound of any disturbance outside that is messing with her intention of survival. Earlier before the sun went down she looked at the gun that she has, figuring out how to open it when she found the chamber release button on the side of the gun. She pressed it when the wheel came out, almost making her drop the gun when she grabbed it with ease and looked at it and all the bullets that are tucked inside. There is a dimple on one of the bullets in the back when she closed it, knowing now of how to open the gun when she set it back on the table.

Besides the book in her hand she wished she had a bottle of wine and a goblet to celebrate this occasion when she read in silence, flipping through the pages of gold that is masking her imagination from the real that is happening outside these walls. She started to fall asleep with the Colman Lantern hissing out the gas that is plentiful around but hard to find on where it is in the land of weeds and the faces of changelings. The book is resting on her lap when she started to sigh out the contest of a log sawing that is coming out of her nose and mouth when somewhere a shatter of glass happened when this did not wake her from her slumber. She slept until late morning when she woke up, noticing that the book is on the floor, open with the spine facing up and the pages down as she wiped the sleep from her eyes and came up from the cushions of the couch. The sunlight is coming through the window when she heard the sound of nothing in the house but the sound of the wind pressure changing the wood behind the panels that serve the walls.

What is she going to do today? She cannot possibly spend her whole day stuck in the house with book and nothing else on the mind that is jeering to the point of mental isolation. She had to do something when she thought with her head over the table and her mind thinking of the possibilities of keeping her mind at ease from the point of losing all that is keeping her mind in its center. She started to tap her foot upon the floor when her brow started to crease, hearing nothing outside the window when she continued to tap her foot on the floor as she continued to think and think and think. She tapping is driving her to the point of telling herself to shut up, shut up and be the woman that you are born to be. You know you have this and you know that there is a silver lining somewhere waiting to be found. It is only a matter of time. It is only a matter of greatness that is out there that she has not found yet when tears started to flow in her eyes.

By midday, she set out of the house. By the time she got two hundred feet from the house she started to have the problem of the lack of oxygen around her. She breathed in and felt her mind going into the spot of pitch blackness when she stumbled onto the cracks of the sidewalk, feeling her ankles bending when she shook her head and looked up at the windows that are reflecting all this hell that is around her. She sees nothing but green. She sees nothing but all this green around her when she doubled over and tried to breath.

That is when the weed people came out of the bend of the alien grass that is growing faster and faster with wicked smiles that have no lips. The blades of natural order are coming out as well that Sheila cannot see when she looked up to see the weed people that are coming from the grass that is parted and coming back, parted and coming back. She sees the faces of the dead that are coming closer and closer when she shook her head and started to stumble towards the direction of the house with the dead not speaking to her, just getting closer and closer to kill her. She stumbled over her feet when the display windows blurred past her as the weeds around her ankles started to tangle around her shoes. She looked down when somewhere in her mind she starts to think that this is funny for some damn reason.

Why? She did not know as she fought this with all of her might when the weed people of alien conception came closer and closer. She turned and almost fell on her face when she dimly pulled the gun out of the waist line of her pants and tried to steady it. Her hands are shaking when she cocked the gun. Her vision doubled when she started to power walk back to the house when the house came closer and closer into her grasp as her car is sitting there with not a speck of dust upon it. She looked at the door to the house when she coughed, hearing the growl of the weed people gaining speed behind her when she screeched, jumping up the steps and throwing the front door open and closing it behind her. She breathed in and out with her mind getting better and her heart pointing towards the point of realization.

This is her prison. She is locked in her prison. She dropped the gun on the floor when her realization came to pass.

That night in the land of the weeds and of the dead she looked at the many books that are upon the shelves. That is all she has now when she wondered about how she is breathing? She looked at the many titles on the spines of the books when the Coleman Lantern continued to hiss. How long is that going to last? She didn’t know when she sighed and shuffled to the Coleman Lantern to shut it off. She looked in the shadows of the darkness with the shadows being all around her. She never felt so sad in her life before when she found the touch by the tips of her fingers and then came down to the couch with her eyes casted towards the ceiling. She sees nothing but the darkness and nothing that is sounding off around her when she did not sleep or a very long time. Sheila Mason remembered the rest stop and the thing that came from the weeds and the thing that morphed into the late Earl Mason when she remembered the look on his face before they closed the casket upon this weary and crazy world.

The expression upon his face is that of the expression of not seeing what she believes. The looks upon his face were that not of Earl Mason at all but that of a person that in his life would never use make up on his face. That make-up is for the left-wing liberals. Sheila remembered him saying that with a throbbing intolerance in her belly. She felt no sleep behind her eyes when she continued to look at the ceiling when the stars moved across the sky, forming the sky in shapes that are never the same when the sun came up faster than she realized.

Nothing sounded off outside, nothing. She came up from the couch, not feeling groggy when she went to the kitchen to find something in the cupboard when she found three granola bars, a jar of peanut butter, one loaf of bread and a stocked fridge with a foul odor that made her want to vomit all over the floor. The microwave sat at the edge of the counter space when she looked at that, trying not to laugh when she looked at the limited food that is out in front of her.

That is all the food I have. She is gnarling the feeling that is within her gut as her stomach closed it on itself.

This is all the food I have until I can find some more food. Lord, help me. Please help me, Lord.

She got on her knees in the middle of the kitchen and started to pray. By midday the clouds formed over the sky with the dark thickening on the land below. Sheila realized that it has not rained since this whole hellish thing had happened when she looked out the window at the clouds that are apparent in the sky. The only assumption that would make it possible is that there is still oxygen in the world for that to happen to form clouds in the sky. There has to be in existence of a water cycle. There has to be. She stood at the window with a pain shooting up in her back when she saw something that made her hands unclench and then clench back up again.

The beings of the weeds are coming out in droves with the clouds thickening and the spatters of rain dropping upon the windows. The weed people are coming out from the thickets of brush that are getting stronger with the world when they stood there, not moving but sensing what is prevalent in the sky that is absolute in their sensibility for survival. They stood there when Sheila moved back away from the window a little, dropping her jaw when the rain became more and more prevalent. The weed people outstretched their arms to the coming storm when the world sucked it up like the milk from a mother’s breast. It was horrendous and beautiful at the same time when she dropped the curtains upon the window and then pushed her back up against the wall. She scooted down upon the wall and sat there like a child that is pouting.

She started to cry and that is silent through the course of it all. Later that day that is almost forming into night, she opened the basement door and looked down it with no light down there. She stood there for the longest time when her breathing not hitched and her back not hurting. She stood there before she shut the door ever so slow as the basement is cut into complete darkness again. She lit the Coleman Lantern with the butane lighter and started to pick back up on a book where she left off.

That is when the Colman Lantern burned out that night. The night is long and she started to feel the pain in her heart when she went to sleep on the couch and slept for more than fourteen hours. She woke up and the sun is set upon the western sky. Sheila got up from the couch, wiping the sleep from her eyes when something bumped under the floor when she stopped moving, hearing close of what is happening below her feet.

The bumping happened again when she looked at the floor and got up upon her feet.

What is down there? Sheila asked within herself with no answer. She looked into the other room when the air started to stink with her nostrils catching the stink that is coming back to her. She uttered in disgust and placed her hand to her nose.

What in god’s name is that? Sheila chortled when she walked to the other room and looked at the closed door that is in front of her. She looked back into the living room, seeing the .357 that is upon the table when she sauntered to the gun and pulled it up from the table. She checked the loads and found one of the bullets is struck when she closed the gun and went back to the closed door that goes to the kitchen. Sheila raised her hand and opened the door when she observed the room that is not out of place at all. The room is the same when something shifted behind the basement door as she looked at it and then felt the water almost let go in her dirty pants. The basement door is locked, she made sure that it is locked when she looked at the knob that is connected to the bolt when it took all of her might to touch that knob and turn it clockwise. The bolt retracted from the trim when her breath came out in a sob.

She raised the gun in her right hand as she made slow progression towards the doorknob, touching it and feeling the cold that is within her hand when she breathed in and out as she turned the knob like it is about to explode if she turned it wrong in any miscalculation that is killing her with fright. She pushed the door open ever so slow when the light gifted her with the sight of looking down the steps, seeing something that she had never seen in a very long time since the world had ended.

What she saw on the sanded steps is a raccoon looking at her with its teeth sneering and its fur rose on its back. It looks malnourished, far away from the tendency of food when Sheila looked around the darken corridor of the basement that leads down to the perpetual black. The raccoon is not in the fighting mood when it kept its aggression up for its will to live, looking back and then looking up at the woman that could possibly kill him or her and eat him or her. The raccoon is afraid but afraid of what? Sheila had no idea when something shifted in the darkness below as the darkness played with the light on the stairs below.

The movement scared her when she backed up as the raccoon turned its head towards the darkness, draining the aggression out of him when he turned back towards the human that it is not aggressive to anymore, thinking with the scared look in its ringed eyes.

It’s scared now. Sheila inquired with the draining feel of terror in her veins.

It’s so scared that it has the look of flee in its body.

Something shifted in that darkness, shifting some embodied element in the light that is coming above when Sheila moved back from the threshold of the door with her heart beating in her chest. The raccoon came forward on the stairs, trying to find a way out when Sheila can hear the faint sound of breathing at the bottom of the stairs. What is it? She did not want to know when her breathing is the best she had ever breathed in her life before. There is a shake in both of her hands when the breathing at the bottom of the steps became louder and louder when something whispered in inhuman tones in that darkness, a whisper that made her think long after she shut and locked that door.

“You failed, young one.” That is what the whisper croaked when she flashed back into the light again, shutting the door when the sound of rain continued pouring upon the roof and the windows outside. She forgot about the raccoon when she dared not to open the door again. In the end of all of those thoughts she placed the fridge in front of the door to keep whatever is down there, down there.

Night fell upon the land, creating little glitter of crystals upon the windows of a world that has no sound when she sat in the darkness. The Coleman Lantern is empty and the gun is upon the table. She checked the gun again, thinking of keeping one bullet for herself when she closed the gun and slammed it back onto the table again. Her sanity is slowly leaving her and the fright of madness is brushing up against her heart when the rain stopped some time ago and there is no sound of anything outside. What the hell are they waiting for? They outnumber me and they can kill me within a minute or less. What in the fuck are they waiting for?

She kept the gun nearby when she remembered Christmas with her mother and father in the plains of Minnesota with the snow falling by the size of quarters and the snowmobiles running up and down the snow banks with a different world in mind. The stores in nearby towns are closed with the lights still on and the fires still burning in the fireplaces. The nights are longer at this time of year when she can remember Earl Mason – whom they were not married yet – sitting across the table with a glass of wine on the table and the Christmas dinner that is upon the massive plates that is the conglomeration of two meals. The family is all on Sheila’s side when she had a glass of red wine that is upon the table as well as her father talked about the moments of time’s passing, never to relive again in a world that is always changing, always moving on its axis around the sun again and again.

Now the world is dead and her whole entire family is probably dead as well when there is not even a sound of a cricket outside. She is sitting in silence when something spoke through the vents that lead to the basement level below when she moved her head up to the sound of the guttural moaning that is coming from the mesh that is implanted into the thick wall.

“We have to talk about you and us that are still clinging onto life like a thinning string.” The moaning and meaty thing said in the basement below.

“We are not evil.” The thing instructed her with no mood.

“We have been here since the earth was birth within the cosmos. We live below the layer of the earth that no one can reach and we have been watching the species that flourished upon the earth, failing each and every century. We come from the heat to deal with the matters that make us sick with what you do to each other.” The thing provoked her to wonder with her mind thinking and thinking long after the voice escaped the living room.

“We are one.”

Then something happened outside that made her place her hands upon her ears with all the whooping and shouting of a Black Mass chorus that is coming to light with the fire and flames. They are howling…all of them howling into the night sky upon the world of the dead. What in the fuck is this thing?

“We are one and you are the last of the independence of your species.”

“Fuck you!” Sheila thrummed in the living room.

“You killed good people.” Tears streamed down her face.

“You killed families – young and old. You turned people into those freaks outside. You did something to them to make them look like my family. Why are you to judge?”

The thing did not speak for more than ten seconds before it started to giggle through the vents that lead to the basement level.

“Poor girl,” The thing taunted her.

“You cannot leave this house because if you do you will suffocate.” The thing kept giggling through the vent.

“You have to come down and talk to me.” The thing instructed her again.

“That is all. Just come down and talk to me.”

“What do I have to talk to you about?”

The thing did not speak for a long time before it sighed.

“We have to speak about futures, you and I,” The thing implored her.

“We have to speak about making things right.”

“Making things right?” She giddied, trying not to laugh with the giggles coming out of her mouth. She stifled them with the back of her hand.

“The world is over and you want to discuss this now?”

The thing did not laugh, did not taunt, and did no such thing to make her mad.

“We have to talk. That is all and you have my word of a saint.”

Sheila looked from the vent and out the window before looking back at the vent again. The cold outside is bracing and the gun is still on the table that she cannot see. It is dark outside with no lights burning upon the arch light stations. It is dark as true night when she thought about this for a very long time now.

“Let me think about it.” Sheila whispered when she jumped to the reply that is coming from the vents.

“Sure.” The thing replied with no emotion in that voice.

“You have all the time you need.”

It spoke no more through the vents when she pushed back on the couch and closed her eyes to the confusion of it all.

Damn if I do and damn if I don’t. She spoke in the room of nothingness in her mind.

Damn if I do and damn if I don’t

Sheila did not sleep a wink all night, waiting for the sun to come up when she sees the light outside the window with the clouds keeping the sun at bay. The gun is upon the table when she felt the weight of grabbing that, getting up from the couch to saunter to the kitchen with the gun in her hand. She thought of daddy, the smell of daddy that faded in her clothes when he died. The scent of him passed like a spring wind caught her heart when she placed her hand to her chest, almost falling upon the floor of the apartment of where she lived when she felt the world stopping, feeling nothing but cold and nothing more. It is the smell of daddy; why can I remember the smell of daddy and that being his death of so long ago?

She wished she can remember that smell when she entered the kitchen, looking around until looking at the fridge that is pushed up against the door that leads to the basement when she remembered that she has not eaten in more than three days. She is in dire need of food when she did not think of that. It is the last on her mind to be even thinking about food when she looked at the fridge before walking to that ever so slow. She felt a pebble not breaking in her heart when she felt the coolness of the fridge that is upon her hands. She felt it before she started into her tired muscles that are screaming when the door is free to be open. She did not want to touch the knob of that door when she gulped, coming closer to the door when she grabbed the doorknob and then turned it. The door opened in a rusty squeak when she peaked inside to see the flicker of candles upon each stair that leads to the bottom. The candles did not flicker on each side of the stair when she saw nothing but the lights from the candles that lead to the only point with only one way out. She started to step down each stair, keeping her wits about her when she came halfway to look through the banister to see more candles upon a long black table with many boxes stuck in the corner and old implements that serve the past of a person that once lived in this house. The boxes are printed and stamped like little stars that are unique and noticed to her seeing it when she can see nothing but the table and the candles.

Where in the hell is the thing? She kept her evasiveness up when she met the base of the stairs and stepped on concrete, looking around through the light that is minimal to a basement that is so damp that it made gooseflesh pop on her forearms. There is not one sound within the basement when she came to the table, realizing that there is a long backed chair on each side of the long black table when she had no other course but to sit down and wait.

The candles in the eerie dark did not flicker when something appeared in the shadow in an uncalculating slide, coming forth into the light with no smile upon the face that looks so human but so dark that it made her scared by just looking at that face. The thing looks like a man with no age, a man who has been in the darkness for so long that his skin is blazed in the color of white light that makes vampires scared on the condition of what this man looks like. Sheila opened her mouth and closed it when the man on the other side of this dark table did not smile.

“Is this the past or is this the future of consideration?” The thing who looks like a man says in deep tones that are darker than any tones that a man can muster.

“I don’t understand.”

“Oh, you do.” The thing fluttered its white hazel eyes towards her in a dumbfounded manner that is almost insulting.

“We’ve been through this with your species countless times.”

“What?” Sheila is confused by this countenance.

“We have been watching you, studying you in the world beneath this world and we calculated solutions to control your population for so long that all of our expenses are tiring.”

Sheila didn’t understand when she forgot that she had the gun within her hand.

“Control, why?”

The thing smiled in the first of its existence.

“You have the freedom of goodness but you choose madness and destruction for your needs of ‘normalcy’.” The thing tapped its boots upon the concrete with Sheila not knowing what that sound is when she jumped on the first motions of hearing it.

“We have been watching and this is the greatest consecration that we can muster.”

“By killing people and turning them into weeds?” She felt disgusted.

“Oh no,” The thing shook its head

“By turning all back into the natural order that seems simpler.”

Sheila opened her mouth and then sat back into the chair with her mind whirling this around in her head.

“Why?”

The thing looked at the smoothness of the table and marveled the quality of it.

“Catherine the Great compiled a coupe to kill Peter the Third and took the power of empress for Russia in the 18th century. She wanted to make her country better. Peter the Third was German dissent and he couldn’t even speak a sentence of Russia even if his life was in the bargain. Some say she poisoned Peter the Third and some say he was killed in a drunken brawl. History is blurry on these constructive theories. What fathoms me most is Solomon Northrup and what he went through. History does not know when he died for reasons being that in many of your ancestors words, ‘He was just another nigger at the wrong place at the wrong time.’”

The thing looked at her, through her into her soul where secrets may lie.

“You people are intelligent but society has made you stupid. You follow the most entertaining one with blindfolds and think that the world is in your favor.” The thing tapped his knuckles on the smoothness of the table.

“You’re nothing but pawns and we proved that so.”

Sheila felt nothing of this thing’s pity when she also felt like she is being insulted for what she is like cattle in the pen of some wretched farmer’s disposal. She kept the gun in her hand, knowing that she knows that this thing that is imposing human does not know what in the hell it is. She wanted to know if it will work when she felt through the imaginary motions that are playing out in her mind.

“I came here on an armistice and I came here to tell you that you are not the only one on this planet.” The thing croaked when Sheila felt a weight being lifted from her soul.

I am not the only one?

The thing smiled through the candlelight in the darkness.

“Yes.” He looked like he is almost about to laugh.

“There are people in New England that are holding out, putting up walls and keeping the beasts at bay.” The thing chorused with his hands coming up over the table, touching the top of it like it is the most cherished thing ever to conceive on planet earth.

“I will give you safe passage to them in New Hampshire and you will tell them to never come back to the west again to open the capsule that is now our staging area to keep your kind in control.” The thing ordered Sheila when she thought about pulling the gun up and firing off one shot to kill this wretched thing that is on the other side of the table.

“Are we on accord with this preceding?”

“What are you?” She shook her head.

“Why are you doing this?”

The thing did not smile anymore.

“We are the ones that evolve the life on this world to what we see fit.” The thing kept his hands upon the table.

“If you do not comply when all of those people – including yourself will be wiped out in the process. Your history will be wiped from the face of the earth. Your knowledge will be cleansed from the face of the earth. All your scribes of books, papers, and language to symbolize it will be gone from the face of the earth. You will banish with no echo of anyone knowing that your kind will ever exist. That is my truth and conviction of all of this and I will honor it knowing that you…yes…I will keep you alive to see all of this before you go insane from complete isolation as your soul will burn before you die!” The thing that is the image of man started to laugh in the depths of the basement, rocking his body back and forth when Sheila thought about using the gun when something pulled it from her hand as it rolled across the space under the table and slapped it into the hand of the thing that grabbed it like a fastball in a winning point in a baseball game.

“What is this in your hand?” The thing inquired when he looked at it and then marveled the steel that is within his hand.

“I know.” He smiled, giggling in the back of his throat.

“It is a weapon!” He pointed the gun at her.

“How do you use it again?”

“NO!” She screamed, pushing her hands up to thwart off the blades that will shatter through those hands any second now.

“Like this?” The thing pulled the trigger when the gun shattered into a thousand pieces in his hand like candy glass, raining the tabletop with metal fragments and bouncing over the table and onto the floor in pieces that will never be put back together again like Humpty Dumpty.

“Well look at that.” The thing felt humor.

“I am sorry that I broke it.” The thing shook his head.

“You no longer need it anymore so I am giving you an ultimatum. Will you kill me and kill the lives of the rest or will you roll out east to be with the rest of them in peace?” The thing made a condition when Sheila started to peel tears down her face.

“Please. Why are you doing this?” Her body shook in the chair.

“Why are you doing this?”

“Choose and live. Choose and prepare to die.” The thing said no more after this when Sheila thought about this in consideration. She thought about, wondering if this is a trap or her salvation to the others that will keep her safe from her mind that is driving her to complete insanity.

She chose when she looked up at the thing that is across the table. How in the hell did this table get down here, she wondered? This table must weigh about ten thousand pounds. She chose when she thought about killing this creature when she looked at this creature square in the inhuman eyes of the beast, a master that she is serving now.

“Okay.” She whispered, almost dropping her head upon the table.

“Okay.” She whispered again, wanting to know if this is a dream.

She was given some pills she did not know what in the hell they are so she can breathe. She has only nine days to travel through the land of the weeds and the dead to get to New Hampshire when she told the thing about the others and how are they surviving?

“You will know when you get there.” The thing smiled in the darkness with only the candle flame upon his face.

“I promise you that our creations will not harm you but all other secondary considerations are neutral.” The thing looked at her in the eyes.

“I promise you that it will not be us that will harm you.”

Sheila nodded her head when she took the pills and moved it over to her side of the table when the thing vanished in a split second and all the candles went out at the same instance that the thing left. She screamed, almost dropping out of the chair when she could not see anything in front of her face. The stairs, she has to remember the stairs that are to the left of her when she found the banister by accident and moved back up to the world where there is sunlight now.

She is in the living room now, wondering about the roads that lead out towards New England when she had to remember about the Atlases that could be in gas station stands somewhere in the future that holds. Can she find one? She did not know when she considered of scrawling out a piece of paper, leaving it under the couch as a remembrance for anyone that will probably find it one of these days. She placed it in a book that she was reading, a Robin Cook Novel with the words on a blank piece of paper that goes like this:

My name is Sheila Mason and I have witness what is below the earth. I will kill them all for the freedom of mankind. I will kill them all.

She read this three times before putting it in the book and squeezing it under the couch. She had a lot of miles to go before she can meet the rest, a lot of miles before the shade of salvation that she can grasp. It is the question of survival if she can get there.


© Copyright 2020 Adam Steele. All rights reserved.

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