The Lost

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Contently Deranged Travelers
When the games over just go home.

Submitted: March 19, 2016

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Submitted: March 19, 2016

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Into The Lost

 

It started in China and quickly spread to Russia, Europe and then raged in Africa. It seemed for awhile Australia would be spared but that was not to be. I thought of a story by *Richard Matheson as images on the news showed the eerie groups of men, women and children walking for miles until they would just drop.

 

When it started here in Kansas I thought I would be able to keep the family sane and safe. Scientists all agreed it was not a chemical or contagion and leaned to a theory of mass hysteria. If we just stayed together, read to each other, kept our minds on positive thoughts. I made up some simple math games for the kids. My wife Jan was strong for so long. Positive. Until that night. The night she sat up in bed; the expression of a lost soul. Mindless. She looked into the children's rooms and then walked outside. Of course I did all I could to stop her until the children, wide eyed, pushed past me.

 

I followed as they went into the woods where I saw so many neighbors I had grown up with just wandering. Most walked north toward the highway. In the near distance I could hear car horns blaring. Locking brakes and screams. I couldn’t keep up with the whole family as they were splitting up and joining random groups. An older man, weak and crippled , fell - only to be walked over repeatedly . I heard a woman scream for her husband. Someone besides myself avoided the infection or whatever this hell was. I was , at that point, still frantic to find my own family and so I did not search her out.

 

For two days I followed the lost and was unable to get anyone to talk or stop the mindless walk. They acted on a  primitive type of instinct. When physically unable to go on the weak, old and young would stop and just stare into horizon, or worse, the sun.


After the fifth day had passed most of the lost were dead or dying. My family was surely gone and there was no time for honest grief. I felt guilty but my need for survival gnawed at me to carry on. I turned from the last small groups of the lost and walked along highway 100. No cars moved past me although many were stopped dead on the pavement or off into the medium.

 

After a hard five mile walk I came onto an abandoned mini mart and gas station. I walked in and took two pints of orange juice and a can of Pepsi. My thirst was trumping my hunger but I was eyeing the chips and canned meats. I reached for a can of Vienna Sausage and a hand fell on my shoulder. I dropped one of the orange pints and it’s glass bottle shattered across the floor.

 

Turning to face a perceived threat I was surprised to see a woman of my approximate age who was clear of eye and in her right mind. Not infected.

 

“ Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you. Just so happy to see…” She began to cry and even through the dust and dirt that covered her I could see was a pretty woman. Even this thought of a simple acknowledgement of fact brought guilt.

 

“ ‘Sokay, I have to say the scare was worth it. I thought I was the only one left. You know...untouched by….whatever this is.”

 

“ I know. I mean I don’t know but know what you mean. What the hell is happening?”

 

“ I have no idea. My whole family...it’s all so crazy.”

 

“ Okay to introduce ourselves. I mean...anyway I’m Jill. I was with my friend Dan when he just pulled over and started to walk away. I followed him until I saw this place. I knew or thought I knew this was my best chance to find someone and I guess I was right.”

 

“ Right you were Jill. By luck I guess. My names Phil. I think that most of the lost are dead. Harsh I know but…”

 

“ The lost?”

 

“ What some of the T.V. people were calling them. Kind of appropriate I guess.” I thought about the last broadcast I had watched when the news lady just stood up and walked away. It was then that Jill looked outside. A group of about a dozen lost struggled down the highway. “ My God. I thought it was over for them.” Jill stared, her eyes glazed and followed the lost. I sat down and screamed as hope moved away forever.

eNd



 


© Copyright 2017 Robert Kasch. All rights reserved.

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