Thursday, August 22, 2019

WEP Red Wheelbarrow

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It was dark when I finished. The sun had set hours ago, and if you wanted to survive you didn't dare even light a candle once that happened.  But I had to finish what I was doing and I couldn't wait until morning.  Still, I wasn’t quite done yet. I still needed to dispose of … it.

It.

I was surprised at how odd it was that I no longer was able to even think of it as something that was once human. But then again, this wasn't really a very humane time for any of us, was it?

Perhaps there was something here, in the garage.  I reached out blindly and took a few steps to what I thought was the rear of the garage.  I hadn't planned for it to happen here, but sometimes an opportunity arises and you just have to grab it.

My knee hit something hard in the pitch black and I reached my hand down cautiously.  Metal.  Cold as ice in this weather.  Rounded.  Was that a handle?  I shuffle walked around the edge and stubbed my bare toe on something.  Damn that hurt.  Bending even further down now, I felt a tire.  What was this?  A wheelbarrow?  Perfect.

I had come in here looking for something.  What, I couldn't even remember now.  Shock must be setting in.  Adrenaline.  The killing could do that to someone.  Killing?  Is that even what it was?  Weren't they already dead?  Well, maybe not.  I didn't know the science behind it all.  There wasn't enough time in the day to waste it trying to understand what had happened.  Once the sun went down and the electricity was shut off everywhere, all you could do was hunker down and wait for sunrise.  Try to sleep if you could through the noise they made.

It was the noise that would really make you crazy.  The last bit of humanity that they had, and you almost wished they didn't.  It was like listening to a wounded animal.  That deep guttural moaning of something not quite dead yet, but very aware and terrified that it was soon going to be.  It was the sound of fear.  You could even smell it on them when they came close to you.

No one knew how or where it started.  Almost overnight it just "happened."  Newspaper reports said that it was something from space that came down with a dead satellite.  Television newscasters said that it was a biological weapon experiment gone wrong.  The vegans said it was from chemicals in the meat.  The meat industry said it was pesticides on the plants.  Bible thumpers said it was "The Enemy" or "Satan."  Satanists said it was God.  The Left said it was The Right, and The Right said it was the Conservatives.   I really didn't care anymore.  I just wanted to survive.

I rolled the wheelbarrow back to where I thought it was on the floor.  That's odd.  Maybe it is over there just a bit?  I stretched my foot out, not wanting to really touch it again, but knowing I had to find it to get it into the wheelbarrow.

With all the fingerpointing, we still didn't know how it was transmitted from person to person, or if it was airborne, in the water, or just a sudden mutation of everyone's DNA.  You could go to bed with your significant other and wake up with ... something else entirely.  Only you wouldn't even know it until after the sun went down.  For some reason, the artificial light showed you what it really was.  Like it reflected the light differently, even candlelight.

Where is it?  I could have sworn it was ... ah, found it.  Thank God.  I was starting to freak out a little.  Ugh, what a smell.  Deep breath, hold, get it in the wheelbarrow, turn, breathe, again.  Watch out for the shovel that I used to kill it, don't stub ... ouch!  Damn it!  Why didn't I put shoes on before I came in here?  Oh, yeah, now I remember why I came in here.  Shoes.  I'd left my shoes in here because they were muddy after the rain, so I took them off before I shut the garage door.

The thing about it all was that it wasn't even really considered dangerous.  I mean, no one had been killed by one that I knew of.  But we didn't waste any time killing them.  Because ... I don't know why.  If they weren't dangerous, what were they?  Different?  They didn't look different in the daylight.  It was just after dark when you knew they were.  Because of the sound.  And that smell.  Wait, is that sunlight under the garage door?  Finally!

I opened the garage door and turned to see what it looked like.  The wheelbarrow was red with all the blood and gore.  I'd grabbed the shovel when I heard it and smelled it after I flipped the light on in the closed garage.  Swinging wildly, I'd hit the bulb and plunged the garage back into darkness, but I could hear it screaming in fear and pain as I struck it again and again.  I must have hit it a thousand times trying to make sure it was really dead, not knowing where I was hitting, just hearing the blade of the shovel hit flesh and bone again and again.  Splatter had hit my face and hands, and I'd almost slipped once in the blood on the floor.

In the daylight, I could see that it was not as large as I had thought it was, and wait ... is that blond hair?  Those pajamas, they look just like ... oh no no no no no no no NO NO NO NO NO NO NO ... DJ! My son my baby boy my DJ!  NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

~*~
Word Count: 972:FCA
This is my first time writing with "Write...Edit...Publish" and I welcome your comments!

31 comments:

  1. What a tragic dystopian story. Poor, poor MC. I don't even know if it is a man or a woman, but I feel for them anyway.

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  2. Oh the pain.
    The very real pain.
    And sadly the truth in the 'killing those who are different'. Both aspects will stay with me.

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    1. and sadly, it may not even "be" anything other than fake news and the blame game. No one ever saw them in the daylight, so they didn't become "different" until they were in the dark and only began to sound and smell afraid. for all anyone knows, it is nothing more than people being afraid of what is played out in the news. The "what-ifs" of whether or not someone will see my own "difference."

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  3. Never saw that ending coming. That would be awful. And it just shows what fear mongering can do. Great entry indeed.

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  4. OMG! This is shattering. What a tragic tale. That ending! Nooooooo, all right! There's so much in this flash it would reward several readings, but not all at once. I'll be back once this has digested. The picture of the wheelbarrow red with blood and gore is a shocking image. Well told.

    Welcome to your first time at WEP! It is wonderful to have you! I hope you get around and read/comment/get to know people. We love having new writers. If you enjoy your experience please join us in October!

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    1. I'm back again Cindi. This story is something else!

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  5. Very well written. The build up was so intense and the story so plausible. Fear and hate and ignorance and the things humans do without thinking it through.

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  6. Perhaps I shouldn't have read this just before bed. Despite the lack of light in the story, my brain made up plenty of images!

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  7. I wasn't expecting that ending! Well done.

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  8. Oh, my heart! That ending broke it!
    So tragic and so near to our possible future. Well done!

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  9. Like Sally, I was not expecting that ending. Yikes.

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  10. Hi Cindi - oh how dreadful ... appalling - well she will not live now will she - if she does it'll be in a mental institution and that's not living ... what a frightening story ... so glad it's sunny here! Well done - clever ... Hilary

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  11. Oh wow. This story left me feeling heartbroken. It's an unsettling and strange world that you've created here, and that gruesome discovery at the end was devastating. I can't imagine the pain and guilt she must be feeling.

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  12. Great job.
    www.rsrue.blogspot.com

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  13. That was creepy, and twisted. I love being creeped out. Well done.

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  14. Absolutely heartbreaking bit of zombie apocalypse fiction. Well done!

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  15. Creepy opening. I was searching for a rational explanation. Then more - science, dark, noise and Satan. Now, I'm scared - and hooked totally. And then that horrific twist. My worst fear - and spurred by fearmongers. Well crafted. Shock works and adds to the tragedy.

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  16. Hi,
    I groaned loudly as I read the end of your story. What a tragedy. It is a well written story but my heart weeped at the end.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G

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  17. Not sure if the MC is male or female, but somehow I felt that type of ending coming. If "it" could happen to anyone, that anyone could be someone the MC cared about. I'm more drawn to the fact that there's no clear reason given as to why everyone kills these "things" other than they are different. That's the real power of this story. Excellent.

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  18. A truly, tragic and gloomy tale, that embodies one of my Lovecraft quotes, "The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown." Well done.

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  19. Thank you all for your comments. The power also lies in the fact that they may not be "different" at all, only that they feel and express fear. So it could be anyone at all who just "fears" that they are different. Someone's low self-esteem, feelings of inadequacy, feelings of guilt, doubt, failure. In truth, we are all "different" because at some point in our lives we have all felt fear.

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    1. which really just makes us all as "normal" as the setting on a washing machine

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  20. I enjoyed your comments on the story as well as the story itself. At first, I thought this was a twist on a zombie tale., brought about by blanket unwillingness to accept the 'other'. Then the narrator's forgetfulness made me think perhaps she was older and suffering from dementia. But that did not prepare me for the ending. I cannot even imagine her horror or what comes next. A very thoughtful story, well told.

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  21. So accurately reflects the current state of the world - the suspicion, polarisation and finger pointing, as to be seriously scary. Tragic and heart stopping. Great build up, effective pacing and a terrific twist in the ending. Kudos!

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  22. Nice, creepy ending. Good job with the beginning, quite the hook. Thanks

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  23. Congratulations on your WEP award. This was dark, nasty and so very well written.

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