Pardon the sloppy handwriting, but I’m doing this on the move.
We didn’t mean for it to happen this way. Bottom line is, we made a mistake, but there’s no going back now. The days, if you can call them that, have melted away into meaningless expressions of a life beyond our reach. Well, my reach. The others are gone now, leaving just me in this hell.
It didn’t seem like the best of ideas, sure, but in the moment it was pure curiosity that drove us to investigate the light coming from the woods behind the apartment complex. Pure curiosity that made me follow them to get closer to something bright enough to be nearly blinding during the daytime. Pure curiosity that instilled a desire to extend my hand and, ever so carefully, touch it.
It began to strobe, whatever “it” was, faster and faster… And then, everything was still. And when I say everything, I mean everything. Nothing moved. No birds chirped, no leaves settled, and no wind sighed through the trees. It was all very surreal. For a second we thought we had killed the forest, but we quickly ruled that out when we found a couple of squirrels hovering in mid-air, appearing to have just jumped off of a tree trunk. Time had stopped. We were all somewhat intelligent people, so, hey, it wasn’t that hard to figure out.
It was great at first, running and laughing through the stillness of rush hour, high-fiving the people who had been calling for taxis, and pretty much feeling invincible. It was like a dream come true, and for the first 15 minutes, we were loving every bit of it. That’s when we started dying. Shawn was first; He was in the back of the group, so all we heard was a faint slump, and there he was, pale and still. By the time we figured out what was happening, Katie was dead too. It was the air. It wasn’t moving.
Just like the leaves in the forest, the air-molecules hadn’t budged. The only reason we were still alive was because we unintentionally forced fresh oxygen down our throats by walking. Shawn had stopped, just for a few seconds, had passed out, and died. All it took for Katie was for her to step into the vacuum left by the group’s path to check on him, and the same thing happened to her. We panicked, and took off down the street, running like there was no tomorrow.
There was just the three of us left, Jason, Ashley, and myself. Jason kept saying that asphyxiation shouldn’t, couldn’t, happen that fast, and Ashley cried as we ran. I didn’t know what to think.
We kept moving, not really heading anywhere specific, but just as long as we were moving, we were safe. There was no way to tell how long it had been, but it must have been over 10 hours of wandering. Somehow we managed to arrive on one of the docks at the city’s beachfront. The pier went quite a ways off shore, and I didn’t even think about the consequences of running out of air out there. Maybe if I had, we could’ve…no. We were damned from the start.
Jason lead the way further out, hands in his pockets, but we all stopped short when we heard a loud crack. He slowly turned, a look of horror creeping onto his face. He opened his mouth to speak, but was cut off by the rotten planks beneath him collapsing from his weight. He should have hit the water and swam back to shore. We didn’t think about how dangerous our situation had become. How stupid it had been to go onto that pier. The name of the game had changed considerably in this twisted universe, and the water parted around his body seamlessly, forming a deep hole into which he fell. It was like nothing was there at all, like he was falling through air. We were already sprinting back towards the shore, and his screams followed us as he plummeted down into the dark. We were only fifty feet away from the hole when it suddenly went silent.
Ashley went soon after that, but ironically enough, it was from panicking, tripping on the stairs to the beach, and breaking her neck. I didn’t have time to stop and mourn them. I didn’t have time to do anything. I could only keep moving.
I began walking down 3rd street, looking at the people sitting frozen in restaurants, riding un-moving bicycles, walking to meet friends. I hated them. They were blissfully unaware of all that had happened. I wanted to stop and scream at them, I wanted to cry and beg for their help, I wanted to curl up into a ball and pray to God that I would wake up and it would be just another quickly-forgotten nightmare. But I didn’t do any of those things, I just kept walking. I must had been walking for a while, because I ended up miles down the highway.
I wanted to stop and face death, and just let it take me. But, I didn’t. I wanted to sprint back to the water and wade in until I couldn’t see or breathe anymore. But, I didn’t. I didn’t do anything but walk.
This is where I am now, presumably days later, walking off of the last of my energy with muscles screaming for me to stop. If I do stop to rest or sleep, I’ll die. I know that there’s no way for me to get out of here now. Searching for this long has left me with no hope of being back in my real life again.
I haven’t made my decision yet on whether I’ll be the one who ends it, but I imagine it can’t be far off anyway. If only I had more time…