Prompt: “There is a dark red almost black colour to the whites of his eyes. He is so close his nose is almost touching your nose. You can feel his breath when he says, “We all have it in here. We are all infected.”
The trees suffocated me, smothering as I tried to escape the pounding footsteps from behind me. Lurking amongst the murderous trees was the heavy carpet of gun metal mist, trapping me here with my persecutors. For hours now, I had been dodging, sprinting and hiding, and I did not know from what I hid, though I knew there had been shouts, exclamations of hatred and excitement had echoed at their discovery of me. Fear grasped hold of my neck and threw me into the woods; it was the only place I had ever known. The gunshots rebound from the wall of mist, cutting through my skin like the bullets that had failed to.
And so I ran. I ran from those attempting to ‘rescue’ me, from those whom I would slowly become. I ran from those like me, because they scared me more than the treatments I would have to undergo.
I ran until I couldn’t. I immediately stopped, smelling something new around me, something that wasn’t old and rotten and welcoming, but clean and sharp, with the pang of metal. Long since I heard the footsteps of my followers, I rested under a tall tree, the leaves of which were unfamiliar to me. I though of my predicament so mundane and expected. The repeated cycle of hunter and hunted bored me, as though something other than my life was in balance. Was my life worth this endless pattern of staying alive but not living? Was there enough hope for the future that I could suffer through the surviving part in order to get to the living part?
The answer was no, but I was too afraid of physical pain to end my mental suffering.
There was no peace, even in this little patch of heaven I had found. The birds still sang here, which was unheard of in every other place I had visited, and the wind soothed me. The birds screamed around me, revealing me to the hunters whom I could feel behind every tree, every rock and the mud I claimed for my bed. The rustle of wind through the dying leaves had me cowering, fearing the rustle of hospital gowns and blue masks.
Different to the fiery leaves, a flash of florescent yellow from behind a boulder. No sooner had I tensed my muscles to flee than I felt a jab in my leg, not the explosive pain I had come to associate with bullets, but also not the familiar sensation of loss as my blood left my body. No, just a fleeting jab in my leg, before I collapsed to the ground, no argument or protest.
Sleep came easily to me; I had missed his warm embrace.
Floating awake to the soundlessness of terror and inquisitiveness, I opened my eyes.
I saw nothing.
Not the nothing of indifference, of unimportant events and objects that I had taken for granted before my life deconstructed around me, but the nothing of blackness. It mercifully surrounded me in a blanket of safety; if I couldn’t see the pain abut to befall me, then it was not marching to greet me.
The sound shocked me as I realized I had made that noise.
The ground on which I was slumped provided no clue to my location; it was smooth as a mirror surface. I prayed it was Alice’s looking glass, by which I could escape, to a land of… well, something that wasn’t this night terror. I didn’t care where, I just wanted out. Perhaps I should have reevaluated the physical suffering I felt.
Summoning the last remnants of my strength, I dragged myself to a wall, just as smooth as the ground of which I resided. There were no indents of a cage, no rough texture of a cave and I could still feel the wall, so I had not reached Stage 3 of The Cure, at least. This reassuring thought allowed me to muster the energy requited to follow the curve of the wall in a fairly tight circle.
The problem I found with the circle I was trapped in, was that there was no way of knowing from which point I started, so I could not be sure if I had gone round once or thrice. There was nothing different for a very long time. But something had changed. I spiralled downwards, both in sanity and physically following the wall, falling further and further down the rabbit hole.
The deeper I fell, the worse my body reacted, the blotches, visible even on my dark skin, growing warmer and straining against the charred shred of my clothes. A few of them oozing a thin liquid, scentless, with the texture of silicone. I could feel it sliding down my skin, dripping from my fingertips. I heard nothing.
With no warning, my foot found a gap in the texture-less floor, and I was sucked into a black hole of emptiness. It lasted all of 3 seconds, but I felt fear, exhilaration, fear and pain; the force of the wind snapped my head back.
Though that was a mere paper cut compared to the impact I had on the ground, my skin erupting into a cocktail of blood and silicon based fluid, soaking the ground. The ground here was different, more natural than above, but more solid and unforgiving. I could see down here, faint outlines to be true, but the comfort of seeing made everything else bearable.
I never want to be unable to see ever again. Death would be preferable.
Fleeitng movements in the corner of my eyes, distracting me from my pus covered stupor. I attempted to raise my head, but the motion was petrol to the slow burning fire in my neck, and an explosion forced me back to the ground. I felt, rather than saw, someone dart towards me.
“Woah there,” said a soothing, deep voice, “it’s okay. Well, it isn’t okay, but we’re alive.”
I slumped forward in response. The trial I had been through, from running through my home, to falling through the darkness into a strange pit, covered in my own bodily slime…I could not force words past my mouth. Not that I would have been able to, even if I wanted to; loss of vocals was a rare side effect of the cure. I had hoped that not being Cured for a long time, it would have worn off, but, apparently, that doesn’t happen.
Casually, as though with no knowledge of how much it meant to me, the lights brightened and the saw the feature of the person supporting me.
There was a dark red, almost black colour to what should have been the whites of his eyes while his nose, peeling and dripping with blood was almost touching me.
“It’s okay,” he says, “we all have it here. We are all infected.” I can feel his moist, warm breath when he leans in to wipe the tears from my eyes.
So the Surgery had me. The information pamphlets, presentation and horror stories had not prepared me for this. The Doctors would keep me here till my blood and viscera revealed the secret of the cure to them.
Or until they killed me in the process.
I wrote this a few months ago, trying to get back into creative writing to prep me for Uni, and it’s been sitting on my computer, unedited ever since. It was based on a writing prompt I found online and, weirdly enough, my brother did the same writing prompt and came out with something very different at the end. This isn’t my best work, but I like it enough to post it here.
Hope you enjoy it!