Image by echobase_2000 via Flickr
The following is a rough draft that has been sitting in a folder on my desktop for months now. I haven’t read it since writing it, and it is quite likely very rough. But I wanted you guys to see it, to see something, just so you all remember the stories of “And You Climb Out of Bed.”
You were starting to develop cabin fever, the building that you have made your home, no longer has an actual roof. It has a fifth floor, with four walls, and a ceiling. A staircase leads upwards. At the top are four standing walls with no ceiling, just sky. When you first got here, you spent nights patching the hole in the floor, creating a makeshift roof.
It hadn’t rained in months, even the cesspools; the areas no one ventured too near where drying up. If that’s what you could call it. What was really happening is they were getting shallower, somehow getting brighter and developing an even fouler stench. They became deadlier with every millimeter of real water that actually evaporated. Even though you could no longer walk around freely in the rain, it was still a pleasant gift to have. It meant the possibility of water that is able to be filtered and thus drank or cooked with.
Generally, that wouldn’t be a problem. In fact, you can even pass fairly close to many of them without any real effects, other than an upset stomach. However, this was one different, it had already been highly acidic, and eating away the “roof” of the building you now call your “home.” If something didn’t change soon, the integrity of it would give away and the resounding force of the collapse would take the upper floors with it. This would continue until the entire building collapsed.
It had already started leaking, and if it couldn’t be patched soon, you would have to venture out into the city to find a new home. Hopefully, there would be a building nearby that wasn’t already inhabited by Rakers, Skag, or To-Once. There had already been too many fights with those disgusting creatures, could you actually call them that anymore.
And then something changed, the air grew cooler, and there was a strange liquid noise, trickling above your head. Another hole in the ceiling… At least everything is already packed away, making it possible to leave in half a second’s notice. There is only one thing left to do. You remove the crowbar from your shoulder-rig. It’s time to start pulling the boards off the door, the same boards you pilfered from the floor of the third level so long ago.. It’s time to leave.
It’s too dry; it has been for too long. There is no saving those boards, pulling them away cleanly for future use is out of the question. Just as the first one snaps in two, you realize something.
The leaking noise you heard, the sound you were certain was coming from the roof, is actually coming from outside. It couldn’t possibly be rain. It has to be the wind kicking up more dust and playing tricks on your mind.
You stop removing the boards long enough to pull on your jacket’s hood, the goggles you generally keep on the top of your head, and the scarf to cover your mouth. It’s unfortunate this system blocks your periphery, your one defense against some would-be attackers, but it also protects you from that damned sun: that hot, burning, ball of hatred that seems to loom in the same place all hours of the day.
You get back to work “removing” the boards, those tiny scraps of hope to keep intruders out. As the next one comes away with a crack and a shower of splinters, one of them sticks to your gloved hand, you try to ignore it but there is something strange about it. Something is off.
The next to be removed would actually allow you to see outside, this is it: time to see how bad this sand storm actually is. But, there is something different about this board; the nails do not want to budge. And instead of the wood splintering, it bends. As you try to pry the piece of wood away, your fingertips get a slight burning sensation. This is a fine piece indeed, one that you might be able to keep. The heat sensation is purely a combination of the sun-baked timber causing warmth and the over-use of muscles long ignored, left to deteriorate.
The burning intensifies, causing you to pull your hands away in shock and pain. Why won’t this fucking board come free? You flex the stiff muscles of your fingers. You feel something is off, the gloves that have protected your hands for so long feel thinner; incomplete. The burning sensation increases to pure pain, you smell sulfur, you smell… Burning flesh.
You look down, where gloves once existed, protecting your palms, is now raw bleeding, cracked flesh. You grab your crowbar once more, and with strength that you haven’t exhibited in months, rip the board from its location on the door frame.
It is wet. No, more than that, it is soaked. You look outside; it is a downpour, the proverbial storm of the century. This might be worse than the drought.
You leap away from the now open door, praying that such a strong rainfall is end as abruptly as it started. Acidic, toxic poison falling from the sky, your poor roof will never make it through this punishment.
And if it gives, neither are you.
Over the next few hours, you watch the streets flood. It is starting to seep in through the door way. It is time to retreat up the stairs. The second floor is safe, for now. You drift off to sleep, hoping that when you next awaken, the rain will have stopped.
Instead when you awaken, you still hear a slight raining noise. You walk down the stairs and realize the water is now a foot high. The last step completely submerged. What else is there to do, but wait it out, you cannot walk through it, but the time you got to the door, you would be walking on stumps.
You undo your pants and piss down the stairs; you chuckle as you consider it might actually reduce the acidity. As you re-do your zipper, you have a terrifying thought. The roof!
Running up the stairs, two at a time, you reach the fifth floor in no time. Glowing green puddles are starting to form on the floor. “God, if you are still there, please, let me get out of this?” You hear thunder in the distance. It seems to actually be getting worse outside.
The next day, the third step is covered with water. Just to make sure, you attach an old shoe to a chain, and throw it in the growing lake on the first floor. Within seconds, it is a smoldering piece of useless goop.
You hear creaking from the roof. The end is near.
The creaking transforms into groans, the groans into grinding, grinding into cracking, and finally cracking into an explosive wet noise, until finally you notice the noises getting closer, this is is, this is the end.
You turn around in time to see a torrent of putrid water bringing bricks, steel beams, and disease with it. You are hit by a wall; you instinctively open your mouth, flooding it, your lungs, and your stomach with the deathly water. There is no salvation now, there is no God left.
As you get carried down the stairs into the lake below, your last words are replaced with a gurgling noise.
Less than an hour later, the rain stops, and the ground slowly soaks the water up. The building you once called your home, collapses providing you with the ultimate tomb-like memorial. No one will ever be able to loot your body.