I had a dreamThe streets are full of mad dogs and smothering dandelions, blood-thirsty coyotes and lecherous humans-turned-monsters.
Things are never going to be the same now. The backyard vines have reached the kitchen floor I'm lying on, seeping into the porous walls. Each entrance to the house—doors and windows— is all sealed with wooden straps, except for a man-sized hole in the wall. It's on the right, and I'm not sure how that got in there.
Three years ago, on December 24, 2042, Biohack accidentally unleashed a deadly soup into the eastern Atlantic Ocean. Those that fed on the gas the ocean bacteria produced have gone crazy. They want to gore our body, shred it into pieces, and eat them up until the last morsel. The streets are full of mad dogs and smothering dandelions, blood-thirsty coyotes and lecherous humans-turned-monsters. Trapped in our homes, we've managed to trail off a ladder from the attic to the roof-vent of my hidden van. The escape hatch is a closely guarded family secret.
The deviants, hungry for flesh as much as the backyard vines, carry giant demolition hammers to play touch-to-move with the wall. A gentle smack, then bang, and a pile of debris. No longer sane, they break into homes, abuse women of all ages and play with the male organs. It freaks me out. From a kilometre away, you can smell their blood and tissue, and that's how you know they're coming. They've been here, somehow, and I know this but can't remember when.
Mom and dad are at the other end; it was their idea to lock ourselves in separate rooms so they could distract them when the time comes, to save one of us. Every family follows a standard protocol: hide until they find us and try to save as many.
It's been a while since they have taken turns to break into Becky's room. The only way out is to grab Becky, then me, not that easy, though, and climb down the attic. They'll have to make it to us before the deviants do.
I can't reach my sister, but I can see straight into her suit-sealed eyes through the cranny I've wrecked in at the bottom of the wall. She's quiet and has been watching in my direction for hours, but she wouldn't approach. Our line-of-sight hasn't broken since.
It's grey out here, and the air is flushed with blood-thirsty paprika pollens sniffing for humans. I've shunned them with my biosuit, torn to pieces at places with only two filtering holes for breathing. I've no idea how long it's been since I've moved an inch.
The hole in the front is just enough for Becky to creep in. But she's reluctant. And I can't fit into it. Tired of drumming the wall, I've passed out, and everything has been a dream since. A dream where quintal-sized lumps—it's that precise—try to force their way into my bones through my orifices, hungry for my innards and in a strange act of desperation. When Beck and I were younger, I used to see scary dreams. I can't help but remember those old days.
When I was ten, Becky was seven. I loved basketball. She would be consumed by her sci-fi toys all day. "Take her with you," mom would say.
"I've been told to stay away from bullies," she'd snap.
Despite that, I was her shelter against the Gremlins who'd sprinkle blood in her eyes during her sleep. And then the shadows. When monsters cast shadows on the moon-lit ceiling every time a vehicle passed, she'd come to my bed and cling onto me. In return, I would tell her creepy stories as a way to pacify her. She would then dart like a projectile to bring more backup. And after our mom's "I told you not to," we'd snug in our beds, and the magnanimous Becky would bid me goodnight. I did play pranks on everyone, but they never made me realise that I was a foster child to the family.
Becky has either gone deaf or indifferent to my frailty. At first, I thought I was the one deaf, or maybe I had gone insane. But I can still hear the pollen swarming. Becky's indeed gone indifferent.
Vroom. Vroooom. Loud, out there, with all the malignancy, they buzz their vehicles. They're here again—the deviants. They're coming for my sister.
"Becky, get away! Dad, can you hear me? Break the wall and get us out," I say.
Becky won't budge. They are scared and won't reply.
"Hey! I smell flesh again," one of them says, "You wanna come out?" The stentorian voice is clamouring in the front yard, as monotonous as a foghorn. I can't move my body; all I can do is wait.
"Mom! Do you hear me? Get Becky out! Just get her out no matter what," I scream.
It's the outsiders giggling. Bang. Bang. Continuous bang.
Someone's hitting the wall of Becky's room. It must be dad. I try to get rid of my right shoe and stretch my foot to clip the standing lamp rod. I fail badly. My breathing stifles with huffs and puffs. Becky's gone statue.
"Becky, I can't move. Dig that wall, for god's sake," I say.
I could have saved my sister had my own body not disgusted me. My pants are caked with blood and pee. In between my legs runs a torrent of blood from some dead women lying around; they clog my peripheral vision. The biosuit is torn, but those senseless micro monsters are busy on the other bodies. Apart from that, everything's fine.
"Becky! Honey, help me." Dad's voice pitches as he succeeds to make it to Becky's room.
"Good guys, good guys, what are you going to do? You ain't coming to receive us at the door, are you?" They giggle as their voices diffuse in the dark air. The wet rung in the staircase squelches as they approach the front door.
"Retards. Get away from my family. Strident tinkles shake the entire house. Come for me, you losers. Leave them alone," I scream. "Becky, hit from the other side, honey. You can do it."
"Get back. Get back. It's coming down," dad says as he hits the last blow to the wall.
With a dull thud, the debris falls in the line of sight and makes a hill.
"Becky…hon…thank god! We gotta rush!" dad says. Becky chokes on her spit and can't speak.
Dad grabs the rod again and gives a couple of uppercuts at the burrow bottom to my room. It widens a bit. He leans on the broadened bottom and looks for me. I can see his dazzling eyes through the dome-glass of the biosuit.
Bang! The outsiders smash the wall and the door of the hall. "Which room are you hiding, huh?"
While we all cry in unison, watching each other so close, Becky's voice quavers as she pulls dad and mom away. Everyone suddenly wails as if we're all going to hell like it was the last day on earth.
Father's pulling mom and Becky by their hands while they all stare at me. Mom bangs her head onto dad's shoulders.
Dad carries a rod and heads for the attic, but mom doesn't follow. "Mom, we gotta go," Beck's voice shakes.
"Let me have a look." Mom watches me through the hole and bursts into tears.
"We can't save her," Beck says. "We gotta go." They run towards the escape hatch.
"No, no, no. Dad! Mom! Please don't leave me here with them. Come on, Becky, please!" I plead.
Their voice begins to trail off as I hear them getting off the ladder and onto the van.
"Come for me! Why would you do that? Don't you love me?" I say.
Mom cries leaning towards me continually, pointing her fingers. Dad and Becky drag her off to the van. The opening in the wall allows me to watch them leave me behind. Mom struggles. But for some reason, Dad and Becky won't let her get me. They're inside the van, but their tear-filled eyes are on me.
"Mom… Mom! She's dead, mom. Abby's dead," Becky shakes mother violently by her arms and cuddles. "She's been lying there for three days. They did bad things to her."
Dad, mom, and Beck burst into tears as our line-of-sight begins to break off.
A pair of leering eyes leans in through the bottom hole from the other room. They're here—the monsters of my dream.