[ The story continues.. as always the story and characters are (c) me. Hope you are enjoying it so far.. ]
Corey Savage wasn’t a stupid man. He graduated with honours and was starting to build a career as a community social worker. Day in and out he tried to help people with their mundane little problems and annoyances. He was looking forward to celebrating his 30th birthday with his buddies and finally announcing his plans to open his own practice as a therapist.
He knew his mother, the sweet little firecracker she was, had already picked him out his favourite flavour of cake for the party. Red Velvet so rich and moist you could taste it on the roof of your mouth long after the cake was gone. He also knew his buddies would plead with him to hit the pool hall after for drinks and laughter.
But there was no birthday party waiting for him now in Dusk Creek.
He collapsed to a sit in the grass by the cracked hospital sign. His hospital gown did very little to cover any part of him, and his feet were sore and starting to blister from the hard run on the pavement. Nearly naked, frantic, hungry and lost. This was the worst possible place he could imagine.
His eyes scanned the area for anything that might somehow show there was life out here. No birds flew overhead, no dogs barked from the yards. Nothing moved and nothing made a sound other then the deep growl of the gathering storm above.
“I don’t get it.” He mumbled to himself, half dazed. “Where is everyone?”
The mass of things not making sense seemed to hurt his brain. It piled up on him like a bath of concrete. He knew his hearing was fine, yet he obviously didn’t hear whatever blast completely demolished the hospital building. He knew he was essentially unharmed even when he witnessed the falling bomb. And he also knew, strangely, he seemed to be the only survivor in a mysterious disaster. How could such an explosion, powerful enough to disintegrate a building completely with its foundations, not make a noise? How come he had never heard of Dusk Creek? And just how much danger was he in now?
He brushed his hair back, breathed deeply and tried to sort out the events.
The bomb, the flash, the hospital room, the hazmat suit, the guards, running… it played behind his eyes like his own personal horror film. He remembered the empty vehicles, the blood, and the missing bodies. Now the missing hospital. Something in all this hysteria of the last hour had to somehow hold a key to figure out what was going on. Yet every time he tried to puzzle it out, it led to dead ends.
He assumed he was brought to Dusk Creek after the blast. He must have been evacuated with other people. Maybe there was a second attack that demolished the hospital moments after he left. Or maybe his mind was slowly being lost to some damage to his cells due to the bomb?
He forced the thoughts of radiation and slow death out of his head, it was far too painful to think of and he was certain if it were true he’d be doomed to find out soon enough. Even still he felt sick and if he had anything in his stomach it has a serious risk of not being in there for long.
A rumble forced him to look up into the gathering dark clouds of the building storm. He felt the barest touches of mist on his skin. It was the warning of impending downfall. Doomed or not Corey figured he needed clothes and shelter. If he was bound to die with some sort of exposure he could at least do it in proper clothing and hopefully with food in his stomach.
“Maybe… I mean maybe people are just inside.” Sure it seemed logical, hopeful, optimistic to the point of delusional, but it gave him a reason to slowly get up and walk painfully across the street past the empty bloody vehicles towards a large building that could only be an apartment complex. Corey was relieved to find the double set of doors unlocked and he dragged himself into the complex lobby as downpour started.
Bland sterile walls of common wallpaper and even more common dingy carpet. It felt like a five star hotel to him after all he had been through. Past the first apartment doors stood another set of double doors keeping him from gaining entrance into the apartment hallway. These ones were firmly locked no matter how hard he tried to yank them open. His fingers scanned the buzzer names and numbers. Randomly he buzzed the first one.
The name seemed kind enough, Mrs. Burket. He pictured an old lady sheltering in her apartment with knitting and cats. No one replied, so he buzzed again. And again. Okay so Mrs. Burket was a dead end. But there were other numbers and other faded out names. One of them had to be there.
“Someone help me!” he shouted, buzzing the name underneath. Then the next… then the next. “For fucks sake is anyone there?” his hand started to slam at each number until eventually the buzzing simple stopped. No matter how hard he jammed his finger into the multitude of buttons, nothing sounded.
He had no patience for this any more and let out a snarl of frustration. His usually calm demeanour definitely seemed the first casualty of his building fear. With a deep breath he slammed his shoulder into the doors blocking him from the safety of the apartments inside. It hurt, but he didn’t care. Another slam nearly jarred the door free. One more snarl with a thrust of the shoulder and Corey smashed through the deadbolt lock and the doors flung open. The pristine glass was now spider webbed, clouded, and shattered in places.
He lay sprawled on the cheap carpet of the hallway floor with pieces of glass knocked loose of the mesh screen surrounded him. Movies were great for entertainment but not for instructional useful information. Smashing oneself through a locked door not only hurt a hell of a lot more then it appears on television, but it also worked to knock his shoulder slightly out of place.
He didn’t care; he was on his feet in mere moments and pounding at the closest door. No reply, onto the next frantically. He pounded, tried the handle. It too was locked and silent.
“Is anyone alive in here?” his voice was starting to crack. Door after door he tried, rattling it nearly from its hinges. Finally, the second to last door down the hall was left ajar. Salvation. Corey carefully pushed it open with the slowest of movements. “Look I need help…”
The lights were already on and there was water running into the kitchen sink. As he carefully crept closer into the kitchen area he noticed two untouched settings of food on the small round dining table. Until then he hadn’t realised how hungry he really was.
Everything looked as if it was a normal typical home. Pictures greeted him of smiling strangers gathered for portraits. There was a cross-stitched hanging on the wall beaming the letters “Welcome to our Home” back at him.
“Look I don’t know if anyone is here…” his eyes surveyed the bacon, the glass of milk, the toast. It looks straight out of a 1960’s breakfast commercial. He could almost imagine a dainty little housewife fawning over the stove. Or maybe this was the home of Mrs. Burket, and the kindly old lady was hoping someone would join her for a meal. He slipped into one of the chairs. “I’m really hungry, I hope you don’t mind.”
He gripped the bacon and jammed it into his mouth. It took less then a second for him to realise that something was very wrong. He quickly spit it out and tried to wash the cold ash taste out of his mouth with a gulp of milk. That was his second mistake. Even quicker then the bacon he choked and coughed out the clumps of rancid milk. Before he could comprehend his own movement he was at the running sink washing his mouth out while gagging.
In college he heard of room-mates pulling stunts with their friends by leaving milk out in the sun for a few hours before putting it back in their fridge. He always thought it was a childish but slightly amusing thing when he heard about it. Now he understood just how nasty that prank really was. He no longer thought laughter would be his response now. Perhaps it would be closer to homicidal rage.
Amid the startled shouts of curses streaming his mouth he finally noticed the sound of static blaring on the television. Rinsing his mouth out one more time he carefully peeked into the living room.
The small Sony TV was crackling with static. A glass filled with water sat untouched on a small table beside a leather couch. He slowly sat down in the comfort of something familiar and found the black remote nearby.
“Please have the news…” He flicked through the channels and static greeted him on every one. As the numbers rose he got more and more hopeful that the next clip would show him something. And each time he was disappointed. “Come on! The news is always on.”
After the third time scanning Corey simple turned the TV off. Slowly closing his eyes he rested his head back and wished he could wake up from the strangest nightmare he remembered ever having.
“I am so screwed.”