[Warning: things start to get a little more rated Mature due to violent content ahead!]
Dusk Creek was a different city under the light of a new day. The large gaping hole where the hospital had been looked far more menacing when he looked at it closer. Cables and wires still hung from where it should have been connected. A large part of the earth under the hospital looked as if it had been taken in the blast as well. It almost seemed… deeper somehow. As if it had grown overnight.
He backed away from the cracked sign and the voided hospital and went first to the empty vehicles on the street. There was no way he would enter the blood soaked Grand Am, the Mercedes or the Dodge Ram. Further up the street he found a grey two-door Firefly. It looked beat up, rusted in spots, and definitely wasn’t a chick magnet. However it was clean on the inside save for a spot on the outside handle of the car where flies seemed to be gathering.
More importantly, he noticed the dangling of keys hanging out of the ignition like a baited trap. The keys were at least a tantalizing hint that maybe this car would start.
He didn’t have time to contemplate his decision. From the distance he heard snarling and barking. He turned in time to see a pack of three horribly disgusting looking dogs heading his way. And they did not look friendly.
“Oh shit!” he threw his backpack into the passenger’s seat and shoved himself inside the small car. He barely shut the door and hit the lock before the first huge beast slammed into the door. Large dogs, spitting drool foam and blood against the glass of his driver’s door. “Bull mastiffs?” he looked them over, but couldn’t be certain of the breed. They seemed oddly bigger then they should be, and were currently trying to rip apart the front bumper.
“Oh, I don’t think so Cujo…” After a few rough starts, more cursing and a final slam on the ignition, the car reared to life. He slammed it backwards into reverse, knocking one of the monstrous dogs loose from the bumper before hitting it in Drive and slamming into, and over it with a jarring force.
He kept his eyes closed as he heard the mangled yelps and the snarling barks of the other two. His foot dug into the gas pedal as hard and as heavy as he could. So hard that his toes hurt as he buzzed past other empty vehicles and through stop signs.
“Holy hell!” he glanced back but the animals were long gone from the rear view mirror. He scanned around the car frantically waiting for another to lunge at him, but wherever they had gone he seemed to leave them in his dust. The adrenaline buzzed in his ears. His foot eased up slightly.
Past abandoned cars and presumably empty homes he sped. One street after the other he past by with no signs that anyone else was alive here. Closer and closer to what he hoped was a highway. Corey tried frantically twisting and turning the radio dials for some sort of distracting sound while he steered and dove around empty cars and blacked out street-lights. All he heard was static. Eerily quiet and steady static that frustrated him and caused him to smash his fist against the wheel.
It was then when his head gazed upwards and he started to realise the landscape had changed. Large empty holes started to open up where buildings seemingly had been. He dodged around two empty trucks and pulled closer to the curb in order to better look over the damage. His foot lifted from the pedal and he coasted slow enough to look more carefully at the gaping holes and the signs posted on now empty lots.
The first one he saw was ‘Dusk Creek Retirement Centre’ had a perky bird sitting on the sun. It looked almost sickening sweet. Underneath it there was gold scripted words reading ‘Live your last days to their fullest’.
“Well that’s morbid…” he muttered and swallowed past the lump in his throat. It looked as if even in its best of days it was a place where old people simply went to die. He couldn’t help thinking that was quite a stupid phrase for old people. “Live your last days to their fullest” seemed to be a depressing thought for anyone.
He would find nothing to improve his mood either. When another commercial property with a gaping hole appeared the sign posted told him it used to be the ‘Redeemer Church’. Now there was nothing remaining but a small white birch out front, a few untouched flowerbeds that seemed to be wilting, the sound of water running from a burst water pipe into the hole, and its aged sign.
Next to the sign was a large old cracked bell out front like a monument. The sign itself only had two words for the Sunday sermon. SAVE US written in large black mounted letters. The glass holding them was shattered and the S and U had tilted to nearly falling off. It sent shivers up his spine. “Coincidence… that’s all. Fuck Corey you are losing it.”
Past the retirement home and the church– more homes seemed to have been ripped from their foundations. Now wherever his gaze fell seemed to have missing pieces. It was as if they were simply removed from the city, foundations and all. Just like the Hospital had been.
There was no denying it now; he had to get out. And fast. Without hesitation his foot heavily pumped onto the gas treading the car faster down the abandoned road. He sped up, heading for the overpass. It seemed like the only exit, a large bridge that spanned the enormous black serpent of water flowing under the overpass, far more like a raging river then a trickling creek.
He gunned for it but was forced to slam his feet on the brakes so hard he plummeted into the dash board with a sickening thud. Where there once had been a bridge, there was now only another gaping hole.
“No way…” he backed up and spun the car around. He would simply drive the perimeter of the entire city if he needed to. He was not planning on spending another night here.