Agapao awoke to the sight of fluttering wings. Dusk settled upon the land as the distant night crept across the blood-soaked fields, covering the horrors of war like a traumatic dream. The last two armies had annihilated each other. The few survivors claimed victory not over each other but against fate for mountains of corpses surrounded them, singing the tune to the world’s end.
Agapao looked overhead. An eclipse of moths encircled the now blackened meadow beneath the crimson skies. Some would land on a body and depart with a spirit in tow. These moths would fly towards the fading light so that the departed may find new places to inhabit. Others would land and bury themselves into a carrion, stapling the body to the soul. Those unfortunate individuals became the walking dead, forever to roam the Earth under another’s will. Turning to the moth that twitched on his chest, Agapao pulled out his knife and cleaved it in two. Fate had no business playing with the still living.
Kristie and Johnson waited in separate cars. A heavy downpour started right when they entered the parking lot. With divorce papers in one hand and a pen in another, only the rain held off the dissolution of the marriage.
An hour flew by and neither made a move. The deluge continued unabated as if staving off a greater disaster; a short wait during the fifteen years that they spent together.
The sound of an engine woke Kristie up. Morning had come and neither had left their vehicles. As Johnson’s car left the lot, the rain stopped.
Farmer Jack was at it again. On Halloween night, he would shut his lights and go out of town, leaving behind nothing but old vegetables for the children to eat. Moldy beets, crusty broccoli, and yellowing carrots were his favorites. This year, rotten sprouts made their debut, the kind that mixed with left-over slop to feed the pigs with. The children would have none of it. They broke into Farmer Jack’s barn and mixed crabgrass with his giant stock pile of seeds. As a souvenir, they stuffed all the sprouts into a Jack O’Latern and buried it in his front yard.
The following season, Jack hardly reaped any vegetables except for a strange bushel of Brussels sprouts near his front porch. They were rotten.
A prophet stood on a high-rise in Times Square, shouting into the crowd below.
“Doom cometh to New York! The tides will rise. The sky will fall. The land will shatter. Leave and you shall be spared! Stay and suffer the Lord’s wrath! God wills it!”
The pedestrians booed him. The week had already brought in enough crazies from Santa exercising in a speedo (he’s losing weight), male prostitutes in Spiderman gear webbing female passerby’s, to Weed Man and Beer Man teaming up their panhandling operations. Doomsday prophet guy was just another addition to the already bloated cast.
However, there were other signs. The cat on the “Cat on head guy” finally jumped off its owner’s head, presumably heading for higher ground. The mutant ninja turtle brothers changed their residences to Chicago. Iron man even went on vacation.
So when the sea did flood over the walls, tornados rained down from the heavens, and Hades spilt forth from down-under, the people at last panicked and fled. A year after the ordeal, “The Day after Tomorrow” came out. The director thought it was a success. The Men in Black knew better.
As the world spun around in blissful ignorance, our eyes locked. She sat on one side of the carousel, I on the other. Yet that distance may have been infinite as we moved but didn’t move. How could I forget that moment? Her green eyes sparkled like the lush meadows of a summer’s clearing after a storm. Her red hair danced in the wind, subduing even the tempest that raged around us. That was when the cables broke. She flew North and I few South. Hers was the last face I saw and mine hers. The carousel continued spinning.
The stars beam on a twilight passage.
Our eyes transfix as your figure enters.
With red dress in tow and footsteps echo,
You approach, pipes quivering silently below.
“What will play tonight? Daughter of Pan Sybarite!”
“Grace us with your voice, for sounds of old are lost”
“And memories of those times tossed.”
“The Great Pan is dead. Can you help us lament?”
You close her eyes and part your lips,
And let your voice and instrument mix.
An elegy you sang. A requiem some say,
As distant skies rumbled, rain and tears tumbled.
The old Gods bid farewell. The young belle dispelled.
The stage rests empty.
Clark heard a whisper in his right ear. He had been climbing the rock-face of the Yosemite for seven days straight, hardly getting any sleep under the mountain’s shadow. With his head turned, he heard another whisper, this time from his left and a bit more coherent.
“Turn back. This is not your time.”
The mountain then rumbled as several loose rocks tumbled down the cliff side.
“No!” Clark hissed. “Not after that wench left me!”
A jostle of voices now rang between his two ears, almost making him convulse under the strain of his weight. He gasped for breath as sweat evaporated off his forehead. Then he heard it. Her voice rang from up above, beckoning him to come in jest.
Anger seethed from every pore as he tore his pickaxe into the overhanging rock. The mountain however would have none of it. The pickaxe broke off a piece that sent both Clark and the rock-face rolling. When the dust had settled, the tears of rage were no more. They found their peace in the murmurs of the cold-water stream below.
Long ago, a young anemic who fancied autumn’s display had drowned in a lake. A strong wind had accidentally blown her scrapbook of leaves into the water; she followed suit but couldn’t swim. Pitying the tragedy, autumn gave her a second chance at life. A carpet of leaves raised the body out of the cold waters and the wind breathed new life into her. She was given the name Fairchild and tasked with bringing forth the start of fall.
Everywhere she went, a whirlwind of foliage would follow. The leaves would lend her a small fraction of their remaining lives. In turn, she painted them a brilliant orange and showed them the wider world. Up steep mountains they flew and down into lush woodlands that rolled endlessly over hills and valleys. However, the one place she could not visit was the water. When she tried dipping her toes into a lake, a swarm of leaves would cover its surface and support her weight. She could never figure out the reason till later in the season when only a few leaves remained. But as her feet glanced the water, the memories of her previous life resurfaced, suspending her in a nine-month long dream. The mortal reminder would mark the end of her duties, a period of rest, and the start of winter.
A walkway sprouted over the open sea as Julia meandered. She had buried a trinket somewhere in the vast emptiness of forlorn waves, a token of the past that she’d long cast off. However, nothing she discarded was truly lost. The waves still pulsated with a familiar agony that she wished long forgotten but would resurface with the faintest of resemblances. A face amongst crowds may send her retreating. A whisper within hubbubs would stir panic attacks. The image of her wedding ring would then return with the icy sensation of feet turning to stone. Her only recourse was to run despite the walkway sprouting over a sea which tormented her of her failings. A sea of people would give her no peace till she took the plunge again.
The monitor fluttered a dozen times before fading into the darkness of the room. Kramer had cut the power moments after the super-virus entered the network. He even disabled the wireless and pulled the Ethernet cable just in case wake-on-LAN was active. However, it didn’t stop some part of the programming from worming its way in. An hour later when he thought it safe to boot up the computer, a terminal flashed before him with the words
“Don’t look below”.
Kramer’s heart skipped several beats as he felt his right hand shiver…
The mouse had squeaked.