Ugh. Morning? Morning. Morning? Why does everything look so dull? Must be cloudy.
Am I outside? The sun’s cleared the horizon. I can see it though the tree’s branches. It’s not cloudy. Am I lying on my back? And what the hell am I doing outside?
I wasn’t feeling well. Did I pass out before I made it home? What happened? I was drinking with Robbie and Margo; knew I’d had too much. Left the bar, walked down Bond Street, started crossing the street, bright lights, screeching tires…oh, no! Did I get hit by a car? Someone hit me and I bounced into the park, then they left me to die! Asshole!
Anything broken? I don’t feel anything. That’s weird. I don’t feel anything; nothing. Like, nothing. I’m trying to bite the inside of my lip and I can’t even tell if I am. Wait; when did I stand up? It’s like I can’t tell what my body is doing.
There’s someone walking, in my peripheral. Can’t turn my head. Turn your head, dammit. Call for help. I don’t think I’m saying anything! Wait. Yes, I am. But I’m not saying ‘help.’ What am I even saying? ‘Gwarwhar’? I need to go to the hospital! Does this person even see me? Hey, you, help! Please, I need help!
Head’s turning! Looking towards them, look up! Looking up…they’re looking at me. What? They’re looking at me funny. God, no, I must be horribly disfigured! They’re walking away, no, running. Running! No, don’t run away! Help! I need help!
I’m running after them! Good, maybe I can convince them to take me to the hospital. Also good that my legs aren’t broken. Can’t feel them but they’re working. Arms are working, too, reaching out for the person. I just want them to look at me, see how badly I need help.
Why am I tackling them? Are they screaming? They’re screaming but it sounds far away, like on an old-timely telephone line. They’re throwing fists now. I don’t feel it. Stop punching me, I’m trying to tell you I need help! Help me!
I lunge my head forward. Clack, clack! Am I trying to bite them? What the fuck? What the hell am I doing trying to bite them? Listen, I don’t want to bite you! Stop punching me! Help me! Me! Not you. You don’t need help from me, do you? You’ve got it all wrong.
I avoid a punch. Bite down on their arm. Good, maybe you’ll stop punching me then. But I’m biting them again, more deeply this time. I can taste it…I can taste it! Warm, salty, metallic – blood! What the hell?! My right eye goes cloudy with a red mist. Another bite! Stop! What the fuck am I doing?! I can’t stop! I can’t control this!
They’re still screaming, screaming, until I latch onto the side of their neck. Pressure, something hard. Bone. Oh my god I’m killing them. My eyes fly away from them, but really it’s my mouth tearing a piece of flesh off. Their eyes are dimming. I can see my upper lip move…I’m chewing on them! Oh god, what in the name of? Someone stop me! Why can’t I stop?!
Another bite. Another. I don’t want to be doing this! I’ve got no control, though. I’m eating this person! Why am I eating them? I want to cry but I can’t even do that.
My eyes shoot up. Some lady staring at me. That same look, that same look…run, lady! I’m getting up. I can’t stop! Run, lady. RUN! She’s older. She’s not going to be fast enough. I run her down like, like a car. I bowl her over. I’m gnashing, gnashing! She doesn’t scream as much. She must be in shock. Am I in shock? This can’t be real.
I’m dreaming. I’m screaming holy hell and thrashing about in here. I have to fight the sleep paralysis and wake up. This is the worst dream of all time. Fucking wake up!
My head is thrown back and over my shoulder. Is that the guy I took down a minute ago? Looks like I chewed his arm down to the bone. There’s a huge chunk of his neck missing. His eyes are filled with rage. He’s baring his teeth. He’s coming right at me. Fair’s fair, I guess.
He runs at me and lays into my shoulder, spinning me around. I stop spinning. He’s not after me. He takes down some guy on his phone that was behind me. Looks like a jogger. He’s tearing the shit out of that jogger with his teeth. There’s blood everywhere.
I turn around and the older woman is getting up. She’s got that same look in her eye, that rage. And she’s, she’s smelling the air. I tilt my head back like I’m smelling the air, too. We sense something but I can’t tell what.
Oh, it’s a police officer. He’s pointing his firearm at us. He doesn’t look like he knows what to do. I see a flash and my eyes rock like something went through my body. I didn’t feel anything, though. I start towards the officer. So does the older woman. The officer is on the run. The older woman is faster now, faster than before. He’s down. She’s on top of him. He’s fighting. I’m on top of him. Blood. Flesh. Death.
This is happening so fast. I need to concentrate on waking up! Wake up! I’m stuck. I’mstuckohgodwhyisthishappeingtome? Pleasewakethehellup! Ambulances? I hear sirens, faint, faraway. No, I see them, they’re close. Police. More officers. Lots of screaming. People are running everywhere now.
Me, the older woman, and the cop we just took down; we’re running. We’re running towards the police that just arrived. My head popped back and now my left eye is blacked out. I’m still closing in on them. We’re closing in on them. We’re taking bullets. It does nothing. We’re on them. We’re on them.
More blood. More flesh. Sinew. Bone. Organs. I can’t feel what my body is doing, can’t see well, can’t hear well, but I can taste. I don’t like the taste. I never wanted to know what this tastes like. But there’s no stopping. There’s no waking up. Are the others…are they trapped inside, too?
We’re off and running again, on the hunt. Me, the older woman, the joggers, the police; we can’t stop. Nothing can stop this. We want to stop, I know we do. We can’t. We fucking can’t.
Please, please, I just want to wake up. But I can’t wake up. This is real. This is happening. No one saw this was going to happen. Not this time.
This? This is a front row seat to the end of the fucking world. This time…this time we get to see what we’ve done.
John J. Vinacci (c) All Rights Reserved August 2021