By the time Mason got outside to see what had set off his parent's car alarm he became full aware that it wasn't just his car going off but every car that had an alarm in the street was blaring. He dashed out onto the road to look up and down the street and as he did became aware of another noise. A screaming. An almost constant scream that seemed to echo all around him. Maybe his ears had just gotten so used to hearing nothing but the wind blow for three months that he wasn't used to all this. He shook his head a bit to wake up and try to focus. As he zeroed in on the scream it sounded less like the frightened shrieks he thought it was. This scream was just someone trying to get someone's attention, or at least that's how it sounded. He continued out onto the road and glanced both directions and sure enough, about a half mile up the road, there was the frantic figure of a man running the other way.
Mason's jaw dropped slightly as he watched the man, yelling at the top of his voice and smashing down on every car he passed with a large chunk of wood.
It didn't sound like he was saying any words, just making as much noise as possible.
Mason tried to reciprocate and yelled out "HEY!" as loud as he could but it was no use.
The poor bastard was making so much noise trying to attract attention to himself that he wasn't able to hear anything other than his own screaming and the wave of car alarms that followed him.
Still Mason tried to call out until his voice was hoarse and the lonely screamer was long gone.
Mason let out a tear, then angrily pounded his fist against the now-silent car.
Why couldn't the stupid fuck just shut up long enough to hear him?
Why didn't he realize he didn't need to make that much noise to be noticed in this abysmally silent and baron shell of an Earth?
"Fuck it all!"
He pounded on the car some more.
He didn't even know why he was so angry.
Mason didn't even like people that much, at least not anyone that he wasn't close to but three months alone, totally alone, makes you want nothing more than to have just someone. Anyone. Someone to talk to for God's sakes.
It all seemed so stupid, really, but the simple act of conversation seemed to keep people sane. Mason had realized this somewhat accidentally as he started to talk out loud everywhere he went.
It started out just saying what he was thinking because, who cares, right? No-one's around. No-one's going to care if your jabbering away to yourself. So he found himself idly saying what he was doing.
"Going to the store"
"Turning on the T.V." (The T.V. was playing nothing but static but Mason still enjoyed 'tuning in' daily)
"Stealing a gun from the store to blow windows out of people's bathrooms."
But before too long he was having conversations, some pleasant, some heated, some boring, all with himself.
"I wish I'd lose my mind like that fucking Tom Hanks movie and just befriend a Basketball.", he found himself wishing one day.
He hadn't even seen the movie but the idea of being able to befriend anything seemed like it would be a worthwhile effort at this point.
But now, he sighed. Slumped down next to his car clutching his bleeding fist he stared off into the distance that the stranger had vanished.
"Stupid bastard.", he grumbled
But as he did he realized that if the stranger like him had been on his own three months then maybe this screaming charge he was doing started out as his way to try and get someone's attention but had just become his daily routine. Maybe this is just what he did now.
Mason stood on his porch and stared into the dark.
Stranger runs through the streets pounding on cars and screaming for all eternity.
Just the routine he had chosen now that he assumed he was utterly alone.
"Poor bastard's probably been running every day for three months. Probably made it all the way from fucking Toronto."
On this thought, Mason doubted the stranger would run back his way. He was pretty sure this guy was just running for the rest of his days.
"Still... I might as well put something out, just in case."
Mason got to work, the first task he'd found the energy to set himself to in at least a month besides eating and drinking himself into a stupor.
Within an hour or so he had set up his dining room table on the road, fully set with plates and cutlery and fancily folded napkins in the shape of little boats that he used to do at his waiting job and a bottle of wine he had stolen from the local grocery store plopped in the middle.
"Why am I doing this? What's all this for?"
"It looks inviting."
"It looks fucking weird..."
"Doesn't matter. Weird. Fucked. Strange. If anyone is around they're going to take interest."
"I think the paint was enough..."
Sprawled out in 10 feet high letters in paint he found in the neighbor's shed Mason had painted the, not as inviting, but simple words.
"I HEARD YOU."
"They're going to think you're a fucking lunatic."
"I am a fucking lunatic and have every right to be"
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Mason shivered as he stood on his front porch. Staring out into the darkness of night.
Not particularly looking for anything at this point. It had been three full months since Mason had seen or heard any other living thing.
Without warning or explanation the world had just left Mason here on this Earth alone.
One normal evening he had gone to sleep and everything was there and the next morning everyone was gone without a trace.
Yet he continued to stare into the dark without emotion, without hope. He hadn't even cried about it in about two weeks. He used to be sure that the tears would come flooding in as he remebered everything that was and slowly crumbled knowing that he had know way of knowing why he was alone let alone whether anyone would ever come back.
This faithful night, however, Mason heard a noise.
He blinked repeatedly, shaking himself out of a waking dream and turned to look over at the neighbours house where the shuffle had come from.
There was nothing for what seemed like the longest time and then another shuffle.
Or maybe a scuff?
It was definitely the scuff of a boot. Mason instinctively wanted to scream out but some other primal sway inside him told him that somehow something was wrong, that this was not a good idea.
And yet another scuff, this one much quicker to come than the last.
And a crash of a potted plant hitting the ground and smashing. Mason could see the smashed pot but not the thing that knocked it down. He eased forward on one foot cautiously to try and get a better look when around the corner came the figure of a man in what looked like a torn up suit.
Mason let out a meek, "Hey?" into the night and in the silence the man heard him and turned.
It was Leonard, Mason's neighbour but there was something strange about him, he looked pale and his eyes were deep and dark so much that they even seemed to be shaded in the black of night.
Mason's primal urges again warned him of the danger and this time he obeyed but as he turned to run the opposite direction there was another shuffle of feet only this time the figure making the noise was much closer.
It was a woman Mason didn't recognise but she was standing on the opposite end of Mason's front porch and was lightly illuminated by the candle Mason had beside him on the desk.
Most of her lower jaw was visible and her skin was covered with several deep scratches and what looked like bite marks. She was lumbering towards Mason with clear malicious intent. Mason acted quickly and ran back inside the house. He grabbed whatever furtiture he could to barricade the doors and armed himself with a baseball bat as he ran back to the door he came in he realized it sounded like there were more than just the two ghastly figures outside.
In what seemed like seconds Mason could see figures outside just about every window he glanced out, and many more scratching at the door and pawing against every wall in the house.
In a frightened panic he ran upstairs and threw down his sister's bed, followed by tables, chairs and mattresses to make as much of a barricade as he could in case the door didn't hold these monsters.
He sat down shaking with fear and adernalyn, trying to breath but not being able to get his mind away from the sudden mob of groaning, clawing undead all around him when suddenly there was a horendous beeping sound, over and over, like a siren or... a car horn... or...
an alarm clock.
Mason nearly fell out of bed as he fumbled for his alarm clock which had clearly interupted a very intense dream.
An intense dream about the end of the world.
An intense dream about being surrounded by the undead.
A dream, at least, where he wasn't alone.
All at once Mason felt both relief from being free of a nightmare but sorrow that this empty Earth was more terrible than it.
Plagues of zombies would at least be something to run from. Something to see and hear.
All he could hear now was that alarm.
Why had he set his alarm, anyway? He must have done it in his sleep. He continued to slam around his bedside table to try and smack down onto the snooze button at least but to no avail.
Then he hit the snooze, and again, and again until he pounded down so hard the clock fell off the table and smashed and yet the beeping continued.
And it wasn't his alarm
He sat up sharply and rubbed his eyes and got up to the window.
It was a car alarm, and it had been set off somehow.
This was no dream.
And Mason knew now, that he wasn't alone.