It’s been five days since this city officially went dark. I'm currently writing this from atop a downtown skyscraper that I work in. Rescue still hasn't come and I'm afraid whatever it is has spread far beyond the city. That thing flooding the streets, it could be alien, a government experiment gone wrong, or even the wrath of God. Whatever it is, it seems unstoppable.
Two weeks ago missing peoples reports started cropping up, all from a small sketchy neighborhood in the south suburbs. Over the next few days, the dozens of cases turned into hundreds. In every instance, someone would be in their house or a private place, and would just vanish into thin air. All personal belongings were still present at the scenes, and it looked like no one had left their house in a hurry. Everyone was baffled. A state of emergency was quickly declared and a nine o'clock curfew was put in place and strictly enforced. Anyone caught outside was promptly arrested. But people continued to go missing. The police and various news outlets posted digital maps of the disappearances that they would update as more people continued to vanish. It was updated by the damn hour. In the center of it was that small neighborhood. There wasn't anything special about it though. Every city has that one poor neighborhood that most people generally avoid. When the federal government came in, they set up a quarantine zone around the area of disappearances, but people would quickly start vanishing outside the boundaries of the zone. The Feds just couldn't keep up.
I was at work when everything truly went to hell. It came from the sewers. Wherever there was a sewer drain or a hole in the ground, that strange substance oozed out. Everyone was in bewilderment. News channels my coworkers and I put on in the break room could only show short, shaky snippets of a yellowish substance seeping out onto the street. No one could get clear footage of it. It could have been that police were blocking people from getting near it, or for some reason anyone who saw it immediately booked the hell out of there, from something the cameras didn't show. The only thing we were told were vague reports ordering not to go near the substance and most importantly, not to make contact. Now worked near the top of my building so I was 56 floors above whatever was going on so I felt reasonably safe where I was, but over the next hour every one of my colleagues chose to flee, deeming it unsafe to stay in the city.
I could hear the distant sounds of commotion down on the streets, but when I tried looking out of the windows see what was going on, I couldn't get a good angle. The news stopped rolling and all I had to listen to were the sounds of panic. After a few hours the noise grew quiet, only to be replaced by a new citywide chorus of gurgling moans. I don't know what else to describe it as. It sounded like a low menacing hum. I decided I didn't want to travel downstairs to find out. That night I slept in the bathroom on my floor. It was the only place where I could go to block out the chorus from hell.
The next morning it was gone. It felt so eerie to have complete silence in a city. After eating some chips from the vending machine as my breakfast, I found the keys in a janitor closet that open the hatch that leads to the roof. Once I got outside the building, I walked over the edge to get a look down below.
What I saw was nothing like any apocalypse movie I’d ever seen. I didn’t see cars on fire, or stores broken into, or bodies littering the street. All I saw was a flood of that sickly yellow substance. Only now it was streaked a shade of red. It stretched as far as the eye could see, up and down every street. It looked worse than footage of the Japan tsunami from 2011, only this definitely wasn't water. The substance looked to be flooding at least ten feet high, with a only a few cars and lamp posts protruding from the top. I was in total shock. It had been almost a day so far and I began to wonder when the military or national guard would come in and rescue folks like me. It was then that I realized I hadn't seen anyone else so far. I looked over to the office building across the street. You'd think that after the flood got really bad, people would get to higher ground, but I couldn't see a soul walking about the offices. Looking at the rest of the surrounding buildings showed no results. I tried calling family and friends who lived outside the city to see if they were OK, but couldn't get through to anyone. I was completely alone, cut off from the world. I had a pair of binoculars our building had on the roof for sightseeing but there no way of telling how far out this flood stretched as the surrounding skyscrapers blocked my view of the suburbs outside the city limits. I spent the next two days sleeping on the roof, waiting for rescue to arrive.
I finally saw another person three days ago, and he could've been the last person I'll ever see. He was looking out of a broken window about 40 stories above ground level in the building across the street from mine. I could see he was handling a bundles of rope along with a hook. He looked absolutely terrified, like he was in mortal danger. I was about to call out to him when I saw something shimmer by his side. I focused on it with my binoculars. It was machete covered in red. I figured if this man was dangerous, I shouldn’t let him know I was here just yet. As the minutes went by, he kept tying his rope together while looking deeper into the building every few seconds as if he was expecting something to attack him at any moment.
Once he was done he tried throwing the hook to my building. Time after time he failed. The hook wouldn’t latch on to anything and he’d have to pull it all the way back. He looked more and more hopeless with every swing and miss. Eventually to my disbelief, he looked behind himself one last time, let out a roar, and heaved the rope with all the way across the street. It must have caught something because it stuck. The man pulled hard on the rope to make sure it was secure. He then tied his end of the rope to a bar near his window, grabbed a backpack and proceeded to hang from the rope.
I watched as he shimmied along, slowly at first, then picking up the pace a bit. About halfway across he turned back over his shoulder to look back at the window and started panicking. I focused my attention toward it as well and couldn't believe that I was seeing. That goo was gushing out of his window, creating a powerful waterfall back down to the street. Had it flood his building? How could that liquid flood the 40th floor of his building without being barely over one story on ground level? But most concerning that the goo only flushing out of the window that the man came from. Could it be hunting him? Was it alive? I decided I had to act.
"Hey!" I called out to him. "Keep going, I'll down as soon as I can to get to the end of your rope."
Startled, the man turned his attention around toward the top of my building.
"Hurry up man, that thing's coming for me!" he shouted as I ran to the hatch. I practically flew down the stairs to get to where his rope had connected. I even stopped on the wrong floor once only to see I still had four more levels to go. Once I got to his floor I dashed toward the hook to make sure it was still secure. The man was closer by now but still had at least a third of the way to go until he reached my building.
"Keep coming," I said. "The hook's locked tight but I don't know how long the rope will hold."
"I'm trying," he sputtered back. The man was clearly getting worn out and it looked like his arms might give from exhaustion.
"You need to lose the backpack now. It's putting too much weight on you."
"I can't! This bag has all the food I could carry.
"I have more food in my building, now drop the bag before you lose your grip."
The man shifted his arms to see how he could get the backpack off.
"Sir, you're going to have to let go of the rope one arm at a time to get the bag off," I said hurriedly.
"I don't have the strength for that! I have to carry it all way!"
"Lose the bag or you won't ma-" was all I got out before I heard a distinct snap of a rope at the other end, and the man plummeted downward. He let out a scream that echoed throughout the streets. It sounded like he was falling into the fiery pits of Hell. The few seconds he fell felt like an eternity. What happened next is how I came to call this flood the 'Glutton’.
There was no way he would survive that fall. I hoped the man would at least die upon impact, like how one would die falling into water from a great height. That's not at all what happened. Before he even hit the flood, hundreds, if not thousands of skinny, veiny tentacles shot up from the goo and wrapped around him with lightning speed. The veins covered almost all of his body and pulled him under with crushing force. A few seconds later he resurfaced, screaming in absolute anguish. It looked as though there were fewer veins on him, but when I zoomed in closer with my binoculars, I was introduced to the most terrifying thing I’d ever seen in my life. The veins were swarming inside him. They penetrated through his skin, mouth, nose, and eyes. They were writhing under his skin like worms.
Then veins started to swell, and the man’s skin started changing. It looked like he was melting. The skin on his arms, sides, and legs fused with the Glutton, all the while the veins were getting fatter, sucking more blood and God knows what else out of him. His screams became gurgled from choking on his own blood, veins, and the melted skin from what was once his lips. It looked like he was slowly becoming a part of the Glutton. I just stood at the top of my building, frozen in place yet unable to look away. Then I heard something that snapped me out of my trance.
“Help me! Please!” the man managed to cry out, with only remnants of his melted face still sticking out of the Glutton.
“Help! I beg you! Plea-"
Just as he was about to finish, an explosion of Glutton and veins erupted from his mouth and brought the rest of his face down under. The only thing left of him was a mouth, just barely peaking the surface, permanently opened wide in a frozen scream. The veins retreated back into the Glutton and all went quiet.
That was three days ago and I'm losing hope and time. Ever since I saw that man die, the Glutton has slowly been moving up my building. It's sweeping through every floor, hunting me down. It only has about ten floors to go before it reaches the roof. It had to have been that man who gave me away. Maybe it saw me through his eyes? It doesn't matter anymore. It's alive and it knows I'm here. There’s still been no rescue and I don't know if there's anyone out there to even rescue me anymore. The Glutton knows I’m here and it’s coming.
There's an overturned freight truck on the other side of the street with its side sitting above the Glutton. A part of me wants to jump and end it all. If I manage to hit the truck, I'll die a quick death. But it's a extremely long fall, from the top of a damn skyscraper! If I miss and land in the Glutton, I'll end up just like that man, dying a slow, agonizing death. Maybe I won't even die, and I'll spend an eternity alive somehow in that thing, like a horrific shared consciousness or a hive mind. If I wait here and rescue doesn't come, the Glutton will get me regardless. I only have a few hours before it reaches the roof. Just a few, short hours. No one has come in the five days that I've been here, so what are the chances someone will come now? I haven't seen one damn plane nor helicopter. Nothing. At this point I've lost almost all hope of making out of this alive.
Besides, that truck down there is pretty big isn't it?
Written by My Brother Daryl