I was at the carnival when the world ended. Under the dim florescent light, as I sit under the stairs to wait out the tremors that causes this house to shake like a paper boat, I thought I should write in this diary to get my mind off the terror that is coursing through me.
I know I'm going to die soon. I inhale the smell of mold and my own unwashed body and grip the pen tighter. Scribbling haphazardly, I jot down quickly knowing my time is near.
I don't know even who I'm writing in this diary for. There is nobody left to read it. Everybody I knew- my parents, siblings and neighbors- are gone. The last time I had any communication with them was months ago, and though I'd like to believe that they might have escaped, all the signs point to their deaths. A little before all the communication went down- even the radios- the survivors made sure we got one last warning: All of north America is gone.
Strange, isn't it? All our lives, our government made us believe that the threat was out there. They told us that it was a nameless masked man, continents away in a bunker with a rifle slung over their shoulder but they also made us believe that we were safe in our houses, working dead end jobs as we forked over billions of our tax dollar to this project that was supposed to be a turning point for humanity.
I don't know much about humanity except that we turn everything we touch toxic so I guess, some would argue we deserved what came for us after the experiment- or who. There were mass deaths that wiped out whole continents and when the communication dropped all over the world, we thought all hope was lost.
The hospitals were the first to collapse under the weight of patients harboring strange animal-like symptoms- we thought it was another variant of rabies- ...
A scratching noise pulls me out of my thoughts. I look around me, fingering the heart shaped locket my mother gave me on my 16th birthday. Am I hearing things? I shake my head, burrowing myself deeper into the small space under the stairs. I cough, clearing my throat and start writing again.
When the hospital collapsed, every other system swiftly followed.
The new genetically engineered drug had been a ray of hope for many. It was supposed to bring an end to all sorts of degenerative diseases that had evaded a cure for centuries. Cancer, they assured, would become a thing of the past. Pills meant to prevent the shortening of chromosomes were introduced and soon, they made most of us immune to aging, enabling us to lead longer and healthier lives, however, something went horribly wrong.
For ten years, the tiny microscopic organism, first discovered under the tons of melting ice, awed Scientists all over the world. Soon enough, after the drug became mainstream, the biologists started raising alarms about some of it's questionable symptoms the clinical patients were experiencing.
The government was quick to shut the 'rumors' down, choosing profit over human lives as they had always done before. The pharmaceutical companies were making too much money with the 'magical drug' that was made with the genetically engineered organism found under the ice, so anybody who tried to warn us vanished. Nobody much cared what happened to those 'scientists' because we thought the doctors were exaggerating the long term effects of the pills.
Naively, we thought the price we were paying for immortality- headaches and a light sensitivity- was worth it. In return, we got to ditch our pesky eye glasses, got flawless skin and enviable strength.
Things were perfect for awhile. People were happy but then mother nature turned on us. The organism started evolving at a pace that the doctors had never seen before. It changed inside of us, altering our DNA- the same drug that was supposed to give us immortality slowly started to kill us from the inside. But before it killed us, it turned some of us.
I call them rotters.
I am Emma and I'm one of the last few humans left on earth- because the rotters feast on only humans. Strange spaceships and sighting make us think, that the rumors the variant being from outer space was correct.
If anybody is reading this diary, I am warning you- please stay away from North America. There aren't any survivors left. The last human stronghold fell weeks ago and everybody was either eaten, turned or starved. There is nothing left to save. Leave and never come back.
Some days I think we don't deserve being saved and nature deserves to heal for a long time without our tyranny. Then, I look up at the cut up bodies on the street- of women and children- and I stop thinking.
Like I said, I was at the carnival with my friends when the rotters came for us.
They are not just mindless beasts. They can gauge whether somebody is a weaker prey. They retain all of their cunning and the increased strength the pills gave us, however, their minds are gone- lost to hunger so profound, they eat the flesh of their own families.
I sit in the Ferris wheel with Carla as the figures of Maria and Mark go smaller and smaller as they walk farther. They started dating 3 months ago.
‘’Only a day before our plan she told me she will be bringing him to the carnival with us.’’ Carla sighed. ‘’I thought it would be just the three of us, you know? I wanted to talk to her about what was happening with me and Jenn.''
''We need to give her more time. I'm sure she'll come around.''
Carla was sitting leaning back over the edge of the open cart of the Ferris wheel. I smiled enjoying the clear sky. She leaned farther over the edge her head tilted towards the sky.
''Be careful, Carla.'' I laughed. ''If you fall, I'm not coming to get you until this ride is over.''
She didn't say anything. One moment she was there, and then a bloody hand wrapped over her neck and wrenched her head off.
My scream splits the air. When my ears stopped ringing as I stared I realized wasn't the only one screaming. Voices joined in from every direction, and the smell of blood gagged me.
A thud followed, and then a face filled my vision. Eyes darker than the blackest night and devoid of any emotion except for a hunger so profound, it left me terrified, stared at me. Lips were peeled back from blackened gums, showcasing razor sharp teeth that snapped around the air. I let go of my paltry grip on sanity and screamed scrabbling back towards the edge of the Ferris wheel until I dangled precariously over the edge and stared down at carnival park.
My white knuckled grip tightened on the edge of the cart as claws twisted in the metal of the cage to my left. Whatever it was, and despite the resemblance to a human, what came for me inside the cart was nothing human.
I screamed again through a raw throat, unable to help myself. I knew there would be nobody coming in to save me- I was too far from the ground and even if anybody could hear me they would be too busy saving their own asses to rescue me. I took a step back when the cart shifted, hurling me towards the demonic, blood-thirsty creature who I had just seen rip Carla's throat.
His clawed hand came nearer. I immediately ducked, but the hand swiped at me with surprising speed, catching me on the neck and hanging on a few hairs.
He let out a savage growl when he realized my evasion and then with terrifying strength, the creature hurled itself up and towards me.
Face to face, and closer now he was even more terrifying. He had stilled, undoubtedly knowing there was nowhere for me to run. A tongue slithered out of his monstrous mouth and licked the hand that had nicked me on the neck. Leisurely, he took a step towards me.
He had no need to hurry now. The smell of blood permeated my nostrils again. I retched, digging my finger into the metal so hard I broke a nail. That pain was drowned by the adrenaline and terror racing through my veins.
His glazed dead eyes locked on my injured neck, and he hissed.
Unfrozen from the strange stupor that held me when he met my gaze, I swung backwards and crashed both of feet into his chest just when he lunged at me. I put all my strength into the maneuver, managing to make the rotter imbalanced. It was only because he was right over the age that the trick worked and he toppled out of the cart, landing with a thud.
Moments passed and I waited for him to come back up and split my throat open to quench the hunger I saw in his eyes. It seemed like an eternity passed when breath held, I slowly stepped toward the edge and looked down.
I expected to see a dead body, broken like a doll, the way a human's would. There was nothing in there but empty space. No sign that the creature had fallen.
I looked around, and then immediately regretted it as the sight of broken human bodies met my eyes. A child I had seen earlier, had his throat slashed, and his limbs entwined with that of his already dead mother.
The reason I knew his mother was dead, without checking her pulse, was that she had no head. It lay a few paces away, leaving behind a bloodied lump.
I cried quietly, crouched in the cart until I couldn’t take the silence anymore. The creature must have gone after an easier target.
I climbed down the Ferris wheel with trembling legs using the outside of the steel and balancing myself until my feet touched the ground. Cautiously, I made my way towards the car while being on the lookout for my friends.
I didn’t see any of them and I was too much of a coward to go back. So I ran, driving first towards my house and found it empty- except for a hastily scribbled note.
‘’Drive North. Find the house at 350 Martin’s way, providence. Wait for us.’’
So, here I am now, but I was too late. There are no survivors here. Somebody is hammering at the door with his fists, screaming hungrily to get in and the lock of the door is about to give out.
They are about to get in and I am out of bullets. I watch the rotter that has the face of my dad, look back at me with dead, crazed eyes through the boarded up window and finally I scream.