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The End Descendants: Withering Marshes

Red Dust, Part One

By K.H. ObergfollPublished about a year ago Updated about a year ago 3 min read
The End Descendants: Withering Marshes
Photo by BRUNO EMMANUELLE on Unsplash

The outside world was unknown to her, but she could see a glimpse of it through the window in his room.

Adrienne sat quiet, unsure of what to think as she listened carefully to the dull rain humming against the glass, lead-lined panes. Knowing for the first time in her entire life she would soon be alone. Hours, even days before you couldn’t have guessed this would be way it all would end.

The only sign of normalcy were his labored breaths. Her father’s life was being pumped within its emptied shell by mere machines; one for breathing and one for circulating blood. The rest were simply for show—the constant morphine drip, the blended dietary concoctions. All of their comforts were futile; everything would be gone by morning. Everything they knew would be left behind.


“Perilium, Perilium, Perilium, Perilium…” Adrienne whispered—as though repeating the words would spark something of recognition inside her mind. Instead, all it did was incite anger.

Stop saying that. Stop it now!” Adrienne’s brother John yelped.

“Why should I? It was important enough for father to say on his deathbed…”

“Don’t…” John continued dejectedly. “It’s not worth it…we will never know…”

Adrienne didn’t have to say it; she could sense her brother’s pain, his inward turmoil, his fleeting retreat—likened to a homesick puppy. His eyes filled with all their collective tears.

“We are the outlier, not them—if ‘them’ truly even exists,” John began, cutting into Adrienne’s thoughts. He stood somewhere behind her— his normally stoic and determined voice wavered and cracked, showing a glimpse of the shared panic coursing beneath his tempered façade. He was just as scared as she was and it didn’t help the one person who knew how to help them lie dying before their very eyes.

“Whatever do you mean, who’s ‘them’,” Adrienne whispered—not daring to look back over their father’s draining body. They had no way of knowing if anyone was still alive outside the gates. They didn’t know what lie beyond the Brackish Bildgewaters they would have to walk through in order to pass to the other side.

“We are different than the people who did this to our father,” John continued, his bravado waning—“and when you repeat that dreaded, drastic word it only defeats the purpose of why we are fighting…why our father had to die…”

This entire time John had barely stepped foot inside their fathers hospital room; instead choosing to hold a hopeful vigil from the doorway, as though some invisible line stopped him from entering, kept him from getting closer—or being hurt.

“Well then, what are we?” Adrienne queried. “What should I call them if not what they are? Unlike you I’m not afraid to call them by name…”

Adrienne could feel John burrowing a hole through the back of her head, and instead of anger his words came out sounding more and more like the words of their father.

“Addy—I’m not afraid but we can’t stay here forever, we have to leave; we have to fight…” John began; a pleading tone taking over. “We were born Evermore’s and Evermore’s fight to the end. Father’s in good hands, the best he can get; we have to leave while we can. It’s what he would want…”

Adrienne knew John was right. They were the last remaining of their family. To survive meant they would have to step outside these sacred, familiar doors. They would need to find others like them.


Adrienne and John Evermore stepped over the red-clay line. It was another trivial bit of nonsense meant to keep evil-spirits out, and what good that had done. Adrienne kicked the mounding line sending bits of clay scattering across the sun-baked cement like a trampled ant bed.

A withered sign above read—“Leaveside Manor”, a not-so-gentle reminder of what would come. Never mind what they were leaving. From the hospital window everything beyond the gate appeared as normal as could be. It was life as she remembered before everything changed; after-all it hadn’t been too long ago when the skies seemed less sepia-stained and sun risings and fallings were dusty rose gold, sherbet clouds floating high above. Nothing like the world she would soon find herself in, along with her brother.

By Eric Muhr on Unsplash


About the Creator

K.H. Obergfoll

Writing my escape, my future…if you like what you read—leave a comment, an encouraging tip, or a heart—I’m always looking to improve, let me know if there is anything I can do better.

& above all—thank you for your time

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