Was Better Before
David walks happily through his neighborhood. It is a sunny day and there is a lot of people around: couples, families, businessmen and street food trucks. He kicks a small stone around and then leaves it alone.
While David walks new buildings pop up over the horizon. He is growing up, he’s a teenager now. Other teenagers walk with him. Not too happy, but they manage to play with each other. The buildings start to decay a bit while new ones make their way up to the skyline.
He is a young adult now. The sky changes color. The city has changed. It has become a cruel and ruthless creature and David sees it, but does not believe it. He silently walks through the streets while he remembers how he used to play cheerfully on them. Not anymore. He does not trust them anymore.
He continues walking and there are less and less people on the streets as he goes. Tired and suspicious faces everywhere, who try to reach their destination swiftly. Homeless people lying on the sidewalks and garbage piling up on every corner. And glimpses of shadows stalking.
“Should I run? Should I be outside alone? Is someone else seeing this?!”
He’s finally home and opens the door with a slight relief. Goes in and kisses his wife and daughter. His son fell asleep a while ago so he just gives him a quick kiss on the forehead and smiles bursting with love while watching him sleep.
After a nice dinner with his family, David clears the table, washes the dishes together with his wife and gets ready to go out with some old friends. It is Friday after all. His wife is not very happy about it. Her face changes drastically and has a tired and worried look in her eyes.
“Please, stay. It is dangerous now.”
“I’ll be back in a while. I can handle this shit. Love, I’ve done this before. I just want to hang out a bit.”
David picks up his keys, opens the door and says goodbye. Willing to forget that the streets are not cheerful anymore…
Wrong Place, Wrong Time
It is a clear night sky full of stars. People are going into their homes, locking the doors behind them and making sure the windows are also closed. David walks through the street, it is dark and decadent. The flickering street lights reveal parts the sidewalk sometimes. The stalking shadows are more evident now. They are watching David from a distance. Every Time a bit of light strikes the street, they retreat. Only to get closer to David when it is dark again.
As he walks, a cloak of darkness subtly hides the stars and help the shadows to get closer to David, he crosses in a corner, into an alley. It is partially lit. A shadow approaches the light and his face is drawn: inhuman, cold, with big eyes, cold smile. He approaches David, sniffing him like a predator to its prey. David empties his pockets and offers everything to the creature. It sees the loot with little interest. He grabs them and continues to threaten him. The fear is reflected in David’s face, a bony hand caresses his chin, a dark cloak covers the stars, The City’s face looms over the buildings. It is a face of death and it is ruthless. David looks up in terror. It’s hands control the shadows like puppets. The shadow that harasses David has sharp fingers like blades that run down his face.
“You’re going nowhere. I’ve got the knife, so stay put and don’t move. Guess you like your life”
It removes its hand from David’s face and gently pulls his shirt. David resists uselessly.
“Just come. I SAID, just come. I’ll take you!”
He runs his blades through David’s abdomen and stabs his stomach while staring into his eyes. He falls on his knees with his eyes lost. The rest of the creatures come out of the shadows as if to feed on their prey.
David, still on his knees, looks down to his belly. He is bleeding a lot. The attacker is looking at him with a silly smile on its face. A really cold smile. A circle of shadowy creatures surround both of them, like waiting for something.
David touches his wound with both hands, puts them in front of his eyes. He can’t believe it. Why? His eyes start to fill with tears and anger.
“No!! What have you done to me? Is this my blood?”
The creature nods amused and licks its fingers.
“What harm did I to you? Why did you do this to me?”
The creature comes closer, the smile is gone, and looks at David straight into his eyes. David starts crying anxiously.
“I gave you all I have. What else do you want? Got nothing left on me!”
The creature stands tall again. For the first time it shows anger in its face. It’s mouth gets twisted and saliva starts drooling out while it falsely laughs. It gets a bit darker and The City looks at David from above. Cold, but curious. The creature touches David’s face.
“You brag all day with all your shiny stuff and you think that I want only THAT you have in your pockets?”
“I know something you won’t give so easily. How about that little rich-boy life of yours.”
“NO PLEASE… don’t…”
David gets stabbed many times. The circle of shadows come closer and start beating him. He struggles for a while. But now everything is calm. He stares into the stars again. And, strangely, a light smile is drawn in his face. Maybe it is true that your life passes through your eyes before you die.
David lies on the floor. Blood is escaping his body slowly and steadily. One hand rests on his chest and the other one on the floor. He breathes calmly and with a random rhythm. The murderer and its shadows are gone. Even The City lost interest in David. He was alone, cold, dying… but in peace.
Images of his family and friends went through his mind. His wedding day, what a party!
How his wife kissed him and how she was the perfect fit when they cuddled. How making love with her was the most sublime and intense feeling he ever had.
Coughs, breathes erratically
Those two small babies. He was so afraid of carrying them. They looked so fragile, so helpless. He thought he could break them. How warm they felt when they slept over his chest. He never moved till they woke up. Did not want to disturb their sleep.
Smiles. A tear starts running on his cheek.
Now they were bigger. Still fragile though. The independent and rebellious daughter. Strong, decided and with a huge sense of humor. The sweet musical son, always singing and laughing. Always learning from his sister. They will be alright. They are excellent kids…
“How I wish to see them run at me one last time. While they call me ‘Dad’. One more hug… I’m sorry. I am so sorry. Wasn’t strong enough. And now I’ll leave you on your own…”
David’s eyes get bigger. Hardly breathes now. It is so cold. He feels the end is coming. It is a strange feeling. He wonders what’s next.
Vanishing / Ignorance
It’s not dark yet. But there’s no light either. Not a light he recognizes. The body is buzzing, like if something is trying to get squeezed out of his body. It starts in the legs and goes up to his head. He can’t move but is completely conscious of his body. The buzz is also a sound like a TV with no signal. A sound that forms words in his head. He can listen to his name every now and then. Strange bright yellow blobs pop up in his mind, they move, they disappear and reappear. Different songs run through his head. Really loud. Songs he knew of course. He couldn’t stop them from playing.
He feels he sees his face, but doesn’t. Feels he knows who he is… but doesn’t understand it. The last thread of consciousness is starting to vanish.
“Am I going somewhere from here? Will someone pick me up? Guess I’ll wait…”
He went nowhere. There was no light, no darkness. There wasn’t even a nothing. He just was no more.
And loved ones were waiting for him. Probably worried sick by now. It was very late.