The Curator Posted April 23, 2017 Share Posted April 23, 2017 (edited) They told her that nearly five hundred bodies were found under the rubble. It obstructed most of the doors, trapping them inside. Wave after wave of wreckage continued to fall, slowly burying them and any other possible exits. There were no survivors. Those who lived through the initial disaster were trapped beneath the remains. Dying of starvation and injury long before emergency workers had begun their work in that section of the city. While the hospitals were filled to the brim with the wounded living, and so they directed her to a warehouse near the docks that was converted into a temporary morgue. The stench of the sea hung in the air as she arrived, joining the lineup outside until she was eventually let in. The crates and goods stacked up against the walls, the floor space inside lined with the dead. Row upon row encroaching the floor like a rug, segmented into groups based on where they were found. Solid ice blocks placed around the building like blank monuments. Shrouding the air in a deep frost, the stench of stale decay slowly growing as time passed. She walked the room among hundreds of others as they surveyed the dead. Searching for their friends, their family, their lovers. The ripple of sobbing that echoed throughout the building like the waves of the ocean. The bags each body rested in covered them completely, save for their heads which were left exposed for identification. Already wiped clean of the blood and dust as to make them look, somewhat, less grim. She walked down the line of those found in the theatre, stopping at each body as she would close her eyes. Gathering the courage to turn and look down on each new face, pale and still. With each passing gaze, each unfamiliar face, relief washed over her. Before it was immediately consumed by a dark, crippling fear as she stepped past and up to the next body. And so it was hours, before she stepped forward to find there were no bodies left. They were not here. And for a moment she was overcome with a frail hope that perhaps they had survived. But where would they be, and why hadn't they contacted her. She quickly hurried from the warehouse. Fleeing from the sound of mourning, and that haunting fetor; the stench of loss. Most of the midtown had already been shutdown and blocked off during the recovery efforts. The emergency workers sifting their way through the metropolitan ruins, looking for survivors and corpses alike. Surveying the wreck for broken pipes, stray wires, future disasters. The pillagers having dispersed by now to avoid being caught, leaving the desolate streets quiet and empty. She skulked down the darkened walkway. Naught to be heard but the faded shouting of the emergency workers each time they found new bodies. The light of their lanterns quivering in the distant gloom of the night. Eventually she stopped as she came upon the remains of the apartment building. Ascending the steps up to the front door as she gripped and turned the handle. The threshold creaking as the door did not budge. She cringed, pulling back sharply on the handle as the hinges creaked; the door slowly opening before the threshold shifted. The entire building groaned with strain as she stepped back, staring up at it fearfully. After a few moments, silence returned. Moving closer to the threshold once more, she hesitantly glanced through the crack in the door. Nothing beyond but utter darkness. Opening the glass window of her lantern she struck a match, lighting the candle inside as she closed the window and blew the match out. Lifting it as she squeezed through the opening in the doorway, plunging into the dust clotted darkness. She coughed, holding the lantern high in the pitch black as she inched her way down the main hall. The white walls broken and cracked, the checked floor littered with debris and fallen wall lamps. It felt like a tomb, its very structure rasping in pain as the repressed cries would echo down the corridor. Most of the doorways along the hall were broken, crushed. The few that hung open gaped, what lay within being beyond the scope of her lantern as they passed by. A foul stench lingering from inside those open thresholds. Something rotting. As she reached the back of the hall, she stood before the lonely door at its end. Recognizing the address from the files she had read. As she opened the door, she half expected to find them both sitting together around a failing candle. But the derelict parlour was empty. She stepped to the centre of the room, holding her light high as she looked around. The rays of her lantern passed over a crumbling fireplace, before reflecting off a large mirror. Then to a framed picture, partially blocked by a longcase clock. She turned back to the picture as she saw her sister, standing beside him in the scene. She stared, captured by the image, reaching out before it sharply fell from its place. The frame cracking against the ruined desk beneath it, the glass shattering as it spilled out over the floor. She sighed, lowering her head as she rubbed her eyes with her free hand. Standing alone in the darkness. She inhaled sharply at the muffled sound of nearby movement, turning her lantern to the fireplace. Stepping close to the wall, the sound of footsteps lightly echoing on the other side. The echo leaking out near her shoes. Kneeling down, she tilted her head and peered into the fireplace. In the occlusion, she could make out an opening in the wall at the back. But as she moved her lantern closer to the opening, something suddenly backed away. “Hey! Who the Hell're you!?” She shouted, waiting several moments as she was met with no response; silence falling over the room. She grunted, leaning into the fireplace as she crawled through the dust and bits of stone. Dragging her lantern along with her as she passed through the opening in the wall. At last she reached the other side, standing up in the blackness as she raised her lantern. The light passing over scratches in the walls, ENOUGH! voices Charlie Charlie CHARLIE It's them She gazed at the walls, disturbed and bewildered; until she realized nobody else was in the room. Tearing her eyes away from the walls, she scanned the darkness around her. “Are you looking for somebody?” She gasped, turning as a voice spoke behind her. “What the Hell're you doin' here!?” “We are looking for somebody, much like you.” The voice whispered from the blackness of the far corner. She glared towards it, “How would you know anything about me?” She waited as there was no reply. She scoffed. “And who even are you!?” She held her lantern out as she advanced towards the corner, the light washing over it to reveal it was empty. She shuddered, backing up as her hand lost grip on her light. Dropping it as she turned away and frantically crawled back out through the opening in the wall. Blindly running to the door and out through the crumbling hall. It felt as if an eternity passed while she streaked through the darkness, the heavy sound of her shoes echoing in every direction. As if the walls were miles away now, the feeling of hands brushing past her as she ran. She exclaimed as she hit the front door. Clawing at it, she squeezed back through the gap and descended onto the quiet sidewalk. Gasping, she stopped briefly to catch her breath. Shaking her head before she fled from the scene, not daring to look back. The police told her that when they arrived, the fire brigade was already there. Struggling to keep the flames at bay. When the inferno had finally been quelled, there was nothing left of the apartment building to investigate but ash and scorched stone. She shrunk under their suspicious gaze and skeptical questions, before they finally allowed her to leave. The emptiness inside her had already been filled with misery. But as she returned to her hotel room she could feel it shifting within her. Morphing into dread, as she stewed on what she could have possibly gotten herself into. What her sister had gotten into. She unlocked her room door, opening it as she stepped into the darkness. Feeling for the light switch along the nearby wall as she flicked it on. Weak light cast over the room as she deeply sighed, closing the door behind her. It was then that she noticed scratches on the floor, stopping as she stared down at them. Her heart plummeting, as her eyes followed the scratches across the floor, leading them to the far wall. Her mouth falling open as she looked on the visage carved into boards. Fin Illustration by Minespatch Story by It Should Be Obvious Edited April 23, 2017 by The Curator 3 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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