This post first appeared in Blogger Idol’s Week 9 Challenge: write about the apocalypse … with a twist. I had to weave in one real-life event, include the three things that were nearest to me at the moment (a pillow, a blanket and fingernail clippers), and use two out of five of these words: rainbow, nemesis, throne, poop, or orange juice.
People were screaming and running in every direction. There were loud, constant sirens wailing. Police cars were driving all over campus. I was running, but didn’t know where to go. Everything around me was familiar but felt so foreign. How could I not know which way to go?! How can I get out of here?! If I could just get back to my room maybe I could hide. Maybe I could escape. Lock the door behind me. I might be safe there. I wanted to run but my legs felt so heavy. I just couldn’t move.
A loud alarm woke me. I startled and sat straight up. Sweating and out of breath, I was confused trying to figure out what happened. I realized I was in my bed. It was just a dream. I was awake now–and glad to be. That was more stressful and chaotic than most of my nightmares. Relieved to have the quiet of the morning, my head was beginning to clear when I realized–it was too quiet. Saturday mornings didn’t usually bustle as much as others, that was true. Too many people were hungover to be up much before noon. They slept late, pushing off their pounding headaches and sick stomachs. Many skipped classes for highly coveted sleep.
But something wasn’t right. It was too still, an eerie quiet. There were no chirping birds outside my window. I didn’t hear any noise coming from the shower, not even “Clockwork Chloe.” Every day she woke up at 7:30 and belted out some obnoxious Morning Glory song while she walked down the hallway to the bathroom. She continued singing while she showered, her voice echoing into the hall. Most days I found her annoying, but today there was a palpable void without her. Something definitely wasn’t right.
That dream really shook me up. That must be why everything feels off. I tried to rationalize the uncomfortable feeling in my gut.
I sat up and looked out the window. It was dark and dreary–almost smoky. It was drizzling lightly but there must have been a sliver of sun peeking out of the clouds. I was able to see a rainbow arcing over the library. It gave me a sense of comfort. See, everything’s just fine.
Get out of bed. Take a shower. Get ready for cla–
Another siren blared and startled me. It was the alarm that sounded when someone opened the side door. Dammit!! Why don’t these girls know they can’t use that door unless there’s an emergency?! I swear this only happens when I’m the Resident Assistant on duty!
I was about to go down to the front desk to reset the alarm when I heard a commotion in the hallway. Growling, grumbling sounds. I didn’t recognize the voice. It was too deep to be any of the girls from my floor. The moaning grew louder and then stopped. I heard shuffling then what sounded like hissing. My heart was pounding in my chest. All I could hear was the thump, Thump, Thumping.
I realized the pounding was coming through my door as much as it was throbbing in my head. As the door exploded open, I grabbed the blanket from my bed and covered myself as splinters flew into the room. The groaning began again, more agitated than before. I yanked the blanket off of my head and saw him stumbling toward me. His putrid skin and vacant eyes startled me. His mouth gaped open with drool and blood sliding down his chin. The corner of his mouth pulled up in a twisted, perverted smile, as if he was amused at the idea of me being trapped. He limped toward me.
With panic rising inside me, I looked around for something to grab. I saw a glimmer on my desk. Fingernail clippers. I lunged and snagged them, quickly retreating to keep space between us. I fumbled to open the clippers and slid the file out as he inched toward me. I knew I had to make a move before he pinned me in. I steeled myself, lurched forward and plunged the pointed end of the file into his eye.
He shrieked and a sticky fluid sprayed out at me. It wasn’t blood, I could tell that. It looked like orange juice, but it burned. My skin felt like it was on fire. I scrambled and grabbed the blanket from my bed. I desperately wiped at my face and arms when I felt a cold, piercing grip on my wrist. Afraid to touch him, I grabbed my pillow and swung it as hard as I could at his head. He stumbled and I charged at him again. This time I thrust the pillow into his face. He fell backward through the window, glass shards raining around him into the courtyard below.
I was shaking and dizzy. I exhaled sharply and crumbled onto my bed. Just as tears began to sting my eyes, I was jolted by the shriek of another alarm.
I gasped and fumbled for the snooze button again.