Friday, March 28, 2014

The Silent Room, Part 18

WNP: The streets of New Jersey which once teemed with people were now abandoned canyons taken over by wild horses and birds of prey.


A penetrating, high pitched scream of sound ripped through the blackness that enveloped him and returned him to consciousness, shivering down the length of his spine and the bones of his forearms with an icy chill. For several terrifying seconds there was nothing but fear and repeating screams and darkness.  

When sight came back to him, it came in a shifting series of sliding frames that gradually picked up speed. A flash of blinding gray white sky. A shaft of black. A tall fractured building. A shaft of black. A chipped strip of road with fading yellow paint lines. A shaft of black. The swooping head of a pterodactyl. A shaft of black. The long slow curve of wing tilting back up as the pterodactyl wheeled around. A shaft of black.

The relief at something besides darkness filled him, even as the images themselves confused him. Memories of the past few "realities" clawed to the surface of his mind, and he clung on to the knowledge that someway, somehow this was all virtual and not reality. And then the lines of black and light bled together at the edges until he stood, panting and dripping with a fine sheen of sweat, on a street corner in a city. The images from before coalesced into a single seamless panorama of broken abandonment against a steely sky.  His eyes followed the flight of the pterodactyl for a moment, before turning to study the buildings around him. There was a tall, shattered office buildings in front of him, standing next pile of rubble. The first floor of the building behind him  appeared to house the hollowed out remnants of several small shops, their fronts still barred and locked for the day.  Even excepting the pterodactyl, he was pretty sure this was not a place he had ever been before.

Underneath his feet the ground began to rumble and vibrate.  A moment later a herd of wild horses whipped around the corner of a nearby alley, nearly knocking him off his feet in their headlong flight of frenzied fear and motion and dust.  He backed up against the barred locked cage front of the building behind him, trying to get as far out of the way as possible. 

The rush of the stampede had finally begun to lessen when a fierce growl erupted to his right.  Turning he was just in time to watch a wolf leap onto a small colt who had drifted to far out from the rushing, moving mass. The gray beast brought it to the ground. The sounds were deafening in their intensity.  

Grenfelder edged a step back in the other direction. Eyes wide as he watched.  He stopped trying to make sense of this new world.  It didn't matter if he had been here before or if it was "only" a virtual world. Now he just wanted out.  Pulling his eyes away, he took a moment to quickly scan the area around him. The next building over had a fire escape bolted to its side, the bottom ladder hanging just low enough for him to reach if he jumped for it.  Height could be good.  At a run he started for it. He had a geranium to find.  And FAST.

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