Prompt: it came without warning, and so did the sirens.
By the time the bell tower blares over town, it’s already too late. We’re told to always be prepared for when the Wall falls, when the fog rolls in, when the Past seeps through alleys and streets, down cobblestone chimneys and rusted keyholes. Nothing lasts forever, they said, not even tightly packed stone lathered in mortar that nearly reaches the heavens.
There are screams, crying; the fury of feet over stone, the clatter of shutters closing, the hammering of nails, the muttering or prayers, the crashing of stales being upturned, and fighting and arguing for the last scraps of survival. It’s useless, they’re useless. We can’t hide from the Past, can’t outlive it, can’t withstand it; no matter how far we run or shield ourselves with stone or wood or clay, or pray, it comes no matter. It’s promised, unlike the future.
I feel the cold creep in before I see the gray fog ooze through the keyhole and slither down the chimney, out the hearth. Deafening silence settles over me as my lungs slow, matching my heartbeat. Oily sweat stands out on greasy skin and my eyes grow heavy, oh so heavy. I lay flat onto the hard floor as my limbs grow numb.
A dark wisp appears in the gray and stands over me. It smudges, blends into the like streaking mud on the riverbank, and leans nearer. I smell sand and sea; I taste salt; I remember what they once were. Men, women; people exiled from town and forced into the cold waters of the ocean all for their thoughts, beliefs. I was just a girl then, but even so, I hadn’t raised a hand or voice in protest. God only knows what They found at the bottom.
Hundreds of needles prick my neck and burrow deep, intertwining with veins, following them to my innards. A cold breeze wafts inside me, out my lips, and the emptiness of death erupts within. Soon, I know, I will be nothing.
Read my previous prompt, “Wooden Memories”
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