by Samson Stormcrow Hayes
I stare down from my perch and think about suicide for the thirtieth time today, but I can’t do it. If the five story fall doesn’t kill me, I don’t want to be at the mercy of the hoard.
I snap open another soda and stare at the horizon as a rainbow forms through the distant rain clouds. It’s beautiful. Then I look down at the writhing ground beneath me and I want to vomit. They crawl over themselves, crushing those at the bottom as they try to reach me. Each day the pile gets a little higher.
I try to focus on the rainbow and the setting sun as it bathes the clouds with a heavenly glow, but the hungry, growling cries below have my hair standing on end.
Turning away from the broken office window, I walk back to the studio. I turn on the cameras and sit down behind the news desk. I stare at the red on air light, but today I can’t think of anything to say. Not that it matters. No one’s listening. I don’t bother to switch off the cameras as I walk away.
I return to the weather station where I spend most of my time studying the screens. I’m still linked up to all the satellites. I can view the atmospheric conditions anywhere on Earth, but I’m only concerned with the few hundred miles surrounding me. I click on my state and examine the latest images. Beneath the white wispy atmospheric clouds are inky stains. Each day they get closer.
When I was in high school, my history teacher taught us about the vast buffalo herds that once roamed the plains. Early explorers said that it looked as if a blackened landscape was in motion. My teacher speculated that the herds were so vast that if viewed from space they would have appeared as a black cloud. The black mass moving toward me aren’t buffalo.
At first, I thought they were fires. There were many fires in the beginning. But when the black cloud remained for days on end, I knew it was the hoard. They’re hungry and I fear they can smell me.
It’s hard to believe it’s been only three weeks since the plague began. If I wasn’t interning far from home, I’m sure I would be dead now, like the others. But I had nowhere to go. I always wanted to work in television, but I never imagined I would go from intern to station manager in 48 hours as everyone abandoned their posts.
I tried calling home, but I could never get through. My last meaningful conversation was with a stranger who saw one of my broadcasts. She called the station sobbing. I asked her a hundred frantic questions, but she wouldn’t answer. She simply wept. I stayed on with her for hours hoping she would calm down. She didn’t scream when they got to her. She merely yelped, like a dog hit by a car. Then she was gone.
I know I should end it, but like that woman, I don’t have the strength. Even though the studio is built like a fortress, they’ll eventually break through. They are coming. Soon there will be so many they’ll make an undead ramp to my fifth floor doorstep.
Ring the dinner bell. I’m waiting.
Samson Stormcrow Hayes writes, … I won my first writing contest when I was in fifth grade for a Halloween story. My prize was merely a giant cardboard pumpkin decoration, but I loved it. I’ve been hooked on short stories ever since. I am the author of Afterlife, a critically acclaimed graphic novel that Joe Haldeman called “… good dark fun, a fascinating story well told.”
Recent published stories include: “Price of War,” a science fiction story that won third place in the SFReader.com annual contest (2014), “Omens” was published in the most recent Havok magazine, and I won first place in a writing contest ($75 prize) for “One of Our Deathbots is Missing!” In the past, I’ve been a regular contributor to The Weekly World News (national publication) and I was a contributing writer to the documentary, “Clouds Over Cuba” a 50th anniversary look at the Cuban Missile Crisis commissioned by the Kennedy Presidential Library. I am also a member of the Horror Writer’s Association.
When I’m not writing, I read, play way too many games on my Xbox and I teach fitness classes to counterbalance my otherwise sedentary lifestyle.