Just another day in another big city with grey skies that are now a shade darker than normal. Things have been strange since last week when the population caught and ate up the latest trend - a style of music that, if you had any kind of taste annoyed the ears and brain - it literally hurt to listen to when after a few seconds, you would get an aneurysm, migraines and some even reported early stages of brain tumors. However, it made those who DID like it do certain things; as I began to notice. Just last night, I got to know that my friend, who had a fixation on being sober became an alcoholic - only after hearing this music.
Suicides started showing up on local news in growing frequency, with all of them carried out by teenagers after the local radio had a marathon of said music. As it gained more listeners, our city became darker and cloudier to the point of needing streetlights at 10 a.m; we don't even live in a cold country and it is not even winter.
Just another day, another shift over and punching in my time card, I made my way off the premises. I work security in a mall; its the only place to accept me since others suddenly took interest in things out of their scope; all my interviews failed when the HR (usually a fresh graduate) would ask me about my hearing frequency, musical preference and if I tried suicide, drugs, and alcohol at any point.
Also, my opinion on occultism and '80s pop culture; this one was from an IT firm that needed software implementation consultants. (I applied everywhere I could) Hence, I am stuck using military Krav Maga on drunk hobos soliciting high-maintenance female shoppers and giving shoplifting high school seniors nightmares with my command voice and reflexes - a true place for a special forces recon with 2 tours in the Middle East. Not!
So here I am, on a cold night street walking home, however, something is off outside; like I owed everyone money and haven't paid back in years - everyone was giving me angry looks. I had that happen before when I was job hunting and going to and from interviews where everyone's anger towards me increased with every completed one. Every interview I did explaining myself and my experience; I was met with angry faces. Every time, I had to answer that stupid '80s pop culture question from every HR I spoke to; as if all HR got replaced with a vapid YouTube personality from yesteryear. All I said was I chose to move forward mentally while stating my absence of any kind of nostalgia.
Trying to piece it all together as I came closer to my street, a tall man bumped into me; I think he did it on purpose. He looked at me with a stalkerish smile, as if he was a paparazzi who finally got his 1000$ opportunity at a celebrity photo and out of nowhere, pulled a knife and went for my throat. Putting him down was easy even though I had to break his hand to calm him down; the pain was stronger than whatever his brain was telling him.
Suddenly, another person appeared but this time, with actual words; "Come with me, I'll explain!" he quietly called to me in a thick German accent. I co-operated because, at this point, I want to know what is going on. The mysterious man led me to an isolated place with trash containers and a chainlink fence protecting a power pylon. Just as I wanted to start, the German guy started explaining, "I see this too, ever since I arrived here a week ago - it's in the music, man!"
I looked around for possible interference, I listened on, the German guy continued, "I came with my band to tour here and realised that the whole city is gone at my gig." he said as he pulled out a concert poster showing his band. "I saw hecklers before who scream other band's names when they are not on the bill, who throw things and scream out stupid phrases but those; it took my bandmates some force to beat them back; throwing them off the stage." I saw the German guy's face turn grim as he pointed at the poster, "All my bandmates slit their throats in front of me the next day - so much for broadening horizons!" he finished as he handed me a headset; "THIS is your defense, man, that music is pure evil; get out while you can. There is no reversing this!"
I stood next to the fire, studying the headset; a generic black device that comes packaged with any budget cell phone - meaning that protection is easy; just block that vile music with something else. My mood lifted as Bruce Dickinson's air raid siren vocals manned the guard post of my ears. Moments later I was home doing research on my laptop about this new outbreak of evil. Nothing. Nothing aside from yet more news stories about suicides, overdoses and even a story about a homeless guy stabbed to death; this one was near my apartment. While the last finding was alarming, I concluded my research and closed the tabs from news networks and opened my social media profile; maybe the girl from Yemen I met sometime ago is online; God knows I have no one else to share this with.
100+ notifications and 50+ messages. Wow, I don't even know this many people offline nor am I that active online to generate such interest, however, reviewing them I saw all kinds of screwed up. All notifications were tags for images showing dead bodies of animals - beaten to death, dismembered and even crucified. I was not impressed since I've been in a war zone and saw far worse but at the same time, I was confused as to why tag me from all others. However, confusion turned into alarm as I scrolled down to see a video which looked familiar. It showed 5 people armed with whatever they found; kitchen knives, shovels, broken bottles, and even a pickaxe.
The entire inventory collapsed on a cowering body that was bleeding out and only moving in reaction to the strikes. The attackers ran off and then I realised, it was the homeless guy from the news story I saw. (That story was days old) This attack was near me. The other video was literally at my home; I saw a first-person tour of my flat with nothing else aside from eerie mumbling from the operator. He was scouring my flat - opening everything that wasn't locked and could fit a person - later closing it so I won't detect anything. The camera turned and I saw the operator; a semi-vegetable junkie with pale skin, hanging jaw and dark holes for eyes - mumbling into the camera some more as he brought it closer.
Opening my inbox, I got to the messages; all had attachments weighing at 3.59mb (a standard size for an mp3 song) The body text was also the same from sender to sender: "ARE YOU HURT, ILL OR DEAD?!" Suddenly, my recon awareness kicked in (during covert operations you learn to detect and differentiate what doesn't belong) and I heard "He's inside, sounds like he's going to sleep, how far are you with that lock?! We opened it before, what's the hold-up?!" Stealthily, I got off my chair towards my bedside drawer where I kept my HK Mark 23 handgun and 3 12-round magazines. Back to the wall, handgun in hand, I listened on:
"Locked from the inside, no give!"
"We have to lure him out, no other way."
"No problem, either way, he has nowhere to run; not from us!"
I am surrounded. From what I saw so far, the entire city is the enemy and the only "ally" I have is that German guy. I gotta try finding him since he knows more about this. For now, I have to show whatever they were some threat. My door opens outwards so already, I have a defensive advantage. Heavy banging ensued with desperate cries, "HELP ME!" "PLEASE OPEN THE DOOR, THEY ARE AFTER ME!!!" The voice was of the guy giving orders, shuffling to the door, handgun closer to my shoulder, forearms bent inwards. Leaning on the door, giving myself some cover, I opened the lock and with full force, swung the door outwards.
Whatever stood close was on his back and from my planned shot, the one on the side was bleeding out from a .45 ACP hole in his chest. Scanning the hallways, there were no other visitors, however, the gunshots and commotion didn't wake my neighbors. While the entire city was my enemy, my neighbors never tried anything funny nor were they hostile. Also, a good number of them were senior citizens hence, chances of them being infected are low since the senior don't care much for trends.
Closing my door and heading towards the door of a flat belonging to an elderly couple who invited me to tea many times, I knocked on the door. "Mr. Baker!" I yelled, "Open the door please, it's an emergency!" Hammering the door until my hands got blisters, I got no reply. This isn't right, the Bakers knew me well and never took this long to answer the door. Worry did its part and I kicked down the door and stormed in, Mark 23 the first to enter.
The sweet smell of decomposing flesh and what looked like incense pierced my nostrils. The picture inside was horrifying; Mrs. Baker lay on the floor with thick wires around her throat while her husband sat hunched forward with a hole in his head; looks like it was made with an axe or a hammer. My heart sank, nice people killed for no reason - whatever it was, it's still here; footsteps were coming from the kitchen area. Kicking yet another door in, I saw yet another graphic picture; another corpse but it resembled those who attacked me. It had a needle in its neck and blood dripping from its mouth. There is nothing more I can do here, so I left the flat to immediately come to a scary conclusion.
Other doors began to open and more of those vegetative dark and angry beings emerged; knives in hand.
All this time, they lived near me, watching and studying my every move; how long were they here?!
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© 2018 Jake Clawson