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Party of One
Each day she was up at 5:00am. All bright eyes and happy smiles. Her mattress lay torn, tattered and withered amongst the roaches and empty aisles that occupied South Veil Mall. She began her usual route, past the bakery to say “Hi” to the corpse that now ran it.
“Good morning! How are you?”
The body with sockets that stared into her gave no reply.
“Oh I’m fine, thanks. I was just about to walk around town abit”
“If I see something nice I’ll make sure to pick it up for you, okay? Bye!”
When she headed outside she was met with a murky, lime-green overcast. The same overcast the South Veil sky had been plagued with for weeks.
“I’ll go visit the park first, I heard Miranda was going to hold art classes”
Two blocks of empty street and cracked sidewalk lay between her and the wasteland that was once a park. Dead leaves lay in heaps around the decaying stone that encased the once joyful field. A lone corpse with disheveled red hair sat in a lawnchair overlooking a basketball court.
“Hey Miranda! Are you holding classes today?”
Miranda’s head lolled backward over the chair, close to falling off.
“Nobody showed up ? That’s the third time this week. That’s too bad”
She parted ways with her unresponsive friend and went to a small shop that specialized in selling seashells that the owner found while he was out. Now the only thing that occupied the store was the mannequins that were adorned with the shells as earrings.
“Hello? Anybody home?”
She said as she slowly opened the door.
“Ah, Jim, How are you?”
She asked one motionless, plastic face.
“Oh that’s wonderful! You and Miranda would be so cute together.”
The door to the shop slid to a close once she released it.
“Hey, how much did those earrings cost?”
She said as she pointed to the seashells super glued to the mannequins ears.
“$10? Guess I’ll pick them up”
She took a pair of seashells from the diminished chain that held suspended them on a makeshift coat hanger that was on the brink of falling apart. She left her payment with the small pile of money atop the counter.
“You should really work on getting a new register”
She said to the decaying body who sat behind the counter.
“You said that the last time I was here”
A waft of freezing air danced around the small shop.
“I should get going, it’s getting cold out there”
She said goodbye to her mute friends and made her way back to South Veil Mall. She was welcomed with shattered windows and wilted flowers once she returned to her home. The bakery remained as she left it, displays ransacked and corpse slouched in chair.
“Hey! Guess what I got?”
She pulled a pair of once pearl white sea shells from her pocket. Now, dust and grime smeared their once beautiful exterior. A smile slowly crept it’s way into her face.
“I knew you’d like them! Here, let me help you with it”
She slowly reached her hand towards the decrepit ears of the rot staring back at her. As soon as she was in breath’s distance, the corpse's ear lobe detached and fell to the floor with a dry THUD. She clawed her hands through her frazzled auburn hair. Her mouth agape as she ran through the mall in a horror-driven paroxysm.
“My music, I need it, where is it?”
She nearly chanted to herself as she rummaged through the corner of the supermarket she resided in. She pulled a small cassette player from a plastic bag next to her bed. When she pressed play she heard her voice.
“Hey, this is ummm, Podcast slash vlog thing #1”
Bewilderment took the place of fear as she stopped to listen.
“I’ll find a better name for it but I need to document this”
She heard some shuffling and then-
“Ta-daaa!!! I know you can’t see it but this vial holds the cure. I know, I’ve tested it. They say you’ve got three days to live once you’ve been infected but this bad boy has kept me alive seven days after infection”
She slowly inched her way toward the cassette player, one baby step after another as if she was nearing a bomb ready to explode.
“Nobody really knows where it came from but this, “disease” attacks and destroys human cells. Apparently it started here in South Veil City and spread like wildfire once it went airborne.”
A short pause, followed by loud clashing noises.
“Oh god, the rioters. When people figured out that their end was near they decided to check off their bucket lists. Apparently everyone’s bucket list consisted of robbery and murder.”
She sat with her knees curled up against her face and wrapped her arms around her legs.
“Now I have to find out a way to mass produce this and get it to the public”
Her mind was racing, what did this mean? That sounded like her, was that her?
“I wonder how much people would be willing to pay for this?”
What? Was she going to sell this medicine? Her brain was running rampant, she couldn’t believe she was listening to herself say these things. The recording continued.
“Well, I’d have to hire people to help me mass produce this. Everyone out there is getting desperate, they’d probably kill me for this medicine.”
More loud noises interrupted her, this time they sounded closer than before.
“Looks like I’m running out of time, I’ve got to lock this up so they can’t get to it”
With that, the recording stopped. Everything was flooding back to her, the dam she put in her mind now broken. She remembered when the population of South Veil City dwindled down to five. When she first took residence in thissupermarket. Thoughts ran through her mind, each one tripping over another.
What do I do?
Where should I go?
Is there anything I can do?
She rushed to a bathroom to look at herself in the mirror. Once she wiped the dust off of it she saw herself, her hair in a tangled mess. Her black hoodie torn and slumping atop her ragged “Science is Cool!” shirt. She looked down at her hands. This can’t be real, she thought.
“What’s the point of anything?”
She slowly walked out of the mall. Passing the dead baker she’s had so many conversations with. She chuckled at the thought of her literally talking the poor baker’s ear off. A laugh consisting of the her last ounce of sanity. Once out of the mall she looked at the sunset. She fell to her knees as tears streamed down her face. Her thoughts slowing to a halt. Only one thing remained rattling in her brain. There is nothing.