The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
They Should Have Listened
by Melissa R. Mendelson
They should have listened when the sirens sounded. Instead, they turned to their phones. “It’s not real.” “Ignore those fakers.” “The world won’t end today,” but for some, it did.
My friends and I hunkered down in the basement, hoping that maybe, they were wrong. One friend’s boyfriend grew impatient as the hours passed by. Finally, three hours was his max. He stormed up the stairs, hand on the door, but before he could finish opening it, there was a bright flash. I think he still can’t see today, but that’s his fault.
We didn’t venture outside until the next day. It was uncomfortable with all of us cramped in that space and that boyfriend crying, his eyes, his eyes. Well, maybe he should have fucking listened, but we were stuck listening to him.
The next day, we stepped outside. The town seemed the same, but the streets were desolate. No cars running in the streets. No sounds from the houses nearby. The town a quiet tomb. Where were the people, especially those that didn’t listen?
That’s when I saw some of them. Their skin was gone. Their bodies fused into the walls and structures nearby, places that they were probably standing next to when the wave came. I still don’t know if they were the unfortunate ones, or if we are.
The nights are cold now. The sky an uncanny white. The quiet so unbearable. My friends went their separate ways. Some seeking their family, hoping that they were still alive. Another took her boyfriend home to take care of him. Something deep inside told me that I would never see any of them again.
I was alone, scavenging what I could to survive. There was no technology left. No communication with the outside world. Good. I rather it this way because we had become so lost before, so consumed with tweets and videos and he said, she said, and all that fake news, but they should have listened. Now, I spend my time pushing a wheelbarrow through town, picking their bones out of brick and stone and burying it in a hole nearby. I make sure I’m home before dark. It’s not just the wild animals roaming around, seeking food. It’s the damn cold, and I worry about what winter will be like, how I will survive.
At night, I try to catch a glimpse of the stars outside, and if I’m able to, I can’t silence the fear inside. I never saw Betelgeuse, or maybe, I did. But when they said that the supernova was coming, everyone thought that it was a joke, another fear tactic. They laughed it off, and I almost did too. And if I did, I would’ve been just another skull in the wall. But I listened.
Fiction © Copyright Melissa R. Mendelson
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com.
About Author Melissa R. Mendelson:
Melissa R. Mendelson is a Poet and Horror, Science-Fiction, and Dystopian Short Story Author. Publications featuring her writing can be found here: https://linktr.ee/melissarmendelson
An excellent and ominous story.
Thank You. 🙂
Ooh, a cautionary tale for our times – chilling.
Thank you. ❤️
Yes, very chilling! Good story, quiet horror — no monsters needed. A cautionary tale about being stuck to your cell phone!
Thank you, Marge. ❤️