This serial story is presented in draft (unedited) form. New installments will be posted every Friday, and each installment is available for one week. Miss one? Joining late? Email me for the previous installments. Creepy reading…
The Dry Rain
Part 27 (Final)
“Dead?!” Angie braced herself on the frame of the emergency vehicle. “Oh God,” she gasped, putting one hand over her mouth and doubling over. Her stomach rolled, and for a moment, she thought she’d be sick. Forcing herself mostly upright, she met the man’s eyes, wondering why he looked familiar. Her head was still foggy, and she still wasn’t sure how she’d gotten from the car to the grassy island in the center of the emergency room drive up. She’d finally started to come around a couple of minutes ago, and her first thought had been for Micah and Bailey. How could they be dead? They’d survived so much already.
“How did it happen? Did you kill them? Did you see who did?” The man shifted uncomfortably and looked away.
“Look,” he said without making eye contact. “The kids are in the hospital on a gurney in the hall just inside those doors. I need to get my dad out of here – he needs medical care, and everyone’s gone. That’s all I can tell you. I’m sorry.”
There was something he wasn’t telling her – she was sure of it. But she still couldn’t believe that Micah and Bailey were gone. A rustling from the back of the ambulance caught her attention just before someone called out.
“They’re eating me, son. You have to leave me. Save yourself, please!”
The man behind the wheel finally looked Angie in the eye. “I need to go. Please.”
She nodded and backed away, closing the passenger door. After he drove away, she turned toward the hospital doors, and her own car parked right in front of them. A deep, vertical dent in the back driver’s side door that hadn’t been there before caught her eye, and she moved closer, running her fingers over the scratched grooves and flecks of dark blue paint on the tan surface.
Paint that matched the car parked just a few feet away, with matching paint flecks from her car on the front bumper.
If she’d still been laying in the back seat when whoever was driving the blue sedan had struck the side, she would have been killed.
Moving toward the hospital doors again, she spotted an empty syringe on the ground near her car, but didn’t stop to pick it up. She hurried through the doors and stopped just inside, scanning the hall until she saw two familiar heads nestled together on a gurney, just as the man in the ambulance had said.
She didn’t want to know, not really. But she’d been drugged, and it seemed she was going to live. What if the same thing had happened to the children? She couldn’t leave, not without knowing for sure if she could do something, anything to help them.
Her stomach in her throat, she approached the bed, forcefully swallowing back bile. The children looked peaceful, laying together like that, and for a moment, she thought surely they must just be sleeping.
She reached out and touched two fingers to Bailey’s neck, mentally counting off the seconds that passed even though the skin was already growing cold. There was no movement under her fingers, and she finally forced herself to repeat the action with Micah.
It didn’t make sense. They’d risked everything to get her here, to help her, and now they were dead and she was still alive? It was unfathomable.
Her knees buckled and she crumpled to the floor, leaning back against the legs of the portable bed. Hugging her knees to her chest, she let the tears fall, frustration and sadness and anger and fear all purging at once, her mind overwhelmed to the point of madness. Or it felt that way, at least. She had no idea how long she cried, but light turned to dark, and still she sat. There was nothing to do, nowhere to go. Everyone she loved was dead, and the moths were biting. It was only a matter of time.
Quick footsteps squeaked toward her and she looked up, her bleary eyes taking a few seconds to fully focus on the man who stopped in front of her. Dressed in green scrubs and carrying a tray full of syringes, he had a kind smile and knelt down, setting the tray on the floor.
“You look like you could use some help,” he said, his voice gentle. Soothing. “Are you hurt?”
Angie nodded, putting a hand to her heart. “Right here,” she said, patting her chest. “My heart hurts. Everyone I love is dead. I don’t know what to do. What do I do now?” She held out her hands to him, open, grasping, as if he could give her what she needed in tangible form. His strong, warm fingers folded around hers, his smile never slipping.
“I can give you something that will help. It will stop the hurt, and make you feel better. Would you like that?”
She nodded again. “Please. I don’t want to hurt anymore.”
The man let go of her hands and picked up one of the syringes, flicking off the cap and then reaching for her arm.
“You’ll just feel a little sting. Try to relax. It’s going to be okay.”
Thank you for reading along while I drafted this little story. I hope you’ve enjoyed the journey – so far. About half-way through this draft, I realized that this story is so much bigger than the short I’d imagined, and there’s so much more of it that I’d like to explore, so while Angie, Micah, Bailey, May and Bessie’s stories end here, Daniel and Will’s have just begun.
I’ll be doing extensive editing to this short story before it’s published, and then I plan to write a full novel that explores the journey of how moths took over the world, and what happened to mankind in that catastrophe. If we’re lucky, maybe we’ll even find out how the story ends, but I won’t know until I write it…
Happy Halloween to you all, and we’ll visit the dark side together again soon…