The streets are different.
Not in placement or shape, no, the streets are physically, exactly as they have always been. Every line and curve is exactly as I remember. Every building and landmark exactly where I expect them to be. No a weed or pebble out of place.
Perhaps saying that the streets themselves are different is incorrect. What I mean is, the air and feeling of the streets, that’s what’s different. These streets I called home not too long ago are now unwelcoming, cold. It feels like the earth itself wants me to leave, to turn back and leave it to it’s solitude. To grief and rage that will never be able to express itself as more than a lingering sense of ease to anyone who may walk it’s roads in the future.
The streets that I have walked my whole life, want me to leave. My home, wants me to leave. Wants to never feel my presence ever again. Which I suppose is fair, considering what just happened. I did just steal the life that once walked it’s stone flesh.
Everyone is dead. I killed every single one of my town’s inhabitants. I stole the sounds of life, stained my hands in such a way that I can’t believe I will ever be clean again. Everyone I’ve ever known, from adults to children, including my bests friends and my own parents, and I’m not all that sorry.
Or maybe I am, and the shock and adrenaline that kept me going all through the night just hasn’t warn off yet.
Or maybe I’m just that messed up that over three hundred kills doesn’t move me. That after so much death I’ve become desensitized to it. Can you become desensitized in such a short few hours? Even will such a high kill count? Maybe. It certainly seems that way. There are no tears, no anger, no happiness in me. Just a fog of numb that fills my head like a mass of cotton.
Shouldn’t I feel something? Shouldn’t I have some sort of reaction to murdering everyone I’ve ever known? And yet, as I walk the streets that seem to press in on me with voiceless rage and horror, cold and completely alone for the first time in my entire life, there is nothing. I’m just as empty as if I had taken my own blade and carved out my insides.
Where is my regret? Where is the euphoria? Where is the consequence to my actions? Where is my sorrow and horror? Where is the peace of finally ridding myself of my tormentors hiding behind the faces of people who had loved me? Where is the warmth of knowing I have put down a terrible virus before it could spread out and kill more people?
I’m not sorry, no matter what happens next. No matter if I am to spend the rest of my life in prison or isolation. Or if I am to join my victims, either by my own hand or the predators in the woods. What I did was necessary, even if no one will ever understand why. Not that anyone would believe me even if I did explain.
After all, who would believe the words of a clearly insane nineteen year old? Who would believe me when I told them about The Fountain? The one erected a little over two months ago, now nothing but dust and chunks of rubble tossed about the town square? The one that no one remembers building, the one that seemed to erect itself overnight, and yet seemed like it had always been there?
Who would question it? Who would become concerned at the strangely sickly sweet water that poured from spouts of twisted black obsidian rock? Who would have stepped up and said, No, do not drink that addicting water! Stay away from that strange nectar that was slowly but surely changing the people who drank it?
Maybe if there had been any external change, if it had caused one to grow claws or horns, or changed the color of their skin to green or blue, maybe someone would have said something. Maybe the person who screamed, Do not drink the water, would have been listened too. Maybe they would have listened to that terrified teenager who refused to drink. Who watched in horror, unable to do anything but hope it would stop.
But it never did. I had to watch, for nearly a month, before I decided something drastic had to be done. The water had made my town cold and cruel. It turned the people I loved into twisted monsters, who now enjoyed the sudden increase in violence of death. My Mother especially seemed to enjoy the array of poisons that glimmered in jars in the kitchen. While my Father seemed almost in love with the way blood shone on his hunting knives. Staring at them like an artist watches their masterpiece come to life.
I don’t know how I survived for so long. How I avoided the deathtraps that seemed to grow closer and more violent every day. I am glad that Dad had taught me how to survive in the wilderness, the forest outside of town provided well for me, since I could no longer trust my Mother’s cooking. Nor any of the food in town, even if it was packaged.
Two months was my breaking point, after more than fifteen attempts to destroy that damned Fountain and it’s poisonous waters. Again, I suppose I have my Father to thank for my skills with a knife. For the lessons of how to sneak up of prey, how to silence my steps, how to quiet and slow my breathing. He was the first to die, the first I set free with my freshly sharpened hunting knife.
There were no screams that night, no sounds of struggles save for the near silent gurgles of final breaths attempting to take form from torn throats. It was honestly almost too easy. There were traps of course, but I had studied my townsfolk for nearly two weeks before attempting this. I almost got caught five times over the course of the night, new bruises and cuts painted across my lean body, but I managed.
It took only a half an hour for me to destroy The Fountain. It almost seemed anti-climatic, given how much grief it had given me, but it doesn’t matter. It’s gone, hopefully for good. It’s gone, and everyone is dead. I killed almost three hundred people.
I am alone. I don’t know what to do now. Walking streets that had once been my home that now weigh heavy on me like it’s my fault this entire event happened. I don’t know what to do next. Everyone is dead. I never drank more than a sip of that water, but maybe that’s all I needed to become a monster too.
Because everyone is dead, and I feel nothing. I keep walking.