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Rated: 13+ · Fiction · Horror/Scary · #2133120
Retribution comes from the inside.
They come back.
By the Bald Writer for August short contest.

The best time to look at the monument is when the sun first comes up. The early morning rays come through the open portals, drying the caked-up sand laying beneath them. Of course, no one ever sees them this way, in the early morning hours. No one sees them ever.
They used to come by the millions. After the monument was first erected to commemorate our survival. Not the survival from the nuclear holocaust. that was barely averted. They came to see what our world would have looked like if the nations of the world did not come to their senses. They come to see the warning.
They came, and then they stopped coming. Mostly. There are a few stragglers her and there. People forget. They get on with their lives and forget the past. The near misses. The danger.
I come here once a week before sunup. To this place where the earth was purposely poisoned so nothing can grow. So, we would not forget what might have been. We forget.
The sun rises in the east, the rays gingerly peeking through the opening at first. Within a few minutes the rays are at full strength, warming my garden. Then I leave.
I did not mean to do it. It was an accident. She was so pretty. So young.
I picked her up on road 7 heading west. She asked me not to ask her name as she got into the car. She was going to Wyoming. “No one lives there” she said. “I can disappear there. Not that there was anyone to disappear from” she laughed.
We drove, and she talked. I had nowhere to be. An hour, and fifty miles later, she suddenly stopped talking. “I keep talking, you keep driving. Don’t you have anything to say?”
“Hungry?” I asked. She did not answer, but her eyes opened wide. She looked so needy.
She ordered the eggs, and pancake special, with a side order of hash browns. I slowly drank my black coffee, chewed on my buttered muffin, and watched her eat. I did not need to ask. it must have been days since she last ate. I expected that she would ask for more.
“Thank you” she said. “it’s been a while. I smiled at her, not saying a word.
She continued talking. Telling me about the towns she has seen, how she was getting around, what she did to survive. She had waited tables in Main, baby sat in Georgia. She cleaned latrines in Chicago, and a short order cook in Texas. “These hash browns take talent. I know”. She stared at her plate and smiled.
“No, I am good. You are good too. Thank you.”
“Where to now”, I asked.
“I keep moving, meet more nice people, see more amazing sites.”
“Have you seen the monument” I asked
“Monument? Oh, you mean the salvation monument. I forgot all about that. Is it close? But it’s dark. I won’t be able to see anything. I need to get going. Tomorrow does not work for me.”
“It’s not far, I have a flashlight in the truck. Real strong. You’ll see it well. This way when you finish your journeys you won’t regret missing it.”
She stared at me for ten minutes. Not saying a word, just thinking. “I hate regrets, let’s go. Thank you”
I stopped the car at the monument she opened the door and rushed out.” It’s beautiful ‘l she screamed with glee. She ran to each of the pillars, looking up at them, touching them, howling at the moon. She ran and ran and ran. One column, then the next, and the next.
“I never saw anything so beautiful” she screamed, ecstatic. She was beautiful. Running around, howling at the moon. Free.
‘You should see it when the sun comes up. It looks different. Feels different.”
She stopped jumping and screaming. She looked directly at me as she sat down on the northern flat rectangular base of the sand bed. “Tell me.”
The moon highlighted her cheeks. They were high, with a tinge of red, just a tinge. No makeup. Just her cheeks, illuminated by the full moon.
“Stop staring, tell me. Tell me what it is feels like here. What it feels like here when the sun comes up.”
“In a few hours, the sun will come up. You’ll be able to feel it yourself. You don’t need me”.
“In a few hours, the sun will come up and I will know how It feels to me. I want to know how it feels to you”
“I like to be here when the sun comes up”, I began. “When the light begins to hit the sand and the shadows slink away. Take off your shoes. I want you to feel the cold ground before I continue.”
She took a few minutes smiled and slid her shoes off.
“Do you feel how cold it is? Well, l when as the sun begins to rise, the cold begins to wane. Slowly replaced by the heat radiating down from the sun’s rays. Reinvigorating the cold ground, you feel now. The sun continues to rise. Faster. Faster. The ground heats up beneath your feet. The heat rises up your body, as the sun rises in the sky. I once stayed in one spot. Not moving watching the shadow of the sun on the hard sand. Felling the heat rise up my body until they both reached their peak. By that time my body was drenched it my own sweat and I feel more alive than I ever imagined.”
His eyes were closed while he spoke. He opened them now, and looked at her. Her eyes were still closed. She opened them a minute after he stopped, smiled at him.
“Will you tell me your name “he asked her.
“I have spent the last few years moving around, nameless. People would say I was running away from something. I wasn’t. I was running to something. Hard to do when you don’t know what you’re running to. Many towns, many people. No names. You want a name. Give me one.”
She leaned back, her hands flat on the ground behind her. Witing. The moon continued to illuminate her face. “Moonshine” I said.
She stood up, the smile still on her face and walked over to me. “Where to now?
I walked up to her. Kissed her. She pushed me away.
“What do you think you’re doing!”
“I just thought,” I started to explain.
“Just thought. Don’t think. This was nice, now it is not.”
I took a step toward her. She stepped back tripping over the flat monolith. Falling. Hitting her head.
I waited for her to get up. I did not want to spook her again. I waited, she lay there. I panicked.
What could I do. No one would believe me.
I keep a heavy shovel in the back of my truck. There was a small hill about 25 feet away from the monolith. Nothing grows there. No none comes here. It took me the good part of an hour to dig a hole deep enough to put her in. I patted, leveling the earth so it would look as much as the surrounding landscape as possible. With the strong sun, it would look no different from the surrounding area.
The sun began to come up as I finished. I sat down next to her and watched as it began it’ ascension.
I left at noon, just like I did every week that I came. There was nothing else I could do.
Every week I come back, sit by her, watch the sun come up, and tall her all that happened while I was gone. Nothing ever changes here. Still I talk to her.
Until last month.
I noticed immediately as I started walking over to her. I stopped Then I ran. I ran over to her and the weed protruding from the ground above her. The stem was dark pink. The leaf mint green with the pink stem radiating for its center. I dug underneath the ground pulling it out from the moist root.
This made no sense. Nothing was supposed to be able to grow in this area. It was chemically treated, like the area of the monolith, just so nothing to grow.
I started talking to her as I refilled the whole I made pulling out the weed. “You know this is impossible. Just some strange aberration. It won’t happen again.”
Just like every other visit I sat down next to her and continued our conversation. The sun came up. At noon, I left.
I came back the next week. I froze as soon as I got out of the car. Now there were two. I pulled them out.
Every week I come, every week they grow. Each time one more. I treat the ground with poisons. Next time one more. Now I see them growing in my sleep.
Every week I come, I pull them out. I dig down deeper and pull them out. Every week I pull them out. Every week they come back.
They come back! They come back! They come back!
They always come back.
1546 words.
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