Don't let the dead find you
|I feel Niko shift beside me |
I reach out my hand, my grimy hand, dirt crusted under my nails, caking my skin, and I lace it around his equally filthy one. He squeezes, a reassuring pressure that slows my racing heart.
But we don't speak.
The minutes drag on, the darkness surrounding us presses in like a blanket- a big, suffocating blanket.
More than once I fill my head start to dip, I feel the weight of sleep pull my eyelids down.
But I resist.
I snap my head up. I rub my eyes vigorously.
It's the fourth time, the time when I feel my head come to a rest against Niko's shoulder, I feel myself drifting away, that it happens.
It starts with the smell.
Always the smell.
That rancid odour, the rotting stench of death itself that meets our noses. It slowly infiltrates the air and poisons our senses.
My stomach cramps up and I gag. Beside me, behind me, I feel and hear the unified movement of each of us grabbing our gas masks and pulling them up over our noses. I twist the release valve and a stream of oxygen flows in, glorious, sweet oxygen. But the stink is still there, just a whisper, the barest smell, but still there nonetheless.
I press in closer to Niko and he squeezes my hand again.
This time it does nothing to settle my fried nerves.
I'm breathing heavily, I can hear my breath amplified in my ears.
We all have our masks on. All we can do is wait.
But they're here. They're close by.
It always starts with the smell. That's how you know they're coming.
And then, sudden, faint, distant but still close, comes the moans.
Those haunted moans.The sound of pure misery. The drawn out wails that send chills down my spine.
Sometimes it's not moans.
Sometimes it's crazed laughter. The sound of lunacy, which is equally as terrifying.
I clench my eyes shut and begin to pray, my lips moving soundlessly;
"Our Father, who art in Heaven..."