There’s no cure to madness. It takes hold, infecting all it touches. It is irrevocable. Once mad, always mad. You never forget.
The streets plunged into this night with no dawn. It feels like forever; it feels normal. It’s barely been long at all. It must be five years. I know it to be shorter. Little room for chat. People try to cure themselves by carrying on - as normal. Brave, but they fall victim to it. Once mad, always mad.
What’s normal these days?
I hear them at night. They tried to go on as normal. You can’t sleep. Don’t sleep at night. It's when they hunt.
I found one soul in the remains of his day. Chair drawn up, holding the musty yellow paper. Date: 14th October. No year, another age away. Headline: Distractions, the need to say anything else. Who wanted to read about it? Cure! A watchword. He sits there, the paper folded neatly under his head and broken glass. He must be tired. We all don’t sleep. He has a gun, curled with yellow fingers. The black nails need a trim. He doesn’t dare move, I still say hello to him, and he still smiles back with that withered, wrinkled grin. He’s not friendly, not one of them, but they leave him alone. So that must work.
They call us prey. It’s the blood urge. A deep, dark voice inside that thrums with every heartbeat. Kill. Whispering slowly, kill, then a rising crescendo, kill, a gathering of the storm and as uncompromising as the tide. It’s shouting. Kill! Kill! Kill! You see it blazing in their eyes – eyes deaf to your screams. They’re hollow, they have no true colour. They burn with the plague inside them, there is nothing else.
I can go out tonight. Rain falls steadily, no sign of stopping. Torrential. I wish it would continue for forty days. I wish the world would flood. Drown it all, start again. I can't pray for it. I can't speak the words. Neither would I pray for a rainbow if the flood came. History repeats itself, a famous one said. First tragedy. Then farce. We always will need to start again.
Fear is the how they find us. They don’t smell it – they have no senses. They feel the ripples we leave, like raindrops on the lake. Our fear reverberates endlessly, calling to them for a feast. Some will kill you. Others feed off the fear. Fewer still like to watch as the others come in – kill their own kind; feeding their growing thirst on them. Once they’re done, they smile – they delight in how you tremble.
The rain keeps them away. They don’t like it. No eyelids. Nothing to stop drops hitting their eyes. It distorts their sight – the ripples on the lake are too great. Everything combines, amplified. No way to tell what’s out there. So they sit in their haunts. Some are their homes from before. They want to remember what came before. Others leave; take the spaces we once gathered in. Theatres, now staging the bloody daggers. Churches, where they bloody the altar. Bars, where they sup their wine.
Some tell you names. Not who they were. Names, any name. They don't know who they are. But they smile, they wonder, and they seem almost human. Never pity them; the ripple of pity tastes foul and you will make them angry. They keep your company for the fear; like the smell of good food, but finer still is anxiety. It is the fine perfume, sweet nectar to sate their desire. Notoriously hard to find these days. Everyone is afraid, everyone knows.
I can get food while it rains. Pick it out from the pockets of the ones who couldn’t wait. They leave some out, victims, sprawled everywhere. It’s a reminder. We rule – the blood says. This is our food – the blood
says. And you wonder how long you have left. I don’t have any plans. I want to die. I don’t want to be one of them. I wish I could kill one. I would spread their blood over the walls. It would be my sign. They hate the ones who can kill. They kill them quickly. Nothing fancy. No attempt to infect. They don’t even eat them.
I try not to think about the past. It won’t help me now. I sometimes think of the future. I wonder about it. I hold no hope for it either. When the red mark appeared first in the sky, no one thought a sickness
would follow. But it did. I do not think the future will help. Time is only a passing, not a healer. Monsters lurk in the unknown mists of time. If I think forward, I only see horror.
I don’t quite know anything. Madness is irrevocable. Once mad, always mad. I can never forget.