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Wagon Man

By itsnotnatural All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Horror

Short Story

His bare feet blistered and calloused against the concrete. Concrete for as far as the eye can see. They just needed something to eat and their last meal was 4 days ago. He long ago got used to the pain of walking constantly. He shivered, the wind was strong and biting and he could smell a distinctive odor in the air. "The sea!" He shouted, "the sea!"

 She opened her eyes and smiled which quickly changed into a look of surprise. Well go on! she ordered. She was carted around in a wagon since she couldn't walk. She lost her legs to disease and decided to have them amputated. They continued on.

 The wind got stronger the closer they got. Under the red sky it was cold enough but in the wind it seemed like winter had come. She laid back in the wagon and watched the "clouds" roll by clearing her mind of everything except for her thirst so she slept. He pulled her onwards. Eventually they found what they were looking for.

 "We found it!" He told her. He ran towards it and he drank. In a single spray he spat it back out. "It's salt water!" He shouted to her sounding frustrated. "Fuck!" she said to herself loudly. She then had another idea. "Maybe we can bathe in it?" He stepped into it. "It's deep enough", he shouted standing waist deep into the water.

 He got out and pulled the wagon over and put her in the water."Gently," she said. "I am," he replied. The body of water looked like a sea but it was only a uniform 4 feet deep. He got in with her still holding her up and slowly put her down. There was enough salt for them to float. He ignored the pain in his feet and he eventually started daydreaming while staring up into the blood red sky.

 The sound of 9 deep rings woke him up from his nostalgia. "There must be a clock nearby," he thought as the skies began to darken. He looked around, he wasn't far from shore but he couldn't see her. He began searching. "Sarah? Sarah, where are you? Sarah?" he asked louder, beginning to panic. "Can you hear me? Sarah?! Sarah! SARAH!!! The big red wagon was empty and he could not see anyone around. He didn't know what to do so he just waited. By the sound of it he waited 3 hours. It was now night.

 He got up and took the wagon to go look for her. Hours passed as he trudged sullenly toward the tick-tocks and the running of gears. He could now see something over the horizon, something very tall. He got closer and he could see that it was a grandfather clock; a giant grandfather clock. He could also see that there were giant rectangular blocks all around it. He was hungrier than ever.

 He hadn't seen anyone besides Sarah for almost 6 days now. He wanted to see another person's face. He could see an entrance to the base of the giant clock and he hoped someone was inside. He slid the door open and he thought he could see a figure duck underneath the staircase. He went to check it out. There was nothing there. "Mind's playin' tricks on me," he thought to himself. He dragged the wagon up the stairs. It was a long climb.

 He finally got to the top of the stairs. At first, he couldn't see anything or anyone among the machinery then from nowhere someone jumped him. He couldn't get a clear view of what it was but he wanted it off of him. He punched it and tried to roll it off but it only got on op of him again. It was human as it was punching him also. This time he kicked the person off of him and started clubbing him.

 "Stop! Stop!" The man repeated. He stopped beating him. He pulled the man up by the neck and stared face to face with him. "Why did you jump me?" he asked in a threatening tone. "Are you daft?! Have you seen what's going on out there?" asked the little man excitedly. "They're all stark raving mad out there!" "You didn't answer my question," he said rather angrily. "I thought you were one of them," the little man replied. "I mean you look like one of them and you run about going nowhere and - Going nowhere?!! My sister is out there and I don't know where she is!" he shouted at the wizened old man.

 "What did she look like?" the old man asked while wetting his old, cracked lips. "She has no legs, that's all YOU need to know," he replied with a hint of hostility in his voice. "Oh," the little man said with obvious disappointment. "I might've seen a pair dragging half a body behind them. In fact, they might still be out there, go look." And indeed he did look out the clock face but he couldn't see anyone. "There's no one out there," George (he) exclaimed. "Then they might've gone that way," his finger pointing to what was presumably east. "Thanks," George said, "I guess. By the way who are you?" "I'm the Time Wizard." the old man exclaimed with a smile. George hurriedly left muttering "Time Wizard, sure."

 He was halfway down when the clock struck 4. The noise was deafening. By the time it stopped ringing he could no longer hear anything, though he tried to pay no attention to it. He had enough problems as it were, the loss of his sister, not having eaten anything in almost a week, among other things.

 He finally got out of there and walked and hid behind one of the stone formations when he thought he had seen someone. He brought a weapon with him having "borrowed" it from the "Time Wizard" when he wasn't looking. A crowbar he carried with him just in case he got ambushed again.

 He looked back and there was nobody there. He saw that there was an opening and decided to run for it. The wagon bounced and jumped behind him as he raced by the "buildings" and made his way out of the faux-maze.

 He continued on hoping not to encounter others. It was many hours before he saw something else. There was a group of statues in the distance; a large group. There were statues of men standing tall, men on horseback, symbols, objects and the like and there appeared to be a path in front of him. He followed it as it weaved in and around the statues and it lead to a statue of a hand. It spun and levitated with the index finger pointing. It read on the base:

 True intentions that are found
 Shall hear the speed of sound
 But for questions that you must
 The spinning hand you cannot trust

"What does that mean?" he thought. "I have no time for this, I need to look for my sister!" Suddenly, the hand stopped spinning and pointed to the left. He looked in that direction and everything looked distorted as if the air had been superheated and despite it looking inherently dangerous he walked toward it.

 He was weak from hunger and it was getting harder to keep going. Nonetheless, he had to keep looking for his only family left. So he went through the barrier and ended up on top of a wall. Whether he was transported there or not didn't concern him as he looked around. He was quite a ways up and in the distance he could see something. Two men were carting something on one side and a small green patch on the other. He began breathing heavily as he remembered that the old man had mentioned two people. "But what is that?" He thought as he stared at the greenery. He hadn't seen vegetation in so long that he was initially skeptical but he started to wonder.

 Suddenly his hairs on the back of his neck stood up and he slowly turned around. There was a thing rushing at him and he started to run. He ran as fast as his blistered, bruised feet could take him and he got to a stairway at the end. It spiraled and he went down as fast as he could and at the bottom he collapsed from exhaustion. He immediately rolled over and looked up. There was nothing there. His heart was pounding a mile a minute and he took slow, deep breaths to calm himself.

 He had completely forgotten about the green spot as his eyes focused in on the two men and the wooden cart that definitely had something on it. But he could not sneak up on them with the wagon, it would make too much noise on the rough surface. He quietly dropped the handle and picked up the crowbar. He ran towards them with it. One of them heard him running towards them and turned around just as he was whacked in the back of the head.. He fell and the other noticing this took a step back looking surprised. Before he could defend himself however, he was hit in the throat with the crowbar and he collapsed clutching his neck as he struggled to breathe. Soon he was dead.

 He stared down at the bodies for a long time. He was feeling hungry, so... hungry. He couldn't help himself. He tore into the chest and stuffed his mouth. Blood spurted all over his face and clothes as he ate. He kept going until he was satisfied and by then there wasn't much left.

 Then he looked up. He saw the green patch earlier from atop the wall but he couldn't distinguish any features. Now as he looked upon it he could see several trees bearing bananas and apples. He could see shrubs with strawberries, grass, and a small pond hidden by some of the tree's leaves. In short, it was an oasis. He suddenly felt terrible as he thought that he needlessly consumed others when he could of just as easily eaten from the oasis.

 He began walking toward the cart with his head down when something blocked his way. He looked up and saw a creature with just a mouth filled with rows of sharp teeth with nothing else on the head. Brown, leathery skin with impossibly skinny limbs with it's three-fingered hands and it's extremely large feet. It hissed at him and slashed his throat with it's claw. He clutched his throat as he fell down. He was bleeding out quickly and then... he released his throat and looked down. There was no blood on his hands as he saw in disbelief. He got up, and laughed as he noticed there was nothing here.

 Terrified, he continued towards the cart. He got on and it was her, his sister at last. He had never noticed nor appreciated how beautiful she was until now and he went to wake her up. She felt cold. He tried to look for a pulse but he couldn't find any. He did everything he could to revive her but nothing was working. He began to panic. He became angry at himself for not being there for her, fo failing her. He threw a tantrum before lying down next to her.

 He believed he was becoming an animal. He didn't want to lose his humanity and loneliness would only contribute to his loss of sanity. He put his hands underneath his head and closed his eyes to think of the good memories before this happened. For 8 days he thought of his friends, his family, his grandparents and everything that had happened to him, good or bad. On the last day he awaited and embraced death eager to join his sister on the other side. He was completely at peace with himself as he forgot the world he existed in and he breathed in one last time...

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