Today They'd Like to Come Out & Play
Andrew Markus Goldberg isn’t like many seventeen year olds, or so his mother likes to remind him. He has a drive in life like no other she’s seen, but her days are mostly filled pumping teens stomachs from pill popping, gunshot wounds after gang wars, or holding together body parts from drunk driving accidents. She lets him know how proud she is whenever she can, how she doesn’t have to worry about any of that with him because he has plans for his future.
Andrew wouldn’t ever not agree with the woman, 5’1, she was a feisty little beast if anything was not to her liking anyway. So Andrew made sure he did well in school, made sure he was sweet to the teachers, and kept in shape to make the teams he wanted. He lets his baby blues, and curly cues help ease his way in life when they could.
Andrew does what he can, so he never has to see the disappointment in his mother’s eyes. Mr. Goldberg had done enough and Andrew grew up knowing he never wanted to be that man, he just wanted his mother to be proud.
So Andrew starts his day like this - waking up after the second alarm and rolling out of bed right into a pile of dirty clothing waiting for laundry day. His day starts half awake, pushing himself up for the first of three sets of 15 push ups.
“Andrew Markus Goldberg did you fall out of bed again?” a voice calls up to him, like every second week of the month. His mother has yet to leave for the 12 hour shift at the hospital and has time to worry over the young man above her.
But the working out feign is yet to be fully awake so a mere groan is all he sends to his worried mother below, and the older woman - after her moments of shock and worry disappear, is in a huff from the lack of response above but really she has no time as she will be late if the door doesn’t close with her on the other side in a matter of seconds. So no other words are said and the door slams and Andrew continues on his third and final set of push ups. He is more awake now, eyes wide and bright starring hard on the floor below him as he counts. “3…4…5...6…”
The alarm clock rings again, number three, and he sighs, disappointed he’s not able to make the last set. He continues onward. After his push ups he heads to the bathroom, time to get ready for school.
Shower – dry – dress – pack previous day homework.
In a few minutes Andrew is ready to go. Head twisting to look over his shoulder as he finishes tugging up the navy blue school vest shirt, he checks his alarm, 7 minutes to spare, better safe than sorry though so he leaves without breakfast, just backpack on his right shoulder and a bottle of water in the left hand.
He is out the door and about to run towards the bus stop.
But unlike any other day he stops, shocked, water bottle falling from his hand, backpack soon enough to follow. Time seems to come at a standstill, Andrew can’t seem to grasp what he is witnessing any other way.
He is numb and deaf to it all. Bright cerulean take in it all though.
Before him houses are a blaze, deep craters seem randomly placed in the streets. It looks as if Hell has taken control overnight, all shades of red seem to dominate the color of the sky, just a blinding glow. His once suburbia calm natured neighborhood was now a hazy mess.
His senses are slowing restarting. Coming back online one at a time.
Screeches fill the air. Human, animal, metal against metal. It all cluster together.
The heat is eye watering. He feels as if he is being cooked alive, someone has turned the broiler on.
Andrew soon enough turns right. Feeling coming back to his feet.
He stills again. A sudden gasp and quick movement catching his attention. He zeros in on his mother, his bright big hearted mother.
She is almost unrecognizable, her telltale signs only that of her Disney scrubs that were covered in deep dark burgundy liquid. ‘Her blood’ Rings in Andrew’s head. She hangs upside down, pony tail swaying on the asphalt, her face is torn to shreds, white wide orbs are stuck open in terror, and through it all Andrew is frozen once more. His whole being numb, the heat has no affect at the moment, not as he watches her body slide up along the car’s hood as a creature pulls her form feet first into it’s giant contorted mouth.
This creature is the thing of nightmares, something that would live in the mind of the sick and twisted. It’s boney slim body, tight dark skin stretched over its hunch lean form, the thing’s shoulders shake as it seems to gurgle in glee. Sharp inch long nails look to glow red in Andrew’s view as the creature gulp up and down trying to finish the last swallow of his mother, it’s wheezing crackles becoming louder. The thing, monster, finishes it’s meal and hunches on the hood of the car. It opens it’s mouth and heaves air, nothing comes out. It grabs its bulging stomach and dry heaves once more. Finally a pair of use to be white sneakers come out of its mouth, green slime cover’s his mother’s shoes and before his eyes they seem to melt away, a grotesque wet burp soon to follow. All the while Andrew is still.
Mom. She is a hollow echo in his head. Mom.
Andrew is motionless while a car jumps up in the distance caught out of the corner of his eye, fire under its belly, pushing the old mustang up higher. The screams of the car’s occupants are soundless and Andrew is stone stiff. Not sure where he is to go. What on earth he is to do.
Run back indoors? Take to the streets? Would the large thick wooden frame hold up against the rail thin creature? Would his legs be fast enough to get past the shuttering mass of raw bones and muscles?
His mind is a buzzing mess. He thinks with this world a glow of flame colors he should feel warm, unbearably hot even. But all he feels is his body shaking, his clamming hands twitch open and close as he thinks. This is all in the seconds.
And seconds is all it took. Seconds of this wild thing enjoying its catch of the day, seconds of his mother’s once white shoes melting in the coat of green slime. Seconds before the thing’s eyes were settled onto him. Not a second was wasted for his life to flash before his eyes.
He heard a rumble, the creature’s mouth opening, black gums slick with acid spit, the creature roared towards him. The sound deafening after all the silence that had followed him before. The thing crouched on the car back legs wobbling right and left as it seemed to ready itself to pounce. Andrew willed his feet to move, to back up into his house or weave his way around the horror of his front yard. To run away from all of this.
A deep breath in and he made up his mind, with no time to spare, the creature jumped form the car and Andrew dove down the stairs, or he tried, tried to run with all his might. But the creature was longer limbed then Andrew. A claw hand caught him in the shoulder yanking him onto his back so fast that one moment he saw freedom and the next he saw the bright skies above.
But really was this just another stop to freedom? He was going to die yes, any moment - the pulsing pain from his shoulder a strong reminder. So he’d be reunited with his mother. Soon enough. The creature’s thundering steps shook his large frame as it crept up behind him, the patio’s wooden steps creaking under the monster’s mass.
The suspense was becoming a bit much and Andrew was a little too dazed though to do much more then wait. The thing hissed, and growled over him, what on earth the thing could be saying he hadn’t had a clue.
But he closed his eyes, relaxed his body and made peace with it, because really the war torn world around him was nothing worth living through.
He could hear now all the screams and gun fire echoed all around him, roars of large crashes and whooshing noises similar to the car earlier played along. It was the end of days. Humanity’s time had run out. Andrew’s time had run out.
“Move, move, move!” A voice calls, they sound faint and way too far. The creature above growls out to them, hisses right after in warning. “Ugh!” A quick whack noise comes from above and Andrew’s eyes shoot open to see the creature tumble away.
A loud screech noise of pain leaves the foul thing’s dark black hole of a mouth. Its right arm, or leg, was bent oddly, and there was a deep green slime pouring from a puncture on its neck. Andrew rolled to his side, still watching the monster with shifty eyes. He sits up slowly, right hand placed hard on his left shoulder, quick to save as much of his blood as he can. His bright gaze shifts from the screeching creature to the tall form walking towards him.
“What” the word leaves pale lips as his saviors nears. She can’t be much older than him, decked in a pencil red skirt, torn pantyhose, and a black poke-a-dot blouse darkened in some parts. Her hands shake, but hold tight to a road sign. The pedestrian walk is covered in dark black slime, enough to make Andrew think that this is not her first kill. She doesn’t take a moment, just smashes the sign down on the creatures head once more, before turning to him and sending him a shaking smile.
“Alright there?” she asks. A hand releases her mighty weapon and she moves it towards him, “Can you move? We can’t be out here in the open” Her dark gaze shifts around him. Andrew starts to nod, he’s good to go wherever she suggests. But he jumps as the world comes back into view, screams of terror are heard all around him, never ending. One lets up and another two seem close to follow. He shivers in fright, looking back to his savior, he takes in her stiff stance and wonders how long this has all been really happening. How long, if she seems to have harden herself against all of this world ending horror surrounding them.
“Are you?” he asks her back. She looks to him and he stiffens as the rising sun seems to reflect her once chocolate browns into a dark red, almost black glow back at him. She smiles slightly down at him nodding, fangs gleaming.
“Better than ever, now Andrew if you will get up I can get us out of this mess.” Her offered limb is still hanging out between them and with one look to the creature he was saved from, and back to the one that saved him.He takes her hand.