The Pernicious Decay


I wish the sky fell. Or disease overwhelmed us all in a matter of weeks. Nuclear holocaust. Terrorist regimes. Give us any other form of devastation. Humanity once feared the world would end. We now can only pray for such mercy. But no one prays much anymore. The concept of God faded along with our lives. A dying existence plagues us. I wish the end came with a bang, tyrannical overthow, or at least a terminal cough. Instead the apocalypse came from within us. Pernicious, unannounced, and deadly. I welcomed it. As did we all. Few of us question whether we deserve this. Even fewer hope we can escape. I am one of these odd few. Today, I must continue my search for a way out. Even if it kills me. Or destroys us all.

I pry the magnet from the closet door track. Grab a vital-shirt. Avoiding the cuffs, I swipe the magnet over collar, chest, and abdomen. The silver sheen distorts to bronze and coal shades. I slip on the fine-spun metal garment. I shiver at the chill of fabric against my skin. Goosebumps appear on my bony wrists as I push up the sleeves. I spray the moderating tan onto my hands, forearms, face. Check the mirror to make sure all exposed areas bear the common shade.

Gaddis missed a spot last week. He only made it two blocks from our residential unit before they noticed. Someone on the way to duty. Could have been a man or woman. Anyone who spotted his natural skin color. I heard the uproar first. A beastly call to summon a mob. Countless pairs of the same boots stampeded on the streets. The outcry followed. Shrill. Piercing. Then, silent. I marched past his cannibalized remains ten minutes later. On my way to duty. Did not recognize the faceless form. At the day’s end, a new resident moved into his unit. Only then did I learn what happened.

I layer a black tunic, trenchcoat, scarf, and gloves over my skin. Examine my reflection, just to make sure. I lace up my boots, the same ones worn by all who bear duty. Who eat our neighbors upon the call of the mob.

Leave a Reply