by Emily Anderson of Pawtucket
My fingers trembled as they wrapped around the ledge of the balcony, and I could feel my heart catch as I leaned forward, expecting to see the worst but still surprised by the carnage that had rendered my beloved home unrecognizable. It had been 12 days since Cthulhu washed up in the Providence River, right in the heart of the city. Ever since then a thick fog had settled over Providence and it seemed as if everyday someone new was missing. I wasn’t a religious person by any means, but I often found myself praying in the days following the start of The Destruction. To whom I was praying I wasn’t exactly sure, whoever might be out there and willing to listen I guess. But still, I silently pleaded, willing the madness to end, begging for those I loved to be found. Yet nothing happened. No mystical being came down from the heavens to slay the beast in the waters below, and Cthulhu never seemed to tire of his rampage. It
was as if he was feeding on our sorrow and fear.
“Jump.” The voice that spoke to me inside my head was somehow simultaneously yelling and whispering, and it’s voice was both sharp and raspy. It had been a constant in my life since the first day, and despite living with it for nearly two weeks it still brought a chill down my spine every time it spoke. “JUMP.” The voice repeated sternly. I pushed myself away from the ledge, refusing to let myself bend to him. He had taken so much from me already, I wasn’t going to allow him to break me down any further. I could hear the voice cackling as I turned back inside my apartment, slamming the sliding glass door shut as if that would be enough to save me from Cthulhu’s clutches.
I looked around at the current state of disarray that had taken over my apartment. Clothes were strewn everywhere, dishes had completely flowed over the sink and spilled onto the counter. “Not like any of it matters,” I thought to myself. The world around me was collapsing and I hadn’t had contact with anyone I cared about in nearly two weeks. I made a deal with myself at that moment, if I made it through the end of The Destruction I would come back and do my dishes. Until then, it was the least of my worries.
I took a deep breath as I accepted what my next moves had to be and started gathering as much of my dirty laundry into a small backpack as I could before swinging it over my shoulder.
“Foolish girl,” the voice chided me as I reached for the knob of my front door. I took a step over the threshold, letting the door slam shut behind me. “Do you think you can run from me?”
I strolled down the street, towards the train station. The trains hadn’t been running for days since evacuation efforts had ceased abruptly but I figured if I followed the tracks long enough I’d make it out of Rhode Island, and hopefully wherever I ended up wouldn’t be touched by the same kind of evil as Providence.
“No matter where you go,” the voice warned. “I will always be right here, inside every thought and inside every dream. There is only the eternal way out.”