Night of 28th Jan 2020

Confusion and scatter. Wild eyes flicking. The gore and blood spread down chins and chests. Ragged hair, knotted, matted and twisted, gnarled limbs like arthritic fingers with alive nerves twitching in dead flesh, all searching, hungry and wretched. Children, men, old ladies; clenching fists and gnashing their teeth.

Crouched beside the weatherboard house, grass scratching and stabbing at my skin, my eyes searching the darkness for a sign of movement. Groans of torture and pain in the distance and all around me. I can smell the blood, heavy and metallic up my nose. “Not mine?” in my mind shaking my head, confused. Stickiness on the wall against my arm as I push up against the boards; fear crippling me. Crawling to the open door, my ears scanned the black void. Trembling. My eyes trying to find a way, my fingers and raw knees slipping through the thickness of the wet threshold. So quiet. Not safe? Urging forward into the inkiness before me, my senses screaming to get back and find another place to hide. “Where else is safe?” “No where is safe. I’m on my own.” Alone. My head jerks, the scrawling cries are chasing me; my gut propels me forward as I kick the door shut, slamming my body against the wall, I let my hands lead the way along the dark belly of the derelict home.

Fingernails scratching; thuds on clunks. Knocking. Groaning and guttural crying. The noise is deafening as it encroaches on me. Up. Have to go up.

I’m so tired. Just want to close my eyes and wait for this to be over. Just die. I’m so hot. Burning and heavy. And thirsty. “How long has it been? Fuck, I’m so thirsty!”

A chopper light scorches the bathroom tiles. It’s rotors thick in the night outside, beating down. What are they doing? No guns. No bombing. No help? Scoffing, “a fucking joke”. Tap. Water. The relief of cool in my throat and splashing my stomach lining.

A kid crying. What? Fear again crushing me against the wall. Unrelenting argument in my head. Find it? No. Find it! No! I’m finding it. Idiot!

Prying the door ajar, the crying intensifies. Sobbing and frightened, or is this a trick? Are they that sly? Do they know they’re smart? My arms leading me along the hallway, flailing, searchlight bleaching the hallway through papered windows and down the hall end. A figure crouched and heaving. The child? More sobbing, but not from that pulsing silhouette. My head cocked, “fucking hell, I am in hell.” My head raves at me.

Something knocks into my face. Paralysed. Reaction, a swipe as I whack at the plastic knob on the man hole door cord. The roof. It’s door partly down and calling me. The heaving has stopped at the end of the hall. Movement as the blackness swirls down the hall end. Fuck!

Yanking the cord the stairs clank downward as I scramble to climb them, slicing my shins on the steps, the groan morphing into a wretched guttural yodel as it comes at me. Scraping the skin off my shins and forearms, I slip down. Slipping, scrambling, and blood. More fucking blood. Grabbing at my ankle. Clawing and gripping like a vice around my foot. Shooting pain. The smell. It’s vile and putrid as I kick back, gut slush and skin flaps pushing off bone as I kick my way to the top. Spinning to pull the stairs up, the chopper light illuminates a kid. I’m fighting a little girl. Tears burning my face. My throat closed and full, gagging and choking. A girl. Moment of horror, or is it shock? Short, once blonde hair slicked, and stuck to her head with blood, her eyes wild and dead, all at the same time; undead. Her cheek and lower neck ravaged, shredded and missing, exposing her tongue and shattered teeth. Dead eyes unblinking. Reaching behind me, searching for anything, purging my stomach of the water, just needing something. Anything! Bile and acid in my mouth as real panic and fear of death smash my brain. Nails scratching at ceiling rafters, splinters, and a piece of wood. Cane? Stick? Cane, what’s cane doing here? Clutching. Launching downward with the thin cane it slices through into the top of her head like a fucking shashlik. Too soft. No pressure. Confused? Motionless, her pleading arms drop, her eyeballs twist up and she slides down the stairs and onto the hallway floor.

Eyes open. 2.32am