|Rust After Waking
Author: Long PM
Everything was normal yesterday. But the air smelled strange during the night. Like laying along the a warm shoreline in the middle of the night. But, I was in my home, in my bed. I wasn't dreaming. This was real. I opened the blinds. I wasn't dreaming.Rated: Fiction T - English - Supernatural/Suspense - Words: 1,358 - Reviews: 2 - Published: 10-20-09 - Status: Complete - id: 2732919
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"Do you want to fuck me," she said.
She was a woman I met a few weeks ago at the Save-Mart in Midtown. She was a cashier and through check out lane smalltalk, I learned that I had actually lived down the street from her.
We spent the night watching SG-1 on DVD. She was an astronomy major at Sacramento State. I liked her a lot. She wasn't a beautiful girl. She was flat chested, had a plain hair style, and wore thick black framed glasses with round cheeks. She was 25 but most would guess that she looked 18. We sat there on the sofa underneath a jersey blanket.
"If you ever stumbled upon a Stargate, where would you want it to go?"
"I don't know," I said, "I honestly don't."
"We all have somewhere we want to go."
"Hmm...maybe back east."
"You're like Teal'c."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, you're no fun."
I woke up at around four in the morning. There was a tangy smell in the air. It was thick enough that you could fell the texture of the smell on your screen. It was not the tangy smell that comes with pulpy orange juice or acid rain, it was more metallic, like the bottom of emptied beer bottles that had been laying on the floor for too long.
I was thirsty and my throat felt coarse. I stumbled down into the kitchen and dispensed a glass of water from refrigerator. It tasted gritty and again, that same metallic tang.
I do not remember with we did last night. Maybe I had too much drank or the sex was too rough. I sat down on the sofa with my glass of water and turned on the television.
The television was an old set. The channel button was broken and there was no remote so it was always set on channel 3, KCRA. There was a breaking news story. Pamela Wu was standing in front of the Capitol Bridge:
"City officials have not found the cause of the corrosion that seems to be spreading from the bridge and into other areas of downtown Sacramento, West Sacramento and Midtown. In fact, officials say that the corrosion seems to be accelerating and are worried about it reaching other metal structures in areas such as Natomas and Elk Grove within a few hours. Scientists and metallurgist, as well as mineralogist from UC Davis and CSUS are on the scene but no one seems to be able to find the cause at this moment. The Capitol Bridge, Embassy Suites and the surrounding areas will be closed down from public traffic until further notice. Pamela Wu, reporting for KCRA, out."
I thought I woke up to a dream and pulled open the blinds and looked outside. Cars were rusting down on sidewalks and driveways, body panels and wheel bases pockmarked with holes and crannies. Suburbans, Tahoes, Civics, Camrys and Accords - they all looked as if rats had chewed through them, in the same way that they had chewed through the clothes in the closet I had before I moved to Sacramento.
I ran up stairs and shook Adrianna awake.
"What is it?" she said.
"You've got to take a look outside," I said, "There's some strange shit going. Really strange." Her eyes widened. She got up and looked out the small bedroom window.
"My god, what the hell is happening outside."
"I have no idea. I went down downstairs for a drink and it tasted like rust and then I saw the news. Everything is fucking rusting out there." We both ran downstairs. She took the bedsheets around her shoulders and we watched. The Capitol Bridge was halfway decomposed and looked as if it was about it about to fall into the Sacramento River.
"This has to be a hoax," she said
"I don't think so."
She threw on a pair of socks and ditched the sheets for my bathrobe. Even though it was Saturday morning, he neighborhood was beginning to realize that something was different today. And wrong.
It was the kind of scene in science fiction movies, right before the aliens land and all the people gathering outside their homes, standing next to the car with the drive door open, all staring up all the musty orange sky, searching for something while the metals corroded all around them. The dust that rose up and was being carried by the delta breeze. Combined with the fog, it tinted everything, including our skin a faded amber. I put my hand in front of my mouth to keep from breathing it in and seeing me, Adrianna did the same. One of the neighbors, knelled down on her knees and started praying. Others, simply stood on the street in disbelief or shock. You could hear the doppler effect of emergency vehicles all over. Exclamation marks for every minutes that passed.
I walked Adrianna to her condo down the street. The door knob disintegrated away as she tried to turn the key in the lock. Her brother was also watching the news on the television. The antenna was disappearing slowly and the signal cut in and out. "What the fuck is going!" he shouted.
He dropped the of Lucky Charms onto the floor as we got in. It had been soggy for quite a while. Eventually, the signal cut out completely and all that was left was static. And then that too shut off.
Adrianna and I walked quickly up the stairs and into the bedroom where she changed into a pair of jeans. She reached for the button around her waist but was only left with gritty grains on her fingers. She picked up two duffel bags, one for her and one for me and we loaded it up with bottled water, a plastic can of mace, energy bars and a flashlight. We also started filling the bathtubs with water. It sputtered out slowly. We left it running.
"What are we going to do?" she said.
"I have no idea."
I hugged her.
She held the back of my head in her hand. "I guess It doesn't matter anymore."
We made our way from the newly built condos in West Sacramento the the pyramid on the edge of the Sacramento River. It used to be home to First Union before it went bankrupt, now it was only known just "the" pyramid, a vacated and abandoned building that was home to squatters and the homeless. It was put together out of giant pieces of concrete and stone.
A few others had gathered around the base of the pyramid and were beginning to climb the steps to the top. The high rise that was under construction next to us collapsed with a loud clang and sent clouds of dust rolling over us like red Saharan sand storms. We coughed and shut our eyes and tried not to breath. I could feel the burn and cling in my lungs.
At the top of the pyramid, some people had gathered with signs signaling the coming of the apocalypse, bible verses, welcome signs, signs that said "Get off my planet!". I held Adrianna's hand and we watched as the rest of Capitol Bridge, which had been floating in the water, dying it a deep red finally disappeared in a murky cloud of gold and yellow. Sharks feasting in the deep ocean of gregarious gold paint. The beams and supports collapsing with loud splashes into the water, taking the River Queen boat restaurant with it. Everyone was silent. Everyone along standing around the Pyramid. Everyone across the river in wooden Old Sacramento. In the distance, we could hear and see the supports fail on the high rises downtown as they tumbled all over K and J Street. The blades of the news helicopter disintegrated along with the rest of its frame. The people falling into the water.
Adrianna started crying. "What's happening John?"
I don't know. We stood watch as everything we knew came to an end. I don't know.