The world ended. Slowly, but it ended. Each day, bits and pieces would crumble away. You could be walking home from school when suddenly you were falling through space. You'd be dead within the minute.
The world went into a panic. Crime went up. As did birth rates. Go figure.
It took fifty years, but eventually it all went away. There was no pattern. It first started in the United States. Amarillo, Texas, to be exact. A large man in a wheelchair fell along with his house. Then Russia. China. Germany. People thought they could run away. They packed bags and fled to where they thought they'd be safe. Some were even so bold as to buy (or steal) boats and take them out, seeing as more land than water fell. At first. Those people and that water dropped, too.
Scientists tried to figure it out. But they couldn't. If they had, you wouldn't be reading this story, now would you?
Crime went up – murders, theft, rape. You name it, it happened. Food disappeared. The cow jumping over the moon was funny to joke about for a while, too.
Then it all went away. Save for one house, that is.
215 Baker Street. What state, the family couldn't remember. America. That's all they knew.
The husband, Tom Jerner. A fine man. Balding blonde hair. His wife, Marissa. Their three daughters; Porsha, the oldest, Jamie, the kid sister, and Caroline, the baby.
They had fled from New Mexico when Marissa's aunt Kourtney Dropped. That was the term that everyone had used: Dropped.
They spent days wandering, trying to steer clear of everyone so as to avoid any incidents. The house they found was empty. They boarded up the windows, all the doors, armed themselves with guns and knives and tasers and pepper spray, if they could find a good enough can.
Every day Tom would sneak out, stealing as much food as he could for them to hoard in the basement. He dug for water bottles in the trash and filled them before the water became toxic.
The house was a decent size for a one story, minimal damage. White with a fence surrounding the entire area, a good sized back- and front yard. Marissa planted seeds whenever Tom could find them in hopes of starting a garden.
The weather went wacky. Nothing about nature was predictable anymore.
And then one night the family said their prayers and went to sleep. Everything was as normal as it was going to get.
The next day they woke up the only house around. No, really, the rest of the planet had Dropped. Save for their yard.
The water and electricity turned back to normal, how though none of them could explain. Every day Marissa would pick vegetables from her garden, and every night they would grow back. The air was still breathable, even with only their few plants in sight. It rained every couple days. It stayed frigid outside during the day, scorching during the night. How the rain did not become snow, none knew.
Marissa and Tom took turns homeschooling the two older girls, while the other took care of the baby.
The girls liked to play board games and video games. There were no television or radio stations, so sometimes Tom would pretend to host a radio show or be a weatherman to entertain the kids.
The girls loved to read, they flew through every book in the house they could find. They read at college level before long.
And when they got tired of reading the same things, they would invent new stories. They ran out of paper soon though, and resorted to using the old dinosaur computer the old owners had left behind. Most of the keys were missing, though, so they had to rely heavily on spell check to fix common errors.
The girls put on plays based off their stories; their parents liked to join. They had writing contests, the four of them. Jamie liked to make books for her baby sister, too.
This was their normal. They lived as normal as could be. And each night they'd say a prayer, and wake up just fine the next day.
For a while, at least. How long this "while" was, none of them could tell.
Then things got weird.
The weather went to straight rain, all day and all night. The plants stopped growing back every day; the family had to resort to eating all the hoarded food.
The first to go was Jamie. She wrote a horror story of a vampire eating Porsha one day, when Porsha stole her peas while their parents weren't looking. After that, Jamie became nocturnal. The sun burned her. She hissed more than spoke, covered in black. She became more pale every day. Her parents could not explain or understand what was happening to her. She'd glare at Porsha from her bedroom doorway. The girls used to share a room, but Marissa moved Porsha into the baby's room two days after Jamie's transformation.
Then Jamie tried to choke Porsha. She was playing some racing game in the living room when Jamie attacked her, hitting her with powerful blows to the face and finally wrapping her hands around the older girl's neck, squeezing as hard as she could and revealing pointy fangs.
Tom found the two. He tried to get Jamie off but she was too strong. Porsha was dying, going unconscious on the couch. That's when Marissa ran in from the basement, throwing garlic at the child. Jamie fell to the floor, writhing around. Tom flung her over his shoulder and ran to the front door. He sobbed and kissed her hair.
It's sad to say he did not, at the time, regret throwing her from the yard, watching as she fell into the inky blackness. Her scream would haunt him forever.
Then it was Porsha who went. She was never the same since Jamie. She grew quiet, depressed. It got worse when she found the story that had cursed Jamie. She deleted all they had written together, tearing pages from old notebooks and tossing the paper down, watching as they floated softly in space before vanishing, much like her sister had.
Some days she would not move from wherever she planted herself on the floor. Her mother would bring her food and drink, but she would hardly touch them.
Then one day, on her hands and knees, she lapped at a bowl of chicken noodle soup her father had left out for her.
And every day, she would sit on her hands and knees and lap at her dinner. She requested that all her drinks be poured in a bowl as well. She screamed for three straight hours every day when her parents did not comply. Eventually they did.
She walked around the house like that, on all fours. She'd put her nose to the floor and sniff. She licked the baby's cheek every time she got close enough. Marissa did not like that; she feared immensely for the baby.
Porsha started going to the bathroom in her clothes. At first she'd allow Marissa to change her, though she struggled each time. Then she stopped changing her clothes and taking baths. The stench was horrible. Her parents fled from the room every time she entered.
Her hair started to fall out in random places. Her teeth yellowed and broke off in chunks. Sometimes she'd chew on her left wrist for amusement. Eventually she could not use that hand anymore, the skin hanging from the bone she chewed it so much.
One night, something startled Marissa from her sleep. Tom snored on his side next to her. She listened. The rain pounded away on the roof. And then she heard the baby crying through the monitor.
She tried to shake Tom awake as she threw the covers off, running in her nightgown to the baby's room.
There sat Porsha on her hind quarters, staring at the baby's crib. They had moved her into Jamie's old room, locking her in there at night. How had she escaped?
"Porsha?" Marissa asked warily, taking a few steps closer to her daughters.
Porsha did not look up, but instead stared at the crib. She licked her lips. Marissa was unsure what to do.
"Sweety? Porsha, can you hear me?"
Still Porsha did not answer.
They all stayed like that for a while. Caroline slept soundly in her crib. Porsha sat on the carpet staring at the baby, Marissa staring at her.
Hours passed, and eventually Marissa began to doze against the door frame. She woke to the sound of the baby giggling.
Porsha was standing on both legs, hands on the crib and staring inside. Marissa screamed, yelling for Porsha to get away from the baby. Porsha snapped her attention to her mother, growling low before she dropped down to all fours again, creeping towards her. Marissa cried, falling down backwards as Porsha got closer. Five feet now, four, three.
A loud bang. Caroline started screaming her head off. Porsha lay two feet from Marissa, bleeding from the side of her head. Behind Marissa stood Tom, shotgun in hand.
He tossed the body from the yard, watching as she sailed down.
Marissa moved the baby into her and Tom's room. She feared for her last daughter, crying into the night on what would happen. She had nightmares, barely sleeping more than one hour every night.
Caroline wasn't the next to go.
Tom stood at the back door, watching the pouring rain from the sliding glass. He heard a voice and turned his head to listen. He realized it was Marissa.
Quietly, he crept around the wall and peered into the kitchen. She was standing by the phone, holding it to her ear and talking into it. She whirled around suddenly, staring at Tom. She dropped the phone; it swung back and forth on its cord. She looked like a deer in headlights. Quickly she dashed from the room.
"Marissa?" Tom called. He went over to the phone and pressed it to his ear. Nothing more than a dial tone.
A few nights later he woke in bed alone. "Marissa?" he called out. "Honey?"
He checked on the baby, and seeing she was sound asleep, he put on his robe and crept through the house. Only the kitchen light was on.
Marissa stood by the phone again, pressed to her ear. She murmured into it.
She whirled around, staring at her husband. Her hand turned white she gripped the phone so hard.
"I have to go," she whispered into the phone, then slammed it back onto the receiver.
She stormed past him, yelling that it would be wise for him to sleep on the couch.
He went to the phone and picked it up. It was still a dial tone. He began to press random buttons. Nothing. They would beep, but nothing more.
He tried old phone numbers he still vaguely remembered. Some of the digits were off, but who cared.
And then he hung up the phone with a sigh. What the hell was he even doing? There wasn't anyone or anything left. This was ridiculous!
He slept on the couch that night.
Marissa ignored him the next day. She ignored everything. She sipped her coffee at the table. The same cup. For the entire day. Tom tried to hand her Caroline, but she acted as if neither of the two were there. That night he bolted the bedroom door shut, placing a shotgun on the bed were Marissa slept.
At night he would find her talking into the phone. She ignored him every time. He tried to listen, but could barely pick up anything she was saying. He wasn't even sure if she really was saying anything, or just making noises into the phone. It never worked for him, though.
One night he wandered into the kitchen for something to drink, rubbing his eye. Marissa was, of course, at the phone.
She looked up as he entered. "I have to go. He's here," she whispered, then slammed down the phone. This was the first time in two months she had acknowledged him.
She swept by him. He tried to ignore it, but his stomach dropped. Something was wrong.
"Marissa?" he called, peering into the living room. The house was quiet.
He dashed to the bedroom, panting. The baby was gone from her crib. "Marissa!"
He ran back to the kitchen, staring at the front door. Then he took off for the back. The sliding door was open.
"Marissa!" he screamed into the rain, flipping on the back porch light. It illuminated the entire backyard. Nothing was there.
Then - "In here!"
Quickly he ran back to the kitchen, seeing Marissa at the front door. She rocked the baby in her arms.
"Marissa," he began.
She smiled at him. He noticed the front door was open. Then she took off running.
He chased her, screaming and crying. But it was too late.
He watched as Marissa flung their baby over the fence. It cried for five seconds, then was gone.
He stood in horror in the pouring rain, staring over the fence. She flashed him a huge grin, sauntering back into the house. She slammed the door.
He sat on the front porch for a while. He was numb. Whether it was because of the rain and cold or because all his children were dead, he wasn't sure.
Eventually he wandered into the backyard and crept through the open sliding glass door. He dashed to the basement and locked himself inside, grabbing up a rusty chef's knife and sitting facing the door. He fell asleep like that.
When he woke up, the door had been broken down. Alarmed, he looked around, but he was unharmed. Nothing had been touched. As he got up, he noticed the absence of the large knife.
Slowly, he crept from room to room, but Marissa was nowhere to be found. Not inside, at least.
Outside, she was lying in a puddle – more like a lake at this point – of her own blood by the gate. It had splattered up onto the white fence. He opened the gate and kicked her lifeless body through it, watching as it fell, the knife pierced straight through her chest.
He went crazy. He talked to all the walls and furniture. He forgot to eat most times, or to use the bathroom in the actual toilet rather than the kitchen floor. Sometimes he picked up the phone and acted as if Marissa was on the other end. She never was, only the dial tone. He cried. His only friend, the dial tone. At least it would be there for him.
He sat in the kitchen one day at the round wooden table, staring at the wall. He was blank, everything was blank. If someone had been around, they'd think he was dead.
He was brought from his thoughts though. He listened, gazing around at the yellow walls. Then it happened again.
He turned slowly and stared, listening as it happened a third time. And then a fourth.
A fourth knock at the door.