Wake Up
rating: +33+x

" Wake Up "

August 27 2022


Look Familiar?

Bright hues of orange scattered from the horizon as the sun peeked from the field line, showering everything it touched in a golden glow. The morning dew dripped from the leaves of the crops, fresh in the crack of dawn. The serenity was reminiscent of a 19th-century landscape painting, and yet no painter could capture the coos of the morning doves.

The sunbeams shone through a magnifying glass, beaming a most annoying ray of light straight at the face of mister sleeping beauty. And if that wasn't enough of a wake-up call, the alarm just next to the sleeping boy began to blare with an ever so annoying chime. It rang with such force that it shattered as it smashed into the ground.

The boy jolted up at the sound. At this point, he wouldn’t have been surprised if someone came crashing in, banging pots and pans. Begrudgingly he forced himself out of bed. In the window, he was able to see his reflection — blue eyes, surrounded by dark circles. He looked just like his father.

There was no reason to change, so he just fixed up his shirt and tossed some new socks on. This clothing was strewn all across his room with no rhyme or reason. This was because his laundry basket was busy being used to contain the thing in the closet.

‘Speaking of.’

His gaze turned to the closet where visible black wisps leaked under the doors, reaching for the broken clock pieces. He stomped on them immediately, causing the mass to shrink back from whence it came. Retrieving the damaged parts so it could not build another weapon, he tossed the broken clock into the trash bin where two other alarm clocks remained.

'More like a clock cemetary than trash now.'

Judging by the peeking sun when he looked outside, it must have been about five in the morning. He had a lot to get done.

Leaving to get to the washroom, he passed the pedestal with a calender pinned above it. It had officially been seven days since his parents hadn’t come home.

‘Must be having the time of their lives out there.’ He didn't let his thoughts get any more profound than that, shoving a toothbrush into his mouth. He dipped down to take a sip of water from the sink. When he straightened back up, he wasn't surprised to see his reflection had changed. A horrible recreation of himself was painted in the mirror, with devil horns and signed off with ‘Thomas.’ The reflection only looked that way sometimes; it looked familiar, almost. Like a crayon drawing instead of anything truly photorealistic. He vaguely remembered seeing it at school — some loser in his class had tried hiding something like it from him.

The first time he'd seen it happen, he'd hoped it had meant he was still dreaming.

Moving out of the bathroom and past his room to the stairs, he glanced once at the closed door. A glittery nameplate with a race car on it read ‘Atlas.’ It had been a while since they got that. He always tried to get rid of it, but his mom always put it back up.

Atlas supposed now she wouldn't be able to do that.

Sliding down the stair's railing into the dining room, Atlas entered what used to be a lively living space. It was hard not to notice the thin layer of dust starting to accumulate on the nicely set-out dining equipment. Only one spot looked used. The young boy sat at that spot, grabbing the half-empty box of cereal that he hadn't bothered to put away since yesterday. It was the one his mom used in her meatloaf, plain and bland in every way, but it was the last box left.

Grabbing his spoon, he ate the small flakes dry. It wasn’t that they didn't have milk; I mean, they had a cow barn, for heaven's sake! He just wasn't feeling like getting up to grab some. Last he checked the fridge, it checked him back- and the rope on the handle won't keep it in there forever. It already looked like it had found a way to begin chewing through it.

He never thought monsters were real! In the same way the tooth fairy and Santa were stories. After the first few days of his parents being gone, it felt like a new one showed up every afternoon. He missed living in blissful ignorance. Nostalgic for the mere days prior when he never had to worry if one would be too strong for him to contain. Normalcy was the best gift a kid could get.

Shoving another scoop of bitter cereal into his mouth, Atlas winced when his teeth clamped down onto the metal spoon from a sudden rumble below his chair. The entire house rattled as though thunder shook its very beams. An earthquake wasn't uncommon at this time of year, but this sure was lasting a while.

After a straight five seconds, it was noticeably getting worse. He could hear the earth trembling, like thousands of horses stampeding. His eyes shot to the window, and from his spot on the hill, he could see something far off in the distance creeping closer, destroying every crop in its path. It was massive! And it was headed here.

Without a second thought, Atlas rushed to the kitchen, opening up drawers and grabbing at some supplies he laid out in the event of an emergency before tossing it all into a bag. There was no time to waste; he knew very well that whatever that THING was, it could kill him. He didn't want to take the chance of defending this house that had strayed so far from a home.

He didn't even glance back at the place where he'd grown up; he left the door ajar in his utter haste towards the electric bike his father never let him use. On the back was a milk crate with a folded tarp, a gas canister and first aid kit all tied down so it wouldn't go flying everywhere– and thank God for that. The moment he got on the bike, he strapped his backpack on tighter than it needed to be and ripped the starting cord with such force that the cycle fled into motion. His feet could barely keep up with the pedals while he tore down the driveway built on a hill, racing towards the road.

Not even the sound of the tires pushing through the gravel and throwing small pebbles in all directions was able to mask the scream of what Atlas could only describe as several buildings cracking under a crushing weight, followed by them collapsing in on themselves.

The quickest road to the city was across a field. Otherwise, he would be forced to go around and risk the stampede cutting him off. The best shot he had was to get into the field and book it. The bike's velocity shot him through the ditch and into the field, breaking down all kinds of overgrown wheat and weeds. It had a much harder time on the soft soil and wouldn't be able to go any faster than his own running pace. Atlas needed a distraction.

Grabbing the gas tank and tilting it upside down, he unscrewed the cap and let the fuel drip down while he continued to push the bike forwards in rough movements. He was only halfway there, and he could hear it approaching. By this point, he was clenching his teeth down on his tongue so hard that a metallic taste lingered, heaving with all his might forwards until he had no more gas left in the tank.

For the first time, he turned around and saw the lumbering beast of flesh and horrific amalgamations entering the field with him. Atlas could only hope to the sick God doing this to him that his plan would work. He attempted to strike the first match with shaky hands, breaking it under the force. The second one struck perfectly, igniting a flickering flame that danced its way from the hands of a small boy to the ground where gasoline coated the floor.

Just like that, entire crops went up in flames. Atlas abandoned the canister and run towards the road just a few feet away from him to avoid the rising smoke. Flames grew taller than his head, just barely hiding the monster that's flesh began melting away.

When he blinked, he could've sworn he saw a glimpse of hell.

Faces of neighbours, animals from the barn, and things he could barely recognize fell into clumps that burnt off and fell into the roaring red abyss. He would feel guilty if he could feel anything other than pure adrenaline and intoxicating fear. There was nothing here for him anymore.

Dragging one foot along the ground and then the other, he picked up the bike that he hadn't even realized he had dropped. It was eerily quiet now, aside from the crackling of fire behind him. It took a couple of tries to get the engine started again, but he eventually got it running with a final tug. Shaky knees made it hard to get on the bike comfortably. Atlas was glad that the bike could run on its own; he didn't have any strength to peddle himself.

When his mom drove him out to soccer practice, she would have to drive right to the city's border, where the field was every Thursday. It took about 20 minutes to get there because they lived so far away. Eventually, he had to stop going because they moved even further. Despite the fact, he knew the way there like the back of his hand.

During his travels, he distracted himself with thoughts of school and home. The great thing about living on an island was that you knew almost everyone, but with the downside of having no way to get off. If nothing was there for him in the city, that was it. Food would run sparse in days, and he would have no way to get away from this island of monsters.

A creaking noise broke him from his thoughts. Atlas came to realize his grip on the handlebars was starting to hurt from the rubber grip digging into his skin.

The wailing creak continued, and with a turning gaze, he observed the most gorgeous house Suffolk had to offer, lined with a white picket fence. Looking at it now filled Atlas with dread. It was a family of six, four kids, all of whom were much younger than he was. They had a mill on their property that very clearly hadn't gotten the maintenance it needed in a while, as he could hear its every turn like an eerie cry.

He could have sworn he had seen the eldest child’s face in that fresh horror left behind him. He knew a bunch of kids probably hadn't survived as long as he had. Pulling his head away from the lightless house, he continued his trek forwards. Every place in his small town looked like that now. By the time he realized something was wrong, it was already too late to gather every kid in the neighbourhood.

Something deep within him hoped that even the most insufferable kid he knew was picked up by someone or somewhere safe. Something deeper wished he had been saved too.

‘Thomas. Wonder whatever happened to that kid.’

Pondering past relations now was terrible timing. He had many better things and people to be worried about, such as himself and the hope that whatever came from his home stayed there before he made it to the city.

The closer he got to the city, the further his stomach sank. With time he came across the familiar display sign he saw on the corner ‘Welcome to Charlottetown! Population: 36,000’. The sign was likely very outdated on the population aspect.


You're near the end.

It was also made of cardstock paper and crayon, which didn't surprise him. The last time he had gotten this far, the city had looked like a second grader's art project. Atlas assumed at the time it was a dream, but lots of things started doing that.

It was easier to pedal now. The newly paved road faded into a drawing as he closed in on the central part of the city. Street signs, houses, offices; they all began to blend into a crayon-drawn mess. Only a few things were left untouched.

Strangely enough, the central roundabout was missing its monument. All that stood was an undrawn plateau that seemed to have avoided the ‘great redraw.’

From where he stood, it looked like the center of the universe. It looked like there were a few words written on a golden sign. Atlas set his bike against a lime green traffic pole perpetually stuck on red, walking towards the podium. He had to heave himself up onto the top plateau to read the plaque, picking it up into his arms. It was surprisingly weightless, as though made of glass. His eyes glanced over the scribbled text.

“Here lies the villain of my story. Atlas Terrell. Died…far too late.”

The grip on the plaque left as he glanced around, leaving it to shatter on the marble upon which he stood. Small fragments burst across the grass surrounding the pillar.

“Who said that?!” His voice broke as fear and panic tore through him once more. He didn't see a single soul around him, but he could hear tiny giggles.

He reached a hand up to his head, feeling a pang of a headache coming on. Only, there was no hand. His chest heaved with every breath tearing through him. His hand was slowly fading away in front of his very own eyes. Knots tied mercilessly in his stomach until his shaky legs gave out, throat heaving with breaths on the verge of vomiting.

Messy black etches formed around his knees as a voice laughed at him mercilessly.

“You are nothing, Atlas. My whole life, you took everything from me. YOU ARE NOTHING, ATLAS.” As the words boomed into his ears, the same things were written around him in swirls.


Thomas. Tears welled in Atlas' eyes, and for the first time, he felt genuinely pathetic. Trembling in a fetal position as he watched his own body etch away, He could not find words anymore, and when his remaining hand reached to his mouth, he found nothing but eraser sheddings.

“YOU ARE LOST” His legs began to erase as well, leaving only faint lines where a pencil pressed into a paper.

“YOU ARE ALONE” In seconds, his arms and torse were gone, leaving only his head.

“YOU WON'T POISON ME ANYMORE” tear-filled eyes remained for a few moments, seeing the cruel joke he was made to be after all.

“THIS WORLD WILL BE FREE OF EVIL” the city center went quiet. Empty.

Not so much as a breeze fell through the city center, the impressions of a nobody being the only sign of life, surrounded by black inked words. The twisted end of an unfair story.

Nobody would ever hurt Thomas again.

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