A woman sits beside you in a coat of fur and tyvek. I have to catch the 9 am train, she says. You look at the clock. There are no numbers, only more women in coats of fur and tyvek, waiting for the 9 am train. You are sure it’s long past noon.
There are no clouds. There is no sun. As soon as the sun comes out, they repeat, mindlessly. You wonder if it ever will.
You sit with your family and tell stories from when you were young. The children run by the edge of the forest and catch fireflies in a jar. As the fire moans and pops there is movement in the woods. The sound does a wonderful job of disguising the something that hides in the trees. Everybody laughs.
A tall man with greying hair approaches you. He hands you a cup of coffee. He is really very tall. He smells like blood and burning leaves. He tells you the coffee is incredible. He smiles. He disappears in a cloud of cigarette smoke.
You’ve been walking down the beach for hours looking for your car. It’s raining. It’s always been raining. You don’t remember when it started.
A new girl moved in down the street from you. Her name is Nicole. She has long blonde hair that cascades down her back. She assures you they’ve never met, but you constantly confuse her with the Nicole who lived there before. She had long blonde hair that cascaded down her back. They say she went to Yale. You are not sure.
You’ve been driving down route 95 for 3 weeks now. You have yet to see a single car. Behind you headlights flash but when you turn, there is nothing there.
There is a motel 6 on the corner. The sign is half-lit and someone has spray painted an H over the M and added a second L. The sign now reads HELL 6 in bright letters. A man with a slight limp and a black tooth hands you your room key. He laughs as you walk away.
You run in to an old high school friend in the produce department of stop and shop. You laugh and talk about the high school sweethearts everyone always knew you would marry. The fruits and vegetables fall from their places, covering the floor in a layer of rotten fruit. You laugh. She laughs. Everyone laughs.
-You never hear the letter R pronounced in the words. You start to wonder if R is actually still a letter. It seems like there are only 25 letters in the alphabet here. You are losing your mind.
-You walk out of Dunkin Donuts and go down the block. You pass that same Dunkin Donuts again. You turn around, and it’s just Dunkin Donuts as far as the eye can see.
-When you ask for directions to I-95, they tell you to take a left where Amex used to be, then go straight past where that cute old Italian restaraunt was twenty years ago. You start to wonder if all the residents are stuck in the past. You wonder if time will ever catch up to us.
-It snowed again. You try to drive to work, but the roads just keep getting narrower and narrower. The snow is creeping in on you, slowly inching its way towards your spinning tires. You want to walk, but the sidewalks have vanished under layers of ice. There is no hope now. Only cold.
-You stare out at the bay, standing on the end of a dock. The water ripples slightly under where you stand, disturbed by the motion of a fish. You glance downwards, only to find the cold eyes and shrunken skin of your drowned self staring back at you.
A vast blue insect looms menacingly over the interstate just outside the city. Its mandibles glisten in the gloomy light. Each day, its emissaries travel across the state, knocking politely on the door of your home, my home, your child’s school. “We are here for your appointment ,” they say. You scheduled no appointment. You know they have come to eliminate the usurping rivals of their insect chief.
It’s summer. Clouds race across the blank sky, chased by winds you can’t feel. A mother hands her child a cup brimming with a dark, gelatinous ooze. “Awful,” the child lisps. “Awful awful,” the mother agrees, her smile stretching across a face otherwise as blank as the sky.
Folks from out of state claim it’s not an island. It is. It most certainly is. Oh, how we wish it weren’t. But it is.
The canal burns, and burns, and burns. Shadowy figures drift up and down among the flames, tending them—feeding them. Locals avert their eyes. Soon the dark gods will be appeased. Soon the flames will be quenched. But now, it is the season of burning.
The mansions that line the coast are dropping one by one into the sea. Like birds they plummet, like stones they sink. We still send up groups of girl scouts to tour their darkened halls. We know our business well. It is Cthulhu who calls them.
A vast orb appears in the sky. We all stop and stare at it. Tools lie abandoned, all cars stop. All eyes gaze upward. No matter where we are, no matter what we are doing, we always stop at the sign of the lemon.
Desperately, we seek to avoid our fate. We cling to hope—naming our streets, our schools, our halls: Hope. Our state motto is simply: “Hope.” Hope in what? For whom? We no longer know. For something better than this. Almost anything else would do.
People crowd the beaches. There is no sand, only rocks which pierce feet and leave them bloodied. More people push onto the beaches, then more. Hundreds stand on the beaches with bloody feet. No one dares to touch the water.
Monsters, literal monsters. They are here. They are manufactured on Westminster Street.
The sky is purple, then orange, then black. It flashes blood-red. “Flesh rain again,” nod the old-timers knowingly, as they take the special boots and slickers out of storage.
Students cluster on the hilltop. Their eyes: bloodshot, their voices: hoarse. “What do you study?,” you ask. A gibbering shriek rises up from the crowd. “Semiotics,” they hiss.
Nothing is more than an hour’s drive away. That’s what the committee, cloistered in their tower, informs the unsuspecting. Nothing is more than an hour’s drive away, yet we’ve been driving for days. The wise know not to attempt to drive anywhere, anymore.