Black Petals Issue #75 Spring, 2016

Walking to Class
Home
Mars-News, Views and Commentary
The Big Well-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
The Boxlike Object-Fiction by Charles C. Cole
The Enemy of My Enemy-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Virtuality-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Virtuous Reality-Fiction by A. M. Stickel, Editor
Walking to Class-Fiction by George Economou
Whispering Ghosts-Fiction by George Economou
Churchyard watcher-Two Poems by Chris Friend
August Nights-3 Poems by Dr. Mel Waldman

reddragon.jpg

Walking to Class

 

By George Economou

 

A bad case of student burnout

 

     Another morning, another class, another endless midnight, and...

Peter stepped off the bus, wearing his sunglasses despite the dark clouds hovering above, in order to conceal his bloodshot eyes from the world. The cool breeze stroked his face; soft rain fell on his long, greasy hair. He rolled and lit a cigarette as soon as he was off the bus, and watched the first blue cloud of smoke blow away.

Suddenly, the sidewalk began melting, tilting one moment leftwards, then reversing. Peter tried to balance on the ever-shifting landscape, avoiding the pits of lava that erupted through the asphalt. He walked into the vast, seemingly abandoned campus—no bikes, or students, or cars. Music blasting through his earphones, cigarette still between his fingers, he waltzed among the lava pits and melting streets.

The grass next to the sidewalk had turned brown, sparkles of fire occasionally erupting to wither a flower. Steadily, cautiously, Peter continued, despite by the destruction; he had no time to waste on his way to class.

The yellow-brick buildings were still standing tall, and voices could be heard over the music—signs of life. He walked uphill, turned left, bypassing the big auditorium building, and skirted the campus lake.

“Want to buy some dreams?” a crocodile standing on its hind legs asked with a horrid grin. Startled, Peter jumped away from the grinning monster into the path of an oncoming bike. He and the rider fell onto the steaming street.

“Watch where you’re going, buster!” the angry bear yelled as it picked up the bike and hastily rode off.

Shocked, Peter stared at the bear, then ran across the narrow street. The lake was frozen, but intoxicating steam was emerging from the solid surface. He stood there puffing on his cigarette, removed the headphones and stared about, and saw through a veil of blue smoke the usual traffic and students smoking, chatting, and laughing. They seemed oblivious to the crocodile on the corner, and the bears and tigers riding bikes amongst them.

He threw the finished cigarette on the ground, where it was swallowed by the asphalt and vanished into a small pool of fire. A crackling echoed through the air, yet no one but Peter turned towards the lake, from whence it came. The ice broke, and water fountained; a ghoulish whale, impossibly large for the lake, emerged from the depths and splashed everyone around it with freezing water. Peter ran, as the whale on the ice stood, staring about in menace, still splashing a fountain of ice.

A few moments later, his body abused by drugs and alcohol had to pause for breath. He found himself in the parking lot of the natural history museum, right next to the lake. The whale was nowhere to be found and the lake wasn’t frozen. Ducks paddled freely across the water; pigeons and crows chased worms in the grass.

In the parking lot right behind him, a large crowd milled, a few in costumes, but most just staring about anxiously. He saw himself amidst the group, guzzling his 7am beer, as nervous as the others. In the next instant, a blaze of fire from the sky hit the group, which disintegrated into dust! The beer-drinking version of himself was dead and gone, yet he was still there. Why? How?

He walked away slowly; he could feel curious glances, but didn’t care. He put the headphones back on, allowed himself to relax, and rolled another cigarette. There was a class to be attended.

To his left stood the small yellow-brick dorm for biology students. A hot river of beer suddenly flowed from the windows and doors. With the inside of the house flooding, desperate people tried to swim in the scorching beer and, soon, their corpses littered the burned grass outside the house. He stood perfectly still, simply watching, until the house crumbled. Beer flooded the street, reaching for him with foamy fingers.

On burned shoes, he fled. People walked by, ignoring the ruined house, the cries of despair, the boiled bodies. Peter didn’t go near, either; a hole had appeared in his shoe and his sock was drenched. His foot hurt. He crossed the street, ignoring the oncoming traffic, still smoking and listening to music.

The vast building of the biological institute, with its labs, loomed. With a quick glance, he saw himself standing inside one of the labs on the ground floor, cutting up a frog, laughing at some young woman’s joke. The windows all broke, the dead animals kept in the basement fridges emerged, and a skeletal lion devoured his pretty lab partner. Three students tried to fight off a menacing dolphin that was missing its tail. Windows shattered as people jumped from the second and third floors, trying to evade murderous animal specimens seeking revenge. Blood poured onto the grass and splashed on the yellow walls.

Peter desperately sought the stairs to the math building, away from the killing spree. Bikes passed him on the narrow trail of blood. He could hear screams over the loud rock music in his headphones. Another cigarette rolled and lit, he increased his pace. In the quad he saw tents and heard party music. Thousands of ghostly youths mingled, drinking beer, laughing, vomiting, pissing on the bushes, and passing out.

On a faraway picnic table he saw himself sitting, drinking coffee, and smoking a cigarette, next to someone he didn’t recognize. Smiling at each other, they made a perfect pair, and an arrow of emotion pierced his heart. Tears blurred his vision. When it cleared, he watched the earth open up and swallow tents, partyers, and picnic table into infernal depths. What remained was a direct entrance to hell, yawning wide as if inviting him to jump in too.

Peter, heartbroken, felt compelled to jump, but flames erupted from within the hole and sealed the entrance. Not yet! Some have to suffer longer before being eternally damned. Peter remained stranded…

 

A high shriek breached the sky. Peter looked up. A huge red dragon stood atop the math building, breathing flames into the cloudy day. Awed, Peter rushed towards the majestic creature. A flap of the mighty wings, and a strong tornado swept away all; bikes and bodies twirled towards oblivion. Unfazed, through the tornado he walked and in the eye of the storm stopped, for once in his life, within absolute stillness! Euphoric, he smiled. The cigarette was burned out, so he threw it into the violent winds, where it joined the rest of the dead. Nowhere and everywhere, the swirling wind around him was the only reality. His headphones grew wings, flew away, and his smile widened.

Abruptly, both the stillness and violence ceased; he was standing, mid-trail, among trees on fire amidst a heavy snowfall. The dragon was gone. Peter walked through the snow and the fire, and stepped inside the math building. He was surrounded by walking corpses, carrying books and backpacks, while sipping blood from plastic cups. He stared at the zombies all around him, but none paid him any attention.

He brushed his hair away from his forehead, put his sunglasses atop his head, and turned right. Ahead of him, the big doors leading into the main auditorium burst open; corpses flooded the corridors. Feeling invisible and invulnerable, he shoved through the flow of them. They were grunting, grating laughter, and grinding their teeth, but not one tried to bite him. He reached the narrow staircase and climbed hastily, relieved to escape that river of death.

From above, he stole a last glimpse. The zombies milled about—horrendous, hungry, and lost. He sighed and turned his attention away. He saw a tall ape sitting at a table in the corner, staring at a laptop, a plastic cup to its lips. The ape didn’t notice him either; thus, Peter stepped into the classroom unchallenged.

He was running late, the lecture was about to begin, and everyone else was already there. He sat next to a girl, whose name he couldn’t remember. Then he noticed that the walls were on fire, the floor was distorted, and cracks were appearing on the ceiling. The building was about to collapse; he could sense the foundations rotting. No one else noticed, though, their attention focused on the lecture. The walls burned quietly, smokelessly. Soon his classmates had no eyes or noses, and didn’t seem to feel the black blood running down their faces.

The woman next to him gave him a faint smile with what was left of her face, then fixed her attention blindly on the blackboard where the professor, a toothless 8-foot-tall yeti, began lecturing in a harsh voice that made the windows crack. Snow fell inside the room and was turned into ice, despite the blazing heat. Peter sighed.

Another morning…another class…another

 

Endless MIDNIGHT

 

George Gad Economou, sorensen385@hotmail.com, of Risskov, Denmark, who wrote BP #75’s “Walking to Class” and “Whispering Ghosts” (+ BP #74’s “The Family F,” BP #72’s “In Dreams There Is No Time,” BP #68’s “Angel of the Dark,” and BP #64’s “The Day I Started Believing”), is a 20ish horror author from Greece, whose first novel, THE ELIXIR OF YOUTH, was published in Greece in 2010. He wrote this first novel at age 15, and has since written more novels, as well as short stories, all horror. See www.facebook.com/GeorgeGadEconomou.

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