“National Emergency has been issued…”
“…evacuations are the worst possible idea…”
“…mysterious clouds are engulfing the country…”
“Hold your loved ones close, and pray for mercy.”
News channels made their last airing around the country as everything fell apart. As far as the US was concerned, we were hopeless. The clouds had already take over 75% of the country, leaving only North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. Rations are becoming scarce, people are hungry, sick, and dying. The best part? We still don’t know what the clouds are, let alone how to get rid of them. We’ve only seen what they do once you’re surrounded by them.
It’s been six years since I’ve been outside. No, I’m not depressed. No, I’m not paranoid. I’m only surviving, barely. The rest of humanity is long gone, everyone fled to the coasts once the clouds fell. The scientists said there would be safest, but I knew better. I don’t know how, but I knew. I stocked up on nonperishable foods, tons of water, and enough to entertain me for the rest of my days. I had daily group chats with my animals, three meals a day, and my mother. She cares for me and I care for her. We are the last two people that remain.
“Dear, we are running low on wood for the fire. Have the clouds receded enough to go chop some up?” my mother calls. I get up and look out the window to see how much space there is between my one room safe house and the ring of white fluff.
“Yes, it would seem so. I’ll do that right away,” I say. I walk outside and grab the hatchet on my way to the chopping block. “Damn, out of wood.” There’s only one tree left in the available area, and I’d have to chop it down. I start to work on it and slowly become lost in the rhythm of my swinging arm, my steady heartbeat and breathing. For this reason, I didn’t notice mother calling to me from the safe house.
“DARRY! GET IN THE HOUSE NOW! HURRY!” I snap out of my dream world and look around to see the figures creeping out the clouds. Tall and thin, skin black as the void, eyes empty and lifeless. I swing my hatchet at the closest one and behead it in a clean swipe. One gets its claws into my side and I scream. Throwing my elbow back, I hit it square in the nose, but not fast enough. A second and third set of claws dig into my thigh and shoulder. They pull my down and pin me by my wrists and ankles, and no matter how much I struggle, I can’t break free.
Then a needle sharp pain in my thigh. My vision darkens and the clouds surround me. The claws release me and my mother embraces me tightly. Then she throws me in the clouds, so I might not kill her once I awaken.
“I have to ask doctor, is there any hope for him?” the nurse asks as they shut the door once again. “He’s been in the safe room every day since he was admitted. He still only speaks of his mother and ‘the clouds’ no matter what we tell him.”
“I’m afraid Darrel is stuck in his delusion and has lost all sense of reality. We’re fairly certain he will remain here for the rest of his life,” the doctor turns and leaves the Darry in the padded room, in a strait jacket, and sedated for the 20th time that week.