Chapter 2: Surface Runoff

Myself and three of my friends have been tasked with finding a missing little girl. The catch is that we’ve all been subjected to various experiments and as a result, I, if not everyone else, are now suffering from hallucinations. If my hallucinations ever got too out of hand, I was given the following instructions:

– I am to immediately drop to my knees.
– I am to put my left hand over my ear.
– With my free hand, I would pull out a cell phone with my handler’s phone number set on speed dial. For whatever reason, my handler was also my family attorney. Why I would need an attorney, I had no idea.

I began my search for this girl by checking out the places she’s normally seen. Her home, her school and a nearby public park/swimming pool. I find nothing. Checking out any leads my friends have come up with only compounds our frustration at not knowing where to look. Even worse, I feel the fear coming on; my vision blurs for a brief moment, and the clear sunny day turns into a nightmarish atmosphere where the trees are charred black and the sky is a blinding shade of auburn. Actually, more like that color that you can only see after pouring a glass of horrible, cheap beer. But before I can make up my mind as to what color the sky is, a horrible shrieking pierces my ears. My brain is telling me to drop to my knees and my hand is plunged into my pockets digging for my phone, but I can’t get to it in time. A small group of horrible, shambling creatures approach us. Their features are completely covered in gray, shaggy hair, making them appear more frightening than if I were to see them as they really were. I think we may have a fight on our hands.

I try to throw a punch, but the noise is too horrible. All I can do is look back at my friends and then at these monsters. Strangely, they don’t fight. There’s a definite sense of hostility, yet all they do is stare at one another. I yell at one of my friends, a tall black man in a dirty leather jacket.

“WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU!? WHY AREN’T YOU ATTACKING THEM!?”
“I can’t. I gotta wait my turn, man.”
“What?”

The momentary bewilderment and confusion is what I need to finally yank my phone out as quickly as I can and dial up my attorney. As soon as I hear her voice, I can do nothing but break down and sob. Coherency is world’s away now, and all I can do is beg for her to make this all go away; these dreams are too much for me to handle. I shut my eyes tight, like a small child hiding from the Boogeyman.

When I open my eyes again, everything is fine. The sky is blue. The grass is green and the trees are healthy. There is no staredown between my loved ones and a bunch of monsters. In fact, they aren’t even here. Rather, I’m at the public swimming pool again. The pool is completely surrounded by scared kids and concerned adults. The girl we’re looking for fell in the pool, I quickly gather through osmosis. I reach into the pool, grabbing her hand and pulling her out to safety. The girl drowning wasn’t the problem, though. I find this out too late as a large claw, like something that would belong to a giant lobster or some other crustacean, crashes through the water and makes a grab for me.

It’s too late for me to grab my phone this time.

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