The fire danced across the concrete floor, following the liquid, moving towards the mattresses. Laughter trailed down the upstairs hallway, soundtrack to the chaos before them. His mouth opening in a shocked ‘O’, feeling the splinters move under his skin, Tim stood immobile, mesmerized by the flames. Continue reading
Tim’s face hurt. Shards of wood slit his skin and sweat oozed into the cuts, burning, bringing tears to his eyes. He grimaced thinking how long it’s gonna take to remove all the splinters and he pictured Jason’s face, screwed up in concentration with a pair of tweezers in his hand, leaning towards him. A creaking stair brought his mind into the present. Danger was upstairs. Continue reading
The few short seconds in the basement blurred, mired in panic, shock growing roots from his feet into the concrete floor. The wood support frame at the bottom of the stairs exploded, sending splinters in all directions. Wind from the force blew back his hair, making Tim close his eyes. This simple movement probably saved his vision. Shards of wood punctured his cheeks, forehead, jaw, nose, neck and shoulder. Sharp pinches from the wooden lancets tattooed his left side. It hurt, stung even, but he didn’t move, didn’t even cry out. A hand tugged at his wrist, the clamp so tight Tim winced, in a detached, reflexive way, as splinters of wood pushed deeper into his skin and he was yanked out of the doorway. Another boom thundered through the room. Something plucked at Tim’s shoulder. It burned, as though someone held a lighter to his skin. Jason stared at Tim, wide-eyed, mouth a lipless line, nostrils flaring with desperate inhalations. A splinter of wood stood straight up from Jason’s head and left a thin line of blood trailing down his face. His own wounds far from his mind, Tim would’ve gasped at the image presented to him in a mirror. Instead, he thought, Ouch, Jason… Continue reading
“Your dad have any guns kid?”
“My name is Tim.”
The man shrugged and said through peanut butter covered teeth, “Yeah. I know. Tim it is.”
Tim paced around the room with nervous energy, taking long strides, stretching himself out. He inspected the wood he’d put over the windows and fingered the white caulking. Satisfied no bugs could penetrate, he turned away from the window.
“My dad has a Bushmaster .223.” Continue reading
Tim awoke to ravenous hunger. His insides punched him with brass knuckles and saliva flooded his mouth when the aroma of bread drifted to his nose. He blinked, focusing on the particle board, pipes and wires of the unfinished basement roof.
“Good. You’re awake.”
Turning his head to the voice, Tim’s neck creaked. The memory of his family, dead in the car, drew a hitching sob. The stranger sat on a chair. The recliner from upstairs. He must have lugged it down himself. He chewed on a sandwich. From the smell of it, Tim thought it must be peanut butter and jelly. It was a delightful aroma and his stomach churned as if to say, You like that huh? Well eat it! I’m starving here! Continue reading
Tim stood within a storm of wings and teeth, unaware of the tears and snot leaving dirty trails down his face. The settling dust in the garage stuck to the wet mess, like mascara tracks on a sad heroine in a romantic comedy. His mind shut down. Outside his house rose screams, sirens, crashing cars and a buzzing that vibrated his fillings, but it just couldn’t affect him. It was distant to him, a crazy soundtrack to an action movie, humming white noise. In the garage, the bugs completed their feast and laying of eggs, then left in groups to search out other prey.
A quick glimpse inside the car didn’t break him out of his stasis. Surreal, his mind refused to pull in the images his eyes fell upon. Continue reading
The day Tim’s world ended didn’t start off differently from any other day. He woke to his alarm, scrambled into the shower before his younger brothers could, drank some milk and inhaled a pop tart on his way out the door to school. He didn’t even see his parents. They were always long gone before he got up and he was amazed how his lunch was always ready for him. He did have a quick glimpse of his brothers as they fought over the toaster and Tim gave the younger one, Sean, a quick yank on his underwear as he passed by. Before he he left his house, he heard a “Damnit, Tim! You jackass!” His teeth flashed, oldest brother work completed, and walked to school, his unlaced shoes scuffing the sidewalk as he moseyed along. It was the last time he’d see his brothers alive. Continue reading