An older man sits quietly in his study.
A chill emits from him that ensnares the air in the room into a painful stillness. His eyes are a pale glass, wondering over photos and files on his desk. The gaze appears empty, but there is a hunger in them. They wonder over the paperwork and the words and names, not unlike a shark staring into a fishbowl.
He is dying, but not before the world burns along with him.
A young woman sips tea in her studio apartment.
The door to the apartment sits at the end of the hall, and can only be seen if you remember it was there, but strangely enough, can only be remembered when it is in fact seen. The pink of her hair is faded and her roots are coming in. She’s lost her job in the chaos of an ongoing pandemic and job closures.
She wants to go to the store at some point today for groceries, but first thinks she will watch yet another episode of Ozark on Netflix.
A mother sits on her couch reading a Dean Koontz novel.
Her children are in the next room playing a video game together. There is laughter in this house, and the song of springtime can faintly be heard through the walls. The sounds of birds chirping chime in the wind, as a lone breeze seems to swim around the house itself, knocking at its windows, and brushing through the shrubberies. Schools won’t reopen most likely for the rest of this academic year for her children, but when she thinks about it, she doesn’t exactly mind.
She looks over at a mirror across the room. It’s fairly new. She smiles.
A woman is hanging by chains in a warehouse, strung up against the far wall to the back from the entrance.
Her throat had been slit, and her lips were now still. Once, the most beautiful song and spell had once slipped through, but now only crimson and silence drips.
There is a man before her admiring his work, smiling widely with a set of perfect teeth. He turns around in a movement, laughing wildly in triumph.
He dances with a severed forearm in hand that had once been attached to her and kisses the knuckle. He then tosses it behind him.
From where you ought to have heard the thud, instead you hear paws hitting the ground and a quick chomp, followed by chewing and the snapping of bone amidst low growls.
The man with the perfect teeth walks out of the warehouse. In his other hand is an old newspaper.
The article on the front of the page tells the story of an entire apartment building being condemned for mold or some biochemical anomaly, where all the residents came down with an acute onset of violent illness, the etiology unknown and the pathology that of an amalgam of illnesses, not COVID-19, not SARS, not even Ebola... but perhaps all of them.
All the residents had died - all but one, a person the article hadn’t been able to name, but is wanted under the suspicion of domestic terrorism. He has yet to be found.
A man sits in a dark motel room.
The owner, that can’t afford to close even during current events, granted him extended stay at a cheapened rate. The motel owner is otherwise a nice man just trying to support his wife and child. His mother-in-law passed away last week from the virus that has swept the nation. His wife could not be with her mother in her last moments. She still weeps.
The man that has occupied the room for the last 2 weeks keeps to himself. He sits there in the dark, curtains drawn closed. The only light in the room is that of a dimming bed lamp.
The man sits on the bed, before him laid out are the dismantled components of a handgun. One by one, he picks up each part and wipes it down with cloth, applying oil where oil is needed.
He picks up the barrel of the gun, rarely held outside of the gun’s slide. In the dim of the light, we find strange markings. Beautifully crafted designs - the sheen unnatural in the dim light provided. He admires the work.
On the wall across from him is another work, stranger still, of photographs and newspaper clippings and thread and pins, all strung about like some madman’s web or map.
The man finishes cleaning his gun and leans over to grab the holster across the bed. The dog tags swing from the chain around his neck and hit his arm, with them hangs a small key chain thumb drive.
A woman walks her dog on her usual route, past her old job that had closed down because of the recent pandemic and ensuing quarantine.
She stares into the dark of empty windows. The lights are off. Memories of long nights' past come to her. The door is locked. She jingles the key in her hand that grasps at the taut leash.
Her dog tugs to move forward and she follows, and they walk past the Waffle House together.
A woman argues with a man in the bedroom of her home.
She is angry with him but called him up for his help in cleaning up a mess she had recently made and had to hide in her bathtub.
She’d been sleeping in her living room when the body began to smell. She is angry.
She is angry at him for dragging her into this awful situation. He is angry at himself, but he can’t help but smile.
She is angry at the recent attempt on her life. He is too, but he can’t help but smile.
She hates him.
Two hours ago, she watched in horror as he “cleaned up” the mess in the bathtub. It only took minutes, but watching made it feel like hours. She vomited in the toilet. He laughed and wiped his mouth.
She continues to yell at him, yet he can’t help but smile.
She slaps him because he’s not taking this seriously. But he is. He’s just an idiot.
He looks over her shoulder behind her at the vanity, on it hangs several necklaces and pieces of jewelry, one particular piece is a necklace with a cheap handmade pendant - spray painted gold, on the back of it is a peculiar symbol that not anyone would really notice - the pendant itself, you really wouldn’t notice, not with all the other pretty pieces hanging along with it.
He looks at his own reflection and the stupid smile returns to his face and he meets his own eyes, where once they held panic, now they hold a knowing look in them - they know she is going to be okay.
End of Act One. M3! will continue!