(Part 4 – go back to read Parts 1-3 to catch up with the story.)
The darkness ate people alive, all the while numbing them to the consumption. Children starved to death while their parents got so high and disconnected that they forgot to feed their offspring. Sometimes Webb thought the dead children were the lucky ones.
You just make it yourself with stuff from around town. It’s so cheap it’s crazy. I feel like a god. I’m never stopping. You have to try it.
The county couldn’t keep enough social workers on the job to respond to all of the calls about burnings and beatings and assaults of kids by their own parents torn out of their skulls, an evil coursing through their veins. In one news item, a band of children managed to escape the hell of their own home, only to run to the neighbor’s house for protection and find all of the adults there dead. The corpses were thin with mouths full of black teeth and fingers charred from fire damage. The children were all in the county’s custody now, eligible and waiting for adoptions that would never come. In their hollow eyes one could see they would live forever in a house they could never flee.
I can’t tell Sera these stories.
He felt the stabbing pain of fear as he thought of what might happen if his wife were aware of the deadly plague that seemed to circle ever closer to the center of their world on the farm. He was sure she knew something about what was going on, but she chose not to engage it. He chose not to tell her everything he knew. It just seemed unkind and unnecessary.
The kitchen clock said 9:00 a.m. He left Sera a note at the foot of the stairs. He pocketed a pair of sharp anvil pruners and slipped back out the screen door, careful to lock the latch on the wooden door behind him.
It’s unlikely out here. Still, who wants uninvited guests with your wife home alone?