Panic raced through Lukas’s body as he saw the new Tony walk towards him, as the decomposing Tony was laying on the sofa inches away. He backed up and started to make a mental route in his mind to the front door so he could leave as quickly as possible.
“Are you okay Lukas?” Tony said, still walking towards him without any trace of emotion on his face.
Lukas couldn’t speak. He didn’t want to speak. He just wanted to leave. Tony was getting closer, but Lukas was sure he could get to the front door.
“You do not need to leave, my friend. I am here for you. What is wrong?”
Lukas had made his way to the hallway, half-twisting his body to reach out his hand to the latch on the front door. Tony made his way to the doorway.
“There is no need to be scared. You are one of us. We are one.”
The front door opened and he threw it against the wall and left as quickly as he could, going into a full sprint as soon as he was outside. Lukas raced down the street and once he reached the corner he turned to see that the new Tony wasn’t following. He was standing in the doorway to the house, watching. His face completely neutral. They stared at each other for a few moments, as Lukas caught his breath.
The doors to every other house on the street opened in unison and people came forward and stood in the doorway, looking towards Lukas with the same empty expression as Tony. Lukas backed off, turned, and started to run again. He ran as fast as he could and every street that he ran down people opened their doors and stared at him. At first it was every single house, but then a door here and there would stay closed.
At least there’s still some people still alive, Lukas thought as he ran down the street. He made a quick decision in his head to go and see Melony, maybe the thing that had answered the door earlier was one of those things and Melony was still alive inside the house. Maybe if he got there quick enough, he could save her. He’d all but forgotten about Gloopy in his bag. It only entered his mind when he thought about throwing his bag to the side of the road and leaving it, but those little eyes popped into his head and he just couldn’t. He was still hoping that Gloopy was one of the good ones, whatever was going on couldn’t have anything to do with it.
Lukas turned onto Melony’s street at a quick walk. He’d stopped running a few streets back, his body ready to give up on moving at all. He approached the house, and his heart sank as Melony came to the front door with that empty expression on her face.
“Why are you here Lukas? There is nothing for you here. You should go home and rest.”
“I’m here to see if Melony is alright.”
“I am okay Lukas.”
Lukas rushed passed the fake Melony, pushing her to one side as he did. She didn’t make a sound, just stumbled slightly and let Lukas go by.
“Where is she?”
“I am here, Lukas.”
He went from room to room looking for her, silently wishing she was still alive. It felt like time was moving too quickly as he searched the house. He would go into a room, look around and leave and go to the next one, but he almost immediately forgot the room before. The world was spinning around him. The downstairs was clear, so Lukas headed upstairs taking two steps at a time. The fake Melony followed him, walking casually behind him.
He found her on her bed. She was a husk of her former self, and dead. Just like Tony, her skin was grey and clung to her bones. The only colour on her was the purple bruise on her arm. Lukas felt like dropping to the floor and crying. He just wanted to give up on everything. The fake Melony walked past and stood next to the body on the bed. She looked at Lukas, made eye contact and then plunged her fingers into the bruise on Melony’s arm. The thing’s finger pierced the skin and then tensed. Melony’s already decaying body started to decompose further. It was like a deflating balloon.
“This is all you are to us, Lukas. Food.”
“Why are you doing this?”
“We must eat. That is all. This is not personal. This is not a vendetta. You are food and we want to survive.”
Lukas stumbled out of the room, practically falling down the stairs. He managed to keep himself upright by holding onto the railing as he went down. As he reached the bottom he turned and saw her standing at the top, watching him.
“Why?” he croaked, tears and snot filling his face.
“Our kind travelled here on an asteroid that burnt up in your atmosphere but we survived as a bacteria that caused illness in you. The one you call Gloopy is one of us. She will take your nutrients and your form and then join us. It is inevitable and she has known it since the first day you met. Our planet was dying and just like your kind we want to survive. If Earth was dying and you had the power to leave, wouldn’t you? Don’t take it personally. We are the superior beings. That is life. There is nothing more meaningful than that.”
Lukas made his way out of the house, back onto the cold and quiet street where nothing had changed from the last time, he’d walked down it.
“Your time is almost up, Lukas. There is no stopping the inevitable,” the fake Melony said from the doorway.
Lukas stumbled onwards, not sure what more there was to do. Almost instinctively he was walking home, but for what? Tony was dead, Melony was dead, and soon enough everyone would be dead. Who could he warn? Who could he save? Were the police already dead?
He turned a corner and found his way to the little park where he and Melony had spent so many afternoons together. It was still cold, still quiet and peaceful. He changed direction and headed towards the bench they used to sit at, thinking it was a good a place as any to organise his thoughts. As he sat down, he realised that Gloopy was still in the bag wriggling about. He opened it and let his friend out to sit next to him. He couldn’t believe that Gloopy was one of them.
Gloopy was very still and the pair sat still watching the sun as it started to set. He could feel an itch on his foot, but he ignored it. The wind continued to move around them, stopping for no one, and he felt it chill his face. He didn’t care. Gloopy sat still as well, which surprised Lukas as normally it was very inquisitive and moved around a lot.
The itching grew so he pulled his leg over the other and started to scratch beneath his shoe. He couldn’t quite reach it, so ended up taking his shoe off and pulling down his sock. There it was, the thing that he’d been dreading, a small purple bruise that glowed with life. Gloopy moved from where it sat and headed towards the bruise. Lukas pushed it away, standing up and jumping away from the little monster. His heart was beating so fast that he was sure it would fail. Gloopy stayed on the bench, looking at him. Most of Lukas wanted to leave, but he just couldn’t. He looked into Gloopy’s eyes and just couldn’t leave. He fought his instincts and started to back away. Gloopy continued to look at him with those eyes, filled with wonder and innocence. Gloopy didn’t understand what he was doing was hurting him, Lukas had to believe that. He couldn’t walk away. Instead, he sat down next to his little friend.