Accounts from a Rotting Town: Post 1
This town is coming apart at the seams, each day another stitch gives and another part sloughs off like rotten flesh from a cadaver. Soon it will dissolve into the ocean and be lost in time, a legendless Atlantis, a forgotten Troy. Maybe it’s for the best. The town has already gone putrid and the stink of rot permeates all other odour, even the stench drifting over from the port cannot mask it. It makes the eyes sting, probably the main reason most go about their days squinting, fighting back the tears. We who live here are used to it, rare visitors feel it worst.
Over the town hangs a permanent grey, close, smothering the town and holding it in. The grey quarantines us from the bright blue beyond, stops the town from contaminating the purity up there. It spreads to the people whose skin is sallow and hangs loose from their bones and few of them miss the sun because few have glimpsed it. Seldom do the people here leave, they are not fit for the outside world, they would be met with scorn anywhere else so they remain and do not make a fuss.
The people of this town do not walk. Most scuttle. Some shuffle and others lope about the streets, spending as little time in the open as possible. Of course, there are those around us who stalk, they are to be wary of; do not cross the path of a stalker and do not get in their way, their agenda is not for you and if it is then despair.
Of course, there are more than the stalkers to beware in this town. The rot does not emanate from the ghastly people or the looming grey, not the turbulent ocean or the reeking port. No, the rot is dug deeper than any of those superficialities. You could peel those features away one by one, be left with naught but mud and stone and still the rot would persist. It’s in the very land itself, eating away at the air we breathe and the water we drink. It falls from the sky and grows from the ground. It’s in our very cells, killing them off one by one.
Strange things happen in this town, awful things. There are terrible creatures lurking on the periphery of reality which find themselves drawn here. I think it’s the stench that does it, draws them in that is. They can’t get enough of it. They feed off it, sensing it inside we who dwell here and feeding off us to have themselves a taste.
Unspeakable things flutter overhead at night. They cannot bear the grey as we can, but when the orange casts out the grey they take flight and drift up there in the gloom. Every now and again one can be seen swooping down and back up, though the sight is rare. The only proof of them is the constant cacophony of their grotesque wings scrabbling away at the air, colliding with one another and shrieking until the dawn drives them back into their hides.
The streets are no better. Few people venture out of their dwellings after dark. As I said, there is more to fear than just the stalkers; even they avoid the darkness when it gets late enough. The poor souls who find themselves without shelter at night are fair game for those awful beasts which cannot be seen. They are yanked into pitch black doorways, devoured under cars. I once saw one pulled up into a tree, he managed a yelp before the crunch brought silence. I still shudder to think of the wrenching I heard after, the tearing and scraping of tooth on bone.
It’s maddening knowing those things are out there, just waiting, always hungry, always hunting. Newcomers go unnoticed to the beasts, the rot hasn’t set in with them yet so they don’t have the stench. But as soon as someone has lived here long enough to lose their proud stride, once the rot has begun its terrible course inside them, the monsters will scent them, begin tracking. By that time they will have already learned to stay off the streets at night anyway, or they wouldn’t have made it that far. They would have been picked off long before by something lower down the food chain.
It always strikes me as strange that few seem to notice the things that I do. Most here seem completely oblivious to the mortal peril they live in day by day. I suppose anything can become mundane given enough exposure. I have always been sensitive to such suffering as can be experienced here, though it has never affected me as much as here. I am surprised that I have evaded detection so far, most seem uninterested in me as I go amongst them. They scuttle past as though I don’t even exist. It’s better that way. I don’t know why the rot hasn’t set into my cells yet. Perhaps I am immune. For others it seems to take only a matter of years, that hasn’t been the case for me. I have been here to watch this town devour itself.
Not until recently did I realise my immunity to the rot has given me the unique ability to observe this insanity, to try and make sense of it or at least to report it. I am not sure what has driven me to this epiphany that I must take note of the madness. Perhaps I wish to keep others away, perhaps it is simply too tantalising to ignore any longer, too fantastic and preposterous to keep a secret. Perhaps it is the very reason that I cannot be affected by it. No matter. From here, I intend to document and convey all that I witness in what will surely be the final weeks of this putrid town. For those who read my accounts, do not take them lightly; once this town has been digested I know not what can quell the rot, perhaps it will spread to other towns, perhaps your own. In any case, be ready.