Wash it all away
Part 4: The world reborn
She blinked up at the star strewn sky. She turned her head on the damp grass, unable to move more than that. Her eyes locked on the large, many branched, dead tree. It seemed to hold the moon up in the sky.
Erie, really, was this scene before her. Something right out of Poe. She smiled. The birds, the black birds adorning the branches made her think that.
She blinked. These birds, though. They were watching her. For what? Waiting to peck out her eyes? Devour her flesh as she lay here helplessly?
Her amusement faded, and fear gripped her suddenly. Her heart pounded in her chest and her stomach churned. The bile rose in her throat and she just managed to turn enough to spew the contents of her stomach out on the ground. Gasping and panting, she laid back on her back, staring up at the sky once more.
The birds would leave her be. She willed it, more than anything. Who knew what those beady eyes were plotting. They were surely watching her struggling on the ground for a reason. She clenched her jaw. No. They would not harm her. She would make it through this.
She had something... something she had to do. Something she must tell...
Tears trickled from her eyes as she remembered.
“What will happen now?” she’d asked, woozy and limp as he picked her up.
“I will flood the world. Wash away all trace of man. Though we, the gods of old, have turned a blind eye for far too long, the time has come.”
“What can we do?” she had asked, tears welling in her eyes.
“Is there nothing we can do, to make things right?”
“It’s too late.” His voice was soft, pitying, “You will live a while longer yet. Now rest.”
It rained. The flood waters rose. Continued to rise.
The people were washed out, their lives engulfed in water.
A doll bobbed in the current, its eyes blinking slowly as it tilted back and forth, back and forth. Not far from it, a thick, leather bound book floated, open to a few pages of hand written text. Though the pages and binding were beginning to swell, the neat script was still legible.
Open to the light of day, the rain having come to a stop for a while, were these words:
I was so excited when we came to the city. It was my first chance to see what I’d studied for so long firsthand. To hear the languages I’d studied spoken in their native lands. The professor was extremely excited as well. The catacombs were not that great of a discovery. Ancient ruins beneath the cities of India was not the biggest news, but the fact that our school’s archeology department was given the funding to work at this site made it front page news in my area.
I had been given the opportunity to test out what I had been training for, learning all these years. Being invited along was an honor, and a chance to test myself.
We should have taken heed when the protests started. They were mild, the protests. At least, they were mild to us. Peaceful demonstrations, people with signs, some yelling at the excavation site. What really should have set us off were the fanatics. Crazed, and screaming warnings about the excavation bringing death to all.
There was one in particular that really freaked Darren out. He’d gotten in our faces, and we were thankful we had Heathcliff and Jerry there. He’d shoved through the crowd, grabbing at Darren’s collar, eyes wide and frantic. “The Naga sleeps! You will wake him, and we will all pay.”
Darren hadn’t understood a word, his eyes widening in fear as the man had pushed him up against the wall. Heathcliff pulled the man off, and sent him packing. He shouted all the way through the crowd. “The floods, the rain, he will seek his vengeance if we disrupt him! We have polluted his waters, he will awaken angry!”
Though Darren had been shaken, and hand begun carrying his gun after that encounter, the words had been lost on him. I, though, had heard and understood every word. Yet, had done nothing.
The protesters, as crazed as they were, were right. We disturbed something we were better off leaving alone. How were we to know? Earth spirits, creatures of legend, were just that. Legends. How were we to know that this time was real?
I watch the water rising in our rooms. We’re crowded now, at the top floor of the building. Even the rats have joined us here. It’s appalling, really, how many rats shared this hospital with the sick. I wonder what it looks like outside, the water continues to rise, its surface surely littered with floating bodies, human and animal alike.
I want to feel something, to grieve, to feel guilt over this. But I am only numb. Perhaps the Naga’s poison is to blame. He may have spared me, but I wish he’d let me die with the others in the catacombs. This slow, agonizing wait, knowing we will drown, is far worse than the quick deaths he’d granted the others.
The water is up to our knees now. We will be going to the roof soon, to be exposed to the elements. Will we see others trapped on rooftops as the rain pelts us? For some reason, that sight, of the city filled to the brim with water, the surface strewn with debris, terrifies me more than watching the waters rise in this hall.
Either way, I have no doubt I will die here.
Just as the Naga promised. He will wash it all away... The sins, the guilt, the filth of mankind.
It’s strange. I can’t help but feel saddened that I will not be here to see the world reborn.
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bit·ter·sweet: being at once bitter and sweet; especially: pleasant but including or marked by elements of suffering or regret. A collection of short stories I've written since joining Wattpad for various contests, challenges and publications. The...