It wasn't long until Norman was safely inside his stone tent, sitting on the bench once more. He moved the bench to face the window, so that now he wouldn't hit his back against the wall, which would cause burning now.
On his way to the structure, he had noticed that the bumps must've spread to his stomach and waist, and that the skin around his wrist was beginning to peel off below the cysts.
It was silent in the stone tent. More quiet than usual. Perhaps it was because there wasn't a leak, this time. The pool was still there, but there wasn't anymore dripping. There always seemed to be dripping until now.
Norman was beginning to hate the silence. He wished someone was there, someone to talk to, someone to hold. It this point, he'd even be okay with Becker.
Norman ran a hand through his hair silently, but felt some of it come off as he did. He slowly moved his hand down to look at it, finding pieces of his own graying hair in clumps in his hand. He hadn't seen his father's hair fall out. Perhaps if he had stuck around, he would have.
Something hit the puddle of water in the dirt, but it didn't sound like a drop of water. Norman turned around to look at what made the noise, seeing a rat halfway in the water, drinking from it.
Not a rat, a mouse.
Norman stood up slowly, getting ready to run it off, but stopped halfway. Why waste the energy? It didn't matter if the mouse drank from the water or not, Norman would physically be able to care in a few days. In fact, it may become food for him, if it was trapped inside.
Norman sighed and sat down again, looking out the cloudy window. The humidity from the inside always made it foggy, but he could always just barely see the trees outside.
He wished sometimes that he could have lived here. Why hadn't he? Why did he insist on hiding it from the others?
Why hadn't he ever stayed in one place?
Sure, he had been here for some time, but maybe he would've had time to connect with a place if he had just stayed there.
He sighed, wishing to lean against something but knowing it would only cause him more pain.
A soft splash noise came from the puddle again and he glanced over his shoulder, watching the mouse stand all the way in the puddle, staring back at him.
In a way, it was like staring back at himself.
"We have a lot in common, you and I." He muttered, softly. He sure as hell was beginning to lose it if he was talking to a mouse.
"We're disgusting to others, or at least I am now. And my hair would be white soon, I'm sure, if I was able to hold onto it for a few more years. We both have a short lifespan, though I'm sure yours is longer than my own at this point." He sighed softly, running his hand across the bench again. He felt a splinter enter his hand, but that was the last of his concerns.
"We both will spend the last of our days in this structure. Our lives are trapped in the shell of the past."
He took a deep breath and looked back outside the window, the rain was picking up.
Perhaps he really was losing it. The mouse was similar to him. Janis had been similar to him. In a way, having the mouse in the structure was like sharing it with Janis one last time.
YOU ARE READING
A Traveler's BurdenScience Fiction
Several generations after the fall of society, the infection still runs through the human race. Those infected typically locate near the City, which is where the supplies are. When Norman goes to get supplies, he becomes infected. Now he must live w...