Prologue

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As I look out of my window I see red. I shouldn't see red. A deep, dark threatening red has replaced the sky, with spasms of light splayed across it. Fear has coiled its fingers around my insides and is tightening its grip. My lips are juttering, trying to form words. Sentences. I'm left with nothing. Out of the corner of my eye, I notice the glimmering bunting from my eleventh birthday party only a few weeks ago. Flashing memories of village halls, stomping feet and my first phone. The only movement my body exudes is from the rigid inhale and exhale of breath. This is complemented by my shaking my ribcage and frozen eyes. Wrenching me from my cryogenic-like state is a smash of glass and a guttural cry. I bolt out of my bedroom and down the stairs, trainers landing with a muted thud at the end. I clamp a hand over my mouth, the only reaction I can think of to stop the quickly rising vomit in my throat. However, it does not. I finally part my lips and let the arylide yellow vomit pour out of my mouth, splattering on the skirting board as it pools on the carpet. I'm left with an acidic sensation in the back of my throat while I watch in silence as some kind of decomposing creature mauls my father's unconscious face. Without thinking I let out a tortured scream; I grab the lamp from the hall table and run towards the thing. Looking down at my hands I notice that they're now covered in some sort of muddy brown liquid that has already started to congeal. I raise my head to see that the creature is lying on its back with its legs bent beneath it, and the hall lamp sticking out of its chest. I slump to my knees and start to sob uncontrollably. My vision quickly becomes blurry and I'm struggling to catch my breath. I shuffle closer to my father's limp body, picking up his arm and wrapping it around my shoulders. I fall onto his chest and avert my eyes from the half of his face that is missing skin. His once baby blue t-shirt now has an invading patch of navy. I clasp my arms around his stomach, continuing to cry and refusing to think about what's going to happen next.

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