Dead Dogs Don't Roll Over
Written by: Alex Sandell
Hallway of Despair
I reach the bottom of the steps. One of the things moaning hears me, and screams. The rest of them take its lead, and begin shrieking. Hundreds of shrieks, echoing off of the cold, basement walls. I can hear whispering between the screams. It sounds like the cries of little children. "Help me." "Dont you remember Im here?" "Help me." And then they are drowned out by more howls, or they join in.
I approach the corner that leads into the hallway of despair. I begin plugging my ears, trying to alleviate as much of the misery as I can. The stench has become unbearable. A kaleidoscope of bodily aromas, none of them pleasant (is there any that are?). I begin gagging. Fighting back the urge to join in with this vomit festival, I begin to turn the corner, shielding my eyes from whatever comes next. My entrance seems to soothe the screams, and as things grow a bit quieter, I begin uncovering my eyes.
All down the hall, as far as I can see, and the sounds tell me it goes on even farther than that, are living bodies. A great majority of them, people I know. Fellow workers. Gambling regulars. Theyre all here. Both sides of the wall are crawling with them. All chained to some sort of tubing. It looks almost golden. I put myself closer toward it, trying to get a glimpse, and one of the people hisses me away.
I look through the dirt, feces and tears that cover his face, and think I recognize him as Kenny Daniels <<<<<<<Hey Wayne, whered they put ya?>>>>>>> I remember holding the key to bank 14 in front of his gigantic grin, only hours ago. <<<<<<<Oh man, that sucks>>>>>>>. It looks like you spoke too soon, Kenny.
I walk a few more feet, past the bodies, noticing that at least 40% of them are still wearing their "Broken Arrow" employee uniforms. Most have been badly soiled. Big streaks of shit running down the back of their slacks. I wonder what wardrobe would say? The screaming has settled back down into a depressing moan. A few of the cohesive people I pass ask me for help. I run to the water fountain, notice a paper cup lying beside it that only looks half-decomposed, and fill it with "water." What comes out of the fountain is a rust colored sludge, which in some other time may have been drinkable. I walk back to the first person that directly asked me for help. "I tried the fountain, but it just sort of oozed out some rusty slime," I tell him. He smiles, holds his hands out toward me, sticks out his tongue, and begins to beg for the "water," almost like a dog.
His tongue is badly parched. Its white and filled up with cracks which cause it to look like the surface of a desert. "Giiive . . . meeeeeee . . . the . . . waaaaater." He moans. I reluctantly move the glass of rust closer to him, and watch his bone-like hand grab it from me. He swallows most of the "water" in one gulp, letting the final few globs of rusty ooze drip into, and out of, the cracks in whats left of his tongue.
More people begin moaning, in unison, something that I interpret as "waaaaaater," "waaaaaaaater," so I run back to the fountain at the bottom of the steps. Once there, I see the door is just swinging shut at the top of the stairs, and I notice a pair of shoes slowly walking downward, closer to me . . . closer to all of us.
"WAAAAATER!" "WAAAAAAAAAAAATER!" The people continue to yell, getting louder each time. Only, its the fourth time I hear it that I realize "water" is not what theyre saying at all. Theyre screaming out "Richard," and hes on his way down.
Go to: Chapter 59
©1997 Alex Sandell but, if you're a book publisher and, you wanna get this puppy out, please get in touch with me, hand me a nice, big contract and, of course, a 12 pack of Grape Soda and maybe we can do lunch.
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