The bed creaked as I awoke, resonating the sound through the near empty room. The covers were no longer comfortable, the pillows were itchy, but I always had the best sleep of my life. I sat up, propping myself with my arms. As my eyes became more adjusted to the little daylight, I noticed the room was its old shade of a dull gray. There was an old spot on my wall, from when I had come home drunk one night and slipped, banging my head into the wall. Even though I remembered the spot was of blood, it was grey; everything was. I sighed and had to face the reality that I really couldn't see far without my glasses, so I reached for them. Every time I put on my glasses I could see, which was a wonderful feeling, despite whatever mood I was in.

As I toyed with the glasses, trying to get them open, I could feel the leather bindings fading away. When I had finally unfolded them, I slipped them over my eyes, as I did every day. The room was suddenly bathed in color, the vibrancy unprecedented. The blood stain on my wall became a rich hue of red, the floorboards a vibrant yellow; but then it faded. I was silly to get my hopes up. The color faded just as it did every day, back to the same shade of grey; my heart sank to my shoes. I had no idea why I thought today would be better, I had held tight and lost all hope long ago. The room was silent and dull, not even my clock ticked. It was worth barely anything staying in this room.

After coercing myself out of bed, slipping on pants and shoes, I left my room. The kitchen was a mess, piled to my knees with trash and grime, a group of flies hovering over long rotten fruit. I had a single chair sitting next to a table that I had once used to eat, I had never been truly hungry; in fact I had nothing to eat or drink in weeks. This was all just a process at this point, nothing out of the ordinary had happened. It was worth nothing to clean it, as it would somehow get dirty again the next day.

I soon went back to my room and put on a shirt and jacket. Upon the arrival of my room, I noticed the window was slightly ajar, the curtains still blinding the view. I reluctantly pulled back one of the curtains, revealing what I had seen every day for months. Fog. The campus I lived in had been under a thick coat of fog, ever since I can remember. I could spot two taller dorms, much like my own, on the other side of the street, both with windows cracked and broken, the bricks torn and smashed. I once again had no idea why I had expected something different today, I guess it was just an optimistic feeling. I smiled a bit, I was feeling lucky today. Seeing as how power had practically become non-existent to me aside from my freezer, I had to leave my house to find entertainment. Leaving was something I had never enjoyed. The first steps out of my dorm were the calmest, because I only had to look forward, but once I reached the hall, the thing could came at me from any direction. Broken ceiling tiles and glass panes lay as a thick coat of debris on the hallway carpet, I knew the glass once had color, but I knew I would never see it again. The fog continued inside as much as out, seeing only around thirty feet in front to me, adding to the suspense of the situation. I had taken the same route for the past several years; down the hall six doors, turn left, four doors, then right to the stairwell. I was so confident in my route I could do it in the dark with my eyes closed; which unfortunately I had to do on several occasions.

Outside I heard the things roaming the streets, the mindless drones and husks of what used to be people just like me, only with no sense of fear, empathy or remorse, only a sense of universal freedom, which was frightening to me. There were none of the things in my dorm, I could often tell a few moment after I entered the hall, this was good, I could continue. I began to walk the hallway, glass shards and wood crunching under my feet as I walked. The other rooms in my dorm had been long since locked, as to my knowledge it was every floor, but I had not tried them all. Outside the broken windows in the hall showed fog leaking into the hallway, it gave off and empty smell, almost like you had to concentrate to smell it, but even if you did you could never point it out. Everything was off about the fog; and now that I think about it, everything was off. I chucked slightly, I always tried to analyze too much when I was walking the lonely hall.

After descending the flight of stairs at the end of the second hall, I faced the main foyer with two large glass doors to the outside. I prepared myself for what I was about to experience, the husks, the emptiness and the fog. At last I was ready. The doors swung open with a rush of wind, letting the thick fog flow even more into the dorm, the atmosphere was cold and eerie. Though no wind was felt, a nagging cold sensation nipped at my neck. I ran into my first husk. A lifeless body of a young blond woman hung lazily mid air, giving off no sound other than a faint heartbeat. The husks never talked, or moved or interacted, they always just floated, and waited. It never saddened me to see the husks, in fact, I think they had lost all concept of emotion, they felt no pain, so why should I? Just two buildings down from my dorm, sat an old gas station. It used to be a warm and bright place, but now it seemed to just blend in with the grey. Along the way I counted the same 7 husks I saw every day; one is an old man with a broken walker, three of them were a group of teenage boys, all in a group drinking energy drinks and wearing school backpacks, one was a single woman who looked abnormally out of place, the last two are a man with a dog, much like my old one. They never moved, they never talked, they never did anything, anything but survive.

After approaching the station, I swung the doors open eagerly awaiting my only pleasure to date. Cigarettes. I never once needed them, and especially now, when I no longer get hungry or thirsty, but I always took pleasure in using them. I placed a dime on the counter as I "bought" them, I had always done it out of courtesy, even though there was no attendant, or need to pay at all. The counters were never cleaned, so the pile of dimes I had always left grew each day. The dimes were also how I kept track of time, I counted them out like I did every day, even though I just needed to add one to my previous count.


247 days have passed; a new record.

With one hand I slipped a cigarette out of the package and put it in my mouth, searching for a lighter with my other. It was in my back pocket. a silvery zippo light, never once had ran out of fuel. As I lit the cigarette, the grey only brightened, never turning into the red it should; I had always liked the look of flames, the way they moved was beautiful.

Something was off. No, no, no... what was it that is off?

I placed my head in my palms and rubbed my eyes.

What is it?

The feeling was gnawing at me, the feeling to look up.

The husks had awoken, they were moving.

At first I was scared, too scared to scream; too much in awe. The husks had not moved anywhere in 247 days, and it was happening. They began to turn. They all turned towards each other, looking and staring, mouths agape. I ran down the street. I figured I could not turn to home, as I would be cornered by whomever was following me, so I ran the opposite way. I wanted to do nothing more than avoid the husks gaze.

The they started to talk.

At first I was just mumbles and incoherent sounds coming from dried mouths, but after minutes those mumbles became words. I had been running for what seemed like hours, passing by all of the awakening husks. The husks seemed harmless, yet I was afraid of them; afraid of simple contact. The talking became more clear and frequent, but still just a mix of phrases and words that made no sense. The rambling of the husks became a small chatter after a while, I still thought at this point the husks had no mental capabilities. I was wrong.

Then they began talking to me.

I was a center of attention in an insane world of...things. They would always ask me some questions about me, or my past or my health; I couldn't fucking take it. This went on for weeks.

I stopped leaving my dorm, I stopped leaving to buy cigarettes, I stopped becoming a member of society. Leaving a man with only his thoughts can be a dangerous thing. but that will all end, I will die tmorrow, and there will be nobody left to know.

Mr. Witting,

Out dear friend Roger has shown little improvement in his case, his ability to live his life normally. Despit all our efforts, a source of medication and treatment has no longer become an option, at this point I am to say that the tests hae failed. There is posiviely no medical cure for this illness. Roger has been trying, but is unable to come back into a realistic state from a previous state of major depression to the point where Schizophrenia and generalinsaniy has set in. Roger has made up several things in his head which he has classified only by the term "Husks". He uses this term to describe human, which he sees as lifless bodies of strangers, when in fact they are some of his best friends and family members. Upon further study, he desperately tried to create memories to cope with the fact that he can no longer understand or see the reality we all take part in.

-Matha J.

It is said by many victims of mental illnesses that if severe enough, you begin to believe what you wish, and in very serious cases, you can create entire worlds that you live in, in order to cope with a reality you do not find pleasing. Some describe this as a sense of purgatory or emptiness where they decide that no emotion is better than a destructive emotion.

Most of the time the subjects do not realize they are in this alternate reality, soon accepting it as their normal life.

And it can happen to anyone.

We all miss you.