Emperor Gothic

Originally posted @ my tumblr.

You came back. It wasn’t something you planned. But you’re here now. The doors have closed behind you; the train has left the station. It doesn’t come back. You’re here now.

The ride home is quiet and dark. Your mother is driving, sitting beside you as cold and still as a mannequin. She doesn’t look at you, she doesn’t speak. The radio doesn’t play music; no voices can penetrate the broken, sputtering static. You turn it up, anyhow.

It snowed while you were gone. It didn’t use to do that. Pleasantview was always too warm. You ask your mother when it started, but she just puts another cigarette between her trembling lips and stares out into the wintery wasteland.

Snow has devoured the town, but there are no snowmen, no abandoned imprints of frozen angels. No sleds, no shoveled paths. No children anywhere at all. Not where you can see them, anyway.

Occasionally, if you leave the house early enough, there are little footprints in the yard, and you wonder… but then the snow falls again, and those too, disappear.

You try to watch TV during the day. Options are limited. You watch celebrity chefs flambe themselves; the camera lingers until they stop screaming, and then the next show begins. You watch the weatherman talk about himself. You watch the news talk about Bella Goth.

You’ve heard rumors of a woman in a red dress wandering an isolated desert town, but those are only rumors. You don’t even know where you came across such a tale.

Maybe you heard it on the radio.

At some point, you have to go outside. There isn’t much time. They’ve implemented a curfew; you have to be home before dark. Stragglers are promptly collected. It’s best to be home before dark.

You move slowly across the icy paths, and you don’t look around. You’ve made that mistake before. It would be unwise to make it again.

You pass the park. They’ve put walls around it and closed it up. You can hear voices on the other side of the walls. You can’t go in; they can’t get out.

You pass the town’s only grocery store. The parking lot is full of cars, and the cars are covered in snow. It hasn’t snowed in days. The Caliente sisters watch you from the window. Their mouths move in silent pleas as they try to follow your movements to the exit. They make it halfway to the automated doors, and then veer off, disappearing into the laundry detergent aisle.

You feel oddly bereft at having lost them, but you keep walking.

Somewhere, a dog is barking frantically. It’s been barking on and off for years. A chain jangles, but you can’t tell which direction it’s coming from. There is no answering cries. This is the last one, and it knows it.

You keep walking. There isn’t much time.

Your legs ache and your lungs burn. White houses buried under white snow. You don’t know where you are. You don’t know where you’re going.

You end up back outside of your mother’s house.

You tried to get out. It wasn’t something you planned. But you’re here now.

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