I am consistently having the strangest, most vivid dreams so I decided to start writing them down. This one was about a month ago but it’s been stuck in my head ever since. Forgive me, I am not an avid suspense writer but I’ll do my best to capture the moment.
2 years after the bomb hit life was somewhat back in order. We had begun to re-colonize the affected houses and were starting to get back on track. Life had certainly taken on a different look though. The landscapes were barren littered by skeletal remnants of trees and blank dusty fields stood where grass had been. All food had to be grown in large greenhouses. A few farm animals had survived but we no longer used them as a food source as there was no way to cultivate them in large numbers with the desolate lands. They were now free to roam the planet, living off whatever they could find to eat. A few pockets of rainforest remained though the predators there had become so voracious that humans did not dare venture near.
Only those of us with strong immune systems had survived and anyone within close range of the bomb had been killed on impact or shortly after. The children with Down syndrome had been hit the hardest. The chemicals left hanging in the atmosphere had merged with their 21st chromosome, changing and mutating them. They were no longer able to withstand even the tiniest amount of sun. Their flesh which had turned a translucent grey as a result of the darkness, felt like shaved velvet. Their bodies were soft and squishy with an overall lack of muscle. Their spines were curved and made their crooked shoulder bones protrude forward like oversized doorknobs. They moved slow and awkwardly, more slinking and creeping than walking.
The transformation had left them with a zombie like hunger for human flesh and they set out each night in search of food. They were not adept hunters and possibly this is what kept them weak. They were strong collectively and once they had you there was no hope of escape, but their atrophied muscles would not allow for extensive reach. They would creep into the houses at night in groups searching for anyone who might have been caught unaware. You were safe in bed if you slept toward the middle of the mattress where they could not reach you. Sometimes you would wake up to the scuffle of bare feet across the floor and if the moon was high enough you might catch a glimmer of light reflecting in their huge black eyes. You would quietly curl to the center of the bed and hope desperately they had not noticed your movement. I remember the night they came. The pitter-patter of tiny feet on the hardwood was what first alerted me. Tiny whispering voices were nearly inaudible. “Had they discovered I was lying here silently?” “Was the information about their short reach true?” “Would I truly be safe if I stayed far enough from the edge?” “Had I left anything on the floor they might use to climb higher?” These questions raced through my mind as I tried to stay still as a statue. I could feel their spongy fingers searching the edge of the mattress. One grazed my cheek and quickly pulled away. A chorus of little voices arose and then numerous hands reaching toward my body. I moved further away from the edge, shaking and terrified. When they could not again feel my flesh, they turned and crept toward the door. I prayed my neighbors would be safe as well.
Side note: I googled "little grey ones" and come up with many pictures. This was my favorite.