Rot: Island, p.1Linus Locke
A Decay: Short Story
Copyright © 2014 Linus Locke
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.
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This short story is in honor of the people that come into our lives so briefly yet leave a lasting impression. I thank you for all of the great experiences, the knowledge, and the friendships I have gained from you in a period that has been far too short!
The sun disappeared behind the earth, creating a burst of orange and red in the late afternoon sky. It was a warm night in Thousand Oaks, as it usually was. The subtle breeze blew in from the west, carrying with it the fresh scent of the ocean from miles away. Southern California wasn’t a place that was beautiful this time of year; it was beautiful all year long.
A young couple walked across the crowded parking lot as they left their favorite steakhouse. The man jogged ahead slightly as they approached the white Toyota Prius. He opened the passenger door for his date in a show of chivalry, and closed it gently after the red high heel shoes she wore made contact with the floor.
“When can we trade this in?” the woman asked as her husband climbed in.
“What is wrong with the Prius?” he asked. He knew that Layla hated that car. Coming from a rich family, she wanted to ride in luxury. She cared for the environment, but she would rather cruise in a Maserati then any hybrid.
“Tyler, this thing is hideous. My parents asked me the other day if we were broke. They said this car was for people who work for minimum wage.”
“I don’t really care what they say. This Prius helps reduce our footprint on the environment. This planet will live for a few more years because we drive this. It’s just like —“
“Blah blah,” Layla said. “Save the lecture.” She paused long enough to hold her iPhone in the air and take a selfie. “All I’m saying is that we need something a bit more luxurious for special occasions. I’m tired of people thinking you don’t make a lot of money.”
“I don’t really care what people think about how much money I make. That is nobody’s business. Look, I am done talking about it, at least for tonight. We have a long drive ahead of us tomorrow, and this car will make it there on a tank of gas. San Francisco is about four-hundred miles away.”
“I can’t wait to see Alcatraz. This is going to be so cool,” Layla said with excitement before snapping another selfie for Snapchat. Her mood swings had often puzzled Tyler, and he hoped that they weren’t an indication of serious mental issues.
“It’s a six hour drive, so we need to be getting to bed. I plan on leaving the house before five,” he said.
The car made no noise as they pulled out of the parking lot and onto the main street that cut through that side of town. Layla leaned forward and pressed the power button on the stereo. The DJ was busy talking, and he couldn’t hold Layla’s attention. She changed to the next station; the DJ there was also going on about something that wasn’t music.
Several other attempts at finding good music failed before something caught Tyler’s attention. “The attacks appear to have started earlier today in the southern California town of Clay Hills. Thousands of injuries and hundreds of fatalities have be—“
“What are you doing?” Tyler asked as Layla changed the radio station yet again.
“That was boring. We need some tunes,” she responded. “Besides, Clay Hills is quite a ways from here, so that problems won’t affect us.”
“It doesn’t matter anyway.” Tyler said. He was a bit frustrated that his wife cared so little about others, but he decided it wasn’t that big of a deal as he turned into their driveway. The garage door raised, and he pulled the car into the bay.
Layla remained in her seat until Tyler opened the door for her. After helping her out of the car, he picked her up with one arm under her legs and the other arm under her back. He wasn’t very strong, so he was glad the door leading into the living room was only a few feet away. Reaching out with his right hand, he turned the knob and pushed the door open.
“My queen,” he said as he set her on her feet.
“Why thank you, good sir,” she responded and planted a kiss on his cheek.
Tyler just hoped that her good mood would last through the weekend. They have been planning the San Francisco trip for a month now, and he really didn’t want it ruined by one of her fits. The couple showered, made one last check of their bags to make sure they had everything they wanted, and they went to bed.
They had been on the road for an hour, and Layla had only been awake long enough to use the restroom before they left the house. Tyler had thumbed through the songs on his iPhone, but he couldn’t find anything to listen to in the three-hundred songs he had. Unsure of whether he could find a radio station to listen to or not, he decided to give it a shot.
“— Failed to contain the attacks in Clay Hills, despite their quick response,” said the news anchor. “They have set up a quarantine from Los Angeles all the way to San Diego, in hopes of containing the chaos. Authorities are not sure what caused the rioting, but they do know that the death toll is rising, and they ask that all residents stay indoors until further notice.”
“Holy shit,” whispered Tyler. He looked at Layla, unsure of whether to wake her or not. He thought about turning back and heading home, but decided against it. If the chaos is south, we will be safer up north, he thought.
The news anchor continued on, but that was all they knew at this time. Tyler quickly became sick of listening to it, and he shut the radio off completely. The silence is better than hearing about innocent people being murdered in the streets. It was news like this that made him appreciate their decision to not have children.
Layla had slept most of the way to San Francisco. She would wake up for a few minutes from time to time, ask where they were at, check her makeup, take a selfie, and go back to sleep. Although Tyler loved her, he was glad she was asleep. When she was awake, there was a chance for her to complain about something. Usually, her complaints would be of him only making 120,000 dollars a year.
“We are only a few miles away,” he said as he shook her gently.
She sat up, looked around, checked her makeup, and asked, “Are you going to throw a fit when we get into the city?”
“Why would I throw a fit?” He was kind of insulted by her question, but at the same time he knew where it was coming from.
“You get pissed driving through L.A. You are going to hate San Francisco just as much. Do you want me to drive when we get closer?” She asked.
He knew she was right. He always hated driving in the bigger cities. “Yeah, if you don’t mind.”
“This is exciting!” Layla squealed as she bounced around like a child. The ferry was docked, but they weren’t allowing passengers to board yet. The words “Alcatraz Cruises” glimmered in large letters across the front. “Bay Cruiser” was sprawled across the side in massive red and gold letters.
“The ferry only holds two-hundred, Tyler.”
“Yeah, but there will probably be people already on the island. You’re more excited about this then most of the kids here.” He loved taking her to attractions like this. She built up her rich girl persona, but when it came to tours and museums, she was always thrilled.
“Stop being a Grumpy Gus. This is going to be so much fun.”
Tyler shrugged his shoulders and faced the front of the line. They had arrived a little later than planned, so they were roughly three quarters of the way back. Standing there quietly, he couldn’t help but overhear the group in front of him.
“They say Los Angeles was attacked late last night,” one man said. “They even say that the people being killed in the attacks are getting up and killing people.”
“Oh, you know that is B.S. It is just a bunch of druggies and homeless people rioting because they want free money,” another man said.
“Should we really be here, Ben?” a middle aged woman asked her husband. She had a firm grip on his hand, and she sounded slightly frightened. “I mean, if there is a war happening on our own soil.”
“Relax Julie. Besides, I picked up these
Rot: Island by Linus Locke / Horror have rating 3.6 out of 5 / Based on32 votes