There were times I saw gentlemen sharing umbrellas with ladies whom they had never met before, sheltering them across the road to the cafe, where I sat oblivious to the pounding rain but very much aware of these selfless acts.
The Final Evolution
“Did you hear that?”
“Ssshh. They can hear you.”
I was pretty sure our harsh whispers would have travelled to their nimble ears anyway. We inched along the corridors, our backs flat against the walls. We could hardly see each other in this darkness. There was a steady dripping of something which we were sure was not water. We came to a stop.
“It’s round this corner, and then the door is at the next left turn,” Jim whispered.
“How do we know that they are not down the corridor?”
“Even if they are, they can’t see us. They can’t see in the dark, remember?”
“They can smell!”
“When we are covered in shit? Come on. We smell just like them.” Jim wrapped his hand around mine. “Come on, or we’d be stuck here forever.”
“You’re nuts,” I whispered, petrified.
“We’ll be fine.” He didn’t sound convinced himself.
Jim crept forward slowly, pulling me along. I tried to walk as stealthily as I could, even lumbering as they did in case we passed by them. Desperate to blend in, I checked the smell of the faeces on my shirt. It had been so long since we climbed out of the sewers that I thought I smelled normal. I bit my lip to stop myself from crying. I breathed as lightly as I could and tucked my hands in to minimize my surface area, to minimize the chances of me brushing past them as much as possible.
The walk seemed like the longest walk I ever had although I was sure I had not taken more than five steps. With every step I took, I felt utterly relieved not to have touched or felt anything brush past me. Numerous swear words had gone through my mind by now and I had settled on “fuck” to repeat in my head over and over again.
Suddenly, Jim’s hand stiffened. He tightened his fingers around mine and pulled me closer. I held my breath. Something wet and cold brushed past my right, knocking into my shoulder and smearing thick liquid on my arm. A deep shadow lumbered past on my right and then I could see another lumber across my left. I took a larger step forward and stuck as close to Jim as possible. Retching noises now filled the corridor as I could see more and more shadows loom into view. Jim hunched like they did and I followed suit, following their slow rhythmic trudge. I could sense that somehow we were moving in the other direction, against them. I wondered how long we could stay undetected as imposters.
The retching grew louder and louder as we proceeded and I took a chance to breathe. The air was foul and it burned my nostrils. It overwhelmed the smell of our faeces-soaked outfits and helped us blend in. I knocked into more and more shadows as I felt my movement space grow smaller and smaller. Jim navigated to the left, trying to get to the left side of the corridor as much as possible for us to make the left turn. Our steps became smaller and smaller, more and more cautious as we proceeded, shuffling together with the rest of the Retchers until we could no longer move. We were stuck.
The Final Evolution © 2013 by Auby Sparksfield. All rights reserved.