Jason dragged himself along the ground, too exhausted to walk, too tired to talk in anything above a moan as he shuffled through the night. He ached inside, the emptiness of who he was consumed him. He finally breathed a sigh of relief as he made it to his apartment before the sun rose, accidentally slamming the door as he collapsed against the thin wood. He pulled out a bundle from his coat and, going to the small kitchen of his apartment, he prepared his breakfast. While the raw meat sizzled in the pan, he opened his laptop, a treasure he’d found pieces to and managed to piece together with the piecemeal knowledge he retained from his old life. He sighed as he hauled his carcass to the kitchen, too tired to bother with anything more than a shuffle.
“what am I even doing with my life? I have nothing left, no family, no friends. Everyone left me because of who I am. I feel so empty. No one wants to talk to me, I hurt everyone around me.”
He found his only solace in sitting on the ragged couch in the murky darkness of his living room, typing on his computer using the neighbors’ wi-fi, again curtesy of the skills he barely retained. Chat rooms were the one place people still talked to him, anonymity making conversation manageable.
Recently he’d found a group of friends who he really felt at home with. They would discuss their inability to talk to other people, how their looks kept others from liking them, and mostly how they all felt so empty and lifeless. Jason found his friends were his only comfort from his life, he could talk about his confusion, his fear, things no one else would understand.
One day, after they had become fast friends, one of them suggested a video call. Jason protested, but they all assured him they wouldn’t judge him. They were all friends, they all had the same problems, and they would accept him.
Jason smiled, “the same problems. They’ll accept me” Hope soared in him as he accepted the video call. The webcam light flashed, and the voices came through.
“oh my gosh, I didn’t expect your voice to sound like that.”
“This is so cool!”
“Hey Jason, your room is too dark, I can’t see you.”
“-uh, sorry. Give me a second.”he rasped, and then grunted as he stood up and shambled over to the light switch by the door. He sat back down and then stiffened as he saw the others.
“They said we were the same”
He saw their faces, smooth unbroken skin, shining eyes, smiling teeth.
And they saw his face.
The cracked skin, the patchy hair, the red, bloodshot eyes, the occasional gap where teeth should be, and the dried scabs all along his neck and jaw.
Shocked gasps came through his speakers before he slammed the laptop closed.
“they said we had the same problems”
His broken chest heaved a sob as he staggered out of his room, walking down the stairs, ignoring the screams as the day-dwellers saw him. He’d never gone out during the day before, but now he didn’t care. He was well and truly alone.
“They said we were the same”
Screams continued to echo in his head, somewhere sirens sounded, rushing to deal with the infection threat within the city. He didn’t care. He hadn’t cared for a long time, but he’d lost what comfort there was in his life. He was alone.
Completely dead inside.