's 2013 Horror Write-off:

" Flash "

Submitted by J. Gluck


Last year the basement filled up with awful, stagnant water and ruined thirty years of New York Times. Not to mention National Geographic, Time, Newsweek, and The Economist. Those periodicals, all in order. Stacked fifty-two issues high and 30 rows deep. My archives of everything that happened outside my walls and my yard. The whole world and all of history, melted into mush by dark clouds and choking rain. Our floors went to rot. If I step with a force and a will I can leave a footprint, even a year later. Nobody but me could bear the smell. One by one, the people who kept my house happy left. I stopped seeing the mailman two weeks ago, when Time and Newsweek told us New York and DC and Miami and Atlanta were underwater. When I look out the window, though, all I see is cracked earth and dry bones. The basement is dry now. No rot, except for the faint blotches on the walls.

I'm glad my wife understands. She was the only one who stood by me, so to speak. She hasn't done much standing since the rot took her legs. Myself, I feel it in the tips of my fingers, some cold nights. Shelly is different. When the rot got to her it started outwards instead of in. Her arms and legs went soft and mossy. I spend my days tending to her, keeping her fed, reading to her from the few surviving magazines. Her eyes never were good to begin with but she loved looking at the pictures all the same. I could see the rot starting to eat the tips of her ears, and I knew she wouldn't be too appreciative of the magazines for too long. The skies darkened on the day her eyes sank into her skull. I felt the first drops of rain. The rain that rotted my family and my periodicals and my house and my neighbors. I had to get Shelly to the attic. The rain couldn't hurt her there. We'd be safe. My door was soft; I kicked it to spongy splinters. Shelly was in her bed as always. I grasped her hand, but it came apart in mine. I grabbed her around the waist and hoisted her over my shoulder.

"We've got to move, Shelly. There's gonna be a-"