In a town like this, you learn not to drink from the water fountains. This lesson, among many others, came with living in a Dark Zone. We are one of the towns you hear about in horror stories. We have a curse from someone or something always popping up around once a month.
For most of us, life is short. But you can manage to survive longer if you bother to be smart about what you are doing.
You must be self-reliant, because it’s not like you will get much help. The thing about Dark Zones is that we can’t communicate out of it to anywhere but other Dark Zones. If the type of phenomena we regularly experience ever reached the attention of the mainstream media, it would change the world. If a single person escaped after being pulled in, we might have the entire country’s military come down to purge the place like a zit on the fabric of reality.
But we can’t, so they don’t.
And this story is one of just a regular occurrence in the life of a person who plans to live until old age in this hellish place.
Oh, I’m sorry. I should mention: my name is Sean.
Like I said before, don’t drink from the water fountains. That was the lesson not learned by the new freshman class, and now the most recent resultant epidemic was on them—and was my problem too by proxy.
At around ten during the day, about a week ago, the door to the classroom shot open, and a figure stood in the doorway—moaning. This, regrettably, was not a new or even jarring thing to happen. Especially during homeroom.
What made it different enough to be interesting was that the boy standing there was super fucked by the current curse. He was dripping all over the floor.
The teacher looked over and reached for his shotgun underneath the desk. Standard issue firearm around here.
And, for just a second, I saw the deep cut-up arms leaking clear fluid, and the hollow wobbling eyes pushed out from the sockets, and the peeling skin around the face grimacing, before the shotgun blast hit him. And the once-person disappeared out the doorway. Along with a splash of water. Well, more like a gush, really.
I took out my umbrella and rain jacket from my backpack—just one of the items I carry. Like I said, again, don’t drink from the water fountains. Worse spot if you do would be the second floor, far east building’s fountain, by the girl’s locker room. Which was presumably where this kid had taken a drink.
We would put warning labels on things like that, but the last time we tried the warning labels became sentient and followed people, displaying personal and emotionally devastating secrets. Lots of people went crazy.
Anyway, the teacher, still holding the gun, wandered out of the hallway, and I moved to bundle up myself. The resultant scream and following firing of the gun was not unsurprising, and I slipped on my gas mask. Not for gas, mind you, but because it was waterproof.
A few of the students did the same—the ones who would make it to college—while the other dumber students looked around and thought there was toxic gas in addition to the water creature and freaked out.
Some endeavored to steal masks from us, but we pulled steak knives. Or, I did at least, and they backed off. A second later a gurgle came from the hallway, and the teacher, now sporting a shotgun hole in his chest, wandered back in, leaking water. His glasses hung precariously off his face, and that bothered me more than anything.
He shuffled forward as his figure wavered. His form growing more and more unkempt. Un-kept-together. His remaining clothes had growing wet spots until he burst apart and sprayed himself over the classroom.
Me and my fellow preppers moved to the window, and kicked out one of the few panes not boarded up, and worked to grapple our way down. The other students clutched at their skin as their pores widened to the point of looking like mouths on their limbs. They frantically blinked: eyes widening in both pupils and actual size, pushing forward out through the skull cavity.
Once I made it to the ground, I gave one little salute to the classroom above full of the already dead and went along with the others across the grounds to one of the bunkers we had set up, to wait until the newest death and destruction spree died down.