Author: Riley Meachem

The day I finally had enough of it all, I hiked with my rifle all the way to the old amusement park, shooting any of the slow-creatures I encountered. By this point, their faces had mostly been subsumed by the spores, so it was easy to separate them from their old selves. I remembered the amusement park from when Denny had been little, but I hadn’t thought of it before that day.

It was dark when I got there, but the sun was coming up, and the slow things were more active at night anyway. I saw them shambling behind me, glowing phosphorescent from the fungus that had eaten away their brains, and soon everything else.

It took me an embarrassingly long time to get the Ferris wheel up and running, but if a stoned high school kid could do it, I knew I could, too. I timed my entry just right, just as the horde of them began to shuffle around the corner and into view. The ascent was slow, but that was for the best. More time to prepare the shot.

I wondered, as I took the first shot, if this was how Charles Whitman felt. Or Oswald, or God. As I gradually rose away from the things I increasingly saw as unworthy of life, of the label humanity, I thought it must be.

My first shot was a kill. The next one blew threw a fungal skull and removed the leg of another. There were more of them than bullets, but I didn’t mind. I was still only half way to the top.

What surprised me the most was how they all gathered closer to the base of the wheel. Jostling and moving like children. “Me next! My turn!” Perhaps they agreed with my assessment of their humanity. Perhaps they wanted oblivion. Absolution. Whatever my bullets brought.

I passed the apex of the climb, and gently fell to the nadir. Shots would be harder to take now. When I reached the bottom, I wondered, would they swarm and consume me? Or would they wait? Would they let me go around again?