The Last Day
[Warnings: Non-Faberritana character death; language; graphic violence; suggestive situations]
Genre: Romance, Action, Adventure, Horror, Science Fiction
[Warnings: Non-Faberritana character death; language; graphic violence; suggestive situations]
Genre: Romance, Action, Adventure, Horror, Science Fiction
The government is forever overstepping boundaries, scientists are forever pushing ethical limits, politicians are forever sweeping mistakes under the rug. Then came the mistake that they couldn't contain and a few impulsive, power-hungry people were suddenly responsible for changing the world. Civilization collapsed over the course of three days.
Sleep hadn't come easily after the previous day at school. The fan on her ceiling had ticked monotonously and it was only by forcing her mind to concentrate on that one sound that she was lulled into a restless darkness. The sound of her alarm came far too soon and her eyes burned uncomfortably, trying to get her to forgo her morning routine in favor of a little more shut-eye. Still, she pushed herself to get up and stretch before jumping onto the elliptical. For once, she shut off her music so that she could use the time of her workout to just think to herself.
It was a calming motion, the steady working of her arms and legs. She found comfort in her routine and kept her inhalations as measured as her exhalations. Exercise was a key part of her life. It kept her healthy and active, allowed her to eat whatever she chose to without having to really consider the calories, and was responsible for giving and allowing her to maintain the fit curves of her body. It was an excellent way for her to work off stress from the every day trials of high school as well. It encouraged and revitalized her even when she was feeling at her lowest.
There had been times when she had been on the verge of tears, only to have them cascade down her face and ruin her make-up in the safety of her room and the only productive outlet that she could find was exercise and dance practice. She was sure that to the members of the Glee club, it would shock their worlds if they found out that she did something other than sing show tunes in her spare time. Yes, she worked her vocal cords extensively, but the amount that she sang was actually fairly even with the amount that she worked her body.
A glance at her digital clock told her that her hour was rapidly coming to a close and she frowned. At some point, she stopped the workout completely and found herself listening to the silence. The only sound that she could hear was her fan clicking away as it turned around and around. But it was beyond her room, what was going on in the rest of the house that had caused the abrupt end to her routine. It was what she didn't hear that bothered her.
At this point in her morning, Dad was up and chatting downstairs with Daddy as he cooked a good breakfast for the whole family and set her box of organic Weetabix on the kitchen table. Daddy would be grumbling something about how he wasn't a morning person, but continue cooking nonetheless because it made him happy to be in the kitchen and to have breakfast with his husband and daughter. There was always the sound of talk, laughter, the stove, the sink, or something else along those lines. She would go downstairs and they would lovingly ruffle her carefully washed, dried and brushed hair and then tease her for her veganism.
This was different, though. The house was as silent as a cemetery. Hell, it was quieter than such an expanse of land full of tombs and headstones. In a graveyard, at least there were big black crows cawing and unseen insects chirping. Her house, however, had no sound at all. There was no creaking on the stairs of floorboards from the other rooms, no sound of cooking or affectionate chatter, no gurgling drains or running water from a shower head. It was like she was actually the only person in her house. She shivered before heading to take her shower.
The rushing of warm water insistently whispered to her that everything was fine. It washed away the layer of perspiration that had been worked up during her normal session on the elliptical and brushed away the worries about the lack of activity on the part of her fathers. Surely, they would be awake by the time that she dried and brushed her hair and dressed herself for the day. By the end of her shower, she was feeling reassured and refreshed. Rachel was both eager and dreading to face the day as she was certain that everyone at school would be back to acting cruel and expressing their hatred for her.
It took standing in an empty kitchen to realize that something was obviously going on with her fathers. It was regrettable that they were either upset with her or each other, but she really had to get to school. She was forced to stand on the tips of her toes in order to reach and pull a white bowl rimmed with a single blue stripe from one of the cabinets over the sink. The retrieval of a spoon was a far easier task to perform. A glance at her cell phone told her that she was running behind her usual schedule which meant she had to rush through eating her bowl of Weetabix and vanilla soy milk.
She placed her bowl in the sink and glanced up the stairs on her way out of the door, disappointment creeping into her mind at the fact that neither father had come to say that they loved her or wish her a good morning. At least she could hear rapid creaking of the floor panels coming from the bedroom. It was comforting to know that they were awake and out of bed, not still sleeping in. If they had stayed asleep much longer, she would've kept worrying and her mind would have run wild with theories.
Upon rushing through the doors to make it to her first class before tardiness could blemish her clean record of attendance, she let out a sigh of relief at seeing the usual masses chattering to each other in loud voices. Except, she slowed just for a moment to take in the scene, there were people missing. As she wove through the crowd and finally reached her destination, she stared through narrowed eyes more closely at the situation around her. Actually, there were a whole lot of people missing. At least a a third of the student population was missing. The majority of the student body actually at school appeared to be , they were far more talkative than usual.
When she inspected the situation closer, she saw that major social barriers were being crossed with no negative repercussions. A few boys who were unattractive, scrawny or overweight, and more than a little incompetent at interacting with other people were talking to a few of the female athletes, the school president, even Cheerios. They were above her on the social ladder, but not by enough that this sort of obvious come-on would go unnoticed. Azimio was standing in a group of awkward girls from the tenth grade and making no attempt to hide the fact that he was hitting on every single one of them. One looked standoffish about the severe change in treatment, but the others batted their eyelashes and sighed dramatically.
The sound of her voice made her jump and drop her bag. When her mind processed who was standing in front of her, a feeling of confused irritation took up residence in her stomach. It twisted uncomfortably as she craned her neck to an odd angle in order to fully see the tall boy's face. He smiled at her kindly and picked up her possessions in order to press them back into her arms. She accepted them without a word.
"Look, about what I did at Nationals - it was, I mean, you know." He shrugged his massive shoulders, an odd look in his light brown eyes. She assumed that it must be how he looked when apologetic. It would be a first, though. Finn never admitted when he was wrong and never sincerely apologized for anything. He was a child in the way that he refused to take responsibility for any of his mistakes. This would be a welcome change if he was actually about to do what she thought he was. "I'm... sorry. I ruined everything because I didn't want to accept that you said no after dinner. So, yeah. I'm sorry, that's all."
Rachel had to collect herself, glancing into her classroom where her teacher seemed totally unconcerned with anything. The woman was simply looking around the room, observing her students and their blatant disregard for the school rules against MP3 players, laptops and cell phones. Most peculiarly of all, she appeared to be absolutely carefree and unconcerned with teaching anything.
"Thank you, Finn." Rachel faced him again, staring into his eyes intently. Something was bugging her. Something about him was wrong. The hair on the nape of her neck stood up and her skin crawled. "I appreciate that you can finally accept that what you did was wrong and, while I believe that our romantic entanglement with each other is officially over, I hope that we can remain friends."
The brown eyes flashed briefly, but it was so quick that she may have even imagined it. He grinned down at her, face bright with what could only have been classified as an idea on Finn's part. Shocking. She winced to herself a bit. Okay, maybe that thought was harsh. Yeah, alright, it was really harsh, but it wasn't her fault that the boy was as intellectually gifted as a jellyfish. A jellyfish was a good comparison for Finn. The perfect parallel in the natural world, actually. Jellyfish possessed neither a brain nor a spine, just like Finn.
"In the, uh, spirit of being friends, do you maybe want to hang out after school?" The goofy lopsided smile appeared on his face. She had to stop herself from rolling her eyes, but she couldn't stop her mind from berating herself and wondering what exactly she had been attracted to in the first place. He was cute in a boyish way and a pretty good singer, but beyond that he didn't exactly reach her level. Despite what others would say, he didn't have anything to offer apart from a certain amount of cuteness, decent vocals and a slight boost in social status.
She was just being mean now. It had to stop. He was offering his friendship.
"Finn - yes, sure, why not." Rachel faltered, thinking back to breakfast without her fathers. "Wait, no. Not tonight, Finn. I'm sorry. I think that there's something wrong with Dad and Daddy, so I need to go home and see if I can help them with anything around the house. If they're sick, I certainly don't want them to be worrying about where I am after school. Another time, okay, Finn? Thank you very much for the offer. It is - is very kind of you."
The smile dimmed noticeably, but he seemed to push it back with some concentrated effort. Oddly, it wasn't that different from the one he had just worn. The mental note rang a small alarm in the back of her mind and she found herself taking a slight step backward. It was as though her primitive instincts were screaming in her mind, warning her of some sort of unknown danger. Finn didn't miss the gesture and narrowed his eyes just a bit in response to her reaction to him. He stepped away, giving her more space as he realized the closeness was not welcome.
"Right. I'll, uh, see you later." Finn gave a little wave, that darker than usual expression still on his face, and then left.
Rachel was left standing by the door. A look over at the clock on a nearby wall above the lockers told her that class had started almost seven minutes ago. Still, it was clear that almost none of the students were concerned with attending their respective classes. The teachers weren't trying to herd students out of the hallways and kids didn't give a damn about what time it was. Okay. It appeared that everything had certainly not gone back to normal. Here and there, she could see a small portion of the present student population looking as weirded out by everyone's behavior as she was.
Santana was standing off to one side with Quinn and Brittany, pinkies linked tightly with the latter. The looks on their faces would have been humorous if the atmosphere wasn't so unsettling. Jacob Ben Israel, one of the most loathsome people that she had ever known to exist, was actively and blatantly making eyes at and standing far too close to the gentle blonde. She was flanked by her two best friends but seemed totally unsure of what she was meant to do with his advances. The way her eyes squinted and her nose wrinkled made it obvious that the prospect of doing anything with Jewfro was the most revolting thing she could think of. The hotheaded Latina had made several violent gestures and Rachel had seen that mouth moving rapidly and angrily at the repulsive boy. He had simply taken it all in stride.
The little brunette, no longer concerned with class at all, found herself walking slowly in the direction of the Unholy Trinity. There was a feeling of sunken lead settling in her abdomen the longer that she watched. There was a very distinctive way that they were acting and the notion brought every sense into sharper focus. Her heart began racing and beating a wild, relentless rhythm against the curved cage of her ribs. It was as though she was watching one of those Discovery Channel documentaries on aggressive and defensive behavior in animals. The strong similarities were what she was having an intense problem with.
Santana had moved from simply linking small fingers to stroking Brittany's wrist affectionately. Quinn's chin was tilted up, her elbows were angled outward and her hands were firmly on her hips. The biceps were tightening and relaxing repeatedly. It was almost as though she was preparing herself for some type of physical conflict. She kept rocking forward and backward on her feet, bouncy and ready to move at the slightest hint that she should. Santana had taken a full, clean step forward. Her chin was tucked down slightly and her arms hung loosely at her sides. Her stance was wider than normal, more solid than it would be if it was a simple resting state of a teenager. It wasn't long before Santana and Quinn had positioned themselves as shields in front of the gentle Brittany. They really were willing to do anything for their friend. Jacob, however, had a wide stance and was gesturing with his arms so much that it was like he was trapping the three girls in a corner.
"You seriously need to consider backing off. Now." Quinn used her best HBIC voice, puffing out her chest and looking down her nose at him.
The expression that Rachel was now close enough to see on the boy's face delivered a hair-raising message and she found herself ignoring Santana in order to scoot in front of the pair of them. She placed her body as a shield between the girls and the pervert. For a moment, Santana opened her mouth to huff and puff in both English and Spanish about how she did not need to be defended by Ru Paul of all people but a glance from Quinn seemed to set her into serious mode and so she said nothing. Jacob appeared less than pleased.
"Rachel. You're looking particularly divine this morning but," a look at the trio behind her small frame, "I have my eyes set on these beauties. Namely the lovely blonde in the back. I've been trying to get her to join me after school for a study session of anatomy, but she appears to be joined at the hip with these two. They don't seem to want to let her make her own decisions."
"Jacob, I think you should leave." Rachel tried to use her strongest voice, facing down the boy of equal height. The normal lecherous grin that had painted his features every day since puberty flickered just enough that she felt it enough reason to press back on both Santana and Quinn's stomach with her palms. She tried to move slowly and delicately to avoid detection. It didn't work and the voice that came from him next was taunting and sharp.
"Why are you trying to get them away? It's just a friendly offer, Rachel. I just want to talk to Brittany after school. You're more than welcome to come, but I don't think I feel comfortable inviting Q and S. Too much trouble, I think." The voice was laden with frosty needles and she felt Quinn's hand move down to clasp her own, squeezing in an unexpected sign of support. Santana did the same on her other side but pushed forward a little, obviously intent on delivering a large amount of punishment to the boy who felt like a threat to her Brittany.
It turned out that their own actions would be unnecessary because a looming brunette figure stalked over next to the girls. Jacob turned his head up, unflinchingly, to meet the cold stare being delivered from a pair of light brown irises. He was glowering at Jacob, obviously feeling very offended with the situation. He stared at the girls for a solid minute before bringing up that falsely charming smile of his and focused on Jewfro again.
"You need to fuck off and leave them alone, Jacob." The voice was harsher than normal.
She felt Quinn and Santana tense up under her palms. Brittany let out a low whimper. Rachel wasn't about to stick around and neither were the other girls. In one motion she pulled them out of the way, taking care to never turn her back on the boys even as they couldn't their increasingly loud and aggressive argument. Jacob saw the girls as his while Finn thought that he had claimed them previously. It was like a war over mating privileges, but something that had been buried away her entire life told her that it was time to run. Damn school, damn everything. Just get out and run. It only took a moment of looking into Santana's and Quinn's eyes to know that they undeniably felt the same way. It wasn't safe around here. There was something terribly wrong. At least they had made it several meters before it got worse.
There was a terrible, strangled scream.
Finn stabbed Jacob's neck with a pencil that he had retrieved from a pocket. He didn't stop there. He was only just getting started. He stabbed again on the other side of the throat before tossing the writing utensil aside. He pressed his full weight forward to keep Jacob in place as he prodded at each of the punctures with his fingers. He pressed and wiggled and pressed until force his index fingers through the holes on either side of the neck. Once successful in that endeavor, he smiled mildly down at the boy as he began to pull his hands out to the side. The result was preceded by a sickeningly wet ripping sound as maroon liquid flooded forth from the ever growing gap in the boy's throat. The screams were more forced gurgles now and his eyes had rolled up into the back of his head. Finn just smiled and reached inside the open cavity between chest and head with his hands. He used both hands to push by any protective muscle tissue, wrapped them around something and then twisted sharply in opposite directions. Jacob crumpled to the floor, bloodied and lifeless.
There was laughter from many in the crowd. Finn turned to him peers and bowed dramatically, Jacob's blood still shining on his face, arms and clothing. The ones that were 'normal' had long ago rushed from the situation. Then Mr. Schuester made his appearance in response to the commotion. Rachel wanted to scream out to him to be careful, but she couldn't find her voice. That was when he was pushed forward through the crowd toward Finn. He seemed to be glued to the spot for all of the good his feet were doing him. Finn just smiled, softly greeted the man that had been the closest thing to a father before Burt Hummel married his mom, and walked over until he was within inches. Before Mr. Schue could even open his mouth to ask questions, Finn cupped his face in his hands in a way that seemed almost loving. He stroked his cheeks and traced his brow with a delicate finger tip. Then both thumbs settled down on the teacher's eyes and Schuester was backed into a wall and pinned just as Jacob had been. Then came the steady application of pressure. Scrambling pleas turned into louder groans which became agonized begging and screaming. Vitreous fluid and aqueous humour burst forth around his thumbs, the clear color defiled by blood.
They froze, staring in horror at the vision unraveling before them. Brittany's gentle weeping was muffled when the Latina pulled her close, pulled her head down into her shoulder and murmured shaky words of comfort. Rachel couldn't scream, couldn't breathe, couldn't find any words worth speaking. Quinn entangled their fingers, grasping her as though she would never let her go. Rachel was fine if that was the case. The fingers were longer than her own and softer by far, but they were an anchor to reality. They were a source of strength. They moved quickly and quietly, avoiding the gazes or flirtatious attempts of other students. They had all agreed upon a single, unspoken goal: get the fuck out of here. They managed to slip out of the school although they heard overwhelming laughter as well as moans and groans and a few panicked voices in their wake.
The trio parted ways with Rachel when they hit the parking lot and, for a few moments, she wished that Quinn had just taken her with them. Despite the close quarters they had been in and horrors they had just seen committed by their formerly sweet ex-boyfriend, she guessed that nothing had really changed. They weren't really friends, after all. There were a handful of other cars already tearing down the road and it was sickening, when she looked back over her shoulder while slamming her car door shut, to see other students screaming, crying and running away from kids who appeared to be acting just like Scott had the day before.
Quinn sped off with Santana and Brittany, hellbent on keeping those two with her at all costs. As much as a bitch that she could be, Quinn was nothing if not loyal to her best friends. She would do anything for them and would certainly do everything in her power to keep them protected. Santana was just like that if a little more extreme. When Santana said that she would kill anyone who made fun of Brittany or threatened her in any way, nobody messed with the chipper blonde because there was no doubt in any minds that she would go through with her words. They were all in good hands with each other.
During the drive home, she ran two stoplights and refused to slow to a safer speed with turning corners.
Rachel sighed, shaking as she leapt from her car upon her arrival at home. The lights still weren't on, but she had her very own taser as a self-defense gift from Daddy. She called into the darkness once, her voice meek. The sound of rustling and she whirled around, stared at the living room floor, and screamed piercingly. There was Dad, on the floor, neck almost totally severed and large, bloody chunks of flesh missing. It was almost like seeing the aftermath of an animal attack. She would have stayed and sobbed over Dad, but she had to see if Daddy was okay. What had happened in their beautiful home? God, please, please, let her Daddy be alive and well.
When a growl and heavy body rammed her against the wall, it became quickly apparent that Daddy was, in fact, not well. Bright side: at least he was alive. That was at least part of the deal. She opened her mouth to talk some reason and to ask her multitude of questions but didn't have time because she had scramble out of his path and bolt into the kitchen. Shit. Shit. Shit. Rachel wildly searched for a way to defend herself, her heart aching and pleading with her not to do what she knew had to be done.
The next time that Daddy lunged at her, Rachel drove a butcher's knife into his head, deeply through one eye. Death came instantaneously. So that was the biggest part of her day. She had to wonder exactly when her fathers had turned into something more than just fathers; something monstrous and cruel and evil. The entire high school and her fathers had been afflicted. Was the entire neighborhood the same way? To be honest, she didn't want to find out. She wanted to curl up on the couch, turn on the news and rest. Crying would also be a main event. Steady streams of tears were already winding down her face in streaks. The safest thing that she could possibly do was figure out what was going on from the news and lock every door and window and leave every light off. That should keep her house uninteresting and, therefore, safe.
So Rachel wept for hours as she watched the television.
That was the second day; the day of manifestations.