Should you go left, you’ve already made a mistake.
Walking down the open maw of an unfamiliar street, you’ll find houses lined perfectly like rows of teeth. All of them, as clean and polished as the next one. They are identical, of course. Trying to find something that sets them apart would be like distinguishing two drops of water. In short, impossible.
You’ll go forward, unaware of what is and isn’t in this ‘neighborhood’.
Walking and walking you won’t feel fear but anxiety will start to creep in. Something akin to long forgotten instincts of being watched by a predator. If you’re too nervous you might even start to look around looking for something watching you. You won’t find anything, only more anxiety.
Then something will change. The air will grow acidic and from afar you’ll hear a tremor. Anxiety will blossom into terror. Like rocks tumbling down a mountain you’ll know it is headed for you and you alone.
Running on the concrete pavements where children do not play, you’ll find that the ground feels wrong, hollow. On too sharp turns you’ll walk onto lawns. What is supposed to be grass will stick to your shoes, not wanting to let go.
The streets, you’ll find, are winding as you try to get away. They twist, turn and loop back around like intestines in a tangle leading you further and further in.
As you’re running you realize you could ask for help. You could go up to a door and knock like your life depends on it. Wake up the household and cause a commotion. Finally be safe and see the lights.
Yet, even just entertaining those thoughts, you’ll know them to be false when you stare at the rows of dark windows in front of you. Even if you were to get far enough from your pursuer that you had a moment more to knock, who is to say the door would open for you? Who is to say you wouldn’t be left out in the cold.
These people are, after all, cruel. Yet they are not people. They never have been. They look the same, think the same and die the same. To them, someone knocking at their door at this hour while they are all sleeping may seem rude. For that simple reason they may let you meet a fate like theirs.
Looking around you may try to find someone that can help you, someone who is in the same situation. You won’t find anyone. There has never been anyone here. When you are caught, there will once again never have been anybody in this neighborhood where the sky is always dark.
After being turned around over and over you’ll find your way back to where it all started. It will look different yet you’ll know this is where you entered this ‘neighborhood’. There is no exit there. There has never been an exit, only and entrance.
You will probably turn back to look at all the houses in the neighborhood. Only, you’ll find these are not houses and this is not a neighborhood. It never has been.
You may try to run wherever you wish but it is too late. You are already being digested by the neighborhood. No matter where you would go an avalanche of acid and enzymes would follow.
By Olivier Larocque-Pelletier