The small, secluded town of Sognore has gone unnoticed by the public for decades. The people there faded away, leaving the town with a population of roughly five thousand. It was not said that it was death that took them, nor anything of natural cause. Despite this, the people never bothered to leave. When they tried, something always seemed to get in their way. It were as if the town itself was cynical; hating the humans that inhabited it so much that it kept them there to suffer. Despair hung in the air in humid, suffocating clumps, haunting every road and home.
Despite it all, Sognore was both foul and beautiful. It was the only mark of civilization in a vast plain surrounded by swamps and forests. Rusty, oiled train tracks lined the land and bony trees grazed the gloomy skies. It was as nights like these that the wind weaved through the dirt roads and trailer parks. Its presence was only known by its ghastly wails as it stopped to peer into windows. It spied on the sleeping faces until it became disinterested and left with a drawn out moan.
Attracted to the window of an orange, small home, the wind peered inside its kitchen window. Drawn like a moth to flame, the wind ate up the scene inside. A hunched over figure sat on the floor, running the pad of their index finger across a shard of glass.
Desperate to see more, the wind squeezed its body through the small crack and landed in a heap upon the floor. The place reeked of a strong, pungent smell. It inched closer to get a better view of the human, pausing in wonder as the human's face turned to the wind. A strip of light from a dim chandelier illuminated part of the boy's face and bounced off his dripping curls. It stemmed out in veins across his cheeks, lips, and neck which stopped at his collar bone. The blood from his finger ran down his wrist and arm in zigzags, resting on his warm, beige skin like a coiled snake.
He wore royal blue shorts that had a flimsy white drawstring and a baggy, grey shirt. Goosebumps raced up his arms and he slouched over, wrapping his arms around his knees. The blood from his finger smeared on his shorts as he turned to stare ate the window. The human's eyes, black as the void, focused on a spider spinning its web above the sink. It must have spent hours weaving that silvery, phantom webs into a beautiful cobweb. It was the perfect deathbed for its meal.
The boy rested his head on his knees, eyes half closed as fatigue began to overtake him. "Good to know I'm not lonely tonighttt! Yup, hah! Gotta spider with me," he said in a slurred voice. His wine colored blood had now reached the bottom of his ankles, mixing with the droplets of water below. The overhead light had now shifted and only revealed his left eye, casting the rest of his body in shadow. The dishwasher dug into his spine as he slumped against it.
He flicked a shard of glass across the room, slicing another finger in the process. Blood spurted from the cut and gathered on the floor. The wind watched in an equal amount of amusement and pity as a stupid smile stretched across the boy's face. The wind knew not why some humans reacted to the pain in the strange ways they did. The scattered glass glinted in the moonlight. The boy's eyes flashed with some obscure emotion as he smeared the blood on his arms and cheeks.
His slender fingers glided across his face and down his throat and collarbone. He tilted his face upwards, his owlish eyes focused on he ceiling. It almost seemed as though he was separate from his body. His breaths slowed, fading into low rattles which shook his chest. The strange light which was once present in the depths of his eyes was now extinguished. His smile had melted off of his face, lost somewhere in the pools of blood. He placed the palm of his hand on his forehead, grating it across his skin in distress.
The human tugged on his hair with shaking hands. His spider friend was nowhere to be seen. He thought he was completely alone. He wrapped his arms around his knees, rocking back and forth and buried his head. The high he seemed to have now transformed into paranoia. He folded in on himself as tight as he could. It was as though he was trying to sink in the floorboards and dissapear.
He eased himself onto the floor, his body pressed up against the sticky blood and water. He could imagine the flashing news title of the strange death of an average high schooler.
"Mateo Torres, sixteen years old, found deceased laying in a bed of glass and blood in his home. Investigators speculate whether it was a suicide or a homicide." The stern, fake voice which mocked concern rung through his head as clear as day. Except death was nothing out of the usual here and no one would think anything of it. Sadness engulfed him. He often wondered how much time it would take for people to forget him after he died. Dying here was about as good as dying in Hell.
Like a puppet on a string, he rose. Mateo used the counter top to heave himself up, standing on trembling legs. He tread out into the hall, his bottomless eyes staring dead ahead. He looked as though he were a newborn lamb, yet the life was sucked out of his body. He paused for a moment, his squinted eyes scouring the living room.
It was a small, cramped space. The room had nothing but a recliner, couch, and a television. A green, patchwork quilt lay draped on the leather brown sofa. The old tube television sat on a light brown shelf, accompanied only by dust and spiderwebs. Looking at it made his skin shiver in disgust. Living in the house was a pain enough, but the furniture was even more ugly.
Mateo's hand trailed against the black, flimsy wallpaper as he approached the door. It was a hideous purple. He grabbed the doorknob like a robot, twisting it in a manner that mocked breaking a neck. The door cracked open as he slipped out through the thin crack.
The muggy air hung over Sognore like a looming shadow, casting the land in mirages and darkness. The shadow's claws raked the stale leaves which hung from the stiff, winding trees. Their bark necks stretched above the swollen beds of clouds in despair. No matter how long they grew, they would forever be chained to Sognore. Their bodies looked like coffins, immovable and reeking with the presence of death.
In the distance two train tracks bent into faraway corners cloaked by darkness. He hated how many of them there were. The only way Sognore's grocery store got its food was by shipments by train. Despite that, he usually only heard them and never saw them. The train usually came in the dead of the night. It often had woken him up from sleep with its haunting beckon.
Mateo's eyes drooped with fatigue as he stared into the darkness. Yet, somewhere in those pools of oil and sludge, there was a spark in his eyes which blazed like twin stars. The heat both from his body and outside made him want to take a nap on the spot. He looked heavenward, knitting his brows as his curls flopped against his nape. He looked as though he were thinking deeply about something. Mateo's mouth twitched and he looked down, his ringlets plastering to his forehead.
Pebbles bit into the soles of his bare feet as he walked forward. A shrill whistle pierced the air somewhere in the distance, fading into the foggy, humid air. The leaves protested and crackled under his feet as he continued on through the murk. He paid no attention to it, and gave no sign that he had even heard the strange noise.