Photo credit to Ryan McGuire at http://www.gratisography.com.Day 1 I got this diary to pass the time while I sit at work. At the Department of Motor Vehicles people seem to like to come in bunches, usually at the most inopportune times, like coffee, lunch, and the end of the day. So to fill the rest of my monotony, I am going to write. Of course, my life isn’t that interesting, so here’s my day so far. When I was out for my smoke on my coffee break a long line of twenty-some military vehicles drove past on the road out to the base. Mr. Morris from the print shop was out having a smoke too, and waved me over. “What d’ya reckon that’s all about?” I shrugged. “Probably getting ready for their July training excercises.” “It’s only May,” he grumbled, then took a long puff of his smoke, sucking in his whiskered cheeks. “I don’t like it, not one bit.” The smoke exhaled as he spoke. I threw my smoke on the ground, suddenly not in the mood for socializing. This was my break for pete’s sake. I dealt with enough people at my wicket. I said my goodbyes as he lit up another smoke. As I walked away I watched the last of the vehicles pass me. A soldier smiled and waved at me. He might have been cute, had I been able to see past his aviators. Mr. Morris was a paranoid old geezer who should have retired years ago. Nothing wrong with a bunch of new soldiers in town. Mental note, start smoking out behind work from now on to avoid awkward conversations. Day 10 Strange things have been happening in town. At least, that’s what my customers are telling me. Brent, our mailman, said that a high number of people aren’t emptying their mailboxes. It started on Friday, and has just built up from there. “It’s nearly summer,” I said. “I’m sure they have better things to do than stay in this silly old town.” “They should make arrangements for their mail then,” he frowned. “It makes my job difficult trying to cram everything into their mailboxes.” Geez. Does anyone in this town not complain? Day 12 Finally the weekend. I didn’t plan to write in this diary on my days off but the weirdest thing just happened. I was sleeping with my window open, letting the breeze come in, when I heard a scream from across the street. At first I thought I was sleeping, but I heard a car door open, so I jumped up to check. A military vehicle was parked across the street at my neighbour’s place. She was babbling something about how her husband’s body had been stolen. They put her in the back of their truck, and went back into the house. Weirdest thing ever, they come back outside carrying a manikin. Can you believe it! The crazy old woman had been keeping a manikin inside with her, talking to it like it was her husband. He must have taken off, because I haven’t seen him around for a month or so. You never know who’s crazy! Day 20 No one has shown up for work for the last two days. Seriously! I would actually care if we were busy, but things have died down here at the DMV. Desperate for human contact, I took my smoke break outside, but not even Mr. Morris graced me with his presence, so I snuck across the street to check on him. The door to the shop was open, so I went inside. “Hello?” Nothing. I popped my head in his office and saw him sitting at his computer. “Busy day in the print world?” Nothing. “Hey, I’m talking to you.” I nudged his shoulder and he fell forward. I screamed and ran back to work. I’ve never seen a dead guy before. I called the hospital but they were so backed up they said it would be hours. What’s happening to this place? I went back outside for a smoke to calm my nerves, and then remembered Mr. Morris lying dead in his office. Mental note: it is time to quit smoking. As I locked up at the end of the day I saw a military vehicle parked in the alley of the print shop. I snuck over and peered in the back door, curious as to why they came and not the ambulance. Inside I could see them carrying a manikin. Again? They started to undress it from Mr. Morris’s clothing and pull it’s limbs apart. A high pitched scream filled the back of the shop, and I jumped back, bumping against the truck. What kind of manikin screamed! A manikin leg fell out of the truck box, landing on the ground beside me. I pulled open the tarp and it was full of manikin parts. As I closed the tarp, something moved. I looked closer and saw that it was more than something: all the parts were moving. I covered my mouth to stifle a scream and the door to the shop swung open. “What are you doing back here?” a soldier yelled at me. Was he the cute one I’d seen weeks before? I didn’t care right now. I picked up the leg on the ground beside me, and held it out between the two of us. “What’s going on?” “Just relax,” he said, stepping toward me. “What did you see?” An arm reached up from the truck behind him, grabbing onto his wrist. I turned and ran as fast as I could down the alley, carrying the leg with me. I weaved in and out between the buildings of downtown until I was so confused as to where I went, I didn’t think they could find me. I didn’t dare to go home that night. Instead, I slept under the 4th Avenue bridge that runs close to my home. I kept the squirming leg close, just in case I needed it. Day 30 I’ve managed to rustle up scraps, and raid a couple of stores to get by. I haven’t seen another human for days, other than the military soldiers. Every day they load up their vehicles with manikin parts and haul them from town, down the long road to the base. I’m not sure how much longer I will be writing either. My left hand has started to turn an odd shade of beige and all of the suppleness of my skin has gone, turning to a smooth shell. What is this terrible affliction that has taken over our town? I wonder how long it will be until the military soldiers are pulling apart my limbs? Will it hurt? Well I’m not going to sit here to find out. I still have the leg and it is still mobile, which tells me there’s hope. It’s time I ventured out of this place to see if there are others like me out there. Find other great stories inspired by this picture: http://www.vanessabarger.com http://marycrockett.com Want to participate? Post your story in the comments below.