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His stride was close-knit, with his steps being short, and his stature tall. A tight, brown leather trench coat covered his torso, with straps clipped to the seams and buttons that held it closed upon his entire upper and lower body. The chillingly warm wind would at times blow upwards the bottom of said cloak, though underneath his legs were covered by a certain bandage, large blotches of blackness (darker than spoiled blood) covering the majority of the white. Pitch black gloves and boots kept his hands and feet hidden, while a large, flat round brown hat and a massive red, unpatterned bandana that tucked neatly into the top of his cloak helped to discard the idea of visibility. His facial features couldn't be seen, just as the rest of him, but even the shape of his face seemed fairly flat, with a few bumps prodding out here and there. The only thing seen for certain were his calming black eyes, which revealed so little of him, yet so much at the same time. The only thing remaining to talk about was the massive sack slung over his back, made of simple white cloth, which held an abundance of needles.

The town didn't stare, nor did anyone take note - for strange folk were commonly seen in towns still living these days. The world's new desert was cruel, and the only ones that could survive it were always a little off-kilter. Not a single soul throughout the tiny wood-built town of western origin gave two nickels of a damn that when added together there was more death on him than legs on a centipede; guns, in every strap, one small revolver, and at his side, one large empty holster clasped around his waist. Skipping the loud as hell bar, the dingy hotel, the disgusting stable of incest, and all the horribly pointless and completely disgusting people of the town that inhibited such places. He skipped straight to the burnt down log cabin at the edge of the town. He sat in the old rocking chair in the left corner of the house, just so, that the sun would beat down upon his head and back - the opposite of what most everyone left on the planet would have wanted. Doctors would roam to towns every now and then, claiming they had the cure to that disease which could supposedly be detrimental to their survival, though no-one knew exactly what the disease was; but they all could tell when someone had it.

From the empty wasteland on every side out the town nothing appeared, as he called in a deep, roughly calloused voice, "Vaccines, for the infected!" Thus the entirety of the town came pummeling down, crushing one another underneath their feet. Their humanity was still there, that proved it. Yet, when they came upon what was left of the front door of the old house, they froze in place - some mothers going back to get their trampled children, though only after they knew they might have some time to do so. They were scared to enter. That was the house that Old Hispenas had died in because of the disease. He grew to see such horrifying intervals of sanity within his insanity.

Not a word was said; not by the man with the needles, not the townspeople. Then, after a few long, apprehensive moments, a simple looking, middle-aged man walked up in overalls and a grey shirt. With him followed the rest, in rampage and desperation. Children, men, women, all having their bones collapsed under the weight of heavy heels. The man of guns and needles grew weary quick of the all too common scene he was witnessing, and stretched his arms out to forcefully grab other peoples arms, looking to prick a single needle into someone's finger. Yet, whenever he tried - and he tried many-a times - the arms would retract quickly, for everyone was too busy fighting with each other. He was losing patience, and he soon bursted from the chair of which he sat, and, after puling one small revolver from a strap, pointed it at a woman and her child, whom stopped in their tracks. "Please, you have a choice," he could have sworn he'd heard her say. "Fuck choices, ya just blame it on the voices that told ya to do it!"

His first shot was a blatant miss, grabbing everyone's attention. The second was quickly drawn and slid easily into the woman's thick skull, leaving the boy crying by his mother's side for mere moments before he was left lifeless on the ground beside her. Three more shots fired, taking out only one person - but they were fired so quickly that by the time the group had started running, he'd burned through at least five of his guns, or thirty bullets, and killed about half of that shot. How many down, how many to go? Not enough and not enough. He loved the thrill, though thinking of who they once were still crucified him on the inside. Littering the ground with wasted guns and corrupting the air with toxifying smoke, the man walked behind the group, hitting only about half his marks and re-arming faster than anything on the planet, yelling out, "You're all infected beyond belief and must be... quarantined." By the end, as he threw away his final blistering hot weapon, he called out something.

"I know you're there, come on out." I being hidden behind a few empty water barrels thought there was no way he could see me, though the fear in my eyes widened them to the point of pain. It wasn't until he kicked over my hiding spot that I revealed myself forcefully. I was only a scrawny little "teenage boy", and he stared me down with a horrifying black gaze. Waiting for my punishment, I squinted and flinched uncontrollably. But, surprisingly, he simply pulled out a small needle from his arm and pricked my finger gently. Then he pulled off his bandana, which I followed as he wiped away the little bit of blood that drained from the tiny hole in my finger.

The moment my eyes drew themselves upwards my mind's ability to comprehend was simply demolished. He was no man, no human. He removed his hat too just as I reached sight of his face. His entire head was a dark green, ripples creating a tough pattern of skin. It was like that of an armadillo's back. His eyes seemed to reflect space and time in such simplistic, small grandeur effect. Of a nose, he had none, and of a mouth he had two. The claws of a crab before the new days crossed each-other horizontally, which opened with sharp malice to reveal yet another that opened just the same. He then claimed something in a language I didn't understand, though the only way I could allow you to discern it through mere letters it thus: "C'la e're ce'ted'in t'gub f'taric'ta."

Just as he had said this, I felt incredibly faint of heart, and fell to the desert ground, blacking out. When I awoke, the land of which I layed was covered in lush soil and green grass. An odd itch was arising near my mouth and eyes. I scrambled to my feet, both petrified and in amazing awe of both the world around me, and what I had just seen. The sky was dark with rainclouds, and foreshadowed a storm - something that hadn't been hear of in ages. I scratched the edges of my mouth and eyes to ease the itch for a bit before stumbling over the corpses and now ice-cold guns that left the ground far from barren, to find myself at the house of Old Hispenas. I remembered how different he was from all these people. Warm, caring... Different. And so, the disease was his death, as we burned him with his house due to the fact.

I scratched at my mouth area again, viciously scraping my long, uncut fingernails back and forth on my soft skin. The first layer was soft and plump, though no blood poured out. Yet, I couldn't stop scratching. Now I could feel something wanting to crawl out, begging to be released, gnawing at my weak flesh. And I scratched and cut, and scratched and cut again and again, without remorse. I had to pull them out, I had to! They were tearing my mouth away. They became tougher and tougher to pluck through, though the edge of my fingers held what I now saw as claws of a demon. After increasing the length of my smile by a good twenty-five percent and removing the idea of lips entirely, I finally found myself able to pull out two massive claws - like those of a crab from the world before, and two more followed behind, which tore away my soft tongue as they did so.

Next came the gruelling pain of the eyes, which so desperately wished to be released from their cages. I was to comply, screaming in agony as I did so. There were no layers to this, for a good gouging was all in order. Soon after, all that was left were two massive blotches of blood rounding themselves into the shape of what once was, waiting to be blackened with time. The skin upon my head grew rough and formed ripples, consuming my hair in the process and squeezing my skull into an oddest of shapes. And at that moment, I could conceive properly what my fellow brethren had told me somehow. "You are infected, but salvagable." Hours upon hours of anguish passed, thinking that the infection had finally taken over, though I knew nothing of what the disease was, same as everyone else.

I suddenly realized what this disease was. How Old Hispenas was infected, why he was different. Nobody was who they truly were, and they'd all forgotten, for they were all infected, with Humanity.

~~~~

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