Gas Leak

It started to rain weird

Gas Leak
Illustrations by Tyler Littwin

This story originally appeared in Flaming Hydra. You'll need to be a Hell World subscriber to read the piece in full.

It smelled like someone might have left the gas stove on so I muted the news and got up off of the couch and went into the kitchen to poke my snout around. 

Everything seemed to be switched off as best as I could tell. 

The bulldozers were breaking ground along the border they had been saying a minute ago. In a place a lot of people didn’t want them to be bulldozing. A place of some import. A consecrated place. I was only half paying attention but it seemed bad. A matter of something despoiled.

When I was done checking I got worried I had turned the stove back on somehow so I had to do the same routine over again in the exact same order. One more time again but no more after that. Controlled enough to not do it the third time.

Half of a thing of macaroni and cheese from yesterday there wilting in the pot and becoming more and more yellow. An exceptional yellowness. So yellow it wasn’t yellow anymore it was orange. 

Who closed last night? 

The odor of rotten eggs and sulfur was all of a sudden overwhelming. The only thing I ever really heard about sulfur is that it is supposed to be what Hell smells like but then again how could anyone know that? Who reported on that? 

Dante I guess. 

I opened the fridge out of habit and there were near to rotting eggs and near to expiring milk in there so that complicated things in terms of my investigation olfactory wise. I didn’t have it in me to check the pest traps under the sink next. I knew that there were cockroaches thriving and multiplying down there in the damp dark but as long as I didn’t see them it wasn’t my problem at the moment.

I had spent so much time fighting against them that I had given up. Spraying them and poisoning them and crushing them with my feet in their only visible to me hundreds and furious as they insisted upon struggling to survive so relentlessly.

And for what? Just to live? To reproduce?

It made me feel like they knew something I didn’t.

What kind of life can that be at long last?

I’d have given anything to wipe them all from the face of the Earth. Or at least the specific earth I was on top of. I needed a flamethrower.