I. Remains, pt 1
Almost two years have already passed since the day the sky died, and with it, what was left of the known world. Staying alive has become a dangerous and lonesome task, uncertain. The last person by my side, Rose, got sick and passed away a couple of months ago, leaving me by myself. I should feel lucky I didn’t get sick because of her. But I’m starting to believe she was the one who was really lucky, now she won’t have to wake up again next morning and fight to live in this place. Living, or better said, roaming without any company has become natural for me, yet the real challenge is finding the necessary supplies to keep pushing on day after day and staying healthy. It started snowing again. I hate it how the world has become a literally extremely cold place. I still have to look around and see if I can find a decent enough shelter to rest.
As I walk I see these streets filled with empty cars, garbage and rubble. Buildings tall and short, all of them with the same faded and damaged look, as if they had been empty for decades past. The streets are, mostly, in bad shape, holes and broken plates all over the asphalt. Everything looks finished; all these buildings could fall to pieces any moment now, and from among them I must find one sturdy and safe enough so that I can spend the night. Sometimes I wonder why I never took the opportunity to go out more and get to know my city better, every street I cross is completely unknown to me, I still remember my address, but that information seems useless if I don’t know how to get there. I wish I could go home.
The wind, heavy and cold, feels like some kind of armor surrounding me all over my body, denying me the right to move as I should. The few trees left in the city have already withered and died long ago, they have not a single leaf left on them, dry and shadowy, sometimes seen from afar as distant and threatening silhouettes. The only ones left alive, assuming there is somebody else out there, are few humans, rats, wolves, ravens, roaches, and those ugly black flowers which grow at the corners of most buildings.
I walk southwards, with just the dim light which barely manages to go through the clouds to guide me, in search of a hopefully warm place. I always wander slowly through the middle of the street, trying to keep myself apart from all shadows which might host some kind of danger. I have to stay alert all the time, always aware of my senses. Following my path southwards I was able to find the perfect place to stay at least for a while, a magazine store, still in good shape and fairly warm in the inside, I think this would be a good place to spend the night.
I survey the store, glancing at the various magazines and newspapers lying around. I pick up the first newspaper at my feet and there the headline reads: “The Government of the United States of America officially declares war on Japan”. There’s nothing interesting to read. I sit in the middle of the store, the one place where there’s not much trash paper lying around and where the broken shelves haven’t obstructed much of the area. At last I can take my heavy backpack off of me. My watch, missing the minute hand, shows me that it must be somewhere about eight o’clock in the evening, so I guess it’s the proper time for dinner. What would I eat in this fine evening? In my backpack I’ve got canned peas, canned peas and… Surprise! More canned peas, simply exquisite. Tonight I shall feast like a queen would, however I do hope to find a store with food supplies left sooner than later, or else I might go insane.
This night remains oddly quiet, no wolves howling, no sounds at all, even the cold wind seems to be at ease for some unknown reason. My old mercury thermometer tells me it must be about -15Cº, so I curl up myself at one corner as I try to warm up my hands a little. I’m still trying to figure out whether it would be a good idea or not to try and start a small fire, probably not. Where should I be heading next to? Am I even actually going somewhere in particular? Sighs. I guess there’s no real point to ponder much about it right now. I should try to focus on that which really matters as of this moment, staying alive.
I think tomorrow I will keep going southwards, hopefully I will find another warm place where I would be able to stay the following night. I should better try to find a new backpack and try harder to look for supplies as well, but for now, I guess I’d better just rest. As I close my eyes, darkness takes me gently into its arms and hums a silent melody to my ear until I finally fall asleep.
Morning already, however this incomplete darkness remains printed all over the city as the polluted clouds keep on floating up high in the sky. I wonder if someday those clouds will ever fade. I miss the sun, it’s sometimes nice to remember its warmth caressing my skin on one of those old summer days, that cheers me up a little. I’d better get on moving. So I pick up my stuff and get out of this place. As I keep walking again I now realize there’s a really big park blocking my way south, which seems more like a big, dark and dead forest in my opinion. If I press on southwards, inevitably I will be forced to go through this park in hopes that it would be smaller and safer than what it looks like. I guess I don’t feel confident enough to venture myself in it to find out. I’ll have to look my way around it to look for an alternate way to keep going south. I hope to find a safe route.