It didn't make sense, what happened, all I knew was that I’d survived, and for that, I was grateful. The end of the world had come. I’d watched it, distanced myself while with my mother. Kept track of the world’s population with a device I had found. It went from the billions; over 7, to below 9 million people in just over a week. It was amazing, really, if you look at it from a scientific aspect, but through my own eyes, all that seemed amazing was the fact that I, of all people, survived. I had no special talents; I couldn’t possibly have any huge importance in keeping the world alive.
I wasn't an inventor, I wasn't a scientist, hell I wasn't even a simple businessman. I was still an adolescent. I didn’t know how to balance a budget, I didn't know how to run a country, I didn't even know how an electrical system worked. But my life was spared. I was granted mercy. Granted mercy from death, and I gained new life, a way to live on and help restart the world.
But I was a writer; writing was what I did best. So I will write, add in my contribution to the renewed world. My name is Adam and this is what I will tell you; my story.
--- --- ---
Up this street, down this street, up this hill, take a left, take a right, here we are. It was a long walk, a few miles. I don’t know how long it took, but it was lucky for me I had music to listen to. When I made it home, to my surprise, my mother was there, my mother who lived hundreds of miles from here. How she got here so quick, I will never know. I learned from her of my father’s death, the pain didn’t hit me; I didn't want to believe it. I couldn't let myself believe that I would never see my dad again.
We stayed in the house, for days, food slowly lessening, diminishing. There was enough to last us a few months. I kept watch on a strange device I’d found sitting in my living room. A device that kept track of life signs on the planet. I watched the count go down from 7 billion, down, down, down to just over 9 million. I kept on wondering when I would perish, IF I would perish. I wondered if I’d ever see certain people ever again. A girl I once freely gave my love to, a guy I once considered my best friend . . . Multitudes of people, and I wondered if I may or may not see them again in this life.
Within a week, however, the shaking had stopped, the movement of the earth’s crusts had ceased, and it was another week before I heard a knock at my door. It was unexpected. I thought we were alone. But there it was; a knock, then another, then a chorus of knocks at my door. Then my bell rang, it rang and rang and rang. I reached for the door and it burst open, a person flying at me. Before I could know who it was, I was getting a tight bear hug.
“I thought you were dead,” a voice said, coming from the person with their arms wrapped around my back, the voice was terribly familiar, joyous, “I thought you were, but you’re not dead.”
“Nico’s dead . . . my Dad’s dead . . .” I choke out, still not accepting those cold-hard facts, “I don’t even want to know who else is dead . . . if she’s dead . . .”
The figure releases me and I am able to breathe in again. It’s one of the many people I’d been thinking of, one of my oldest friends. I’m surely shocked to see him, considering the odds against him, but I’m gladder to see him above all else. He gives me a look, a short look of sorrow before wiping it from his face to a small smile telling me that things will be okay.
“You don’t know how many people we've all lost . . .” he said, sounding downtrodden, but still sporting that small smile.
“We? Who else is there, Ryan?” I ask; a little confused at what he’s said.
“Meeee!” a voice calls in from just outside the door.
I recognize that voice. I most definitely recognize that voice.
“Better not be coming to eat all my food again, Leonard!” I yell outside jokingly.
“Ahhh, I won’t, not this time,” the voice calls back. This left me hopeful. They both still had humor, despite the current circumstances, and considering that these two of my friends survived, I hoped that a few more may have as well.
“Come with us, we’ll show you what’s going on,” Ryan requested of me, “You should meet the rest of the group.”
“Who else survived?” I asked, stranded on the thought that maybe, just maybe, she’d survived.
“A few others, I think Gavin survived. We haven’t had a chance to visit Seattle though.”
“Oh,” I muttered.
Ryan began to lead me out of the house, joining Leonard and soon, another, much larger group of maybe fifteen to twenty other people. They were gathered in a 3-way intersection near my house. To the left of the intersection was Ryan’s home and like most of the homes in our area, it was intact. To the right was a much larger building, a two story house owned by an older lady, the bottom floor rented out by an aging man, who was soon to be retired. I wondered if either of the two had survived the disasters.
Among the group gathered in the intersection, I spotted a few souls I recognized, including another one of my good friends, a guy named David. And then Nico’s little brother, Richard, and I wondered how in Hell he survived. I wondered what had happened to Sheldon. I didn't head over to talk to him. I saw Ryan and Leonard go to the head of the group, I followed. Leonard was talking to Ryan about what seemed like plans and they were fretting over something, I quickly spoke up.
“Is she alive?” I asked Leonard, “I just want to know, is she alive?” My eyes were beginning to tear up, it was too much for me to think about, if she was gone. But Leonard tried to ignore my question, still facing away from me and conversing with Ryan.
“. . . bullet . . . gut . . . but doctors . . . hope . . .“ I heard from Leonard in broken sentences.
“The Doctors have it handled,” Ryan says, “I trust them.”
“Should we tell him?” Leonard asks, barely audible.
“Maybe now’s not the best time,” Ryan voices.
“Not the best time to tell me what?” I ask; feeling utterly concerned, trying to piece together what I think they've said.
“The plan!” Ryan answers quickly, clearly skipping to a separate topic.
“Yeah, we’ll tell you as we go,” Leonard informs me.
--- --- ---
A few hours later, we find ourselves in a subway station, or what seems like a subway station. All the walls are a pale green color and none of the electrical systems seem to be functioning. I wasn't entirely sure what we were doing here. All I knew was that we were in Seattle. Maybe we were working on finding Gavin. I soon found myself pestering Leonard.
“I want to know if she’s alive, please, is Grace alive?” I continued asking.
He remained silent.
“I need to know if she’s alive. I must know,” I ranted, incapable of stopping myself.
“Yes,” he answered. At long last.
“Where is she?”
“Well . . .”
“She sustained an injury from a sniper; she’s at the hospital being tended to by doctors.”
“How did that happen?”
“We have made enemies very quickly. They shot her.”
“I must see her, I need to. Can you take me to see her?”
“Not right now Adam, we have to get this done. We need to find Gavin. And we have to find him soon.”
I shut my mouth. I needed to be patient, and patient I would stay. Finding Gavin was the immediate concern of Ryan and the group and I hoped we could find him. Some of the older members of the group worked on the electrical systems of the subway, bringing it online and we all gathered in one subway car while another group member entered the cabin for driving the train. It went off under Seattle; passing through the underground and showing us many places where the city itself collapsed above the subway tunnels.
Just after passing through a station, the intercom came on; informing us that we’d have to stop and get off at the station because of the fact there was too much debris on the tracks ahead. We quickly stopped and the train headed back, stopping at a point where the back few cars were in the station. The group filed toward the last car and got off the subway, heading up the stairs to the outside.
The city was devoid of life, of people at least. Or it seemed to be that way. The area we were in was much less city than that of where the space needle was, but still very much Seattle. I looked off towards where the Space needle should be and just saw rubble. The city that we knew was gone, and at that moment; I realized how surprised I was that the subway even functioned correctly.
We headed off through city streets, looking to find any sign of life and searching for the high school, it was called Roosevelt if I’m remembering correctly. It didn't take long to find it, an hour or two and once we did, we learned much about the fate of nearby residents. Really, all we found was a sign pointing out that this was Roosevelt, the school itself was gone. No refuge here, I thought.
We headed around another way, finding our way towards Gavin’s neighborhood, another hour and we happened upon his street. It was a residential area, and by this time it was night. The houses were intact, little damage here, some lawns looked as though someone had gone over them with a straight razor digging into the soil, but otherwise the place looked fine. Gavin’s home was in perfect condition, it looked cozy and lived in, candlelight streaming through the breaks in the curtains.
Ryan and I stalked towards the front door, giving a few nice knocks on the wooden door behind the glass, screen door. We waited for a while, hearing loud stomps inside as someone traveled up the stairs inside. The curtains shifted inside the large window and we got a quick look at a woman’s face before the door opened the very slightest.
“Of all the people I’d expect to see by now, you two. I’m glad to see that you’re both still around in these dark days,” spoke a woman’s voice, the woman from the window. It was Gavin’s mom, Cassandra.
Ryan spoke first, “It’s great to see that you’re still here too,” he exclaimed, expressing great joy to see that she’s alive, as she’s like a second mother to him, “How are Gavin and Allison?”
I just stayed silent, though glad to see her, myself.
Her face strained, “Allie’s here, she’s hurt pretty bad . . .” tears entered the woman’s eyes, “Gavin hasn't been here . . . he went off looking for medicine with some of his local friends, trying to find some of his friends that haven’t been around, and that was yesterday,” she said sadly.
“May we come inside? Would you mind if I took a look at Allie’s injuries?” Ryan asked, showing some amounts of concern about Gavin’s little sister, “If it’s too bad, I know of a hospital we can take her too, it’s safe and the doctors are good.”
This could help me get to Grace…but what about Gavin? We have to find him . . . and then there’s Isaac and Jared and Nathan . . . I wonder who he’s with, and who they went after.
She let us inside, the house looking virtually as it did when I’d last been there, two leather comfy chairs in the living room and a fur rug on the floor. Ryan motioned for the others to stay back, as to not infringe on Cassandra’s space. She led us through the living room and past the kitchen, then down the stairs in the middle of the conjoined rooms, at the bottom we found the dog lying beside Allie with a saddened look on his face. She was asleep on the couch but clearly in substantial pain.
Wrapped around her waist was a rag tightened to staunch the massive amounts of bleeding and it covered a wound centered on her left side. It looked really bad. I looked away, unable to handle the sight of all the blood that had seeped through the rag and was in big round splotches all over the white rag. It made me nauseous to see all that blood and I nearly felt like hurling. I held in the feeling, wanting to avoid feeling rude in the presence of a dying girl and her mother.
“I think that is going to require a doctor’s assistance,” Ryan quickly stated, “I don’t think it’d be good to remove that rag until she’s in safe care. Does your truck still run?”
“Probably, but I don’t know if it has enough gas to take us all the way to whatever hospital you need to get to, which one is it again?” Cassandra replied.
“It’s just the local one from where we are, you know, Evergreen. It somehow escaped undamaged with most parts and a lot of the doctors are still around,” stated Ryan.
“Oh, I got it, that’s not too far. I’d say the truck would take us that far. When should we go?”
“In the morning; I’m going to stay with the rest of my group though, we’re going to go looking for Gavin. You take Adam with you; he has a reason to go with you.”
I looked at Ryan with a strange suspicion. He either didn't want me helping to find Gavin, or he was in realization of the fact that I had to see her, see Grace, even in her wounded state. I’m sure Leonard told him that he’d let it slip to me. I concluded that he wanted me to see her and I left it at that.
“That’ll work better than leaving tonight. How do you suppose you’ll find Gavin though? I’m not sure where he’s gone and why he’s been gone so long.”
“I have my suspicions,” Ryan pondered aloud, “but there are many people in my group to help look for him even if I’m wrong. Would you mind if a bunch of them camped on the patio out back? It’s probably one of the safest places for us at night.”
“I suppose not,” she voiced with a sigh, “I hope you can find him, I can’t go losing my little boy . . .” Her eyes glassed over and she sat down, looking as if she were going through memories of a better time, something I had been doing often.
“I don’t want to lose my first friend or his sister either . . .” I finally let out, unsure of what to say.
“Well, you two can use Gavin’s room to sleep tonight if you wish. I’m going to stay down here for the night, the others can stay on the patio, as you suggested. I don’t have much for sleeping on so you’ll all have to make do with what you have.”
Ryan headed up the stairs to let the guys know what was going on and I heard the sound of shuffling from the side of the house soon after Ryan had gotten outside. I took one last look at Cassandra and Allison and headed up the stairs and walked through the living room and into Gavin’s room.
An oil lamp lay on the table beside his bed, lighting the room fairly well and it looked no different than it had previously, the walls lined with posters and other souvenirs. To the right side, in the corner, stood an electric drum set and to the right was the bed. It looked recently slept in, maybe the last day, so it showed he hadn't been gone for long. On the floor was another comfortable looking rug, covering the entire center of the floor. I glanced around again before sitting down on the bed and staring at the electronics on his bedside table, an iHome and a few little trinkets. I felt a sincere urge to lie back, and gave into it only to black out within an instant.