The only person who remembered the Fall in my family was Granny Georgis.
"I was around your age, Clary," she said, sitting across from me at the kitchen table, adjusting her teal spectacles. "I could feel that earthquake in my chest. It took out all of DC, and several other cities around the country as well,"
Granny Georgis paused and sobbed a little before continuing.
"We were left with nothing but rubble and broken corpses. One of them being your Great-Grandmother,"
My eleven-year-old self twirled a lock of dusty brown hair around her finger, tighter and tighter and tighter.
"But we rose up, right?" A knot of uncertainty pulled in my throat, cinching my voice. "You and... and Granddad found our home, right?"
Granny Georgis smiled sadly, a tear leaking out of one eye. I knew why she was about to cry. Grandad had died a month ago trying to get supplies. Going there was almost suicidal with everyone else clamoring for food and water.
"Oh, Clary," Granny Georgis whispered. "There is so much you still do not know,"
Mom strode into the room, her long, starkly legs donned in black. In fact, she was in all black. I had seen the outfit enough times to know what was going on.
"I'm going to the Pit. Watch Clary for me," Mom instructed. She bent down to my level, tucking my hair behind my ear.
"You'll come home, right?" I asked fretfully. This wasn't the first time I had asked either. I would ask the same question, and Mom would give me the same answer.
"Yes, Clary," A small smile formed on her lips. "I'll be back soon," With that, she hugged Granny Georgis and murmured a goodbye, and shut our trailer door behind her.
I've always loved our trailer. It's musty, metallic smell reminds me of when Granddad told me what people used this trailer for.
"See that star on the side of the trailer?" Grandad lifted me up so I could see it properly. "That means a movie star stayed in here while they were filming their movie. Can you believe that, Clary?"
God, I would've loved to see a movie.
Too bad for my generation. We were born too soon. And because of that, we could never experience walking outside without having to look behind us. We could never go to school (I still wanted to go, even though Granny Georgis said that she'd hated school to no end). We could never lead normal lives.
And it was all because of the Fall. No one knows how it happened, it just did. And because of it, it was like humanity was set back a couple centuries.
Back to when tribes were scrounging for food, fights, and wars breaking out among people who used to be happy and free, or among ones who would never know freedom in the first place, because they were born into a time where only the strong survive, and the weak are left to perish.
Not only did it tear humanity itself apart, but families were torn apart too. Including mine. I could still remember each and every word that passed between my parents that day.
"Becca, you cannot go out there! It's too dangerous!"
"I can handle them! My mother can watch Clary, and she'll be safe here!"
"I'm not worried about Clary, I'm worried about you! Just listen to me for once-"
"No, Art, you listen to me. Why are you not worried about our daughter, who we brought into a world full of misery and toil?"
That was when Dad had given Mom a pained, hurt look, opened the trailer door, and swiftly slammed the door behind him, shutting him out of our lives forever.
Mom ran out of the door behind him, yelling Dad's name.
"Art! Arthur, please! Come back..." desperate phrases flew from her lips.
But he was already much too far ahead. He was gone, never to return to us again.
Mom had soon returned to the inside of the trailer and collapsed on the floor in a sobbing, heaving mess.
And that was when Granny Georgis had herded me away from Mom and tried to get me to focus on other things. She was trying to shield me from the truth when our whole world was now a giant, honest truth.
It disgusted me, the way the world worked.
A couple hours later, I sat at the window, waiting for Mom to come home.
Oftentimes, the brutal men and women she would meet in the Pit, fighting for supplies, would often tire Mom out to the point where I would think her soul would shatter at the slightest touch. Mom had once spent four hours getting supplies fending off three people at once.
"Wow!" I had shouted when Mom told me the story. "I wish I were as strong as you!"
Mom had smiled as she set the supplies on the table. "Someday, you'll be the strongest out of all of us, Clary. You are already so brave just to live in a world like this."
I slipped out of the memory and waited for her to walk through the trailer door, arms loaded with supplies and perspiration dripping down her forehead.
"Mom!" I'd run to her and hug her as tight as I could, sending supplies all over the floor.
"Becca," Granny Georgis would smile from the table, relieved that she hadn't lost another loved one.
But today was taking longer than usual. I bit my lip and turned to Granny Georgis, who also looked worried.
After several silent, nervous minutes, I asked Granny Georgis the dreaded question.
"Granny, do you think Mom's going to come home?" My heart flew up to my throat in fear.
"Becca will come home soon," Granny Georgis whispered. "She always comes home," she looked despondently out of the window, silently praying for Mom to come home.
An hour passed. Then another. And another. We were still looking out the window, tears leaking out of Granny Georgis's eyes.
"Clary," she said gently, trying to soften the cold blow of the inevitable.
"Mom's not coming home, is she?" I whispered. The tears were rolling down my face, too.
Years ago, we had a moldy deck of cards that Dad had brought home one day.
"Look what I snagged for us, guys!" Dad had announced happily, holding up the cards. "A couple of cards are missing, but it's still in great condition!"
Grandad's fatigued face had immediately perked up. He was a huge card game fan before the Fall.
We spent the next few hours playing all types of card games. I won almost every single game, once I got the hang of it.
"How does she do that?" Grandad had asked in disbelief.
"Luck of the draw," Dad had shrugged. "It's just who she is,"
Luck of the draw. I thought, remembering the phrase. What a stupid, stupid phrase.
Being born into a generation of death and destruction was not luck of the draw. It maybe was when every other possible way my life could've gone was better.
It was just luck of the draw that Dad left us without a goodbye.
It was just luck of the draw that Grandad died.
It was just luck of the draw that Mom was now dead too.
It was just luck of the draw that my generation was the one to grow up, suffering.
It was just godforsaken luck of the gosh darn draw that the whole world was screwed up to the point where almost everyone I love had left me.
I could only imagine what Mom looked like by now. Her rigid body sprawled across a cracked walkway by the Pit, her face and neck painted with her own blood. Her eyes wide and glassy, reflecting the stars.
Soon, Mom had told me. Soon, Soon, Soon.
I'll be back soon. But she wasn't back soon. She was dead.
She's dead she's dead she's dead. It ran over and over in my head like a broken record.
It was just Granny Georgis and me now, sobbing into each other's shoulders, shaking more than the earthquake that created the Fall. We cried streams, rivers, and oceans that day, the salty waves washing memories over our minds.
How we would go on, we did not know.
We only knew that everything would be okay soon.