It is funny to me how three weeks ago (which feels like three years ago) I was coming here to get hair ties. Leah wouldn’t stop badgering me about how all my hair ties were stretched out and worn and that one day they would snap. I decided to just toon her out like I usually do most days, and took the drive over to “The Corner Store”. I needed privacy at the time, the solitude of being alone in the car, but right now I would give anything to see Leah again. I had no idea where she was or if she was even still alive.
That was the scariest part.
So I headed over to the very same store but this time I needed bandages, ice, medicine, food, water, basically anything I could get my hands on. I was running low on disinfectant and this gunshot wound wasn’t going to heal on its own.
This was the time where you don’t realize what you’ve got until it’s gone. Cliche I know, but it’s real life. I miss my mom more than anyone and we didn’t end things on good terms, hell I haven’t spoken to her in three months. But I miss her more and more every day and if this wound doesn’t kill me maybe the heartbreak will. Leah was the only one who ever wanted to hang out with me and I hate myself for thinking she was annoying. I had friends don’t get me wrong, but they weren’t that great. I tried to call Leah five times since That Day but each time the line was dead. I tried to call my mom but I just get the same damn beeping sound.
Two days after, I had resorted to locking myself in my bedroom because I was too scared to leave the house. It didn’t take long for humanity to run for the hills and everyone had guns, where they came from I had no idea. People were killing each other and taking their resources, their only way of surviving.
So I stayed up in my room and locked the door. I soon started to run out of food because what twenty-two year old keeps more than leftovers in their house? Those who aren’t planning for the Apocolypse that’s who.
That’s when I decided to go out and see how far I could get. My car had been stolen so it looked like I was walking, and if it wasn’t for Joe Barncie I would still be able to walk the ten miles I used to every morning.
I went to high school with Joe Barncie. He graduated as valedictorian of my class and went to school for marine biology. We went to the same college but never talked, barely ever even waved. We weren’t friends in high school and we weren’t friends now, but that was because we didn’t run with the same crowd.
I guess some people just snap when traumatic things happen, and Joe Barncie is one of them.
He got me from behind. I was being so careful, watching every corner I took just looking for someone who still had sense in them when I felt the pain shoot up my right leg. I heard the bang after, which I still don’t understand, but I remember how much it hurt. I fell to the ground on the sidewalk and Joe hovered over me. He went through my pockets and my jacket and when he didn’t find anything he just walked away, leaving me there to die.
I thought that was the end for me honestly. I didn’t have a phone (not that they worked that much anyway) and I was afraid that if I cried out someone would come and finish Joe’s job. Out of some force of sheer luck, I felt someone pick me up off the ground and drag me along the sidewalk. I had lost so much blood at this point that I was fading in and out of consciousness but I woke up on a living room couch that wasn’t mine.
His name is Tom. He used to be a mechanic before That Day and ever since he’s been resourcing people who are just trying to survive. Lucky for me Tom knew how to patch up bullet wounds. Apparently, he ran with a pretty tough crowd before and it taught him a thing or two about the survival of the fittest.
I’ve been staying with Tom ever since he found me. We don’t talk much but I put in my worth. I help him get firewood or water from the river that flows behind his house. The other people he has helped left within days, hoping to find their family. I told him that I didn’t have a family to find and he nodded in agreement.
So that brings me to the present. Tom still had a car and he was hesitant to let me be the one to go out but I was getting cabin fever. I used to see these Buzzfeed articles that would say “10 Places Where Reality Feels Altered” and it would always say an airport or a grocery store at midnight. I never really understood what that meant until I went to “The Corner Store”.
The door was smashed in, glass all over the floor. The shelves were still standing but some of the items had been taken or fallen on the floor. The cash registers were open and clearly stolen from which made no sense to me as money had no meaning anymore. The scariest part was the silence. There was not a single noise in the store beside my shoes crunching on the glass.
I should have come armed.
In the back was a pharmacy that still had some medication so I climbed over the counter (pain shooting up my leg) and grabbed as many pill bottles as I could. I was begnning to rely on pain killers too much.
I threw the bottles into my bag and walked down the food aisles. Tom said that should try and get food that would last us awhile if we stored it away. I took pasta boxes, cans of soup and a shit ton of water bottles.
I began to load everything up into the back of Tom’s car. Three packs of 24 water bottles, plastic bags filled with cans, boxes, and medicine. I got band-aids and Advil (just in case). The last thing I was hesitant to take was alcohol. Yes, drinking would get us through these hard times but it wasn’t something we should start to rely on. I took some, not as much as I wanted too but enough to last us a while.
When I started the car I looked back at the store for what felt like the last time. It dawned on me in that money how crazy the world seemed. How I was just here getting hair ties and then, in the blink of an eye, everything changed.