I stare through my window facing the quiet and empty street, watching the sun rise from the west. Letting out a deep sigh, I walk to my kitchen and cross off yet another day from the calendar hanging on my fridge.

“Ninety-four days,” I say out loud to myself, clicking my pen.

For 94 days the sun has been rising in the west and setting in the east. 94 days since I woke up to a world of silence. 94 since I have been completely and utterly alone.

It seems as though 94 days would be enough time to make someone go mad, being alone with their thoughts for so long. But I don’t think people go insane from being alone. I think they go insane hoping something better will come. That the misery will soon be over. Holding on to the possibility that one day you will see another person again. Hear their voice, touch their face, breath in their humanness. I’m passed that now. No one is here. It’s just me and the whole world.

The first few weeks were the hardest. Every day blurred into the next, dragging on endlessly. I kept track of time like a prisoner, marking tallies on the wall. One. Two. Three. Four. Ten. Twenty… I reached a point where I was scared that I’d tear my own hair out just to feel something, so I searched what was once my parent’s bathroom for my father’s trimmer and shaved my hair to a buzz. I couldn’t stand the sight of my practically bald head every time I passed any type of reflective surface, so I started wearing a red bandanna I found at the bottom of one of my drawers.

I still keep it short because it’s easier to deal with. It’s not like there is anyone here to impress.

Even though every day feels the same and I typically stick to my routine, the day of the Reverse is the most vivid memory in my mind. Nothing from before that day or after could ever compare to the horrifying realization that I was all alone.

I started calling it the Reverse on my very first night alone on Earth. I sat on the porch swing that I used to share with my mother, at the end of each day to watch the sun set out front, while dad watched TV inside. On day One, I tried to turn on his TV before I stepped out, for old times sake, but it stayed silent, like everything else around me. It seemed that nothing electronic was working. Figures. It wouldn’t be the end of the world with working electricity and an Internet connection.

I was rocking alone on the porch swing, wrapped in a blanket humming to myself. I tapped my feet on the painted blue wood, watching the sky; it seemed to dim and turn pink, but something was wrong. The sun. The goddamn sun was missing. For a moment I thought: This is it. I have finally lost my mind and I am having a psychotic episode, or I’m stuck in a really horrible and really vivid nightmare. Then I snapped back to the real world and had an idea. I ran out back to my mother’s garden and there she was. The sun was setting in the east, where she was meant to rise each morning, as if the Earth has begun to rotate in reverse.

To this day I cannot figure out how or why this happened. Or where everyone had gone. Maybe I died in my sleep and this was my own personal hell. Designed for me and only me. What a sick joke. 

I am way beyond trying to understand my situation. Now, every day is only about survival.

I leave my half-finished and now almost-cold coffee on the kitchen counter to tend to the chickens. I keep thinking of them as stolen, but I don’t think you can steal from someone that is no longer there. About a week after the Reverse, I had finished most of my food and I set out to scavenge the local grocery store. On my way there, I passed by Bittersweet Farm. I hadn’t seen a single animal since everyone had disappeared, but curiosity got the better of me and I decided to go and explore. What do you know, I found a hand-full of chickens clucking around in the barn, half starving and confused as to where their caretaker had gone. Why did the chickens survive? I don’t know but they are all that is left to keep me sane. Their quiet sounds are the only thing that break the silence anymore, plus caring for them give me a sense of purpose. The brood’s mighty rooster is my alarm clock every morning, dragging me out of bed to live another day just like the rest.

I finish feeding and cooing at my chickens and walk to the side of the house to grab a pale of rainwater. I fill up my watering can and go wake up my vegetable garden with a light warm drizzle.

“Good morning,” I say to my little plants and I smile. I remember reading somewhere that speaking to your plants encourages them to grow. I think I started doing it because it brought me comfort to hear my own voice. The only voice left.

Today is a shopping day. I still call it shopping even though everything considered, all that is left is mine. It feels less like a post-apocalyptic world to do mundane things like grocery shopping instead of hoarding supplies at home. I grab my keys from the hook by the front door and lock up behind me. Another desperate grab at normalcy. I grab the bright blue children’s wagon from the front porch and tie it to the back of my bike. I climb on and head for the store.

My footsteps echo through the empty aisles as I drag the wagon behind me, filling it with all the necessities for the week. Canned beans, another bag of rice, dry pasta. I dread the day that these shelves will begin to look bare. I haven’t mentally prepared myself yet for living off the land. I don’t even know if I will survive that long… or if I want to survive that long.

I shake my head. “You can’t think like that. You have to keep going,” I tell myself, confidence wavering.

I’m rolling my wagon towards the door, whistling the tune of a song with a title I have long forgotten, the wind gushing through the cracks of the door, which I almost think sounds like a human gasp. I hear shuffling behind me. Before I have the chance to turn around, they speak.

“And who the hell are you?” They say.

I drop the wagon's handle to the floor. 

April 30, 2020 03:27

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Anastasia Foxx
12:16 May 08, 2020

I thought that you mixed the scenes from the past and present very well. I also liked the cliff hanger at the end! I would have loved to have known more about the protagonist, but I really enjoyed your story!


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L. M.
00:58 May 07, 2020

Good psychological insights into such a dramatic situation. The ending was good too. Maybe could you expand it a little though?


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