As I sat at the top of a ruined building I thought of what life used to be. When food wasn't hard to find and you could get water almost everywhere. When you had warnings before, violent storms wreaked havoc everywhere they touched. Back when I despised the cold and wished it to go away. But things were different now, much different. Warm December winds blew trash onto the street, or what was left of it.
It was funny how Climatologists had been warning about this for years, and yet when the inevitable happened because no one was brave enough to make the changes that needed to happen people acted surprised, like ‘why has our world been smashed by climate change’s grasp?' Well maybe because Climatologists have been warning people for years. I always hoped that when this happened the ones that were stubborn claimed this would never happen would be the ones to fall first. But that's not how it worked it was everyone for themselves hunt or be hunted.
I wiped beads of sweat off my forehead and dumped the last drops of water from my metal flask into my parched mouth. Night drew near and I needed to continue on. The horribly damaged world we now lived in had been aching from injuries for a long time but a horrible coincidental chain of events had turned it into what it was now this might have been life but I definitely didn't feel like I was living. I was visiting my friend an hour away from where I lived when it all happened. Her house collapsed and I was the only one to make it out alive. I didn't know where my family was or even if they were still alive but it was my intent to find them the only thing that really made life worth living and I was almost there. I had climbed to the top of one of the buildings to get a good layout of the city, despite the fact I have lived in this small beach town for my whole life it was much different than it was a few months ago, climbing up here also gave me a look of what was left of my hometown, hurricanes and tsunamis were always worries so I wasn't surprised to find most of the houses swept away from the tide or looked like they have been stepped on by a giant. The only good news was my house stood mostly intact and I could only hope that they and my family hadn't left or gone looking for me.
I put the now empty flask into my drawstring bag that hung limply on my back. It was always empty nowadays but I carried it from the rare chance I found something to eat. I opened the skylight to the building and lowered myself down onto the ladder. Climbing down one rung at a down before I landed loudly on the slick floor below. I tired to be as careful as possibly as I walked out of the building trying not to fall flat on my face or, something worse. I pulled open the big brass door of the building stepping outside. The joyful beach town filled with life, was once filled with scents of baked goods hot cement and salt water taffy, but as I stepped out on to the empty road the scent of trash and dead animals wafted in the air and I felt a pang of homesickness even though this was the closest I would ever get from home..
I walked on the road because no one used it anymore. I followed the familiar path past former stores and restaurants, the candy shop with the nice old grandmother who owned the shop and always gave the children extra candy. I saw children's heads peek out from buildings, rats skitter around the empty streets and a wolf howled in the distance. Left right left right. Thump thump went through my shoes on the road. Deep breath in. Deep breath out. When I reached the end of the road and saw the violent ocean waves pounding against the rocky shores and wind blowing warm ocean water in my face I knew I was close. I tried not to run as I got to my neighborhood, memories came flooding back to me as I remembered all the good times I had here, playing dolls on my friends sidewalk. Getting chased by the older boys out on the street; and the trees we used to climb water gun fights in the woods. All of the memories coming back to haunt me and making me wish I had done more. Sure I held protests, raised money and told everyone I could that they would do something. My family went all solar powered. We grew our own foods and were completely vegan. We tried to do everything we could, but in the end it was never enough. Nothing ever was.
I tucked my wavy auburn hair behind my unusually big ears and took a deep breath before turning the final corner and nothing I saw could ever make me happier. No castle or fortress giant mansion would compare to the worn down navy blue house with cracked yellow windows and a door that was barely still in its frame. Wilted flowers and dead grass lay in what used to be a yard. And no sight would ever make me happier. The excitement bubbling up in my mind finally was let free a grin wet from ear to ear as I dashed forward, my heart pounded against my chest. My lungs yearned for breath and I stopped, panting desperately right at my porch. I put my foot forward tentatively, then the other. Despite my wheezing I could never have felt better. I reached out my hand wrapping it against the warm metal of my door handle and pulled the door open. “Mom? Dad? Jakob?” I called. And when there was no response I figured they couldn't hear me or they were off somewhere else. I looked around the living room, flowered wallpaper tearing off around the edges and worn chairs with a plethora of stains sat on a hideous purple carpet.
I walked on the soggy carpet entering the kitchen, dirty dishes filled the sinks and a messy table stood in my way. “Mom? Dad? Jakob?” I called again, convincing myself that they must not be home, but since I had traveled all the way I might as well be absolutely certain with myself. I stepped onto the creaking staircase studying myself on the old banister, and I hurriedly made my way up the stairs. I entered my room. My dresser drawers were open after I raided them for things to wear. Old chip bags and soda cans were shoved into dark corners of my room. A single bed with only one blue blanket to cover it was shoved into the back of my room the only other thing in my pitiful room was a tattered bean bag goodwill had given us for free because they couldn't sell it. The panic set in when I finally realized something, when I stopped moving there was no sound. Not a peep, which was the most unusual, because everywhere my dad went he hummed and tapped his foot on the ground. He filled the house with his joyful tunes. There were sounds of my mom looking for something she lost. No sound of my brother complaining about his chores. No sound at all.
They're probably out on an errand. I tried to convince myself but my mind had switched to panic mode. I raced over to my parent's bedroom, and only one tear escaped when I saw the horrible scene. My parents lay dead on the floor, my mom had a deep gash on her forehead and so did my dad but that was all I could see for everything else was covered by a thick black blanket. “No! This can't be happening !” tears spilled out of my eyes and onto the floor like rain drops. My last thread of hope left when I put my hand to their cold necks and felt no sign of a pulse- no sign of life- just a scarred body and a remnant what was.
My vision blurred as I lay down beside them, heart wrenching sobs escaping my lips and the only thing I could think of was why, why them whatever happened that led them to their horrible end why did it have to be them?
I pulled off the thick blanket immediately throwing up all over the floor and throwing the blanket back over their mangled bodies. They were smashed, pounded , torn apart, blood and bones and organs. It was hard to tell them apart. Life isn't worth living anymore. The only thing that mattered was family, and now I had none. Except for my brother. All that was left was my little brother and I'm sure he had met the same horrible end.
I sobbed on what was left on my parents. I wiped snot from my nose and spit from the corners of my mouth, when I finally looked up when my eyes could cry no longer the sky was dark and the moon shone brightly in the night.
But what was left in the world, why was life worth living if there was nothing left, no hope no parents, just a ruined world and my parents bodies. I fumbled downstairs, grabbing a kitchen knife, there was nothing left in the world.
There is no hope. I raised the knife to plunge it into my throat, when I heard a voice from the kitchen. “What are you doing?” A boy asked even though we were both very aware of what I was going to do. “Jacob?” I stuttered, whipping my eyes blinking a few times to clean my vision, in front of my stood a little boy with wild brown hair freckles and bright eyes.
“Your.. you're not dead!” I stuttered.
He nodded and he ran towards me wrapping his arms around me, and that's when the floodgates are opened I cried into his tattered clothes. I was grasping so hard to make sure he was real, that he wasn't going to float out my grasp. I squeezed him harder, choking down sobs as I leaned my head on his tiny shoulder.
“Are you okay?” I asked
He nodded timidly. He grabbed onto my hand. “Please don't go.” he told me.
“I'm afraid I don't want to be alone in this world,” he cried sobbing into my shirt. “Promise me you want to go, promise me you'll stay and take care of me.” I squeezed him. And wiped a tear from his eyes, I crouched down in front of him. “I promise.” He gave me a sad smile and took my hand again and we stepped outside into the darkness waiting for what life would give us next.
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Very hollow, but in the best way. I'm not saying hollow in the way that you didn't describe anything; everything felt as bleak as it should have. There isn't form of hope lingering in this story at the beginning, but then you give us so much at the end that it lasts for the entire story, and even after. It's kind of Everything Everything Everything.
Aww wow thank you so much! That means so much to me! :)
This was such a terrifying and vivid story. You did a great job describing this post-apocalyptic world and setting the scenes. It was a rollercoaster of emotions, and the ending was both happy and sad at the same time. I look forward to reading more of your works. My only critique would be to pay a bit more attention to style and grammar, as some sentences became confusing to read when they seemed like they were lacking a comma or two.
Thank you so much! This is my first story I've posted and I'm really glad you like it! I will try to pay better attention to grammar and not let it slip from my grasp :)
Congrats on submitting your first story! I was so nervous when I submitted mine. Keep it up:) I can't wait to read your next one