That night there was no moon, or if there was the ash and smoke had concealed it from our view. It was cold, too cold for a mid autumn night,but I knew it was because of the ash in the sky blocking out the sun's heat all day. First the volcano had tried to burn us, now it would try to freeze us. And what could we do about it? Wait for it to be over and hope to survive.
The next day didn't come, or if it did, it was no different from the night. The polluted air refused to let any light through. We walked for hours on end hoping to come across some sort of food, and more importantly, water. We wouldn't survive long without it. By what would have been mid afternoon, we found that we were no longer across hardened lava, but through burned forests. This, at least was a sign that we were nearing the end of this destroyed, devastated place. By what would have been nightfall, we did. Gradually the black and grey turned to green and brown. With no reason to stop, we continued walking, and at what may have been midnight or perhaps early morning, we came across a lake and stopped there.
At least we'll have water, I thought.
None of us bothered with tents, it didn't seem to matter, all we cared about was sleep.
Two days later, I saw the sun.It felt like, for the very first time. During our time at the lake, we had almost grown careless. If it wasn't for the fact we had stored food in a large cave that someone had found, anyone would have either thought we didn't know about the disasters, or we were very stupid, and possibly suicidal.
In the afternoon, seven people went in search for any other survivors, telling us they would be back in a few days. We did this after every disaster, but never found anyone alive, but that didn't stop us, it was tradition, now.
That evening, I sat outside, trying to figure out where we were using a map, a compass and obviouse land marks, when I felt the earth shake. At first, it was just a tremor, a slight shift in the earth's surface, and a deep rumble. I sat up, suddenly alert.
Is it dangerous? I thought, Is it just a warning? What terrible hellish fate has been set on us now?
I waited to hear it again. Nothing happened, so I relaxed, again. Maybe it had just been my imagination.
But no, it came again, this time louder. I jerked upright. The rumble grew louder, filling my ears and blocking out any other sound.
I smelt something... rotten eggs? But we didn't have any eggs... It grew stronger, I heard the crack of a mountain near me opening, splitting, to let out all kinds of deadly things out. One of them being... I realised what I had smelt. Sulphur.
It hit me like a falling milestone. Volcano.
I had to think fast. Where could we go that was close enough to our supply of food in the cave? That, I realised, was the perfect place.
'Get inside the cave!' I yelled at the top of my lungs above the deafening rumble.
Without a second thought everyone grabbed whatever belonged to them, and piled themselves into the cave. I didn't shut the door, I wanted to know what was happening. A rush of hot air hit me, almost pushing me back into the cave. Then I saw ash and rock tumbling down the mountain emersed in a falling wall of fire. Fear leapt to my throat. Another hotter heatwave hit me, and I jumped into the cave and helped someone else push a large stone in front of the door. I heard the rush of lava as it covered the cave. The already hot air grew hotter, still.
I heard someone cry through the darkness, someone young, but at that moment I didn't care. All I could do was indulge in my own fear.
Soon, and very abruptly the noise stopped. I sat in heat, silence and darkness. Besides my ears ringing, all I could hear was the beating of my own heart.
I didn't realise that I had fallen asleep, but when I woke, my surroundings were no different.
'How long has it been?' I asked in the darkness. My voice sounded strangely loud after the hours of silence.
'I heard the sound of a match lighting. The flame seemed astoundingly bright, like a miniature sun. 'It's 10am now, that means it's been... fourteen hours." I heard someone say.
'The lava would have
cooled some what. I'm going to open the door." I expected to hear
some protests, but there was no answer. I moved the stone door,
closing my eyes in preparation for the blinding sunlight. The
stone moved, but no light came. It was a shock at first, but, as
the door was vertical and on the side of a hill, I realised not
much more than a thin layer of lava could have covered it,
probably not too thick to smash through. Otherwise we were
'Does anyone have anything ideal for smashing rock?' I asked. Someone handed my the blunt end of a shovel. I realised that no one else had any idea of what was going on, but no one questioned me.
It took three or for hits for the rock to break away, and we were out, walking through the black and grey landscape, over dark rock, encrusted with red and orange.
No-one said anything or asked where we were going, we simply kept on walking. The seven of our group who had been searching for survivors were presumed dead, that made us a group of twenty-three. Several people were crying over lost friends, but no-one stopped. Stopping would mean surrendering. Surrender meant death. Nobody here wanted to die. The suicidal people of the world were long dead.
I wondered where we would go next. Many ideas crossed my mind, I discarded all of them. Nowhere was safe any more, and I had to choose the safest of those unsafe places in this self-destructing world.
Well, I thought, we haven't had any luck inland, so... let's go to the sea.