My last day on earth

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
short "end-of-the-world" type of story involving a fictional version of myself and friends!

Submitted: July 27, 2017

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Submitted: July 27, 2017

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It’s seven o’clock in the morning. The beating at the door wakes me up. Oh, how hard it is to open my eyes. The reality of this world is more than I ever dreamt I could handle. It’s been ten years since the solar explosion of April 13 2012. Many people died. The unlucky ones survived. I am one of them. One of the last people from my town, and as far as I’m aware I could be one of the last living humans. I remember the day the old world came to an end.

We all knew that someday in April the Sun will launch a wave of radiations caused by solar explosions, and that our way of life could change- they said it would inflict major damage to all electrical devices and communications. Still, no one was expecting something as worse as this: indeed, the electrical equipments became unusable, but both people and animals begun suffering from heart attacks all over the globe. The government tried to keep things under control, but people realized there was nothing they could do about it, not without the technology we so much depended upon. Chaos reigned over the city for a few days.

Many people believed it was an act of God, who was punishing us for turning our backs to him. People preached at every corner, ordering us to repent. Stupid priests- it didn’t matter if you were a good or a bad person, Death would find you anyway. My father was one of the first people to die in my neighborhood, but he was already having heart problems. Then my mother died. My neighbors all died in about a week. There was no one to bury the bodies, but nature took care of that. On 22 of the same month, the weather suddenly changed from hot to freezing cold. It started snowing, and on 23the temperature dropped below 0 °C. On 25 it was colder then I ever imagined it could be- my thermometer was only able to show temperatures as low as -30, and it was even colder.

By that time me and my good friend Jack moved together in my neighbor’s villa- the rules of the old world were useless now. It was a case of survival. His family was dead, and he was the only one left on his street. We were both considering ourselves lucky to be alive – we were so young. At first it seemed we would have an easy job keeping ourselves warm and getting enough food to keep us alive. We had become pillagers, plundering every house in a systematical way. But by June food became scarce, and we were forced to walk miles and miles in order to find it. Back in May, we realized there were shops and malls all over the city, and that it was so much easier to find everything we needed there.

So the next day we set off to one of those shops. But it seemed that all small shops had already been emptied by others. We should have been glad that we weren’t the only ones alive, but instead we were irritated. Soon enough we got to my favorite mall. The windows were covered with wooden planks, and the door was shut. We tried to force our way in, but someone opened the door and, with a rifle in his hands, told us to bugger off, because he owned the mall then. Another man pushed him aside, looked at us, behind us and all around and then offered us his hand as a sign of courtesy. We shook hands and he invited us inside. There were many people all over the halls, but they all had one thing in common: that mean look, and the eyes of criminals. We sat down in front of a fireplace and talked about soccer, music and movies. More people gathered around us. We felt uneasy, but tried to hide our feelings. When he was done talking, he gave us a notebook and led us out. We hurried home, the hour being already late, and after we made a fire and ate what we had left in the basement we took out the notebook. Inside there was a list of trading goods – one bag of chips in exchange for a set of batteries, a casserole of meat for ammunition, and many other things. The world may have died, but the old habits still remained. As long as there is a buyer, there will always be someone to sell it. We went around, checking other malls or big shops, but everywhere we encountered closed doors, and there was always someone inside, looking just as mean as the ones we bumped into at the first one.

Still we had enough homes to rob to get a decent meal. But by June we started running out of places to search in. We had to spread in order to increase the odds of finding something. There’s nothing more frightening than breaking into a house and finding the corpses of its former residents spread around the floor. Then, a door would creak, a window would open, a board would squeak under your foot. It was terrible, but we had to do it.

It was early November when my search took me to the outskirts of the city. The snow had already covered almost everything, and finding a way to get inside houses was now the hardest part. Usually there weren’t any signs that any human other then I or Jack was still roaming the streets. But when I turned around a corner, I noticed some foot holes in the snow. We knew by then that people in search of food are dangerous creatures, so I wanted to go back. But ahead of me stood a storage facility- I could make out the writing on top of the banner- it said: Lays. I’ve always had a weakness for chips. A bag of those salty and fried potatoes slices was worth the risk. I got closer and noticed that a hole was being dug. I grabbed my wooden stick tighter and was ready to strike a killing blow, when the snow collapsed and I found myself down in the hole, next to the person that I was going to murder. I saw him reaching for the shovel, but I got to it first. With a foot of my enemy’s chest and my weapon raised, I was shivering and crying. I just wanted those chips, why was I being forced to kill for them? I threw the shovel away, kneeled and cried like I hadn’t for months. But the person standing in front of me was crying too. I took off my hood, and wiped the tears off my face. My contender did the same. It was amazing: it was a she. For the last few months all I had seen were men, and there she was, a girl. I offered her a hand, and after hesitating for a few moments, she accepted my help.

We introduced ourselves: her name was Diana. She was living nearby, all alone, and had eaten chips for months now. Her lips were swollen because of the salt. She wasn’t aware that there were others still living, and was actually crying of joy at the sight of another person. I offered to take her with me, if she could help me carry all the remaining chips back home. She agreed, and after salvaging all we could from the deposit and from her place and placing it inside a sled she had, we started our long trip home. Jack had found some jars of jam, and was waiting for me to open them and enjoy their sweet content, but he stopped breathlessly when Diana entered the room. We talked all night about how we managed to survive, and, after she fell asleep, Jack took me aside and we talked about the implications of bringing a third person: we needed more food now. But things worked out well.

By mid December she was already one of us, helping us find food, gathering wood, cleaning and cooking. It was on March 30 that the leaders of our country made themselves heard. It was a warning for all its citizens to prepare for a similar event like the one that almost caused our extinction. Fortunately we had already dug underground tunnels leading from our house to another bigger house, where we kept our provisions. We extended the tunnels to the size of the galleries of the mines, and brought some beds and other necessary things for our living. And exactly on April 13, the second “boom” happened. Jack fell ill, and I can’t say that I was feeling well, but in the end we survived, and at the start of May we ventured outside. The snow was gone; instead, a dry wind was blowing, carrying the sand as it did so. Most of the buildings collapsed, and were now being eroded by the wind.

We went to the mall, but it was deserted. Every mall was now empty, but there were no bodies. It didn’t seem too strange at the time; we thought they were all hiding down in the ground somewhere. So the malls being unguarded, we had the food at our disposal. We found a large quantity of food, and carried it home. One evening, as we were ready to get the food train on the run, we heard some howling. Since the first boom, we had not noticed any dogs. We ignored them, and kept on with our labor. But as the sun was setting, the howling intensified. We could hear growling and the sound of paws, but couldn’t see anything. We hurried home, locked the doors and got up on the balcony. We set a bonfire there, and threw some burning logs down. And then we saw them-the eyes, those shinning eyes, burning with hunger. Still we couldn’t tell what those creatures were. Jack went inside and got the rifle, and he shot one of them. Unfortunately we couldn’t do anything but wait for the sun to rise and provide the light we needed to make out what sort of beast it was. We went to sleep, although I doubt any of us closed their eyes for more than ten minutes. When the clock stroke 7, we got up and went to the balcony. But there was no corpse, nothing, only blood stains. From that day on, we always carried rifles with us when we were out gathering food, and decided to never go alone again.

The beasts returned the next night, howling and growling, giving us nightmares. And so we lived for weeks, until one day we came up with a plan that would provide us with a corpse: we dug a large hole, planted sharp spikes inside it, and covered the surface with thin wood sticks and dirt. That night they held a gruesome spectacle. The noises were so scary, that we gathered in the attic, convinced that they were demons. The following morning we found not one, but seven corpses inside the “grave”. They were hyenas – or demon-dogs as we would call them. That explained the absence of bodies around the city-they came and ate everything. They remained our constant companions during that long year. August marked my engagement with Diana, and our first night of love. The days were long and boring. The sun was up from 6 AM to 10 PM, but it wasn’t hot, just very dry. It never rained, but we still had plenty of bottled water around to drink.

We celebrated Christmas for the first time, and the New Year’s Eve too. By that time we could see that Diana was pregnant. March came, and it was almost one year since the second boom. There were no signs of a weather change, and we were running out of water. Then, a new message from the government was sent throughout the city: the third boom would happen sometime soon. By that time, Diana was in her 8th month of pregnancy, and we were really worried about the birth of the child: we knew nothing about babies. April followed, and on 7thday, my daughter was born. We named her April. Despite our lack of knowledge, the birth was easy, and her first 3 days were looking normal to us. She got a bit sick, but she recovered fast. And on 13 the third boom happened.

We were already underground since April’s birth. On 14, water started to infiltrate down to us. By the end of the day, we were in mud up to our knees. So we made our way back to the door that led down to our subterranean shelter, but we just couldn’t open it. We went onto the other side, and that door opened, and we were suddenly engulfed by the muddy water. After a lot of struggling, we made our way up to the roof. It was raining, and we were surrounded by water on every side. We swam back to our villa, which was still above the water. April was crying, and I think we were all hopelessly defeated. We sat there, doing nothing for almost one week. Each day one of us would swim down to our deposit and fetch something for us to eat. On the 8th day the rain stopped. By 1st of May the water ceased its moving, leaving us stranded in a vast ocean of

brownish water. But it never stopped rising.

On May 4 we found ourselves pushed up on the roof. It was then that Jack revealed his “marine masterpiece”, a raft made out of our former beds and some doors taken from various submersed houses. At the end of the week we set off towards the sunset. It wasn’t long before we drifted out of the city. The solid electricity poles were still standing, though only their top was visible above the water. We followed them, thus keeping the direction of route B89. Our plan was to head for the mountains, and after 10 seemingly endless days we were close to our destination. But as we got closer, we noticed there was a lot of smoke rising from the other side of the mountain. Later on, we heard loud noises, and, in the evening, gunshots. We landed on another mountain, completely exhausted, and soon fell asleep.

It was morning I woke up with a rifle pointed at my head. Jack and Diana were not around. I raised my hands, bowed my head and said my name out loud. They tied me and dragged me into a dump cave, where I was kept for a couple of weeks. An old man would come visit me three times, bringing me food, a bucket and some paper. Occasionally he would ask for urine samples, and twice he took some blood samples.

His name was Bruce, and he assured me that my friends were alright, that my daughter was not feeling well, but that she was treated by a doctor and that everything should turn out fine for her too. He would not tell me why I was incarcerated; he only promised me that “soon you’ll be out”. I tried to escape, of course, but there was no other way out except the one guarded by a few people with guns. One day, I heard someone singing somewhere deeper into the cave. I yelled at him, asking who he was. He only laughed and kept on singing, until one of the guards silenced him. Finally, I was released, and to my huge relief, everyone was ok. The old man had us taken to another cave, where we had beds, a table with 4 chairs, an improvised bath and a lot of firewood. He explained that we weren’t the first ones to come there. He was a mountaineer, living nearby.

When the third boom came, he and the remaining villagers had taken refuge into the caves of the mountain, where they had also kept their provisions since the first boom. Many people came with the soul purpose of robbing them, and they all met their end. Then, there were those crazy people-like the singing folk from the prison cave. Lastly, there were sick people, and that’s the last thing they needed. So that was it - we had been quarantined. Soon enough we met the others-a total of 109 people, not counting ourselves: school teachers, doctors, hunters, farmers, war veterans; they were a diverse bunch. We were taught how to fish, but our main duty was digging. We dug for hours everyday, going deeper into the mountain. The goal was to make it to the other side.

And so the months past; April was growing up nicely, and she was the most treasured person by the older women. I could go as far as to say she they were spoiling her. We were half way into the mountain when the “Skulls” attacked us. We drove them away, but many people were killed during the battle- though more from the enemy’s clan. Bruce, who was the leader, was one of the victims. James took leadership, without being elected. He held a grudge against “outsiders”. So a few days later we were ordered to leave or face annihilation. But as we were packing our stuff, I became aware that it was April again. I told James that a 4th boom could hit us, and that if he banished us we would most likely die, but he would not listen. Anyway, it was too late.

The next day hell broke loose once more, as the 4th boom hit us. Heart attacks hit us once again, leaving only 12 of us alive. We decided to remain there and see how the clime would change. At first it rained. Then, midway into June it stopped and the sun rose. And that was the beginning on the longest day, June 15. I suppose the earth stopped spinning, because from that day on, the sun never set. By the end of the 4th year the water vanished, leaving behind a desolate view. The search for food was now accompanied by a more dire need of water. We realized that there was nothing but death awaiting us if we stayed there. So on Christmas’ Eve I, my wife, my daughter and Jack left the caves, heading North-West. If there was always day on one side of the planet, there had to be always night on the other side. And somewhere, there had to be a place where day and night met. That was our destination.

It took us three months to get there; three months of walking under the burning sun, three months of living with so little water and food that I never thought a person was able to live with. The passing from day to night is so sudden, it’s almost magical. It never ceased to amaze me – by walking a few hundred feet to the west, you enter the “Night Realm” and same distance to the East, the “Day Realm”. And so we lived here, on the edge, for five years now.

The other 5 booms did nothing else than to make the hidden side of the earth even colder, and the other side so much hotter. I haven’t seen another person for a long, long time now. My guess is that those who remained on either side of the Earth have perished. We are just lucky to have gotten here before the 5th boom. Today is April’s birthday. I pull myself out of the bed, and head to the kitchen. Jack is already there, smoking his seaweed. April comes running towards me. I lift her up and kiss her pale cheeks. Diana comes along, and we sing “Happy birthday”. We eat the fish, our usual meal. Jack and I move to the sitting room. He looks at me, and I look back at him. His eyes are red. I can tell that he’d been crying.

-Here Jack, have a glass- I say while handing him a glass of whiskey.

-Thanks mate. So, do you think…

-I don’t know Jack…

-‘You find it wrong to want it to end? This isn’t living man, this isn’t … he can’t keep his tears hidden anymore. I’m crying too. All I can do is pat him on the shoulder.

-Do you remember what that girl told us when we were just some stupid kids? When the three of us were waiting for the ice-cream vendor to pass down our street, but he wouldn’t come? “There’s always tomorrow!”

-“There’s always tomorrow”… not for me, old friend, not for me. He climbed the ladder up and out of the bunker. I followed him. Diana and April came too. We sat down, looking at the golden sky.

-Daddy, daddy, why is the sky so yellow?

-It is yellow because…because today it’s your birthday! Even the sky is wishing you happy birthday, you see? Come here. I want to tell you a story. “Once upon a time, in a place far, far away…”

 

 


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