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The sounds of rain tapping against the leaky windows rang through the house, the only noise filling the empty silence. The old floorboards cry in agony as I make my way through the barren halls. “We´re leaving tomorrow, Jew. We´ve been here for too long already” Jew huffs, acknowledging my presence. Its been just Jew and me for quite some time now. I found him as just a baby after the first two months. I thought it was the end. I didn’t think there was any point in continuing on. I had nothing. He was so small and all alone, I had to help. Its been two years since then.
Two years since my whole family was ripped out of my hands.
Two years since the world ended.
“Dad! Have you seen the news? Have you heard what they are saying?” my eldest sister’s panicked voice caused my house to feel uneasy. Her face was pale and eyes wide. Something was wrong, very wrong. “Girls, go upstairs. Now.” The sounds of my little sisters whining in protest only added to the stress. “Now.” Vada urged them up the steps as my father advanced towards the living room turning the T.V´s volume up. It was the president speaking. “...turning people mad. It appears that only days after the fever, people have been waking up unresponsive and hostile, hurting the people around them. Fortunately, this “fever” is not airborne. Current studies are being done to stop this outbreak. Until then, stay indoors and we wish you and your family the best.”
The room is silent. The only sounds are my father’s heavy breathing. Its as if someone just hit the pause button on the whole world. Have you ever had an experience where your whole world just..stopped? Well, then you know that when the break is over, everything seems to play ten times faster than it was before. My father shoots up off the couch and starts running through the house. Raiding the medicine cabinets and grabbing clothes. “Girls. Go pack your things. Only grab what you need.” everything seemed to go by so fast. The whole house turned to complete chaos, people rushing up and down the halls grabbing their belongings. I stood there in both shock and fear, clutching my bag so hard my knuckles turned white. The only thing I grabbed was my stuffed monkey, my grandfather’s knife and my inhaler. My father´s frantic screaming snapped me out of my trance and back to reality. “Girls! Get in the car! Grab the babies!” My sisters and I rush outside and into the running vehicle while my dad loads the car. My little sisters crying fills the car as my father speeds to the grocery store. “Serena. Kira. You come with me. Vada, You stay in the car.” my eyes widen in shock at the words that came out of his mouth. “by themselves?! No way! Vada doesn’t know how to protect herself, let alone herself and two kids!” My father sighs as he thinks over what I just said. “Fine. But in and out, you hear me? We go in, we grab what we need, and we get the hell out of there. Got it?” Everyone nods in agreement as we start to pile out the car. We all rush into the store like we have so many times before. This time it is different though. The store is packed with people frantically running around stocking up on what’s left. The shelves are almost completely empty and the store is filled with screams and crying.
Is this really the end? Are we all going to die?
My dad starts to fill pillowcases with cans of fruit, beef jerky, and water while telling Serena to find medicine. Once again I’m stuck in place. What do I do? Where is that screaming coming from? Why can’t I move? My father is screaming something at me but I can not hear. Loud ringing bursts through my eardrums. Gunshots? Was I shot? Am I dead? Is that why I can’t move? “Kira!...Kira!......KIRA!” I am snapped back to reality by the calling of my name. What’s going on? Once again, time speeds up. My sisters are being taken away by a group of men. They have guns and are a lot bigger than us. Suddenly I’m yanked off of the ground into the embrace of a stranger. It’s not warm like the embrace of my mother. It’s cold and urgent. I look over to see the men grabbing my older sister. I am young, but I know that look. My father told me to stay away from people that look at you like that. She looks scared. Maybe more than me. Turning around, I kicked the man grabbing me and ran towards my sister.
Gunshots. But this time I could move. This time the ringing wasn’t in my ears, but my fathers. “Dad!!” my little sister lets out a blood-curdling scream. This wasn’t supposed to happen. Snap out of it Kira! Your family is going to die if you don’t do anything. I look around in panic for someone. Anyone. When I meet the eyes of my sister, they’re empty. Shes lost hope. I look to my little sisters, fear, panic, confusion. Is my family going to die? Am I going to die? These are bad men. They arent going to kill us. Our fate is worse than that. I know that much. I look back to my eldest sister, Serena, she mouths something.
“I love you.”
In an instant, my sister lurches forward and has the man on the ground and grabs a hold of his gun. I am once again frozen in panic. “Go! Run!” I snap out of it and grab the bag my father dropped on the ground and do as told, run. More gunshots? Hoping for the best, I look behind me expecting my sisters to be trailing not far behind. Instead, I am greeted with the sight of my sisters greeting death. The grocery store has turned into a blood bath of my family’s pools of red.
My father said we would go in and out but never said I would be doing it alone.
The sounds of Jew´s barking brought me back to the present. He licks my face, pawing at my arm. How long have I been dozing off for? The sounds of the rain had stopped. I look towards the window that is no longer pouring light into this barren house.
I make my way towards the heaps of ragged blankets near the fireplace, adding more wood to the dying fire. Jew lays down and waits for me to join him by the fire. “Civilization is gone, everyone, I ever knew is dead, and the world is good as gone” Jew and I look at each other and he just huffs. “You know, sometimes it feels like you only do that to get me to shut up.” once again, Jew huffs at my, what seemed to be, endless rant. Scoffing, I hand him a piece of jerky. The heat of the fire pleasantly burns my face as I sit there, pleased with the warmth the fire is producing.
It’s been two years since the world ended. Two years since I’ve talked to a person that doesn’t want to tear me to pieces. My dog Jew and I live off of beef jerky and warm water. Not exactly what you call 5-star dining, but it keeps us alive. We´ve been all across the country and it looks the same everywhere. “Jew, do you think the world is really over? Like do you think we are the last people on earth? Huff if you think so.”
I lay down on my back and look up at the ceiling that could give out at any moment. “Goodnight, Jew” my eyelids start to feel heavy and the last thing I hear is the crackle of the fire as I am pulled into a deep slumber.
I am snapped out of my sleep to the sound static noise filling the once quiet house. I look over at Jew to see that he is in full alert mode. The fire has long gone out and the sky is just starting to set.
“...Hello? Is anyone there? Over”
This grabs my full attention as I scramble up to grab the radio. Do my ears deceive me? Have I gone insane? After what seems like forever, I start to think that I had imagined the whole thing. ...Until I hear it again.
“Hello? Is anyone there? Over.”
I nearly drop the walkie talkie as the voice comes in again.
“Yes! Yes! I’m here!” I look over at Jew who has sensed my excitement and starts to wag his tail and bark.
“Are you infected, Ma´am? Are there more of you?” the voice comes through the radio again bringing tears to my eyes. My god it has been so long since I have heard another voice but my own.
“No no I’m as good as I can be. It’s just my dog and I. who are you?” my hands start to shake, and my stomach drops as the room begins to spin.
“You´re really the only one? How long have you been alone?”
“....Since the outbreak. You never asked my question. Who are you?”
“I’m apart of the W.H.O, ma´am, we believe we have found a cure”