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The cottage stood silent in the relentless winds. Power continued to run although the city was without. Electricity flowing through its copper veins like blood through any living creatures. Storm clouds surged toward the inner city like heat seeking missiles.

The towering electric fence encompassed the portion of beach the cottage resided on. Every once in a while small critters, from the forest in between the cottage and the city limits of Los Angeles, scurried towards it. Perky little balls of fluff one second, dinner the next. Food sources were getting considerably low. Only by desalination was the water able to be drunk, since the main source was from the ocean.

The night sky was an alteration of many smoggy colors. He missed the seemingly endless nights they would spend counting the stars. Now the stars are gone and her along with them. Taken from him by the aftermath of the attack.

With a sigh he walked to the living room, started a small fire, and sat on the luxurious sofa. The generator kept the electricity running, but in order to keep the resource for future needs he shut down the heat. Now the all so important millions he spent his whole life making helped start the life insuring flames that kept him warm.

Temperatures have been fairly extreme since the attack, and the once tropical nights of California have been reduced to frigid proportions, and the days are spiked up into the hundreds. Snow isn’t a problem though in this post apocalyptic land. Ash from the surrounding counties and areas is what’s in the forecast.

It’s only been two years since the event and Michael has stayed in his house since the beginning. His Spanish colonial cottage was the perfect little fortress. Before all of the mayhem happened he had spent a lot of time and money in making sure the building was the perfect home for himself and Alice. Put in thousands of dollars in making it safe, luxurious, and practical for living.

Alice..

The pain from her death still, and would always weigh heavy in his heart. She was his soul mate. They had been together since college and stayed together through all the hard times. Ten years of his life they had spent together. Then those b******s took her away.

“Help. Please somebody?” A woman was crying out from outside. “I know you’re in there. I can see the lights. Please..”

Slowly he got up off the couch and walked to the balcony from which he and Alice had sat many a night watching the stars. Peering down towards the gate in the electric fence he saw a woman in ratty and dirty clothing standing on the lawn. She was cradling a small bundle in her arms.

“Sir please. Please let me in?” She was sobbing now. Her voice cracking from apparent dehydration. “All I need is somewhere to rest. It’s not safe out here..”

Turning from the balcony, Michael walked back inside the house. Grabbing a small backpack he returned to the balcony. Tossing the pack to her, he started to return to his couch.

“There’s fresh water and some dried meats in there. You can’t stay in the house, but around back there’s an old storm cellar. It might not be the best but its dry and you’ll be safe. Most likely the only thing in there is a couple spiders.”

Upon returning to the couch, he thought of what he had just said. It was possible that it wasn’t the most reassuring choice of words since because of the attack a lot of gods creatures were now deformed and much larger than they used to be. In fact it was kind of hard to call them creatures of god.

Oh well. He thought as he poured himself a glass of Jack Daniels. S*** happens I guess. It’s just bout time it stopped happening to me.

After an hour of watching the fire and drinking his fourth glass of whiskey, he got up. Stumbling to the back of the house, he could really feel the tingling numbness of his inebriated mind. Searching through the cabinets he found what he was looking for. The particular cabinet he was searching for had ten or eleven cartons of CAMEL wide cigarettes. Had to stay in stock for the apocalypse.

Taking a pack out of the cabinet and reaching for the lighter sitting on the table, Michael suddenly lost his balance, and fell. Lying on the floor, he slowly raised his hand to light the delicious blend of Turkish and domestic tobaccos. In the darkness of the kitchen, a small orange glow radiated as he took his first drag.
Smoke steadily rose to the ceiling. He didn’t even try to get up off the linoleum floor. Memories slowly eluded him. Visions of past happiness seemed to fade more and more for each drag, that he inhaled.
Vertigo seemed to take over and soon nausea kicked in. His head was swimming and the room seamed to spin around him. Usually he would have mistaken this for his drunkenness but unfortunately, he had experienced this for the past few nights.
Rolling over onto his belly, Michael vomited. Convulsions and dry heaves overcame him until he could safely roll back over. Darkness seemed to engulf him, and as the unknown abyss swallowed over him the last thing he saw, was Alice standing over him.

<- ->
“I’m so lost without you.”
“But I’m right here.”
It’s a dream. I know it.”
“How?”
“Same one for weeks.”
“Why are you crying?”
“I know how it ends.”
<- ->
Roaming the house in a dream-like trance, Michael was drawn to the balcony overlooking the ocean. It looked different, the whole house, more pure and peaceful. It felt like a home instead of just a house.
The western sky looked as it had before. Peaceful carefree stars lazily glided across it. There was no discoloration or masses of smog on the horizon either. Then he saw her. The sight took his breath away.
Standing on the balcony, in her electric blue nightgown, was Alice. Her light auburn blonde hair shimmered in the moonlight. There was a backdrop of blackened night sky speckled with star clusters behind her. She seemed to radiate light and purity, as she had when she was alive.
Shadows started to race overhead. The sky that was so pure and clear with stars seconds ago started to fade, and the smoggy pastel color distortion of the real world rushed above. It was starting.
Stepping out of the house, Michael could see the ocean, as well as a clearer view of her face. The sight was heartbreaking. Darkness stole the sparkle that the oceanic horizon usually contained, and her ordinarily stunning blue eyes seemed sunken in and haunted. It was getting worse every night.
Her beauty, that was once as elegant as the fairest of princesses of old stories, seemed to be fading within the moonlight. She looked morbid and saddened in the shadows. She seemed to be fading into the darkness.

Michael ran over to her and wrapped his arms around her waist. Hugging her tightly, he looked into her eyes. She stared back with tears streaming down her cheeks.

“Stay with me Alice, please.” Michael’s eyes were burning now. Hot tears began to drip down his face.

“I can’t and you know it, Mikey. I’m dead.”

“Then take me with you damn it. Nothings the same anymore. I love you..” The darkness seemed to creep in closer and closer. The sky dimmed more and more until the pastel colors of the sky turned into a dull grey.

“I can’t..” Her voice was small and weak. Wind blew harshly against the walls of the house, making his hair fly wildly around his head.

As the last bit of light was swallowed by the night he lifted her chin slowly so as he could look in her eyes. Seeing the tears in those beautiful blue eyes made him want to die inside. With his free hand he brushed the hair out of her face, and gently kissed her.

It was pitch black now and he couldn’t see anything at all. Michael held her close. This was the last time he’d every see her.

“I love you. I always will.”

Suddenly, a bright light flashed across the sky. It was coming from the center of the city, yet illuminated the surrounding areas as if it were a day in the desert. The wind got stronger.

Heat and energy flew through the forest separating the house from the city. Trees blackened and turned to ash before their eyes. The grass wilted as the wave reached it, and steam rose from the ocean.

Embracing her with tears streaming down both their faces, Michael said his last goodbye. When the wave finally reached his home, everything around him started to burn. Alice looked at Michael and hugged him.

The blast passed and Michael sat down crying. Where Alice had been but seconds ago laid a pile of ashes. He sat there staring off into space. Then the darkness swallowed him again.





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