As I walked, the bare tumbleweeds rolled by. As I walked, the rust of electric cars squeaked. As I walked, the dirt brushed up my sore ankles. I slowly looked at the ground, cracks growing and spreading like a family tree, a dead tree. The cracks did not grow with moss. They did not spring with weeds or any sense of life. They were filled with dirt, brown and dry like the inside of every body before everything changed. I turned my head to the left, the crushed house made of wood, trying to still stand. The walkway was broken up into stones, dug up by the change. I turned to my left. There was no house on the other side, only a crater in the Earth as if it were apart of the moon. There was no moon now, as I tilted my head up to the sky. I quickly put on my goggles as the dirt rushed by, the only sign of mother nature being the wind. The sky was brown, the sand spewed atmosphere never ending. I came back to my senses and started walking again. As I crossed the deserted street, I heard the screeching of people. They were the few lucky ones who had survived the change, their lives uprooted forever. I reached the oasis of dead trees surrounding me, all the size of midgets, never to return to their once heightened state. I quickly jogged up the hill, wanting to get a good look of the ancient city in ruins. A once powerful state, quickly dilapidated after everything happened. The dirt swallowed up my legs as I ran off to my home, the hole.
I hurried to show my pet what a magnificent find I had come upon while walking through this banished land. The airplanes whooshed over me, the only sign of a nation’s life. They were the source of all my treasures, a helmet here, some goggles there. My head swiveled as they flew above me turning to the everlasting dust in the sky. I raced home, eager to show gunner what a lucky boy he was. I crept through the shards of glass being my yard and the ragged old flag above my hole. The colors of the flag were changed to a pink, green, and grey color, full of stains and cuts. “Hey gunner,” I yelled, “look what I found!” He raced towards me like a dog retrieving a bone. I whipped out a few scraps of meat from a bone and a human skull. He took them all eagerly and madly chewed on them, like a dog finding a bone. My rat had been home all alone while I was out, guarding his own possessions. A skull of his own kind, a broken piece of sea glass I gave to him, and a few scraps of soda lids I found in the sand surrounding our hut.
I looked around our two rooms. One for me and gunner to sleep in, and one for guests that never came, the “living room”. Why shouldn’t I call it that? It’s for people who have survived this whole mess. I rubbed the smooth fur of gunner above his head, still savagely tearing the bone to pieces. I told him I would go into the city tomorrow but for now, we could relax on the sand couch I had moulded from the few droplets of water remaining in this shambled country and the sand surrounding us. This place has been home to me since I lost all my family to war and terror. My brother died of pneumonia after fighting in The Battle of Upstates during the pouring rain of ‘17. There was a shortage of medical supplies and none of it could save my brother from the pain he suffered. My sister died when she was 3 to radioactive poisoning after a zoo field trip gone wrong back when there still was something of a school. My parents died of simple depression after the loss of my other relatives and family members. After everything came crumbling down like the sky, I ran away towards the city. I knew I could never live there because who would want to take in a 15-year old boy when they could barely make it through a day themselves.
I ended up digging a hole to rest one day when gunner appeared to me, licking my face for some sort of crumb or speck of food on me. We then became friends and I’ve explored every day of this vast, dry land since. This life is meant for no one. The torment that rages through everything as if life is not the pulse, but death is, a continuous struggle for the world around me. I soon fall asleep as I feel gunner sniffing around for something more to eat than what I can provide for him.