Everything is dead. The cold wind searches out every hole, nook and cranny, and penetrates deeply into the wreckage. Anybody would think that this was in the bleak north of Russia, not sunny San Francisco. The fog, rolling in from the vast immensity that is the Pacific Ocean, engulfs the collapsed Golden Gate Bridge, its once gleaming red colour now a rusty orange. As the fog drifts majestically over the rest of the city that once dreams were made of, a temporary veil is drawn over the dead metropolis.
The fog reaches out further than ever before and with its long arm seems to entirely cover the whole of the lifeless city.A lucky squirrel scampers up and over the neglected giant redwood trees in the neighbouring Muir Woods. His home has been destroyed along with millions more of his type and others.
Running along the dead tree the squirrel sees a squashed deer, a dead bird and many of his relatives lying helplessly dropped down where their life was taken. Their dead bodies only a mere shell of what they used to be. The squirrel reaches the top of the inverted tree and with one last breath collapses. His shiny red coat glistens in the morning light as he slowly becomes one of the majority in this ever changing world.
The majority of the dead.The destruction has taken the last of the first squirrel that it ever will, yet, in a bizarre way this one was the luckiest. Better dead and finished with than to be dead inside and living just for the sake of living. Every breath taken just prolonging eternity.
Every breath taken just making life live longer. But why? Who wants to live longer than time, live longer than life? Who wants to live to see the end of everything and then only find out the true shock and horror of what has happened?Will sat staring down on the thick sea of fog that had shrouded San Francisco. Mankind has brought upon itself its own destruction.
He imagined the headlines of the local paper, ‘The Boy That Survived,’ but then, as he snapped back to the dismal reality, he remembered that he must be the only one left.. .
of the entire species.. .of any species. A shiver ran down his spine. He felt a great, heavy feeling of loneliness on his shoulders, or was it just the wind? He wasn’t sure.
He wasn’t sure of anything anymore.Well that was one good thing now. He could eat what he wanted to eat, drink what he wanted to drink, smoke what he wanted to smoke, but then.
.. what was the point? He was alone.
He could get drunk every night if he wanted to, but he’d have no friends to socialise with – no fun, no enjoyment… no pleasure.He lit up a cigarette, took one deep and relaxing lung-full, and then threw it into the thick fog. “What was the point” he sighed as he broke down on the floor into a pool of everlasting tears.
At least there’s no one here to see me in such a state, he considered as he pulled himself together again.He picked up one of the souvenir jumpers that lay on the floor, strewn everywhere as if a tree had just shed them, as it did with its leaves. He tugged the sweater over his thin, flimsy t-shirt. The cold wind was starting to get to him, so he pulled on another jumper and threw a souvenir fleece on top of everything else.
“What sort of people buy this crap” he thought to himself, adding a comedy jesters hat to his head, and starting to make his way down the huge hill, that was the viewing point, Twin Peaks, back to the wreckage of what seemed like an ancient, lost and abandoned city.All over the world everything had changed, for the worst. In the neighbouring US State of Nevada, the neon city of Las Vegas was also no more.
The city that never slept was silent. It was midday, and pitch black. The usual sweltering heat of the desert had gone forever. Gambling tables lay plucked out of the casinos like so many dumped crisp packets. The symbolic city of wealth was destroyed.On the Strip in the centre of the town the once sky-high buildings had crumbled only to leave a layer of dark black ash and soot.
Building materials lay never to be used again. Cars, with dormant stick men inside lay, thrown everywhere.The world was a scrap-yard with similar such sights wherever the heavenly eye looked. In London the Thames had flooded leaving people clinging to the top of the highest buildings they could reach, only to die from starvation, or a little later the mass destruction that followed. And then? And then the huge collapse that was inevitable after what had just happened.
A picture that would be unbelievable if ever painted, or captured on film, as Canary Wharf sank into water. The leaning tower of Pisa, which had acted as a warning sign of what was to come, buckled during the tremors of the earth before the tragedy. In Greece Amongst the concrete and rubble, the Parthenon lay in pieces at the bottom of the Acropolis in Athens. Although, in not even one of these places did a single creature stir…Of the flooded domain of the expanse of the whole island, the capital city was the only part left that was even slightly above the water. The island, on the West Coast of North America, was as much of a victim of the anarchy as anywhere was.
Very soon Kaz would have to swim for it. She dreaded when this time would come for three frightening reasons. The first was that her slim, sixteen year old, captivating body, had only been fully submersed in water twice. Once at the swimming pool in town and, once in the bath when the shower had packed in, and even these two times she loathed in the deepest part of her soul. As she remembered the encounter in the pool she looked out across the Bay to the top of the old baths, that lay totally submerged in water, apart from its roof, and she shivered.The second reason for the dread of the swim, was that in swimming away from the island she would be leaving permanently the town that she had never left, and had grown to love and hate so much. The town that had taken her through the best, and worst times in her short and seemingly useless life.
The town that she had grown up around and it around her. The bench that she was sitting on, at the head had been home to her fondest memories. Her first kiss with the boy next door, her place of refuge, of remembrance and reconciliation. She smoothly ran her fingers over the grooves that were her and her previous innumerable boyfriend’s names.
Etched in time forever and a day. Darren. Oh she remembered Darren. She let out a short titter, followed by an outburst of uncontrollable tears, as she realised that even now Darren must be dead.The third and final reason for her dread of swimming to the mainland was far worse than her lack of being able to swim, or the loss of precious childhood memories. Her third and most deadly fear was the fear of not knowing what to expect or what to do when she got there. The fear of the unknown.
Kaz, being a reasonably well brought up and well educated child, living in the more well off area of the town, calculated that, as the tide was at its lowest, it would be best to swim the thousand meters to the shore as soon as possible. The dread filled her up inside and she was shaking frenziedly.She made her way to the edge of the head of the bay and took one last look back to the top of the row upon row of terraced houses, which lined the waterfront that she knew so well. She took one final look up heavenly, to see the moon in close quarters with the sun, and she crossed herself. Kaz wasn’t a religious person but she thought that if there was any God, now would be the time to call upon his assistance. She took an ultimate look down to the icy cold water that she was just about plunge into. She calculated her trajectory. She took a step backwards, and propelled herself into the air beyond, leaving her homeland forever behind her, and bracing herself waiting for the water to hit her hard.
Chapter 1Will stumbled through the wreckage of the previously lush Market St. and crawled over what was left of the earth-quake-proof sky-high buildings. Making his way through the remains Will saw so many sights that were too horrible even to think about.
A bloodstained pram lay hurled on the sidewalk beside the rubble that had inevitable ended so many innocent lives. Or were their lives innocent?The thought of what was underneath the wreckage almost equalled the horror of which he felt seeing the apocalyptic scene. Goose pimples spread rapidly over his heavily wrapped body. Why was it so cold? He vomited violently aiming off the road. If Will had shed a tear for every one the people that had died only within one hundred yards, he would have been crying for eternity. The damp feeling that was permanently in his eyes he had stopped to try keep at bay. He found this new clammy sensation one that he would instantly recognise in the future as a feeling of the homeless, the friendless, of the orphans.
It was starting to get dark by the time that Will thought about trying to find somewhere to rest for the night. After clearing a small area around him of the scrap metal, he tried to settle down. The wind, still penetrating everywhere, chilled Will to the bone. He felt that he was knocking on deaths door. In a last vain attempt to keep warm he pulled out a cigarette and lighter and inhaled the thick smoke into his body. As he slowly breathed out the smoke was lost instantly in the dust, which clung thickly to the air. Will realised that earlier it wasn’t the fog rolling in that he had seen from Twin Peaks, but a vast expanse of dust. Gradually Will nodded to a deep and revitalising sleep.
The last of the day’s traumas gently floated away like a cloud slumbering across the skyline.Will was lost; he wandered aimlessly around the desolate area, gasping for a drink to soothe his scorched throat. The hard, cracked ground had started to get hot on the soles of his feet. He went from a jog to a quick sprint to try to lessen the ever-increasing heat on his feet. He couldn’t stop now.
He had to keep going to stay alive.A dead corpse appeared on the horizon and seemed to hurry towards him as he took on a mounting pace. He Ieaped into the air to avoid directly hitting the carcass and he left the ground. He was airborne. The heat and burning sensation on feet gently subsided as he flew higher and higher into the air. He took a last look at the charred landscape and he escalated into the clouds and beyond.
He was free. Free from his troubles. Free from the land. Free from his friends. Free from his enemies.The cool air pushed past his pale face as he slowly regained colour in his cheeks. The clouds gradually evaporated and he could begin to see the scene that he had hurriedly left behind.
He started to descend with a shock. He was sure that he could see other people crowding together in a small huddle below him. Faster and faster Will declined as the people started to become recognisable. He could count them; there were five. He could distinguish the two sexes from one another, two men and three women.
He could start to make out different features that they each possessed. The youngest girl was wearing glasses and had short brown hair. The older man was a balding middle-aged man wearing a turtle necked sweater.
In fact, as Will looked closer he could see that he recognised each of them from his past life. He strained back his memory to try to recollect where from.With a sharp jolt Will landed back on his feet. None of the people turned to look at him. Will stood in silence, waiting for the group to make the first move. He was cowering with fear but yet still trying to strain his weak mind back to whom they were. He was struggling. Why was it so hard, he had had a wonderful memory for faces when he was a child, in fact his mother was told that this would be his strong point from birth.
The oldest women looked around to Will first. Unexpectedly his full memory came back to him immediately. He ran to the lady with haste and embraced her heavily. Not a word passed between them. They were seemingly hung in time and space as the embrace went on. Will moved swiftly on to the rest of his family, embracing each of them with his warmth.
He was unaware how much he had missed them in the past day. Finally will came to the last person, a teenage boy. He didn’t remember having a brother, but then in a flash of inspiration he realised that he was looking at himself. Will stood crying, unable to stop the torrent of tears and feeling of joy that he sensed about seeing himself again with his family.Kaz had swum hard struggling against the salty current that had swept her upstream and away from the mainland. Even now, she was being swept hopelessly further up and away from the coast, a long way from her destination. She’d first planned to head south down to the more prosperous bay area in the hopes of retrieving supplies, but now, in vain she was being brutally dragged further and further away.
The northern tip of her beloved island was disappearing quickly over the horizon. It was hopeless. To start with Kaz had attempted front crawl but after a few minutes her strokes desperately turned into a manic doggy paddle. Every so often she floated over some wreckage and was able to lie still, at least for a minute.
She clung like a limpet to the debris, giving her tired arms a brief but well-earned respite before she continued on her way, always determined. Not once dud it occur to her to give up though, she smiled, despite her fatigue, as she thought of her father telling her, ‘You’re a tough kid, you’ll make it.’ And with that in her mind she didn’t care whether she was the last left, she was a fighter and she’d pull through.Her determination, however, faltered when she reached land. She had hoped despite her strong will that she would find survivors, but now the extent of the devastation was evident to her. She pulled herself up on the long windswept beach and looked at the crumbling buildings shrouded in thick grey smog, the dust created when thousands were incinerated in the mass destruction. The anarchy. She got up and walked through the dead, but it didn’t faze her.
That was the type of person that she was, she didn’t think about the thousands dead, no that was a negative outlook, just focus on the one living…Will woke with the fond memories of his family in his mind and then snapped back to the dismal reality. He was in the centre of a dead city.
He was slowly starting to go mad, he wasn’t even sure if this was just one of those dismal dreams that you have on a Sunday night and when you wake up to the reality you realise that everything’s a damn site worse than you dreamed, you have to go to school. Will, for the first time in his life was at a loss. He couldn’t just potter downstairs and get himself a glass of fresh orange juice, a bowl of cereal with a splash of ice cold milk and a slice of toast dripping with honey, he had to work just to feed himself. He had to find the food himself; five bucks wouldn’t even get him anywhere now. A sharp pain in his abdomen told him that he was hungry, no, it was worse than that.
He was on the verge of starving.As he looked around will noticed that everything wasn’t as bad as he had imagined it would be. He realised that although the top of the tall buildings had collapsed leaving a vast area of rubble, this was only in the city centre. Most of the two and three story houses a little further out had only had thier roofs blown off and the lower storeys were reasonably in tact.