Author's Note: I was spouting off randomness again. Don't know where this is going to go, but we'll see. Feedback will be treasured like cookies. Dont you want to give me a cookie? :


This air stings my lungs. What happened? How long was I under?

I pushed the heavy metal door completely open, and it thunked to the ground, settling solidly in a cloud of red dust. I ascended the last few steps, until my dirty sneakers touched earth.

"Well… This can't be good…" I mused aloud, a hand moving up to scratch my head in contemplation.

Before me lay the ruins of a once living metropolis. Most of the skyscrapers had crumbled to the ground, and they sat before me, gray and lifeless, like some huge, dead beast. My heart sank a little as I caught the glimpse the highway bridge in the distance, except it wasnt a bridge anymore. Half of it had fallen, severed in the middle like a limb, so that only the thick metal wire stuck out from the jagged concrete. That I could tell that from this distance meant it had been a very uneven break. Something had lightly fallen on it, or snapped it suddenly. Maybe.

I didn't see any green anymore. Everything was a mix of gray and browns, and black where distant, still living fire licked and fed at whatever green life had be left after… after what?

I flicked a lock of dark raven hair over my shoulder and thought for a moment. I was… when they… And then I…

My thoughts were jarred suddenly as I heard rocks, stone moving behind me. I turned and say something emerge from the top of what was once a home, or at least I think it was. Did people build stone homes? I don't remember.

A large dog peered at me from his pile of rubble, and I paused for a moment. His tongue lopped out of the side of his mouth, and he barked at me, but it was a happy sound. I think he was just pleased to see someone else alive. I called to him, clapping, and he bounded to me, as if he'd known me all his life.

His fur had once been a coppery color, but it had been caked with so much mud and dust, he just looked sort of… dulled. I bent down to touch him, and he licked ecstatically at my face. I couldn't help but smile, ruffling his fur enough that bits of dried mud and dust flew off of him. He shook himself as I stood.

"Do you have a name, dear sir?" I inquired, grinning at him. He tilted his head to the side and looked at me.

"Tilt, that works, I suppose." I shrugged, but he seemed pleased with the name, his tail wagging a bit as he heard it.

I glanced back at the city, if it could even still be called that. I wondered then if it was all cities, or just mine? What on earth had happened? Smoke rose in great pillars, and I tried looking for the black signals then, off in the distance. They weren't as black as the ones that were closer, but they were out there. If whatever had happened had destroyed just this area, it was a big area. I sighed softly, feeling the first wave of dread cross over me, like cool pinpricks across my skin.

Tilt nuzzled my hand, as if sensing it, and I eased a little, scratching him behind his floppy ear.

"Well, Tilt, if you and I survived, there must be more somewhere, hm?" I smiled softly at him, and he 'ruff'ed at me in reply.

I just wish I knew what happened…

As if on cue, the wind picked up, blowing a cloud of dust toward us. With it, rolled a bit of newspaper, but it got caught on an upturned car, the print flattened against the upside down door. I covered my mouth with the sleeve of my jacket and approached. Ominous, or convenient?

The ink had been smeared, or worn away, or something. It was more a dark gray on the newspaper, than a black. I was nevertheless able to make out words, and I read what I could.

"United Nations to gather to discuss solution to atomic weapon crisis."

Atomic? That's never good.

The wind picked up, as I had begun to read the other parts of the headline, and I reached out to grab it, my fingers just barely missing the edge of the weathered paper. I let out of a cry of frustration as it flew upwards, and upwards, twirling in the air as if taunting me. Tilt barked at it, and I thanked him.

I collapsed then against the upside down car, and rested my head against my dirty, jean-covered knees, feeling my throat get tight as my vision blurred. It was then that I noticed it was oddly cold; my breath hung in the air in front of me as I lifted my head. Had it been this cold before?

I glanced blue eyes skyward and saw that it was darkening with heavy, nearly black clouds. Tilt made that worried wine only dogs can make when they know something bad is coming. I agreed with him, and the fluttering in my stomach.

"I've been awake, what, twenty minutes? And already I need to go hide again…" I said bitterly, to no one in particular.

A spot of gray floated past me then, and then another and another. Snow? No… ash.

For whatever reason, the ash-snow angered me and I stood up, yelling at the sky. "What the hell is going on?! It can't snow ash! There isn't even a fire around here! Don't you know how to work your own damn system, you dirty bastard?!" I huffed, my breath a cloud of white in front of my mouth. The sky rumbled at me, and I gave it a one-fingered salute.

"Screw this, Tilt, lets find somewhere warm and safe to stay. We can explore when God stops being an ASS." I said the last word loudly, glaring upward. It was his fault, after all. It had to be, right? Mm, maybe I was just angry. Angry that I had been woken up so alone in a cellar, with no idea as to why I was there in the first place. I was angry that I was ignorant.

I ruffled the fur around Tilt's neck and set off towards the most recognizable path that I could see. It led inwards, toward the city. Maybe some low set buildings still stood. It wouldn't be hard to get into them, even if they were locked, too. I'd never had a problem with locks.

Wait, what?

Once again, my thoughts were interrupted as the path took a sharp downward turn, and I slid down the side of a hill, a whoosh of reddish earth lifted behind me. I landed at the bottom on my butt, 'oofing' softly. Tilt had a much better time with it, however, and eased down gracefully after me.

"Show off…" I muttered, rubbing my sore back end, before standing unsteadily. It was going to be a pain, literally, to get to the inner city.

I sighed, and continued on, Tilt's ruddy red form trailing behind me dutifully. I liked this dog.