"You know what I hate? When you're in the car, and the asshat in the far left lane decides he's about to miss his exit, so what does he do? He swerves across three goddamn lanes to get ahead of you as you're exiting, and you have to break-check the poor bastard behind you just to make sure neither you have to visit the body shop later.
I swear, sometimes I wish the whole world would just-"
I closed it there. The journal was worn, and nearly full of curvy, feminine handwriting from someone I had never met, but I didn't have the stomach to keep reading, to keep being reminded of what was once normalcy. There was no normalcy anymore. There were no highways, exit ramps, body shops, or indeed, even people to populate them. There wasn't much of anything left, really. Not after what happened. The people involved in what I had just read were mostly certainly very, very dead. Biological disasters do that.
I put a hand to the cover of the old leather journal, my fingers playing across the edge of the leather cord that kept it closed, and for a moment I felt as if I had touched this woman. This woman who had hated traffic, and impatient people, who had not known her days were numbered, and who had not known the world would fall apart no more than thirty days after the date of her last entry. I felt a kind of solace, in that. At least she'd been blissfully unaware of what was really going on with her - our - government.... the virus... the lack of vaccinations. Or maybe she'd been too frantic with worry to write any more entries.
Either way, she was gone. So was everybody else.
How had things fallen apart so fast? There'd been rumors of a new virus floating around. So much worse than H1N1.... Even worse than the black plague. People were dropping everywhere, within days of contracting it. They couldn't find and manufacture a cure and antidote fast enough.
I shook my head. I was ashamed to be part of this species. Homo sapien. I snorted. One tiny little bug and the whole species goes to shit.
We were all but gone. In a way I was glad our poor planet didn't have to deal with us anymore, but most of me was depressed at the thought that I was all alone. Maybe part of it was survivor's guilt.
I had been in an underground facility, alone, when it all happened. So far below all I felt was a shudder in the walls and a flicker in the lights. It had awoken me from an already uneasy sleep, and Id spent much of the following days pacing, worrying. I'd been fortunate, though. Well, kind of.
I quit reminiscing and took the journal from where it say on the dusty dresser and tucked it into the messenger back that was slung across my body. Maybe it would be good reading for later if I could handle it... something to keep me going, I suppose.
I tucked a strand of dark, raven hair behind my ear, and looked about the bedroom. The windows had been smashed out long ago, and nature had begun to move in again. Leaves littered the floor, almost ankle deep, and something dark and green had begun to grow on the walls. Sun shone through, and small, winged insects buzzed in and out, going about their lives as if six billion people hadn't just died six months prior. It never ceased to amaze me how strong and resilient nature was. Humanity hadn't really been gone all that long, and already She was moving back in.
I paused for a moment to admire the ironic beauty of it all, and then set out from the bedroom of the abandoned home. As I walked the hall to the front that still had pictures hanging on the wall, I imagined what this house must have felt like before. I imagined a home full of warmth, and love, where a Momma could cook a dinner for her babies, where a Dad could come home from a long day at work and be grateful he still had his family in this day and age.
My bitter-sweet thoughts were interrupted however as I rounded the corner and came face to face with a very unhappy looking dog.
Humans hadn't been the only species affected by the virus, and while dogs where effected differently, I was still looking at a victim now. The thing had lost all of its hair at some point, and its skin was patchy, rough, and bleeding in places where sores had formed, open and festering. It was missing its ear and a large swath of skin from one side of its face, that had tried to heal over and failed horribly, leaving a strange black lump of a scap instead. There were still a few stray white hairs around its chest and legs, but they fell from its body as it moved to face me.
I'd only ever seen a scab-dog once before, and had managed to escape. I wasn't so sure this time, given its range and the fact it was in front of my only exit, unless I wanted to try and backtrack to the bedroom and dive out a window before the thing caught my foot in its mouth.
For a brief second I felt a twinge of sympathy for the poor animal... It was probably only hours from death, judging by it's condition. Still, sick and on it's last leg, it bared a mouth full of black rotting teeth at me, and growled low in it's throat. The raspy, sickly noise raised the hairs on the back of my neck and I took a step back, my body tensing and ready for my brain's flight or fight response.
I'd already decided I wasn't sure I could out run it, even in its condition, so I mentally prepared myself for the 'fight' response. It took one lopping kind of crooked step toward me, and growled again, while I glanced quickly around the ruined living room, hoping for some kind of object I could use to defend myself.
Why the hell hadn't I brought anything with me, goddamit!
I swallowed hard and grabbed the only thing in reach: the long wooden handle of an old broom.
I made a mental note, that if I got out of this alive, Id scrounge up some kind of weapon to carry with me. I'd never taken any kind of martial arts classes or anything, but a stick is a goddamn stick.
The scab-dog growled at me again and inched closer, its muscles tensing under its too-thin, ruined skin. I pointed one end of the old broom handle at the thing and turned at an angle, bracing myself for the attack. I saw it tense again and then another growl, stronger and more solid, more healthy sounding, came from the other corner of the living room.
'Oh great,' I thought, 'There's another one'