Chapter 7

One minute I was walking along the road and the next, I was on my knees. Crying. The adrenaline was wearing off and all at once, those suppressed feelings and emotions were coming back to cripple me. I was depressed. In all the chaos, the heat of the moment, I hadn't truly grasped the nature of my situation. I was completely alone. My family was gone. The only people I had come across were dead or simply murderous psychopaths. The world, for all I could possibly have known, was gone. For some reason, I couldn't help but feel it still hadn't truly hit me. Was I really going to die alone here? Without meeting someone who didn't want me dead? How can this life be worth living? There's nothing left. This, I thought, is how we die. This is our extinction event. The dinosaurs had the meteor, we have this nightmare. The sooner I died, the better is what I thought but deep down I knew I didn't want to die. Not then. Not just because I was too much of a coward to end it myself, but because I still had hope back then. I always asked 'what if?'. I didn't know what was around the next corner, not for sure, but if there was a chance it was a way to survive, to beat the disease, then I was going to do my best to stay alive. See it through to the end.

It was still raining. It had been for days now, almost constantly. I was drenched through. With no spare clothes, the prospect of comfortable sleep was quickly diminishing. That was until I found my oasis in the desert. Not civilisation, not even close, but a train station. It was getting late and I didn't feel like entering the town I was approaching, now. I was physically and mentally tired. I wasn't ready to deal with that right now. It was a small station. Just two platforms, each with a waiting room and a row of seats. I decided, even at the cost of more energy, that I would use the waiting room on the other side of the station. The only way to get to it was across the bridged walkway and for some reason, that made it feel safer.

Crossing the bridge, I could make out some dark, gloomy shapes that resembled buildings in the distance. Not one sign of life, though. No lights, no sounds. The lack of light was one thing. On some level, everyone is scared of the dark for some reason, at some point in their lives. This fear is rational, but being scared of sound, or more accurately, the lack of it, is just weird. In the modern age, when we talk about silence, we don't mean silence. There is always background noise. Whether it be the hum of our electronics, the road outside our houses or something as simple as a ticking clock, there is almost always some noise. But now, as I stood upon that bridge, I could hear nothing. The rain had stopped and the wind was none existent. Just me and a world stood still was all that existed. I hurried to the waiting room to avoid dwelling on the thought much longer.

By now, I had realised the trick to sleeping in this world was to not actually try to sleep, but to allow yourself to be taken by sleep itself. Eventually, without you realising, you drift away. I was waking up every so often, but it was impossible to tell how much sleep I was getting. Once the light came, I couldn't sleep anyway so then it was time to get up. For now, I sat in my waiting room, between two rows of chairs and tried to avoid looking out of the glass but instead thought about what I would do next. It wasn't long before I was taken away from one nightmare and thrown into another.

I awoke. It didn't feel natural though. I knew something had woken me up, but I didn't know what. I stood and walked over to the glass. I wasn't taking any chances. If I had to run, now was as good a time as any. I opened the door and walked out onto the platform. The freezing night air kissed my face and then it caught my eye. Down the track, there was a red light. At first I passed it off as a signal for the trains but soon realised that was impossible. There was no power. I kept watching it, occasionally zig-zagging in the distance. A train.

I kept watching it until, after a while, it disappeared over the invisible horizon. I stared. I hoped another would come my way but I knew it wouldn't. Why, in a world full of such small chances should I be so lucky? Defeated, I returned to my waiting room. I wasn't going to sleep now, though.

At first light, I left the waiting room and made my way towards the town. I needed a car, I needed food and I needed water. I walked down the road towards the town. It had stopped raining sometime in the night and mist now filled the air. There were large fields either side of the road which would have offered some comfort if it hadn't been for the poor visibility due to the fog. The first thing I came across was a retail park. It had a toy shop, clothes shops, an electronics shop but most importantly, it had an outdoors shop. The kind that stocked tents, hiking boots and things like that.

I wanted to cover all bases this time. I wasn't going to get caught out by anyone. On the door was a sign. It read "Keys in ashtray. Take what you need. Lock up after yourselves." I looked to my right and saw a bin with an ashtray on it. I lifted the tray itself and to my horror realised the key was not there. Some selfish bastard had taken the keys with them. Angry, I walked away. Before taking three steps, I realised I hadn't even tried the door. Taking a chance, I walked back and grasped the door handle. It paid off, the door swung open. I walked into the shop and almost instantly was thrown back against the glass. My chest was throbbing with pain. I pulled my shirt up and could see a nasty looking bruise which was bleeding slightly. At that instant, I heard something whiz past my head and crack the glass. I jumped behind a shelf and noticed there was an air rifle pellet in the glass. Someone was shooting at me... again.

Peeking out, I could see the shooter a few aisles down reloading the one shot, break barrel rifle. I jumped out with my hands in the air and started towards him, before I could speak he fired again, barely missing my head. Although these rifles were weak, they could kill with a well placed shot.

"Please, just leave! I don't want to kill anybody!"

He was young. I could tell by his voice, but I couldn't leave, not now. This was going to end here one way or another. I took the opportunity to close more distance with the shooter and ran for what turned out to be a row of axes. I took one and threw it into the open, causing the shooter to fire again, with that, I took another axe and broke cover heading straight for the gunman. To my dismay, he picked up what appeared to be a loaded rifle and fired, again striking me in the chest. I didn't stop. I kept running. Panicking, he looked for somewhere to run, but he was trapped. I swung the axe as hard as I could, making contact with side of his head. He fell to the ground and I continued to swing at his head, long after I was sure that he was dead. I just couldn't stop myself.