It is late afternoon and I am at home in the basement texting my friends and making plans for Saturday. My father is at work and my mother and sister are off who knows where on another errand. Everything is as it always is, just a normal Wednesday. Or so I think when, without warning, the house begins to violently shake and I am knocked off my chair. The ceiling is bowing and before it caves in I hide under the safety of my desk, hoping I don't get killed. Finally the ceiling gives way, exploding with rubble from the two floors above as it all comes tumbling down to its final resting place in the basement. As suddenly as the tremors started they stop and an eerie quiet settles over the ruins that was once my house. Still trapped underneath my desk I stumble and fight my way through the debris and out of the house into the wasteland that was once my backyard.
All around me I see the smoldering remains of my neighborhood. Houses blown to bits, plants reduced to nothing, the trees charred remains of what they used to be, a huge smoking crater in the middle of my street. I look around and see it's not just my neighborhood; the entire town appears to have been destroyed by fire and craters. The craters are huge and all of them are steaming, clouding the sky, blocking out the sun, and fouling the air which now is dry and scratches at my throat when I breathe. The air smells burnt and almost sulfuric. The craters are everywhere and cover the surface like chicken pox. The fires that haven't already died out are now small and slowly receding as there is nothing left living to fuel their flames. The dwindling colours of red and orange. I am wearing colours that stand stark against my gray environment. Though I am covered in a white-gray dust from the rubble of my house, my blue t-shirt, dark green shorts, and dark purple sneakers are the only colours that aren't gray or black. It is very hot and I feel as if I'm cooking in an oven. At a loss of what to do, I start checking myself. What injuries do I have and what did I take with me? I am not fatally injured; just some minor scratches on my elbows and knees from when I crawled out of the house. My clothes don't seem too badly ripped, though now there is a small tear on the front of my shirt at the bottom of the hem, and as I check my pockets I find my phone and house keys. Looking back at the remains of my house I know that my keys no longer serve a purpose, but I put them back in my pocket anyway, as a reminder of what I used to have. My phone is still working, but it's not like it'll be of any use to me, but I keep it as well, though I'm not sure why.
Curious about the craters and why they are smoking so much I check out the crater in my own street. I walk over and peer over the edge. The crater itself seems to be at least twenty feet across and probably six feet deep. I don't know what I was expecting to find in the crater, a meteorite or an alien spaceship, but I now know why it is smoking. Inside the crater is a slowly growing puddle of bubbling magma. This lava stuff is probably in the other craters as well. I have an inkling of what just happened. All the shaking that brought down my house, the black and white world, the craters of magma, and the lack of other people or species means one thing.
The apocalypse just happened.
I am probably the last person in America – hell – the last person on Earth for all I know. I missed out on the apocalypse, I almost feel disappointed. Once again I look around, trying to comprehend my new reality and I think, "Somehow I've landed in the Twilight Zone." Only there was no theme music, I am not in black and white even if my surroundings have been reduced to just that, and no deep voiced narrator introducing this alternate dimension or my predicament to the viewers watching at home. "Rather than in the Twilight Zone, it's more like reenacting one of the episodes." Except there's no conveniently pristine newspaper telling me exactly what happened and I don't need glasses to see clearly.
While I feel an onslaught of emotions and trauma (I think it might be trauma, which would certainly make sense) coming at me full force, I try to delay it, for now I need to figure out how to survive. Stomach rumbling I realize I haven't eaten yet today. Looking back at my house it is quite obvious nothing survived worth salvaging. With nothing left here I head down my street and take a left, heading to see what survived downtown and hoping the Stop & Shop grocery store in the shopping centre is still standing or at least some canned vegetables or something survived.