I arrive and sit stunned in my new car. My headlights trained on the sight before me and wondering how to proceed.
Half of Barnes & Noble is gone.
Literally, there is nothing there. The half that once shelved magazines, other books (I think they were cookbooks and the like, I'm not sure I never shopped on that half of B&N), Starbucks, Customer Service, and the Nook display tables are gone. Burnt to ashes. (Starbucks would've been another source of food, though I'm not a coffee person, too bad that's gone.) I almost get out, but then realize I would have no light to explore and see specifically which books survived. The headlights give me light, but not enough. I root around in the car until I find a small handheld flashlight buried in the glove compartment. I test it out, luckily it's one of those LED flashlights and the batteries are still good. Flashlight in hand I get out of my car and investigate the half of B&N still standing. It is the half I know well. The cash registers are melted, the book shelves singed, others badly burned. I go over to the fiction section, a section I practically live in, and exhale a sigh of relief to see that none of the books are too badly scorched. I browse through the shelves and pick out a few books that seem interesting before heading back to the car and into the backseat and reading with the flashlight. Before I fall asleep, using the blanket as a pillow 'cause it's too hot to drape around me, I take out my phone again and check my messages. Of course, no one replied. But, what did I expect? This just serves of another reminder of how alone I am. A reality check. I look at the battery and see it's only got fifty percent left. With a sigh I turn it off, hoping to preserve the battery. If I can figure out how to charge it, I can use it to entertain myself as another activity to distract myself. Give me some hope, a 'false maybe' that I might not be alone.
I stare at the car ceiling, hands tucked behind my head. I'm not sure what to do next. I know I'll go to Stop and Shop again, but what then? Should I drive around to see what else might have survived? Go to different states and see if anyone else really survived or confirm I'm really the only one left? Should I try to cross the sea and see if the whole world was affected? Would that be a waste of time? Should I post something on facebook? I doubt the internet still works. I'm not sure what to do next, how far I should be looking ahead. If there are others out there, how do I get their attention? Communicate with them? Do I even want to? This desolate world, this abrupt change of environment can really change a person. I myself didn't even notice the bodies around me 'till my meltdown in Stop and Shop. But right now, I'm tired. I sigh and close my eyes trying to sleep. For now, I can live my life like this and be satisfied. Just survive on my own. Give myself a new purpose.
For now I will live for the next book.