See what happens in part one of a world that has fallen in chaos.
|Helen Ellsworth walked down the street; the buildings loomed up above her. The sky was growing dark, as dark as velvet. She would have to find someplace to get into soon; the dark streets were not safe.
Reaching into her pocket, she felt the .45 automatic she carried with her. Feeling a little safe, she walked on under the darkening sky. The street lights no longer came on. Anyone out here alone had to fend for themselves. Unless someone came to their rescue, which was a blessing if that happened.
Dark windows of the buildings that lined both sides of the street looked back at her as she walked. The wind picked up and blew an old news paper down the street, sticking against her legs; then it was gone. She spotted a diner and entered.
Some of the windows were broken; but not dangerously. There was some old plywood stacked against the back wall, probably left over from when the place was built; whenever that was. It was probably not that long ago, it didn't look that old inside.
Taking off her backpack, she stepped behind the counter and headed to the kitchen area. Finding a can full of nails and a hammer on a shelf, she went back to grab the plywood and reinforce the door and broken windows.
Finishing before dark; Helen took a flashlight from her backpack and headed back to the kitchen area. There were some can goods on the shelf; large cans. Pork and Beans, Peaches and Sweet Peas; Peas were her favorite. Shining the light around the kitchen she found the can opener on the counter. Turning and going back to the shelf, she grabbed the large can of peas and opened them. She didn't locate any spoons, but that was okay, she'd use her hands.
Helen had eaten until she was full, when she realized the gun was by the backpack. She'd have to make her way to the front of the diner in the dark; afraid that they might hear her. She'd have to proceed with caution. Grabbing the flashlight, she swept the beam along the floor; afraid that they might see it.
Taking slow, deliberate steps, she moved behind the counter; stopping now and again to listen. Not a sound, just the wind. But, she knew that they were out there. Searching; waiting. Reaching the end of the counter, she ducked and went to grab her backpack and gun.
She made it quickly back to the kitchen area. Shining the light around the small space; she decided that it was to open to stay in and proceeded to the back of the diner. She found a door in the back. Clutching her gun, she threw back the bolt and opened the door with caution.
It was another storage room. She decided to stay the night in here. Shining the flashlight she entered, closing the door behind her. Latching the inside bolt; she turned and shined the flashlight in front of her as she proceeded to the back. The room was larger and held more cans. She would look at them in the morning.
Sweeping the flashlight against the back wall, she the door. She hurried over to it. The latch wasn't fastened. She slowly opened the door and shined the beam around. She saw some stairs.
Helen closed the door and locked it. Shining the light around the room; she decided to sleep in the back between the shelves tonight. Sleep? If one could call it sleeping at all. Since this waking delusion began, she slept like a cat; jumping at every noise.
The beam shining in front of her, she proceeded to the back, taking her spot among the shelves. Opening her backpack, she took out her blanket, and then she put her back against the wall as she sat and covered her legs. Stretching out; she doused the flashlight and rested her head against the wall.
Helen was starting to doze, when she heard the sound; a clinking sound. She cocked her gun and turned on the flashlight; expecting to see one of them. She saw nothing. She waited; listening. She heard the sound again. It was coming from the top shelf on the left. Shining the beam on the shelf, she saw the little gray mouse.
"Hello my friend."
The mouse only looked down at her; caught in the beam. She laid the gun down next to her.
"There's plenty for both of us, little friend. Enjoy."
She doused the flashlight once again and closed her eyes.
The red orb of the rising sun splashed the windows of the city buildings blood red. A few stragglers that had not found shelter were forced into the darker recesses of the buildings. The sound of the approaching truck engine filled the silent street with the illusion of life.
A Mack truck came driving up the street. The black smoke puffed out of its stack, belching into the air. It stopped in the center of town and the air brakes hissed as it came to a stop. The driver's side door opened and Jack Singleton stepped down from the cab.
Scanning the street; he reached back up into the cab for his rifle. Putting his arm through the strap, he let it drop down his back. He was also wearing a .38 in the holster around his waist. Closing the door, he listened to the sound of the city.
It was dead; only the wind blowing around the empty streets. A loose door on one of the buildings across the street, banged back and fourth in the strong morning wind; the sign of an approaching storm. Which meant darkness was going to fall early today.
The crash of the can made him whirl around; placing his hand on the butt of the revolver in his holster. It was a dog. The dog let out a bark as it looked at him. He whistled.
"Come here, boy."
The dog looked at him and turning, it ran away. Jack watched it disappear. He was so lonely, he wanted some company; the company of any living soul. The banshee wind screamed through the city of the dead; blowing dust and papers down the street, past the empty store fronts.
An old newspaper stuck fast against the front of his black leather boots. Looking down he read the headline: VIRUS SPREADS. NO END IN SITE. He kicked the paper away, sending the ghost down the dead street.
Helen watched him through the hole in the plywood. She had her gun at her side. It might be dangerous to let him know she was here; but, she was sick of the loneliness. Lying the gun aside, she picked up the hammer and pried away the wood, just enough to slip out. The screaming wind kept him from hearing the sound. Finished, she picked up the gun and slipped out onto the sidewalk.
He had his back to her, as she stepped behind him; pointing the gun.
"Reach. Keep your hands away from the gun."
Jack put his hands up in the air; a smile creeping across his lips.
"Well, hello darlin'."
She stepped forward and took the gun out of his holster, then she stepped back.
"The name's Helen, not darlin'."
"Okay, Helen. Now normally, I would be a little worried of someone with a gun. Especially when they have it pointed at me." He whirled around to face her. "But, we're in the same boat here. Besides, I'd love some company. Haven't talked to anyone in the last couple of months. I'll take conversation over rape and murder any day."
"Okay, no argument from me, you got the guns."
"I'll take the rifle to. Give it here, nice and slow."
Removing the rifle from his back, he dropped it on the sidewalk and kicked it over to her. The wind screamed around the buildings, as if trying to wake the things inside.