by Pollo Mark
The journal of a man who returns to earth, only to find it in ruins.
|My name is Captain Eldon Wheeling. This is my journal.
August 7, 2057
I am so excited! In only two short days, I will finally be able to go back home to EARTH with my crew! The crew and I never realized how much we missed home until today. At dinner, we talked about the things we missed most from back home. Max Wells mentioned his wife and kids, Felix Ortega said something about close friendships, and Diana Lewis said she misses her cat most (of course). As for me, I'm not really sure what I miss. As we went around our little circle, I realized just how much I've missed out on in life. I don't have much of a family, and aside from my crew, I don't have many friends either. Up until now, I've devoted my entire life towards becoming an astronaut. Everything else just seemed irrelevant. However, now that I've achieved my goal, my life feels completely hollow. Anyways, we're all very excited to be getting back home soon. It's been a long ten years!
August 9, 2057
Our descent to Earth was not at all what we were expecting. It was quite the scary experience! As soon as we entered the Earth's atmosphere, our ship lost all power, including landing equipment. We tried contacting the control base, but all communication was out as well. We had to coast our way through the skies with no power until we finally landed in the Atlantic Ocean. By my estimation, we are somewhere near Florida. My guess is that we are in the Tampa area. We were unable to salvage anything from the ship, including my Captain's log. However, I did manage to salvage my personal journal, which explains why I am still writing. We haven't had any contact with anyone yet, and there's been no sign of civilization. It's weird making such an unheralded return to earth. After being gone ten years, one would think they would be looking out for us. Something must have come up. On a side note, Max voiced a concern about the stillness in the area. Being this close to a city, there should be at least a hint of people. I'm not quite sure what to think yet.
August 14, 2057
Today we managed to find Tampa. Well what's left of it at least. Skyscrapers and other taller office buildings have been reduced to rubble, nothing more than a shadow of what they once were. I was a little nervous about the deafening silence in the air. I felt like there should be people running around, children laughing, something. There were plenty of abandoned cars scattered throughout the city, but no people. Max again voiced his concern, but this time it seemed validated. Clearly, we had missed something big. Diana, being from Tampa, had an emotional breakdown. It's always difficult to watch someone you care about break down like that. She was like the little sister of the group; the bright-eyed rookie. She shouldn't be returning home to this. It just doesn't seem fair.
August 15, 2057
We searched Tampa for any sign of life, but only came up empty handed. To be quite honest, it was an eerie search. Max managed to find a television though. We plugged it into an outlet, but the television wouldn't turn on. We couldn't seem to get a response from the television at all. Felix, being the so-called 'genius' of the group, looked at the television to see what was wrong with it, but after a couple minutes he informed us there was nothing wrong with it. We decided to turn our focus to the outlet, and we actually received no response from the outlet either! We checked outlets throughout the entire city, but none of them were working. It was as if the entire city was suffering a blackout. Max, of course, assumed the worst. He insisted America had become enslaved and was then reduced to rubble. Felix tried to reason with him, but it was pointless. Clearly, we weren't going to get any answers here in Tampa, so we headed north.
August 31, 2057
We have been walking north for several days, and we have yet to encounter any people! We have walked through villages, cities, towns, and even farmlands. For some reason, there are just no people around. Max is also becoming more adamant about his concerns. He is now claiming the end of the world has taken place. I'm starting to worry about Max. He seems to be taking this to an extreme. Diana has been acting a little strange too. I think seeing her city in ruins might have been a bit much for her. She has been strangely quiet since we've left Tampa. She's also been talking to Max a lot as well. Not a good sign. If it wasn't for Felix, I fear that I would be going a little delusional myself!
September 6, 2057
Finally! We have found some sort of civilization! While walking through a farmland, we encountered a small group of people. They were a strange group though. They went beserk when they saw us and spoke in gibberish. We could not understand a word they were saying. They only pointed and grunted at us. I tried to communicate with them and ask for a leader, but there was a strange language barrier; if they even spoke a language. We quickly realized it was useless trying to communicate with these people and tried to sneak away from the group. Felix, however, was vehement about wanting to work with these people so we could get some answers, but the more we tried to communicate with them, the more I realized we weren't getting any help from these people. So we just continued north, just like before. This time though, we had more questions than answers.
September 20, 2057
I think we have reached Atlanta. I haven't seen any signs for miles, but we've been walking at an incredible pace. Due to the size of the city we have found, Atlanta seems like the only logical location. This entire journey up to this point has been strange though. Aside from that one encounter, we have seen no people; we haven't even found a clue as to where everyone has gone. We have also continued testing electrical outlets to find working electricity and we have yet to find any electricity. Also, Max is getting more verbal about concerns, and Diana is beginning to join in the worrying. As the captain, I'm trying to keep everyone focused and sane. I don't think it's working. I find myself struggling every day to be even slightly optimistic, and I believe it is showing. It's strange though because I had the least to lose between the four of us. Knowing that, I can only imagine the struggles they are all dealing with. Felix seems to be handling this the best, but even he has gotten quiet. We are going to need to find civilization soon or we are going to be in some trouble!
September 22, 2057
I am at a complete loss for words today. I wish I did not have to write today's entry, but for the sake of this journal, I must. While we were searching Atlanta for clues, Max took his life. I don't want to dwell on this, but Max had managed to find a gun in an old shop and shot himself. He yelled at us before he died. He said there was nothing to live for anymore, that we had lost everything. I wanted to talk him out of it, but he pulled the trigger before I could speak. I feel terrible. I can still picture the hopelessness in his eyes as he pulled the trigger. I know I've said this before, but as the captain, I feel that I should have done a better job of keeping us positive and hopeful. With Max now gone, it is going to be much harder for us to maintain a positive attitude. My mind has shut off ever since the incident. It is hard to stay focused on the task at hand when you lose someone you care about so much. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to endure.
November 1, 2057
We have finally recovered emotionally and mentally from the loss of Max. Diana and Felix seem to be a little more determined to find clues as to what happened, which in turn makes me more motivated as well. We searched a new section of Atlanta for clues and I think we actually found something that gave us some insight as to what occurred. Lying abandoned in the street, we found a used iPod. What would normally serve as useless in this situation actually provided the biggest clue we have gotten up to this point. It was dead of course, but Felix made a startling discovery when he examined the small electronic; all the wiring and electronics had been fried! It wasn't the battery that prevented this iPod from working; it was the electronics inside of it! We've been able to come to the conclusion that something occurred in this vicinity that wiped out possibly all electronics in the surrounding area. How far this effect went, we didn't know, but if it affected a large enough area, that would mean disaster. Also, I was reading through my earlier entries. I noticed I've been rather scatter-brained in my writings. To whomever is reading this, I apologize. These last couple days have just been mentally draining on me.
November 5, 2057
What a great day! While searching for more clues in Atlanta, we actually found a person we could communicate with! His English was very poor, which made it difficult to understand, but we were able to get some communication with him. He was an old man named Willie. Willie seemed nice enough, but he kept muttering to himself that it was over. I have no idea what he meant, but it was more than obvious that he was slightly delirious. He was a portly fellow who wore a brown t-shirt and white briefs. He also lived in a little cave he dug out of the ground. We asked him what had happened, but all he seemed to know was that the electricity went out around the world, and everyone freaked out as a result; that was it. I remember exchanging glances with Diana. We were both thinking the same thing. There was no way all of this destruction resulted in that simple inconvenience. Regardless, Willie invited us to stay with him for a couple days, so we did. He seems very hospitable.
November 6, 2057
This has become a nightmare! We woke up around 0500 this morning, to a horror straight out of a film. Willie stood over us with a rusted shovel lifted high above his head. In the moonlight, he resembled a monster. We tried to get out as fast as we could, but Felix was unable to make it out alive. Willie managed to strike a blow to Felix's temple that instantly knocked him unconscious. Diana and I watched in horror as Willie continued to beat on Felix with his bloodied shovel. It was a terrifying sight. We ran out of there as fast as we could. Diana had another mental breakdown. The poor girl has been through quite a bit of trauma these past couple days. I don't possibly know what I can do to console her at this point. There is no recovery from this. I'm trying to erase that horrific gruesome image of the events from today out of my head, but I just can't. I want answers. I've had enough of this chaos and death.
December 20, 2057
It has been a long journey, and it has been very taxing on both Diana and I, but we have finally gotten our answers. About two days ago, we found a small village. This village had a small group of civilized people that were actually normal. Out of safety, they imprisoned us for a day before we were able to speak to the leader. The leader, Charlie, was actually a very nice man. He ate a relaxing lunch with us, then patiently answered all of our questions.
According to Charlie, a war took place around the world shortly after we flew to space. However, a new tactic in the war had been used that had never been done before: countries targeted each others' power sources. All around the world, everyone lost complete power. People lost all their electricity, their nuclear power, their gas power, and every other source of power they had.
Charlie informed us that in America specifically, there was an uproar among the public. People were no longer able to access the internet, use cell phones, watch television, or even drive cars. They could not cook with ovens, clean with vaccuums, or bathe in bathtubs. Society was forced to adapt to a more primitive lifestyle. Unfortunately, the world was not able to adapt. People lost their minds, and eventually, they lost all society as well. This led to the world which Diana, Max, Felix, and I encountered.
As I write this entry, my final entry, I can't help but think, is this what society had been reduced to? We became so dependent on electricity and luxuries, that we have forgotten how to take care of ourselves. We have electronic devices that can accomplish just about any difficult task that we may ever face, and we have been weakened by this. We are no longer able to think for ourselves. We have computers tell us how to live our lives, do simple functions, and even socialize for us. We cook by pushing buttons on a microwave. We use calculators to do simple math problems and Word programs to spell words for us. We had become a society that relied more on electronics and less on our minds. It was a sad realization for me. I was a part of that world. I took part in this madness. Thankfully, I was given a second chance. Today, I look out into the world and see nothing more than a society that has lost all sense of independence. I see a world that has forgotten how to function. I see a world that had become so crazed by electronics that they literally lost their minds when they lost their electronics. I cannot fathom this, but if I was in that situation, I probably would've reacted the same way.
So in closing I have one thing to say. To whomever may read this, never take for granted the power of your mind. Take a moment to think for yourself, because you never know. One day, your life may depend on it.