4th chapter of "The Abyss"
THE ABYSS : SUMMER SNOW
It was hard to believe that so much time had passed. It still felt like yesterday, or at least no more than a week ago, since it had happened. I remember standing in the bathroom, the smaller of the two that were installed in our house. It had green tiles and brown shower curtains, and the walls were painted in a hideous beige, and the windowsill had become an open house party for mould. I didn't particularly like using this bathroom, but that is probably why I can still describe it in such detail. I still shiver thinking about its nastier details. We never used the shower there since the plumbing was all messed up, but the sink was still working properly and I was brushing my teeth that day. There was this sort of a boom. It wasn't really loud, it just sounded hollow, like a ringing in your ear except replace ringing with a deep bass. The shaking had me believe it was a minor earthquake, but when I opened to see what was outside, there was quite literally nothing to see.
Most people who had survived at that point, people like Alex and Bart, must have been filled with fear, disbelief, sorrow, anger - the things you would expect when all of the world you know suddenly disappears. To top it off, you're left alive. I don't know why I didn't react that way. Instead of being tormented by grief and asking the big questions of "why did it happen?" and "why me?", I wondered if I was a psychopath. Had I still had access to my computer I would have looked up a definition.
One night I asked Bart if he thought the entire world was like this. We had lit a fire outside his palace Campovan, and Alex was already asleep rolled up in a ball together with a dozen cats.
"Surely we would have seen something in the air by now if it was only Europe," he told me.
I nodded along with what he said. That made sense. Even if a crew of rescuers hadn't come to look for survivors, there was no doubt journalists would've found us by now.
"America, Asia, Africa - it's all lost to The Nethron," he said, "now it's all down there."
"And so your kingdom has become the mightiest nation of all," I said.
Then we laughed.
Afterwards I looked at Alex, and thought I could hear her purr, same as the cats. I closed my eyes and listened, listened to them and the crackling fire, and when I woke up I was inside the palace. So was Alex, and I thanked my king for looking after his people.
A game we sometimes played while out finding food or other supplies was to see who could find the coolest thing to bring back to Cat Kingdom. It was the sort of thing we did that would make us lose track of time, even if we never really kept track of it in the first place.
It was after one of those times (and after I had found a unicycle), that we decided to find a date at which we would start counting days. I suggested naming that day Monday, January 1, year 1 to make things simple, but Alex wouldn't have that. It didn't come as a surprise. She told us that The Nethron must have appeared on a Monday, since it was a very monday-like thing to happen. Similarly, some days felt more like Mondays than others, so we should note them down and try to figure out a pattern. I failed to inform her that The Nethron appeared on a Tuesday. It had ruined the first date I would never go to.
January was no good either. Stubbornly she refused, explaining that we hadn't celebrated Christmas or even the new year! She pleaded King Bart to change my mind, and although I had become his trusted advisor he looked at me with a theatrical sternness and spoke:
«You know I will never devalue your opinion, sir Trent. Yet I think it is wise to listen to our oracle, for she is wise.»
«Quite,» I replied, gazing over at the puppy-eyed girl.
And so was it that, after another two weeks, we finally started counting days. The first day of our new calender was Friday, July 3 - the day after we made a snow man.