by TM Ritz
The start of my novel that I've started working on.
| I was awakened suddenly from my slumber on the floor of the forest. As I sat up, everything around me had a slight tinge to it. The trees were deep hues of brown and green, and the forest floor is covered with the dark brown earth.
Small animal life is abundant, and moves all around me. I can hear the noises from the forest floor where the rodents move.
A musty smell wafts up to my nostrils, prompting me to stand and investigate. It's an almost sweet smell, coming from my right. I turn, and the sight that greets me is devastating.
It's been three days since they dropped the bomb. Three days I've been out in this wilderness, trying to survive, unsure of what to do. Three days since I've seen my son, my wife, or my dog. Three days since I've seen any type of human life.
I'm sure it's like this all over the world. Before I left, the newspapers were shouting about the bickering back and forth between the nations of the world. I didn't pay too much attention; to me, it's always seemed like a giant game of "he said, she said." I never had time for that.
This was supposed to be a vacation. I never get anytime to myself, and my wife pushed it on me. I remember it clearly.
"Take some time to yourself," she told me, practically pushing me out the door. "You get a little grumpy when you stay cooped up here. And we'll still be here when you get back."
That's what I did. I packed myself some lunch - tuna fish with mayonnaise, if I remember correctly - and went to my favorite spot in the woods. It was peaceful, serene, and completely isolated. It probably saved my life.
I was leaning back in my lawn chair and watching the sunset when I first saw it. It started as just a flash of light, streaking towards the Earth. My first thought was that I was about to see a meteor strike, and I was excited.
Then it hit. Instantly, I watched my office building disappear. Gone, completely. I didn't even have time to process what had happened when the force hit me.
It was like being hit by a semi truck. It threw me out of the chair, knocked me over backwards, and sent the chair hurtling towards me. After that, I don't remember anything until the next morning.
Three days later, and I know that I'm going to have to work my way to the city. The car is dead; I've already tried to get it started. I'm guessing the blast knocked something loose, but I'm not a car guy. I'd always relied on mechanics for everything short of checking the oil. Part of me wishes that I'd paid a little more attention in shop class.
But I'm going to have to hoof it out. I need to see what's left of my home. I need to see if my son and wife are alright. And I need to get moving to somewhere else. Where that somewhere else is, I don't know. But if my wife or son are okay, it'll make the journey that much better.
I think I'll start at first light tomorrow. I'll take today to kind of prepare, both mentally and physically. Something tells me I'm going to need it.