You would think I have been walking for weeks, but in fact it is only two days, and yet I ache. I know I am hungry, and increasingly thirsty. I came across a murky pond, brownish in colour, it looked stained, as if oil was running into it. I feel almost desperate enough to drink from it, but not quite there yet. I know if I do, I shall either suffer or die.
I can’t help but think the plains before me are often so wild and beautiful, a vivid expanse so large my mind can hardly comprehend it. Nor can I quite manage to envisage the scope of destruction wrought upon this place, back before I gained, or regained my consciousness. I wonder of how spectacular it must have been, with hover cars, and buildings surging up towards the heavens, perhaps all gleaming glass and flash metal. What of the colours back then? How amazing must it all have looked, and if it did, then why destroy it so?
Every step I take I wonder if I will come across another savage, something so odd to the imagination I cannot begin to describe it, another creature so strange that even my nightmares shy away from it. I can feel the sensation creeping down my spine. My senses are becoming sharper, more alert as I wander, and I feel sure no one will quite bother me so again, provided I don’t die of hunger first.
From what I can recollect of my bearings, taken from the position of the Sun, to the East are a huge range of mountains, reaching so high they almost touch the clouds. I imagine it will be colder there, and I am not equipped yet for such a trek. To the West appears more of the same desert, an endless barrage of soil and dust, and I wonder if any water at all. Back to the South, behind me, again a mountain range, not quite so high, but still, I am not yet in the mood to go back. So North it is, where normally, as far as I can recall from what limited memory I have, North usually means colder, but that is something strange about what I have found so far, that there is no cold. Maybe I haven’t walked far enough yet, but still, I wonder.
Finally, some sense of hope. Another large building. It is such an anachronism to what I lies around it, a waste of destruction, where other buildings appear in total ruins, this stands, like a solid, square building block, so dark and foreboding, as if the building itself is alive, watching and waiting for me to enter. I dread to imagine what might lay inside, but I need something to sustain me, food, water, I cannot avoid it.
Across the walls of the building as I approach, I see bricked up windows, they look like eyes, staring at me, unable to blink, as if their soulless visage is supposed to haunt me into staying away. It clearly doesn’t understand my need.
As I walk around a large metal container, the sight before me shocks me as much as anything. It appears to be a long dead corpse, probably of a man, wearing aged blue coveralls. The figure is slumped over, almost crouching, with one hand covering what is left of its head. Could this person have witnessed the end of days? Was it truly so hideous that they couldn’t bear to watch.
I am almost brought to tears, as I see what remains of a child’s teddy bear, lying inches away from the prone man. His other hand appears to reach out to it, as if it had fallen away from him and he desperately wanted to clutch it, to feel something from it, a memory perhaps, before the darkness came.
I walk on a little, to find great metal doors, and in one corner another smaller door. This must have been a busy factory at one time, some smashed trucks literally lie scattered around the yard, broken fencing surrounding them, and a mass of empty bottles across the ground, as if placed there for their visual appeal, and nothing more.
As I approached the doorway, and my hand reached out in search of a new welcome, a huge screech pitched into the air, and for seconds after echoed across the place as if something had died terribly, painfully. Just as I thought it gone, it came again, followed by the sound of shuffling. There is movement inside, and I don’t know whether to call out.
Should I run? My senses are screaming, leave this place, get away, go from the shadows and back into the sunlight. My empty stomach and cracked dry lips beg to differ. I am cursed whichever I choose.
I open the door, ignoring the demands of my mind, common sense left behind, just need driving me now. Inside the place is dark, but there are shards of light here and there, enough to see. There are stairs across the walls, metal ones, and some small blocks of buildings inside. It looks busy, even though for now nothing moves.
I step inside, and I can hear my feet scrape against the gravelly dust. The air is thick, as if you could literally drink it down, but fine particles of dust wash around me, no doubt contaminated, but I have other more important needs.
A screech beside me, a deep growl, and my skin crawls. I look quickly, lifting the pistol I have hidden in my pocket, before I manage to point it, even consider aiming, the thing is upon me and I fall to the ground. I am too weak to fight back, so hungry. It leaps on me as I lay on my back, and as I look up, I see its face atop, so close to me I can smell its grotesque breath, semi dead like the creature itself. Sun scatters across what is left of its skin, burned away by time or perhaps fire. It is like fighting against a rotting corpse, its eyes bulging out, dark and green, but so dead. It opens its mouth, slavering, drooling on me, I wonder if it means to eat me!
I struggle but it is too strong. I cry out, but no one hears me.
Is this the end?