[Fireheart]: 318.Short Stories.WWIII
I was too numb to be afraid anymore. I lay awake in the safest place in our house- the closet beneath the stairs. For three days the ground had shook and hell had broken loose in the world around us. From the light streaming around the door, I know at least half of my house was gone. I threw the wool blanket off of my shoulders and clambered stiffly over mom, dad, and my little brother, huddled in the corner, sleeping in a nest of blankets, pillows, and empty Chef-Boyardee cans. Dad snored softly, coughing occasionally in the dust.
I scrambled on my hands and knees over the cracker wrappers and water bottles that had been our other provisions for the three days as World War III raged around the globe. The fleeting thoughts I had had since the first missile struck came back to me- who was still alive? Who was dead? Friends, family… we didn’t know. Nor would we know for some time to come. How could anyone live anymore? I bit back tears- I probably didn’t have any left, anyway- and felt around myself on the filthy cement floor; there I came across the vacuum cleaner, cobwebs, and the battery-powere
I didn’t want to go outside. I didn’t want to know what had happened to the human race- to the world. But I had to sooner or later.
I gripped the doorknob and threw open the door, and was blinded by the light of the sun, so much brighter than the dim flashlights that had been our only source of illumination. I tripped over a can of paint as I shuffled forward like a dumb beast and went sprawling, scraping my hands and knees. Slowly I stood, looking around. The world had turned upside-down.
I was covered in grey dust; my mouth was dry and my clothes filthy and torn- but I paid no heed to myself, only the aftermath of the worst war the world had ever known. Half my house lay in ruin; concrete, ribbons of wallpaper, personal items strewn about. I couldn’t even think about what had happened to the cats. Slowly I climbed out of the rubble of my house, walked to the end of the driveway, and started down the street. I wandered in a nightmare.
Trees were burning- land was leveled- houses were gone, or left as skeletons of what they once were; nothing stirred except for the occasional spray of sparks from a severed electrical line. My skin stung from the dissipating radiation. I reached the bottom of the street and turned to go to town. I stopped when I saw Roseanna, the elderly horse I cared for, lying near the leftovers of her owners house and barn, staring at me with empty, hollow eyes; she was gone.
“Rest in peace, old girl.” I said softly, then turned to go home. I had seen enough. When I got back to the house, or what was left of it, I woke my family. We determined that one of the cars worked, but there were no roads to drive it on. Surprisingly, dads’ cell phone still worked; we stared silently at the full bars of service as mom cooked a can of Campbell’s chicken noodle soup in the driveway on a camp stove. We salvaged all we could from the house; mom and dad talked of picking up as much as we could carry and leaving; where, I did not hear.
I just sat at the top of our free-standing staircase, overwhelmed. The thoughts returned. My extended family… my friends… my boyfriend… all were probably gone. Or, I would never see them again. Who knew what was in store for the human race. I pulled the pictures I had found in the rubble of family, and friends from the pocket in my jacket, and slipped the dog-tags which my boyfriend and I had exchanged on the 8th grade trip to Washington D.C. (gone, no doubt) around my neck. I held the pictures to my heart and prayed for a new beginning for everyone.