Monday, March 14, 2011

A Break in the Clouds

Day 90
The clouds finally broke today. Not for long and not over any wide area, but it was enough. For the first time in months one tony corner of this dark city was illuminated by real sunlight. Everyone in old downtown saw it, a few people barricaded in the old hotel had it stream through their windows. For me I had the gift of being in it. On top of that old, run down, brick lodging the sun struck me through a gap in the clouds and it felt good. The first sun in three months. Five minutes later it was done, but if it happened once it could happen again.
The city hasn't been doing well lately. Three months ago clouds settled in over the entire county. For a while it was just odd, then things started going crazy. Phones and the internet stopped working, people fled to relatives, we can only hope they made it. The power station shut down, all we had left were individual gasoline powered generators. The people started getting twitchy. Some said it was aliens, others the judgment of god, and one street preacher proclaimed it was the government come to control all of us in some sort of test. I don't know which is true really. All I know is that things ain't right. You can feel it in your skin, like the air is oily. Dark things lurk in the back corners of the alleyways, we find bones from time to time.
It may have started bad but at five weeks in it got worse. No one was coming into the city, and fog blocks every road. We may be the last people on earth for all we know. Not that it matters to these people. Gangs are roving the streets, some just thugs with bats and crowbars, others are former cops with full riot gear. The innocent hide, the university is a barricaded fortress, and downtown is a patchwork of territory wars. I was staying in the old hotel when it all happened, visiting the city of my birth. Now I was stuck here again.
I did what I could to keep things safe. The hotel was a safe house now, no gang would touch us. They were getting closer every day though. Defending this little slice of sanity and health was getting harder. It was old enough that the walls were thick and the construction solid. Anyone was free to join us, to make a call for sanctuary from the darkness and the blood thirst. Some people were stumbling in claiming the rotting walking dead had returned. Some rest and they always denied it, but I had seen the things myself when on food runs. This city was hell on earth now, humans and twisted flights of fancy racing to outdo each other. Yet somehow I was sane, or just insane enough to fight. In the land of the blind the one eyed is king, but in the world of the madman the half sane is the vigilante.
But today the sun was out. The sun still exists, even if we are just a tiny dirt clod running around it. Maybe the earth is still out there, just past the fog. Again, I don't know, all I do know is I feel touched. That short ray of sunlight hit me dead on and I haven't felt so warm in weeks. For whatever reason, luck fate or divine intervention, I feel chosen. I'm one of the only sane people left in the known world, and protecting is no longer enough. Carving out a tiny slice of safety won't save the kids stuck in dorms, the family hidden in an apartment. They need help too. It's time to take back the eternal twilight.
Day 91
Something changed yesterday, the game is different now. The freaks and the dead are more bold. The dark horrors of hidden ways are creeping out. I went on a run across rooftops and nearly got eaten by something with tentacles. I didn't have a gun, the noise attracts to much attention, just the crowbar I had been carrying since week two. I swear the thing started glowing though. It felt like the sun hitting me all over again and I beat that, that thing back into whatever corner of hell it came from. Resources were scarce when I managed to make it to the old convenience store. Still I managed food, bandages, some aspirin and (for my private enjoyment alone) a case of coke. The rest I will share but I earned that soda.
Day 92
Things keep getting stranger. The wanderers who occasionally hide in the hotel are telling tales of more and more beasts, but also rumors of strange men about town. Men fighting entire gangs and winning, healing bullet wounds, and pulling off other stunts. I might not be as alone as I thought. No time to wonder at it though.
Today I took the fight to the gangs. One group of thugs in particular has been pressing our borders, armed with crude weapons they are desperate and half mad. Negotiations failed quickly but with some work, and a bow I had scavenged, I managed to beat them back. The leader is dead and the gang won't last long. Some might reform but the rest will just wander into new groups. At least that's what I tell myself. It's hell out here but killing doesn't get easier. I took a few hits but I'm already better. No idea why the sunlight did this but I'll take it. Tomorrow I will leave others to defend and see if I can't find some answers.
Day 200
I found the source. The city will recover.

4 comments:

  1. Wow. This was grand. You created some incredibly terrifying visions though, but a tiny spark of hope ran through it. At Day 200, one realizes hope must never be lost, and maybe, just maybe, life can find the way. Excellent job on this.

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  2. I love it! I'm hooked in and want to know more!

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