The Note: The Day We All Died
by Colleen Douglas
I never did find out what happened that day. We know it was a nuclear attack but, no one really knows from where, or why. We knew it was coming but, we also knew there was nowhere to go. I remember my husband and I going to a nearby park with our old dog to play catch; to have fun before we all died. I remember the bright light and the blast. I remember standing there watching, then feeling myself being lifted off the ground, hurtling through the air. I heard my dog screaming as if someone were ripping off his legs one by one. I had been too afraid to scream for him; had been too afraid to scream for my husband. I remember instinct taking over and my body curling in on itself, my arms wrapping around my head. I remember finally hitting the ground after what felt like hours in the air. I rolled over and over countless times, I didn't fight it, there was no point. My body couldn't remain curled up, the force of the air demanded compliance. I remember allowing myself to go limp and letting the wind to carry me over the ground.
Then the air stopped moving. It might have been only a few seconds, a few minutes, a few hours, days, weeks, months or even years that I laid there, when I opened my eyes, the sky was grey and dark with ashes falling like thick heavy snow. I was covered in a layer. I couldn't see the sun or even the light from it. I remember sitting up and looking around at what was left. Everything was flattened. Nothing left, the grass, there were a few trees that had survived the blast but just barely, the limbs on one side gone, the roots on the same side pulled from the ground.
I remember getting up and shaking the soot from my hair. My first thought was to find my husband. I'm not sure how long I searched. I screamed for him over and over again. I realized at some point that my cheeks were wet; I had been crying. My throat was sore from screaming. I found my dog or what was left of him in a tree; the only way to tell it was him was his tags attached to his collar. They had been just a joke really, being bright red with violet zebra patterns.
I continued my search for my husband, I came across a man that been impaled by a bit of wood about the size of a 2' by 4"; it had pinned him by the chest to one of the few remaining, still standing, trees. His screams still haunt my dreams.
I wasn't the only person left. There were others but it seemed everyone one was in some form of panic or shock. They were no help, not that I was asking. After a time, it was like my mind jump started itself back to life. Before the blast, back in my old home, my mother and I used to go out of our way to find old abandoned buildings and scavenge random things we could either find a use for or sell. In video games I had also always been a scavenger. Even at that time, nothing had changed.
I went back to the pile of rubble that once been my home and searched till I found one of my larger backpacks then proceeded to search for anything of potential use in my own and several other used to be houses. I remember coming across bodies and not feeling a thing and then wondering, is that really such a bad thing?
Then I left. I left that area completely, though, what I was looking for I really didn't know. I think I was running on pure instinct at that point; just had to find somewhere safe. I learned early on to avoid other people. Desperate people only equal feral animals. People had always liked to pretend they were better than animals but, there was no pretending now; no, everyone knew that to survive meant doing things we never would have done before.
With nothing left for me I just travelled from place to place until I ended up here. Where here is exactly, I'm not sure. It's been a long time since I've seen a map with a "you are here" dot. I'm also not sure how long it's been since "the end of the world" as people have been calling it. I don't see the "end" part; as far as I can tell I'm still breathing, still starving, and still generally alive. I'm not sure how I survived being so close to the blast site. Not sure I'll ever figure it out or even if I really want to. The only way I know it's been at least a few years is that I've got more wrinkles than I remember having. I'm not real sure how old I am now though the occasional man not out to rape and pillage, will tell me I'm still attractive. Not sure I should believe them, though. I know the years have been hard on my body. Scars litter every inch of my skin but I don't care. I think of them as trophies for all the battles I've won or lost and learned from. Though, if I had to guess I would say I'm probably in my early to mid-thirty's or maybe even in my forty's as I was in my late twenties when the bombs went off.
Doesn't really matter how old I am though. I'm not sure how I survived this long. Gods knows I shouldn't have; I think it was pure dumb luck. I miss my husband, and my dog, and all my friends and family. I can't remember the last time I could call someone a friend and mean it. It's been so long since anyone one could trust anyone else; everyone's in it for the one and only. Even in a large group it's every man for himself. I tried that scene once, got tired of always having to watch my back and sleeping with one eye open and a weapon at the ready. It was like that on my own too but, at least out on my own there was less chance of getting stabbed in the back by the guy who was supposed to be watching it.
I think of that first day, the day of the blast, as the day we all died 'cause god knows there is nothing left of the people who once lived. Their bodies and faces may look similar but, their minds can only hold the memories of what they use to be. I'm not sure what happened to the governments or the armies; all I know is I've never seen any official looking person since the blast. Not sure they could do anything with this world of chaos anyway; especially, since they couldn't get it right even when there was at least the illusion of order. No way can they do anything now.
The reason I've written this is more out of boredom. There comes a time when one realizes that their life is coming to an end. I'm tired; I'm tired of it all; all the running, the fighting, the killing. Preying on those weaker than myself; that list seems to be getting shorter. I'm finished even if I have to end my sordid existence myself. I didn't write this so others could learn from my mistakes or anything as selfless as that. I wrote this as a simple, "Hey, yeah, I existed!" sort of thing.
I lost what was once me after that blast and sometimes I miss that me. Sometimes you have to kill yourself to survive or just kill yourself and rid the rest of us of your living existence so we can eat you and take your belongings.