Usually, come the end of the month, I’m thinking about what to write for my monthly blog post; what readers would like to read, what fellow writers would like to learn more about. This time around, I thought I’d give you a short story, so you can just sit back with a quick read. We are Nobody focuses on Robert Chance, who lost his daughter when the world “ended”, and he tells of his experiences in a world where everyone is reduced to their base instincts. Enjoy!
Diary of Robert Chance
Late December, 2012
[Spelling and grammatical inconsistencies have been corrected for the purpose of publication of this document]
Life sucks when you’re a civilized civilian. They’re sick of me, because I’m too dull for them, and I follow the nine-to-five lifestyle to the extreme. I never thought it would screw me over so badly. I was only doing the same as everyone else, but all it made me was a target in the end. It’s us they choose: the weaklings, the idiots, the sociopaths. Too bad I’m one of them. At least Emily and Sarah were chosen. Who cares if I don’t survive? As long as Emily is fine! A world without my daughter is a useless world indeed. But somehow I’m still functioning.
There was a group of Protestants who walked past me before, probably heading towards what remained of their church. I hid in the bush in Steve Taylor’s front yard, my Glock tight in my grip, and my daughter deep in my thoughts. If their Lord had given up on them, there wasn’t much of a chance for me. I heard them screaming shortly afterwards, and my thoughts zapped away into nothing, and I wished if only I could clearly look out of this damn itchy bush and into the red sky itself. It’s still too risky. It was then I heard her laughing. She was laughing, I could hear that clearly, and I’d heard her laughing a lot lately. Emily liked to laugh too. But she’s gone now, so I suppose my life isn’t worth living. Why am I even here now?
We’ve been in eternal summer since the events of December 18, 2012. I would try to tell you how it all happened, but I’m not too good with words, but I’ll try anyway. There was the Hum—that elephant trumpeting, that eternal screeching—and my two girls disappeared before my very eyes. The sky turned red, and that’s when I heard the screaming. It hasn’t stopped since. I like to believe, much like the Protestants before, that Emily was selected to be part of the new world. This eternal sunlight would destroy her, but I’m a survivalist. I’m here to survive.
Just now, a man in an expensive wool suit stumbles past me. I take a brief look at him before retreating back into my hiding spot. Even without that description, his sounds separate him from us. In regular circumstances, he’d never be seen in a ten mile radius of this side of the city. Now, we’re all the same. Before everything, the earth wasn’t perfect, but it functioned. Now, it’s just feral.
I hear his deep, inconsistent breaths; the sound of a man who is dead already. Maybe that’s just me. Am I even human anymore? Writing this down is the only thing that keeps me even partly rational. Maybe if I’d listened to Sarah’s father, but I know that’s a load of bull. He wouldn’t have been happy until I was buried six feet under. Despite him and his fellow Methodists being all about forgiveness, and the juvie officers telling me he’d forgive me for everything from yesterday, today and tomorrow—it was a load of bull. Maybe that’s why I was meant for this world.
The man screams. I can’t move. I can’t trust him. I can’t trust anyone. Even when the sun explodes and we all turn to flame and dust, I can’t risk it. His screams increase, and I grip the Glock even tighter. My head’s throbbing, but I ignore it. One wrong move and I’d end up like the yuppie out there. Who was out there? Was she about to start laughing again?
I know I’m not perfect; otherwise I wouldn’t have been here in the first place. I’ve known people who blame their issues on their upbringing, their family, the prison officer, the lawyer, the doctor. It would be pure naiveté to blame everything on something so simple when, without the shit-storm, I wouldn’t have ended up with my wife and daughter. I’m to blame. I completed those actions. I faced the consequences. I am here now.
Without the past, I wouldn’t be me. I’d just be some sock puppet masquerading around as Robert Chance. It’d be a lie. Without the accident, I’d have become a businessman or lawyer, taking the subway to the city every day, married to someone who wasn’t Sarah, having a child that wasn’t Emily. The in-laws would be bearable, coming over every so often for a coffee and catch-up. It doesn’t matter. I know that no matter what, I’d have ended up here. Here, in the desolate wastelands, fighting for my life until the inevitable exploding of the sun and my own inevitable demise.
I can’t escape.
I hear footsteps. The yuppie is gasping out his last breaths, begging to someone. There are two sets of footsteps. I only know now who those footsteps definitively belonged to. My Glock’s almost out of bullets, and I do have knives, which can be helpful, as long as your opponent doesn’t have a gun. One of them has a bayonet.
Can I be safe from these people? Can they hear me here? I’m not breathing too loudly, but one wrong breath, one slight movement, and I won’t even have a chance to fire. I would only be safe from them when everything crumbled to dust, and blood and guts would spray themselves about the place until each and every one of us were smoldering piles of crap.
Aidan Everett was only a few years older than me, but with less of the hardships. I suppose he had something to hide, otherwise he’d never be out here with the rest of us. I never got to figure out, because the moment I realized what had happened, it was his chance to die.
As the yuppie draws his dying breath, I’m about to peek out of the bushes and watch the two sets of footsteps. Only they aren’t simply footsteps, and there’s a man and a woman. I strain my vision to see what’s going on. The man is Aidan. I don’t recognize her.
She has very pale skin, strawberry blond hair, and a waitressing outfit of navy blue and white. She holds out the bayonet, grinning at Aidan, showing very white, catlike teeth.
Aidan is on his knees, praying. A lot of the non-survivors seemed to be reacting that way, not just the religious ones. I used to think it was okay, we all were a bit panicked the old guy in the sky didn’t care about us. Then I started to get pissed off. Either kill yourselves or let us. You’re wasting up space, and we have limited resources left.
The woman is scowling, and there is nothing in her eyes. I can’t be certain her thoughts, but she looks like she wants him dead. Sobbing messes were useless at the moment. Only the strong survived here.
Finally, Aidan jumps up and shivers.
“Celeste,” he says. “I’ve been…I’ve been praying. He’s…I think he’s heard us.”
“Not good enough,” she replies, her voice as cold as her face. “You know that bastard doesn’t give a shit about us. You know what happened to Andrew, don’t you?” she nods towards the yuppie, who looks up at them with empty eyes.
She smirks at Aidan, and he gasps, holding his hands together; a weak attempt at praying. Without a second glance, she thrusts the bayonet into his middle, blood spraying everywhere. He opens his arms out to fight back, but she kicks at his groin, thrusts the bayonet out, and shoves it into his head.
He dies instantly.
You probably think his death impacted me greatly, but it really didn’t. At least I know now who the laugh belongs to. There are a million Celeste’s parading around. Everyone is willing to kill, except the religious ones, who just pray.
Kill and pray, that’s how we live.
We are governed by nobody now.
As I write this, I know I don’t have much time left. I only pray that who finds this will know that we weren’t always like this. Once, before the Hum, we were governed by somebody, and we didn’t just kill for the sake of killing. This was a world where there was a man called Robert Henry Chance (32 years old as of this time) and he had daughter called Emily (4 years old) who had the most gorgeous blue eyes and contagious laugh, who I hope will never ever be forgotten.
That is all.