I open my eyes. Darkness surrounds me. I am lying on the icy floor in my basement. As the cold penetrates up through my back, my teeth start to chatter. Why am I lying here? I try to remember but it is, as if a big black wall is blocking my memory. Staring at the ceiling, I discover a grey cloud of smoke. Where does it come from? Different explanations are circling around inside my head, like a swarm of flies.
As I sit up and breathe in, some of the smoke gets trapped in my sensitive lungs. I cough and dizziness hits me for a few seconds. A sudden need for fresh air fills me. Quickly, I run out through the door, up the outdoor staircase and right into the arms of the terrible sight that is waiting for me outside.
I am dead. I have to be. What have I done to end up here, in this hell? All around me there is ash. It covers every remaining surface like a thick grey snow. Everything is in ruins. My house stands there, black, burnt and about to collapse. Only the skeleton of it is left. A tear runs down my cheek. What happened? Frowning, I stare down the street. The skeletons of houses stand side by side, scorched by the fire. Even the once so beautiful gardens are gone. Grass, plants, bushes and trees are all gone, turned into a pile of smoking ash. The sky is dark, and a dusty cloud continues as far as the eye can see. It absorbs the light out of everything and leaves it dead and miserable, with no hope of survival. Rubble covers the street and makes it almost impossible to move forward. It looks like if someone has dropped a bomb…... Cold develops from deep in my soul, out to the edge of my fingertips, as I realise. Someone did.
As I continue, my troublesome way down the ruined street, a strange thing catches my attention. It is traffic pole. I stand there for minutes, just staring at it. Suddenly, I realise why my focus was, drawn to it. It has survived. As a contrast to the dark and dead, it stands there, so majestic. Life rays out of it and gives me hope. Hope for something can survive in this hell. Slowly, as I am afraid it will disappear right in front of me, I touch it. Waves of happiness and relief goes through my body, as it didn’t. A desire for exploring this world suddenly fills me. In that moment, the light turns green. It has given me permission to do it.
The happiness disappeared into thin air, when I realised. I had not seen anyone else since I woke up, in my basement. No humans, not even an animal. I am alone. Completely alone. My body starts to shiver uncontrollably and my hands get cold and clammy. As I sit down, the tears start to run. Running down my cheeks, like two big waterfalls. Running for everything and everyone, I have lost. A storm of thoughts invades my mind. Why had I survived? Why me? Why not someone else? Screaming at the sky over my painful loss, I sit there, like an empty shell. Hope and the will to live and survive, even in this world, has left me. I do not want to live anymore. I just want to die. Like everyone else.
My stomach is growling. My throat screams for water. Hunger and thirst drags me up and forces me to think. Looking around, I discover a little puddle of water. Slowly, I approach it and dips my finger in it. As I taste it, a rusty taste of metal and chemicals spread in my mouth. Spitting it out, vomit tries to force its way up my throat. I sit down, trying to keep it inside. My heart starts pumping in my chest. Panic takes total control over me. If this can’t be drunk, what can then? And what about the food? Sitting there, with the knowledge of how small my chances for survival are, I know NOTHING will never will be the same again. Everything has changed.