Sorry this is up so late today! Hope you all enjoy it anyway!
I am alone and I have been for a very long time. Almost as long as I can remember but sometimes I get flashes, memories, of the people I used to know and even of the before time. They’re gone now. They were massacred. Men came riding through the village with carts, calling out what they had to trade, it was mostly food. It had been a while since anyone had come through, there was talk, that maybe there was no one left. The appearance of the men caused great joy amongst everyone, they were happy to know they were not alone in the world. The men were different, there were only a few that drove the trading routes, because they could be dangerous. But no one had seen these men before. My father tried to warn people, he told them to hide but they wouldn’t listen, they were so hungry for food and contact from outside. My father was right, they should have run, hid. They killed everyone, everyone but me.
My father hid me, in our small house, under the floorboards in his secret place. People scattered when the men started shooting, it was loud and scary, I had crept out of the secret place to watch, I wanted to see the men, I liked when they came to trade, sometimes people would trade for sweets for the kids and hand them out, me and Brian and Annie would be given them mostly, the younger kids were still too young, just babies. I wanted to be out there with Brian and Annie, with everyone, all laughing and talking and listening to the news the traders brought. The noise was so loud, the first gunshot. Everyone froze, it was the loudest thing I’d heard since the before time. There was a few seconds where everyone stayed still, like time had stopped, then, they ran. The men kept shooting, those who tried to run from the village were shot quickly. They went house to house and killed people. I had hid again but I could still hear it happening. Getting closer. They came into our house, I could hear them walking over head in their heavy boots, but they didn’t find me, no one ever found fathers secret place. I wondered why father didn’t run to the house, why he didn’t hid with me. It took me a long time to realise that if the men had seen him come in, they wouldn’t stop searching till they fonud him. When they were leaving I crept back out to watch. I knew I shouldn’t that I should stay there in the secret place, but I had to see. They loaded up bodies of people and brought them away. I don’t know where. Sometimes I think there were still some people alive, I thought I saw Annie’s face looking out from the cart, like she was crying, but that’s impossible cos I saw her get shot. The men stayed for a few days, then they carried on to wherever they were going. They were the last people I saw. People avoided the village after that. We weren’t famous or well known but travellers and traders would stop by, even though there was a road that went around. They don’t come here no more. I thought people would come looting, they normally do, I’ve gone looting before, with my father and the others after we heard a village was gone, we’d try to get good stuff, but usually it was empty by the time we got there. I think the men told everyone they got everything, or maybe people were too scared to try steal from them.
I’ve been lucky, I managed to survive, mostly through fathers secret place, but some other people had secret places too, there was food and water there, though the water is almost gone. We were building a well when the men came, or we were trying to. I don’t know if that water would’ve been ok to drink. It rains sometimes still, but the rain is black. It covers everything, we used to try to wipe it off, but I’ve stopped. It makes everything look abandoned, it makes it safer here. When I was younger I tried it, stuck out my tongue to catch it like we did with snow, but I didn’t like the taste, it was tangy and sour. That was after everyone had already gone. We were quite lucky, traders came through our village, food could come to us. We were even able to buy seeds, but it didn’t work. They wouldn’t grow in the ground. It was a small village, always has been, in the before time I don’t know if it would have been called a village even. There were only twelve houses and a shop. Father told me that there used to be cities with millions of people in them, all living together. It’s strange. I’d think he was lying if I hadn’t been to one in the before time. He took me to the zoo once and we got the underground train and everything.
I’ve gotten used to being alone, which is kinda funny. I didn’t like it before, before everyone left I used to make sure there was always at least one other person nearby, just in case. It’s different now. Sometimes I hear noises at night, I don’t know what makes them, animals or people. I might have run to them before, trying to find who was making the noise, just to have someone around, but now I’m scared. What will they be like? It could be the men returning. I mostly sleep in fathers secret place, though I do sometimes sleep in the other houses, if I’m worried or scared.
I was lucky we had a shop. That’s how I survived. Most people had food in their houses still, a few even had a lot in their secret places, though it took me a while to find most of them. Mr Jenkins used to run the shop and after everything happened he said he didn’t have much left, he was waiting for deliveries and most of the food that was left had spoiled. Everyone had checked and he was right. The shelves were empty. People coming through had bought as much as they could, we all saw it. Mr. Jenkins even had to close. My father was angry at the time, he said Mr. Jenkins was a liar, that he saw the shop get a delivery. Mr. Jenkins said that my father was wrong, the truck had barely anything left, that the driver had been stopping and trading with people, said he was running like everyone else so what difference did it make if he was fired. But father was right. Mr. Jenkins was a liar. I found it, in Mr. Jenkins house, he had a basement, a really big one, the door was hidden in the floor so no one could find it. It took me almost three days of searching and I almost gave up. I only even checked because other people who said they had nothing left had lied about it. It looked like Mr. Jenkins had taken the whole store downstairs, he might have been saving that stuff for years, but there was a lot. Enough for me anyway, there was even giant barrels of water too. There were some seed packets, but I didn’t know how to grow them. I tried reading the backs of them but they were too faded. I tried with one packet, I buried them and watered them a little bit each day but nothing happened. Maybe they were gone off or maybe the soil turned bad too.
A few people still had books from the before time, so I took them to fathers secret place too. It helped pass the time. Helped me pretend that there were others here. There were a few magazines but I didn’t like those, they talked about strange things, but I liked looking at the pictures, before they fell apart. Sometimes I like to pretend that everyone just went away for a little bit and that they’re coming back soon. I know it’s not true, but it doesn’t hurt to pretend. I’ve been thinking about moving on, trying to find a new place, maybe another village will let me live with them, but I’m frightened to travel alone, father told me travelling was dangerous unless you got another person to go with you. Sometimes I think I see people, in the distance, but then I think it’s just my imagination. A few times I saw movement through the windows, though I don’t know what it was, the dirt was too thick. I didn’t go outside though because I was scared. The food from Mr. Jenkins store is going to run out soon, I’ve been really good with it, only having three of the cans a day at most, and that’s only on special occasions. Most days I manage to get by on two only. We used to have a gas stove, but it stopped working ages ago, I don’t like making fires outside, in case someone sees the smoke. It’s warm in fathers secret place, I took blankets from the other homes and made a little nest with everything. Some days I think about leaving and I feel sad, like I’m letting everyone down by going, but then I worry about what I’m going to do when the food runs out. I have to find more but I don’t know where I can go. I wish father was still here, I wish they were all still here. They’d know what to do. They always knew what to do.
I saw someone through the window. I don’t know if they’ve seen me, they were just a shape and movement, but I‘m sure it was a person. I can hear others at night, calling out softly. I can’t hear what they’re saying. I’m scared. I think I’ll leave soon, they might find me if I wait too long. I think someone was down in Mr. Jenkins basement. There were a few cans on the floor, they weren‘t like that when I left them the other day.
It’s ok. Everything’s going to be better now, I understand what they‘re saying. They’ve come back.