Aurora – by James Smith

 

 

Here I am, beaten within an inch of my life, nothing around me or no one to help me. I am truly alone in the world. When it mattered my name was Ben, but now it doesn’t matter what my name is or where i come from, all the matter is that I am alone, beaten and facing death. I remember thinking it’s going to be horrible growing old, the feeling of being totally useless and nothing you could do about it. The idea of being powerless did make me scared. I mean, being so inadequate that controlling your own bladder was too much of a burden. I remember the simple days, working in Trinty X1 was the best time I ever had, before any of this happened.

Trinty X1 was an underground research center that I worked in, completing tests on the earth’s atmosphere but mainly the affects it had on the earth’s surface. I would spend most months under here with a team that ended up being my best friends. My wife and son stay down here with me, otherwise I would never see them, but they understand that my work is important.

I remember the day that everything changed, from the moment I woke up in bed beside my wife. I walked from my bedroom into the dining room area to see Paul was on the couch. Paul was an engineer in the station who was never happy in the place. He was an outdoors person, so be locked up underground was not something he dreamed for.

“I thought you were working” I said

“I just finished” said Paul

I sat down next to Paul on the couch

“Can’t sleep either?” I said

“Not one little bit” he said

“We only have the one week left in here but it feels like a life time” I said

“I am considering not coming back to this place” said Paul

“I don’t blame you buddy” I said

When I think back no it makes me angry, everything that concerned me on a daily basis. Money was the number one concern for most people, but I cannot even remember what a dollar bill looks like. Things like money, terrorism and disease seem pointless and funny now towards what I have seen.

Colm and Alan are eating breakfast in the kitchen. Colm was the systems engineer, and Alan was the IT technician. They were always seen together, mostly joking around because they were only needed if something was broken, which was very rare. They usually spent their time in the kitchen or dining room. The kitchen was very bland and plain, like a sample kitchen they have in show rooms. Everything was white and the chairs were tall with round seats that cupped your whole butt. Nothing in Trinty X1 was normal, not even the people.

“What are you going to do with your month off” said Colm

“I always have big plans but I just end up sleeping!” said Alan

At the moment Mary walked into the kitchen. She was old with a face that god himself would not be proud off. She served as the religious presence in the station. I protested the need for a religious presence but apparently they make people feel more comfortable. If god was real then what happened to all of us makes god a very sick person.

“Good morning boys” said Mary

“I wish it was better Mary” said Alan

“Don’t worry Alan, the lord will give you all the happiness you need” said Mary

Alan smiled at Mary, as Colm looked away while trying not to laugh. No one really took Mary serious because of her job, but no one made fun of Mary either because it would not be a good idea for anyone.

“Maybe me and god have a disagreement on how much happiness I should get” said Alan

“Nonsense Alan, he knows all” said Mary

Mary turns away and walks out of the kitchens while Alan and Colm are sitting at the kitchen table. Alan looks towards the door to check if Mary is gone,

“I wonder if god knows he is not real” said Alan

I was in his room, which resembles more of a living room with a bed. My wife Joan and son Jason who is ten years old are sitting on the bed. I was getting ready as I had to work a couple of hours.

“Dad do you have to work?” said Jason

“I will not be long son, I am only working for a couple of hours” I said

“Don’t worry Jason, you and I can wait for day” said Joan

“I will not be too long, I promise” I said

Just at the moment, I stood up from the bed and put on my work t shirt. There was an official uniform while working in the station, but no one sees us down here so I never bother. As I walked towards the door Paul came running into the room with a worried look on his face, as if someone just died.

“Ben, we have a problem in sector two” said Paul

“What’s the matter now Paul?” I said

“We just picked up readings from outside, on the heat sensors and they’re extremely high!” said Paul

Ben looks at Joan and Jason with a look of uncertainty but enough confidence not to upset Jason. Joan however knew something was wrong.

“Don’t worry I will be back soon” I said

I and Paul rush down the corridor which is poorly lit and are a yellow colour which you would know was once white. We both arrive in sector two which is full of computers. Paul walks towards once specific computer that is in the middle of all the computers along the desk.

“What are we looking at here” I said

“This morning there was a peak in the degrees outside to unusual temperatures” said Paul

“Did you try Boone in Washington?” I said

“Well that is the main problem, we cannot get in contact with anyone” said Paul

“Use the satellites and get an image of outside” I said

“We cannot, everything is down, were paralyzed Ben. We do not even have the electricity so we had to switch to the backup generators” said Paul

Ben starts pacing back and forward in the room as Paul sits looking worried about the situation.

“It looks like we suffered a massive electromagnetic disruption” said Paul

“Well we have to go outside and see what the hell is going on!” I said

I and Paul leave sector two and head left down the corridor to the entrance of the station. We both climbed up a ladder into the top deck of the station which leads to the entrance of the Trinty X1. I put my hand on the door handle of the door which is a circle shape handle like you would find on a submarine. Suddenly I burned my hand on the door and fell to my knees. Paul ran over and examined my hand.

“You’re going to be fine, it’s still a pretty bad burn though” said Paul

“Let’s just go to the observation deck” I said

The observation deck is the best part of Trinty X1. It’s where a lot of people  come to relax for a couple of hours as it’s so relaxing looking out on the world after being kept away from it for so long. It is a lonely job but the observation desk is a much needed bonus to have. The room is a white empty room with just one long window on the walls like a big aquarium. I told Paul to hit the switch to open the cover from off the wall. The white panel cover slowly moves across the window revealing a brightly light sky. The view has so many colours and shooting stars. A massive storm is happening in the sky with most of the sky a bright green shade.

“Oh my god, what has happened” said Paul

As I hit the switch to close the window cover, I realised nothing was ever going to be the same again. I looked at Paul, still looking out the window with a pale, emotionless face even though it was now closed. I span away from him “We cannot tell anyone one about this!”

“We can’t lie to our friends” he whispered.

I don’t know why but I was angry at him for saying that, it felt like a betrayal, though I have no idea why. I knew the right thing to do was to tell everyone the truth but I guess I thought I was protecting them, which is funny considering the pain I caused them in the end. I had to get out of that room. Try to pretend it was not real, just for a few minutes.

“I can’t lie to them Ben!”

“Don’t be naive Paul!” I yelled “We have to find out what happened first!”

“We know what happened, Ben, we’ve just seen it!”

I shook my head silently, this could not be happening. “I’m going to contact HQ…”

“You think HQ survived that?!”

I squared up to him “I’m going to contact HQ.” Paul nodded silently “Good.” I snarled, and turned to leave the room. “and what if they’re dead?” Paul sounded small, his voice echoing off the walls. I didn’t stop to answer.

The Control Room in Sector Two was the best place to get answers; it had everything you needed to contact the outside world. I sat at the computer trying to get a hold of somebody, anyone. I remember typing, but I just could not get the image of the storm from my head. It looked so beautiful and yet so destructive. Paul came rushing into the room to find me there, sitting at the computer. He grabbed my shoulder “We’re going to run out of power soon; the generator is only tanked for about 24hours!”

“Turn off everything non- essential” I stared at the screen

“That’ll just scare people! Ben, we have to tell them first!”

I always liked Paul, but when it came to problems, he just never knew how to handle it. Now I like to think that I am calm and rational, but Paul is more like an exploding building taking everyone down with him.

“Just turn it off, Paul” I kept staring at the screen “I’ll handle everyone.”

I went through everything I could to make contact. I just had to try. I had to try, before I went upstairs and delivered the news. But I found only what I had expected to, and it wasn’t good. I sat, staring, and I knew I couldn’t do it. I rubbed my eyes, searching for a solution but there was none.

I trudged up the stair to the Common Area, eyes to the ground and found Paul waiting for me. “Gather everybody up.” I mumbled. Paul nodded wordlessly and left me there to think of a way to tell everyone in the nicest possible manner that we’re all alone, and the world is ending. I wanted to go find Jason and Joan but I didn’t have time to explain to them.

Mary was the first to arrive with many questions of her own already “Ben, why are my radio and TV not working?”

“We know Mary, we’re working on it”

“Bless you Paul” she smiled serenely.

Everyone gathered slowly in the Common Area, muttering to each other and glancing over at me nervously, waiting to hear what I had to say

I dragged my hand across my face and took a deep breath “So” I looked up at them “Earlier this morning, Paul and I noticed an increase in temperature outside from the computers.” I had no option but the truth “At first it looked like we suffered a massive electromagnetic disruption…but on closer inspection I am afraid it’s much worse than that.” The muttering started up again, louder and more urgent than before “I went through the system looking for anything unusual in the last twenty-four hours, and I found something. It looks like there was a geomagnetic storm which is a perfectly normal thing to happen and is usually only temporary, but” My throat dried up, I swallowed nervously “but this one was worse. A lot worse.” People were openly talking now, questions flying across the room, the same one repeated over and over again “How much worse?”

I raised my voice to compete with the crowd “There was a massive disturbance in the interplanetary medium. I know most of you understand what this means, but for those who do not, intense solar flares release very high energy particles that can cause radiation, poisoning, cancer and…” I paused for a breath“…and more likely death.” Panic erupted; I couldn’t make out individual voices, so I kept going, louder than before. “All communications are down and we are running on a backup generator for power.”

“What the hell are we going to do, Ben?” One voice dominated the others.

“I’m not entirely sure yet!”

“Are you sure this has happened?” Mary clutched at the crucifix around her neck.

I raised my voice as the volume in the room grew even louder and panicked “We have several receivers located in the southern hemisphere and they all detected exactly the same thing!” The noise slowly faded, until I was left with silent faces, all staring. “Myself and Paul both saw a massive aurora in the sky in the observation deck.”

“Oh my god, we’re all going to die!” Joan screamed, covering her face as if it would help.

“No!” I turned on her “We are not going to die!” She fell silent “We are still alive and we can find some help!”

“Do you think anyone survived?” asked Colm, eyes darting nervously around the room.

“Honestly?” I shrugged, the full weight of the situation on my shoulders “I can’t see how.” Murmuring began to circulate the room once more “but we did survive, so there is every possibility that there are others.” I turned to leave the room, meaning to go back to the Control Room and continue the fruitless search. Joan and Jason cut me off at the door.

“Ben! What are we going to do?”

I didn’t know what I was going to do. We were all alone and they knew it but they still looked to me for answers, answers I could not give them.

Colm rushed to my side, grabbing my arm. “My girlfriend works in Washington. Do you think it’s ok there?” he looked at me with such hope in his face, I hadn’t the heart to tell him no.

“I’m not sure yet, but we have had no communication with anyone outside since yesterday”

Before I knew what was happening, I was surrounded. A thousand panicked questions from all directions. “Listen!” I yelled “Right now we have a fifty per cent chance of surviving if we don’t go outside. After a week the radiation should be low enough that we will just be vomiting for a few days.” And the urgent muttering began once again.

 

It was heart breaking to watch those people break down like that. People I had spent many months with that I considered my friends, and of course my wife and son, who were so scared that nothing I could say could make them feel at ease. Deep down I knew we had a slim chance of being alive the next week, but I could not tell them that. I had to keep hope alive in the early stages. If we had any chance at all.

Paul found his voice once more, breaking through the crowd to confront me “Enough! Just be realistic, Ben, everyone is dead!”

“Paul, calm down! We do not know anything right now, stop scaring the others!” He met my eye with venom, and I took a step forward, ready for a fight, but at that moment Jason ran towards me and hugged my waist as hard as he could.

“I don’t want to die, Dad!” He sobbed

“I will not let anything happen to you son, don’t you worry” I whispered, patting his head. I took another deep breath and addressed the crowd again. “We need to start thinking about supplies and power; if we’re going to survive we have to think logically”

“Use as little electricity as possible because we have to stay inside for a least one week before we can go outside”

“If it is god’s will for us to die then who are we to deny that?” Mary screeched, lifting her arms in to the air as if expecting the Lord to come down and pick her up from heaven. I sighed, there’s always one.

“Mary, that sort of thinking is not helping; we have to think logically to survive.”

“We must not turn on our Lord in this time of devastation” Mary sounded affronted, clutching her crucifix in her fist.

I was never a religious man, I always thought of the world as an act of science rather than an act of God, but when people think they are going to die, even if they were not religious before, well they will surprise you.

“What if she’s right, Ben?” Paul whispered, keeping his distance behind me.

“You’ve got to be kidding me.” I turned and allowed him a withering glance.

“Who are we to question His judgement?” He shrugged nervously.

Questions like that put doubt in people’s minds, doubts that can kill people in a situation like that. When you see accidents happen on TV or in movies it’s always easy to say “Stick Together” but when people are pushed against a wall, they turn on one another and will do whatever it takes to survive. It’s not a strong point in human nature but it is instinct. Once questions about living or dying by God are brought into the conversation then everyone starts to doubt the point of trying to survive, and I could not let that happen

“Listen up! Have you all gone mad? We need to stick together now more than ever! If we all turn on one another then we are all going to die alone! Is it not worth trying to survive?” Mary opened her mouth to argue, but I kept going, I couldn’t let her raise anymore doubts. “Maybe it is God’s will but we can’t prove that, all we know is that we’re in this situation and it’s in our nature to survive because we might just be the last humans remaining!”

Colm took a step forward, wringing his hands “Is there anything I can do, Ben?”

“I can help to Ben” Alan stepped forward to join him

I gave them what I hoped was a grateful look “Yeah, you two get food supplies and bring it all into the kitchen. Find out how long it will all last while I look for candles or flashlights or…I don’t know, anything that can be useful”

“What about me?” Paul came around to join the small team forming in front of me.

“Paul, I need you to keep trying to get communication, can you do that for me?”

“Of course” he nodded glumly.

We stood in silence for a moment, contemplating the situation we were in, when a quiet voice crept up on me.

“Don’t you worry, Ben, God has a plan for you”

“I’m not doubting He does, Mary” I turned away from her and left the room in as calm a manner as I could

“I just hope it’s the same as mine.”

I went to my room to see what useful supplies I had; Joan followed me, crying so loud I couldn’t hear myself think. “Ben, what’s really going on?” she wept, tears streaming from her eyes and down to her chin. I couldn’t look at her. “We’re on our own, Joan.”

If I knew where I would end up it would have been easier to kill everyone right there and then. The pain I had caused these people, my friends and my family. I only wish I had killed them when I had the chance.

As I sat comforting my wife, to which there was no end, I knew I had to search for supplies for the group right away.

“Joan, I have to go. I have to find anything that could be useful for the next few days” I said trying not to offend her.

She was offended.

“Am I not as important to you Ben?” She yelled her eyes red from the tears.

“You know that’s not true, but I have to do this! For all of us.” I stood up and started with the bedroom. Searching for anything that could be used.

“Why bother Ben?  We’re all dead already and you fucking know it!” Joan turned towards me with venom.

I knew she was right, but how could I admit that to the same people that were depending on me to help them. Not only friends, but my family, who would just give up on surviving and instead roll over and die.

“Joan, don’t say those sorts of things! You’ll scare Jason!” I turned on her “Look, I need you to trust me Joan, right now I have to go back to the kitchen and bring the flashlights up. Just stay here and rest and I’ll come get you when or if anything is happening”

I went to the kitchen to find Colm and Alan beside a pile of food, water and candles.  I could tell from looking at the supplies that it was never going to be enough to last a week.

“Is that all you could find?”

They exchanged a look, Alan shook his head and sighed “We searched everywhere, but this is everything we could find from the supply room and all the bedrooms.”

Colm stepped forward “We were due a delivery next week, so this was all that was left until that came which I guess we can rule out over coming now?” Said Colm with an edge of humour which was limited during those times but always refreshing.

I nodded, it was bad “It’s the best you two could do and I appreciate the help. I’m heading down to Paul to see if he’s had any more luck” I started walking, yelling over my shoulder “but gather everyone for when I get back because we have decisions to make as a group.”

I headed down to Paul hoping for a miracle, that everything was going to be fine and we’d live happily ever after, but I was only entertaining the idea so I wouldn’t crack. I already knew what we had to do next, but including the group in the choice would comfort them that it was the right decision and not the only one. I hoped.

I miss roaming those corridors; the colours are so white it’s relaxing. I did always wonder how they never looked dirty for being such a bright white. It was one floor below to Paul but I took the long route just so it delayed the answer I knew I would get, and I could live in my dream happiness for a few minutes longer. Eventually I arrived at the communications room to see Paul with his head on the keyboard as if he was sleeping, but he wasn’t.

“Paul?” I whispered

As I walked closer I could see the blood around his feet on the floor. I turned his head so I could see his pale motionless face, his eyes gazed at me but with no life. It was then that I saw the knife on the floor in a pool of blood. His throat was slit so deep he would have died in seconds. All I could think of was how this would affect everything for us. I didn’t think of Paul and what he went through, only what it would mean for the people upstairs who were alive. It might sound selfish but when you’re in a crisis you think of the people who are standing beside you and trying to help the situation. I didn’t think I would get so cold so fast but when it comes to my family’s safety everyone else is in second place.

“Paul, you stupid bastard!” I cried out as I stood over his body, lying on the keyboard. I believed Paul was a big part of us surviving. He was a strong person and I never predicated this to happen. I have found that the manner in the way a man talks and acts are two completely different things. I was so angry at him for doing that to me, he knew I needed him, if only he had confined in me with his problems. I moaned into my hands “How will I tell the others?”

I left the room fast and headed back upstairs to the kitchen where the others were being gathered. I would have to break the news to them, I couldn’t hide Paul or too many questions would be asked. I reached the kitchen to find everyone there talking amongst themselves; I felt like this could not get any worse, any time I speak to these people I have nothing but bad news for them. They all looked at me with hopeful eyes as if I had all the solutions to everything that was happening around us.

“Ben, is this all the supplies we have?” screeched Mary in a tone only she could use.

“Yes Mary, but we have another matter to attend to first.” I turned to the rest of them “What I’m going to tell you will be a shock” an audible groan went round the room “but please remember that we are all in this together” I tried not to sound too scared.

“Ben, what’s going on?” Joan said, her face still red and swollen from the tears.

“Paul killed himself” the group fell silent “in the communication room. I just found him while I was checking for a response” I tried not to make eye contact with anyone.

I got the usual response that anyone would give, which was to ask questions, to try and understand the situation. The truth was that no one was ever going to understand why Paul did what he did, only understand that he was gone and that we had to move on and look after ourselves. However, there is no easy way to say that to a group of people who all knew Paul and were devastated by his death. The whole situation just made everyone realise that death was a real threat and it might only be a matter of time before it got to them.

“He shall not enter heaven” Mary said, a disturbing smirk on her face.

“Mary” I turned on her “now is not the time for your nonsense or opinions. We have to remain objective for our own safety and decide the next course of action” I stepped forward in a demanding manner, as they needed a leader now more than ever.

“We should at least bury him” Said Alan, trembling with shock

“We’d have to go outside to do that” Joan pointed out.

“Well, judging by our supplies, we have to go outside sooner rather than later.” I stepped past her “I don’t want to have to wait until there’s no food left before we go searching outside.” A few nods of agreement “We have three radiation suits here that we could use” I tried to sound positive, adopting an attitude to try and help keep their spirits up, unsure if it was working or not.

“You should not venture outside, Ben” Mary clutched the crucifix that hung round her neck “it’s a bad idea, it’s not the same place we remember from before.”

“It’s the only option, Mary” I started out of the room “or we can stay inside while we run out of food and water. We have to try and do something.”

I shouted out to the men around me “Colm and Alan, I need you two to come with me outside. I can’t guarantee anything but you’ll be helping out a lot.”

“Ben! You can’t be serious about going! What about our son and me! “Joan shouted in disbelief and anger.

“I have to go Joan; there is not much choice in the matter. I am doing this for you and Jason” I didn’t have time to explain or convince Joan of my actions, I just knew what I needed to do. We had to get Paul and bury his body before it was too late and the smell of death travelled around what was an already scared and tense atmosphere.

“Do what you want as usual!” Joan snapped in her cynical tone, intent on making me stay, but I couldn’t

The three of us headed down to the communications room to move Paul. I brought some spare sheets to cover his body, but all we had were white, which was not going to be good with all this blood around. We had no choice but to stand in the blood, picking Paul up from the chair while trying not to retch. His body was already cold and stiff but we could manage between the three of us. It’s an upsetting view, to see a person you consider a friend to be lying, motionless and pale, on the blood covered floor with his throat cut open wide enough to fit a finger inside. I never imagined he would do this to himself, even in times like this. I guess you don’t know a person until their back’s against the wall.

Colm had some trouble dealing with the situation and could not seem to hold it in “I’m gonna throw up!” Colm cried, clutching his hand over his mouth, his eyes so wide they seemed to extend from his face in panic.

I wrapped the sheets over the front of his body and struggled with Colm and Alan to get him in to the air, staggering through the white wall corridors, now spattered in blood which seemed to be leading a trail to a disgusting surprise. The hardest part was trying to carry Paul up the stairs; they are practically vertical, which is not the best way to move a dead body. It was, however, our only option.

“Come on Colm, we’re nearly done, just grab a leg so we can get this done.” I groaned in the most pleasant way I could when holding my dead friend by the arms. Colm was beyond helping so I had to climb to the top of the stairs while Alan tried to lift Paul up in my direction, but he was too heavy to lift up. With Colm unable to assist us and Alan not being strong enough, I went to get a rope to tie to Paul and pull him up using a modified pulley system. Eventually I found a rope in the supplies that we found around Trinty X1. Alan tied it to Paul’s legs as both me and Alan pulled Paul up by the arms, which was not the best way to transport the body but it was all we could do at that moment for him. We had to carry the body through the kitchen to the main door in order to get outside. Trying to hide the body from the others was near impossible and, to be honest, the least of our worries. We carried Paul through to the kitchen area; Me carrying him by his arms and Alan, with a bit of support from a very ill Colm, had his legs. Even though the body was wrapped in sheets, they were white and the blood was coming through which unsettled some of the others. Mary as usual was hovering around the kitchen counters, looking for something to look at or annoy, while Joan and Jason were in our bedroom avoiding the situation.

“You can’t go outside” Cried Mary as if she knew what was out there

“Not now Mary, this is not getting any easier to carry” I mumbled, struggling to carry the body of my dear friend. We came to the lift that would bring us up to the front entrance, the biggest lift door I’ve ever seen. Well above six feet high with the clear, shiny surface. It was nearly as good as a mirror, so when the lift doors opened you sometimes got a fright because you forgot it was even a lift. It was not used much as we stayed underground for months on end and the only time it was used was when we got supplies once a month, but we never seen anyone actually come down the lift. Well never people, just food, but that would change.

“Ok, drop Paul here and we’ll go get the radiation suits on.”

“I thought it was safe outside by now” Alan cast a sidelong glance at Paul on the floor.

“We might as well be safe just in case.” I wiped blood from my hands “we still don’t know the full effect of the earth’s damage.”

We suited up, which would only make the carrying harder, but we didn’t have far to travel. We stood in the lift going up, I don’t know what Alan and Colm were thinking, but I was terrified. We had not been outside for months and then was not the most ideal time to go exploring and bury a dead body. It felt like we were heading out into a new world of the unknown because that’s what it was. I thought maybe we would find help from somewhere or the when the doors opened there would be the military waiting for us with open arms and food, but that was not the case. So many scenarios ran through my mind, it felt like a very long minute to the top. I could swear the doors opened in slow motion just to be dramatic.

 

The doors opened up to devastation; there was nothing left outside our base. The ground was dry like a desert with no life forms in site. We walked out from the lift in shock, we even forgot about Paul, and stood looking out at the dark dry land. The ground was dark brown like it had recently burned and there were no trees left, or even bushes. There was nothing in front of us that we could see, but we didn’t have time to go further and find out more.

“Where will we bury him?” Asked Alan who looked like he wanted to jump back into the lift and go straight back down. I scanned the area around us “We’ll just bury him over by that little hill” I pointed towards the one I meant to clarify as it was a bumpy place with a lot of hills and bumps throughout the mountain side.

We carried Paul over to the hill and placed him on the ground. I stayed with him as Alan and Colm headed back down to Trinty X1 to get shovels, we couldn’t carry everything at once. I wish one of them would have stayed with me but they were both so terrified and I don’t blame them. They were a lot younger than me so I felt it my duty to protect them. As I was waiting on them to come back I walked over the hill to try and see if I could see anything moving, any sign of life at all to show some sign of hope that I could bring back to the group. As I walked down the hill I turned left which lead me to a pebble path that was going down. I followed the path as I looked around it was the same scenery everywhere. Darkness everywhere and a dusty sky filled with clouds. There were still cockroaches but they were all running up the hill towards me like something was chasing them. That’s when I saw it, these things that can’t be categorized as anything I know or have seen before. They were thing’s, and they were coming right for me, about two hundred feet from me. I stood and stared in sheer fear of them, they were so dark, like they had been burned so badly, but they still didn’t melt. I thought, at least, they used to be humans, but only the fact they were walking on what seemed like legs was all that resembles them as humans. They had no faces, hair or clothing; they were just big black blotches that did not look like they were coming to rescue anyone. When they spotted me they all stopped at the exact same time, looking right at me with their blank heads, or at least I think they did because right after that they all let out an ear-piercing scream. Just as they did I saw one pick up a cockroach and shove it into what might have once been a mouth but it was no longer anything a human would have. The whole jaw dropped down and acted as a mouth as if a human mouth was not big enough for the things it has to eat. I stood for what seemed like minutes, staring and afraid to make any sudden move. There were at least ten of them facing me as it started to get darker, which seemed impossible as it was so dull already.

 

I would soon realise what these things were capable of, but for now I had one thing on my mind and that was to run as fast as I could up the hill and into the left to Trinty X1. But nothing is ever that easy in this life.

I stood looking at those things, watching every move I made and slowly reacted, moving forward. They made a noise that I can’t compare to anything I have heard, it was as if they were trying to shout out there larynx, if they did in fact have any. I knew that what with my radiation suit and the fact that I had to run up a hill, it wasn’t going to be easy. Almost impossible.

I heard a voice shouting but I couldn’t make out what it was saying, it was then that I noticed Alan coming with the shovels down the hill. I turned and tried to lift my legs and run up the hill as fast as possible to warn Alan to run back to Trinity. Just as I moved the things started to move quickly towards me. They made even louder screeching noises as they moved swiftly forwards. I met Alan on the hill as I tried to run up. The dry soil no longer had grass on it, like all the land as far as I could see. I grabbed Alan and pushed him backwards “Run back to Trinity and don’t look back” I yelled.

“What’s going on?” Alan stared, carrying a confused look and a shovel.

“Just run now!”

We ran side by side in our radiation suits; we were about 600 meters from the Trinity elevator located in our loading dock area. Alan still hadn’t seen the things, but as I looked back I couldn’t see them. It looked like we were in the clear until we got to the elevator.

I pushed the button and the doors opened so I stepped in. Alan went to pick up the other shovel, left on the ground by Colm who must have gone back down to Trinity. As Alan was walking back with the shovels a black object came out of nowhere and stood beside him. He jumped backwards in shock and looked over towards me, as if I should jump out and assist him.

“Holy shit fuck!” Screamed Alan in absolute terror, dropping the shovels.

I thought in my head the right thing to do was to run outside, grab one of the shovels and help Alan, but I didn’t. I couldn’t do it, I was so selfish for not helping but I just thought that my family would need me more. Just as I had my thought another thing attacked Alan from behind. The thing attacked in a way I have never seen. It wasn’t like it wanted to kill Alan; it was like it had to kill him.

One thing grabbed his neck from behind as the other put his arm right through Alan’s stomach, he pulled his arm back out, watching Alan’s insides falling out on to the ground, a puddle of red liquid followed by mounds of organs and intestines. The thing dropped to the ground, licking them up with a tongue that looked and acted like a snakes would, while the other pulled off Alan’s head and swallowed it in one go, its jaw dropping so something that big could fit inside.

This happened in the space of what could not be more than 7 seconds as I pressed the elevator door as fast as I could. As the doors began to close the things noticed me. They threw the rest of Alan’s body at me just as the doors slid shut and after a second it started to move down

 

I stood in the elevator, Alan’s remains on the floor, already giving off the aroma of fresh meat. His head was torn clean off; a piece of ragged skin hanging from the neck was all that remained of it, along with a hole that was punched through his torso to confirm that what had happened was real. I started to drift away, looking at the elevator button pad without realising that I was going back down to Trinity. I couldn’t let my people see Alan like this. The fear and panic this would cause would no doubt send them over the edge and get all of us killed.

As I was getting closer to Trinity I still couldn’t think of a plan to cover the body. The white radiation suits were now a dark bloody red which could not be hidden from the others. The elevator slowed to a halt. I held my breath as the elevators door opened only to see that no one was around. I could hear voices, which had to be coming from the dining area. The walk from the elevator had nowhere that you could hide a dead body so I had to do the only thing that I could. I could hear them up there, screaming in that way that I couldn’t understand, so loud and disturbing. I clicked the elevator button to go back up to the surface with what was left of Alan. Another good person lost. I felt that this would be a familiar feeling but I still didn’t know the full extent of the damage throughout the world. All I knew was the surface was not a safe place, but hiding down in Trinity with low supplies was not an option either.

I ran back to the dining area, bumping into Colm on the way. “Hey Ben, Did you guys finish burying Paul already?” asked Colm.

“No not actually buried, but we have bigger problems right now” I growled distractedly.

“Fucking hell Ben, what’s happening now? And whose blood is that on you?” Colm took a step towards me. “It’s nothing Colm; I need a few minutes in peace to think, please!” I shouted as aggressively as I could. “Where’s Alan?!” Colm began to panic “Ben! Where is Alan?” he grabbed my arm to pull me back, “Shut the fuck up Colm! You ran back down here, so where were you?”

I know this was not something that I should have said to Colm, but in the moment I was just so angry at what I had to do and what had happened. Colm did the right thing coming back down to Trinity. “Alan’s not coming back down! Something got him out there!”

“What are you talking about? Is it help? Are we not alone?” Colm’s face creased up in confusion. I find that the more questions asked in one sentence the more confused that person is, so by those rules Colm was three times as confused as normal, which was understandable given the situation, but explaining what happened was not going to be any help.

“Just come with me Colm, I’m going to get the others together so I can tell everyone.” I started walking, but he didn’t follow.

I went down to my room to see Joan and Jason but they weren’t there. I checked the other rooms in case they moved or went to find supplies but I couldn’t find them anywhere. I checked all the computer rooms on the bottom floor in case they just went on walk, but I they were nowhere to be found, not even a trace. I even went to Mary’s room, which no one went to since it smelled and looked like a church, with scary religious pictures of people either dying or being killed all over the walls. I never understood why most religious paintings were so dull and depressing, with eyes that follow you around the room. I got to Mary’s door and knocked a couple of times until she answered so dramatically it was if she was expecting someone or something else to be at the door. “Have you seen Joan or Jason anywhere?” I asked, already suspecting the answer. “You have seen them haven’t you?” Mary said in a tone that made me feel like it wasn’t so much a question but confirmation. “No I haven’t seen them! I’m looking for them now Mary!”

“You have seen them, I can tell.” Mary squinted up at my face “What have they done?” She asked gravely.

I was confused at what she was asking me, but I soon realised that we were talking about different people, or different things. “Mary, I need you to tell me where they are right now!” I demanded. “I do not know Ben, but if they’re not inside Trinity, where else can they go but up?”

I ran as fast as I could back to the elevator to find Colm. They couldn’t have got past Colm without him noticing, I told myself. I would have seen them leave the elevator if they did go to the surface. I kept reassuring myself that they were safe and not on the surface with those things. Colm was still standing at the elevator shaft; his face has an expression of surprise across it, staring so intensely that he didn’t even notice me coming towards him. “Colm! Have you seen Jason or Joan? I can’t find them anywhere!”

“No, they haven’t come this way. I’ve been here since I came back down before you and Alan. Did you look everywhere?”

“Yes, of course!” I snapped “but I haven’t found them anywhere and this is the only way up to the surface!” But right then I knew exactly where they had gone. There was an emergency escape ladder on the bottom floor, hidden away so as not to make anybody panic or feel uncomfortable that it might not be entirely safe down here. “Oh, shit…” I ran my hand through my hair, realising that that’s where they had to be, but why would they go there? I told Joan that it was only for emergencies, and I know this is one, but why would she leave while I wasn’t here? It didn’t make any sense.

I turned to Colm to explain where I thought they had gone when the elevator shaft started to hum into life. Something was coming down in the lift. There was no way to tell if it was a thing or my family but either way I had to wait and see.

“Holy shit, why is the lift coming down?” Colm face was a picture of terror. “Why is it coming down Ben?” He raised his voice as panic started to set in.

“I don’t know Colm, but it’s coming and we have to hide.”

I thought our best plan of action was to close the door separating the elevator from the corridor and block it with whatever we could in case it was something that was not supposed to be down here. “What the hell happened up there Ben? Is the something that got Alan coming down that elevator?!” Colm’s voice had risen to a scream.

“I don’t know Colm! But we have to be ready if it is. So go get Mary, head to the bottom floor, go to the last door on the left and behind the book case there is a ladder up to the surface. Take Mary and go now!” I made it clear that it was an order.

I had to take the risk, it was my family. I couldn’t leave them alone in Trinity not knowing where anyone is, but if I was wrong then I was in a lot of trouble. I grabbed everything I could to block the door or at least hold anything off. The elevator was getting closer but it was silent. There was no high screaming, which suggested that it wasn’t the things, but I grabbed any object I could find to use as a weapon, which in my case was a steel table leg, until I spotted a blow torch which must have come from the maintenance rooms.

The elevator was just hitting the ground as I picked up the blow torch and tested it to check the flame. As the elevator doors opened to that screaming that was not from any human, I peered around the door to see. Three things emerged from the elevator, but I couldn’t tell if they could see at all let alone see me, but I couldn’t risk it. I did the first thing that came to mind, which was to burn all the items I blocked the door with and run.

I set alight to it with the blow torch, took one quick look up at the things, who seemed interested by the noise and flames, and they must have seen me because they screamed so loud, and it sounded so angry and violent, it was as if they hated me. I ran as fast as I could through the corridors hoping that Colm and Mary where out and my family were safe up there too, but I had been up there already and I knew what could happen.

I ran through the dining area down the white corridors, now spattered with the blood from Paul’s body, I could see the stairs down to the bottom floor and I raced towards them. As I turned around to go down the ladder I saw a thing at the end of the corridor on fire, but it seemed totally unfazed by it, as if he was not on fire at all, but just chasing me. I didn’t notice at the time, but he was alone, the other two were not with it but I was too busy just trying to survive. I got down the stairs and I ran down to the last door on the left. The bookcase had already been moved so I knew that Colm and Mary had gotten out in time.

I couldn’t look back; I just knew I had to get up the ladder as fast as I could. It took about three or 4 minutes climb up, and as far as I could tell the thing did not follow me. I could see the top so clearly now, not just a hole of light, but I could see the sky. I climbed up on to the surface to find Colm and Mary both sitting on the ground and looking unharmed.

“How long have you been here?” I said gasping for air.

“Only about five minutes, what happened?” asked Colm. Mary did not even look at me.

“The things came down the lift and chased me up here” I said, trying to catch my breath.

“We should close it back over, just in case” Said Colm.

I looked around the land to see if I could see anything or anyone, but it was all flat barren land in front of me, except for one part. It looked like it used to be a barn, but a shabby one, so I did a desperate but stupid thing and I called out for my family. “Joan! Jason!” I yelled at the top of my lungs.

“What are you doing, you’ll get us killed” Colm hissed, grabbing my arm to pull me back.

“It’s too late for that anyway my son” said Mary in barely more than a grunt.

Just as Mary put doubt in our minds, Joan and Jason came out from the barn. I waved my arms in the air at them, watching as they rushed towards me. I was so relived to find them safe and alive until I saw them. The two things emerging from the distance. It had to be the two from the elevator, but how and why? I didn’t understand what was happening but they were heading for my family and I had to do something. “What the hell is that!” screeched Colm, helpfully.

“It’s God’s men carrying out his work to cleanse the world of its sinners” Mary clasped her hands as if in prayer.

“Shut the fuck up, Mary, please!” I turned on her “Your nonsense and book-bashing won’t work now!” I stepped towards her menacingly “So just take in the situation around you and come to the conclusion that God is not here, and he certainly is not the person behind all of this!”

I lost it with Mary, her tone and act can only last so long before a person cracks. My problem with religion is all the holes and gaps that they fill with the word faith. “Have faith” is their phrase, though what for I have no idea. They ignore the bad things and focus on the good things in the bible, but it’s all just stories. I can never understand how people can devote their whole lives to a cause that is unexplained and unrealistic. That a man in the sky made you and loves you while another man in the ground hates you and will torture you if you go there. I guess I never treated Mary like a normal person because of her beliefs, but her opinions and faith were annoying, she was just ignorant to the facts.

“Oh, Ben” Mary smiled serenely “you never did listen to me, but you should because we are all dead already.” I opened my mouth to speak, but Mary just kept talking “Those things, as you call them, are playing with you. They can kill you when and how they like because it is what they have been sent to do.” She peered around me to see the things approaching and turned back to me, placing a hand on my arm “Now look at your family, because it won’t be long now.”

I ran. As fast as I possibly could. To my family, to my last remaining sense of a normal life. I tried to signal to them to run faster by shaking my arms in front of me but it proved redundant. As I got closer to them, something abruptly came up through the dry gravel and hauled Joan down into the dirt, pulling her away, bumps forming in the dirt like a track leading back into the barn. Jason, unaware of what happened, just kept running towards me. Until he looked to his side, and then behind him and realized his Mum was gone. Luckily I got to him before he did anything that put himself in jeopardy. I grabbed him “Run up that hill to Mary and Colin, I will be right there. I’m just getting your Mum” I ordered, my voice screeching involuntarily, as I knew that his mum would not be joining us, based on what I’ve seen those things can do. I had done what every husband and father would do, I had to try and save my wife, the mother of my child.

As I ran towards the barn I had flashbacks of my life before any of this happened, time I spent with Joan and Jason when we were a normal family living in the suburbs. Things can change so fast without anticipation from a normal happy life to fighting for your life, future and maybe even the survival of your species.

I could hear Joan scream as I got closer, it was almost thunderous and full of terror, which made me run faster and that bit more desperate. I burst through the barn door to find Joan lain out on the ground of the barn, scattered. My wife lay in pieces.

The barn had turned red with Joan’s organs, so much blood surrounding what was left of her body. The torso was the only familiar part I could see, her head was no where to be seen. As I collapsed, taking in the horror of what had happened to Joan, the pain and heartbreak was too much for one person to take, on top of everything that had happened since the solar flare had occurred. I wept, her body parts lying around me, my anger starting to build. I clasped my fists and tried not to take a deep breath as the smell was overpowering and would make any person sick to their stomach. I lurched to my feet, trembling with shock, but more importantly anger. I screamed, emptying my lungs to get that Thing’s attention. They took my friend and now my wife, I knew it was over. Nothing we could do would stop what was going to happen to the future, but I could determine how it would end here and I intended to do some damage to these creatures before it did.

I didn’t want to leave my wife in that state, but I had to go and nothing I could do would help other than getting to the people I had left behind. I pushed open the barn door and ran back towards the hill to the others, calling out as I ran “Colin!” I yelled, trying to figure out their location. As I got closer to the top of the hill, I saw it was lifeless. They were gone without a trace. All I could think of was my son, “my son can’t be gone too.” I started to panic when I realized the sky was becoming dull. I had to find them fast before the night came and I turned into a sitting target for the Things. Just as I was about to run in any direction to find them, a soft voice called my name. I looked around but couldn’t see anything. Until I felt something grab my ankle.

I jumped from the shock. It was Colin, under the ground, looking up at me through the gaps on a wooden hatch door. He pushed it open “Get in quick Ben” he whispered urgently.

 

I climbed down the ladder onto a dusty gravel floor. The room was lit by a single lamp flickering in the undersized space. Mary was there as well, but didn’t even turn to look at me as she faced a wall, seeming to be arguing with herself. “Where’s Joan?” Colin asked. I looked down to the dusty ground and up to the corner, where on a pile of old clothing in one corner Jason was sitting for comfort. I ignored Colin’s question and walked towards Jason to tell him that his Mum would not be coming back. I crouched down beside him and lowered my voice “Jason, I have to tell you something” my voice cracked.

“Where’s Mum?” Jason started to cry.

“She can’t come with us”

“Why! I need her!”

“So do I son, but we are going to have to do this together, just me and you, ok?”

He dropped his head, he knew what was happening, he wasn’t a stupid kid but I couldn’t tell him the truth of what had happened. I never could. I patted his shoulder “I’m just going to talk to Colin, ok? I’ll be right back.” I whispered. As I clambered to me feet Colin came towards me and asked me again where Joan was. “She’s not coming.” I said with more and more anger each time I had to say it. “I’m so sorry Ben, everything’s falling apart” Colin cried, his hands over his face just as Jason screamed. I ran over to him where he was sitting on his hill of clothes. “What’s wrong, Son?” I grabbed his shoulders as he pointed to a limb under the clothes. I plowed through the stack of clothes to find only a pool of blood under the soaked clothing. It then dawned on me that we were trapped, right were the Things wanted us. In a dark place with only one exit, we were just waiting to be killed unless we got out right away. “Everyone out now!” I barked at the others and grabbed Jason by the arm. “What the hell is going on?” Colin wiped his nose on his sleeve.

“They have been in here before, the clothes are covered in blood and I found a limb! We have to get out of here now!”

I told Jason with wait at the bottom of the ladder as I climbed up to check it was safe to leave. I slowly lifted the dusty wooden door open to peek my head up and look around. There was no sign of the Things, only emptiness and silence, so I climbed up and told the others it was safe. Jason came up first and then Colin followed him but Mary was nowhere to be seen.

I stuck my head down to see if I could see her but it was poorly lit. With my vision limited, I tried to remember where she was standing the last time I had seen her but it was too dark from up here to see any form of shadow. I called out her name but got no response. “Mary! Come on, we’re leaving!” I yelled. Still no answer, but we had to move and I did not want to go back down there. I looked to Colin “We have to go, she wants to be left.”

Colin’s eyes widened, he stammered “We can’t just leave her there; she’s vulnerable to an attack!”

It wasn’t that Colin was wrong but we didn’t have time to be trying to convince people to survive. I tried calling for her again but I got no answer. Then I got frustrated at how selfish she was being after everything we had been through. “Listen, Mary! I know you’re down there, we are leaving because the Things will be back! If you’re coming then get out now!” Still no answer from her. Colin was starting to get impatient as well, but he was not comfortable with leaving her down there.

“She hasn’t spoken in a while; I think we have to get her ourselves. We can’t leave her here to die, Ben.” Both of us bent over the hatch and peered into the dark hole. Just before we had time to make a decision a thunderous noise came from nowhere, it scared me to my core. There was nothing North of us but gravel for miles of flat land as far as we could see, but to the South there were hills of brown dirt, though still no buildings or signs of life. The sky was turning to a bright green after dusk; I’ve never seen the sky such a colour. It was something that you wouldn’t be able to forget.

At first I thought the sound was coming from the sky, and then the ground started to rumble like an earthquake. Colin spotted something moving in the ground and coming towards us. It was the same noise that took my wife. “We got to go now; it’s one of those Things!”

“What about Mary?” Colin started to panic. I grabbed Jason’s hand and Colin’s jacket and started running “We have to go or we we’ll be killed!”

We ran past the hatch heading South, towards the hills where we might have a better chance of getting away than on flat land. I tried not to look back so I could just focus on running as fast as I could while carrying Jason. Colin was just ahead of me, starting to slow down as we got closer to the hills. We heard a scream just as terrifying as Joan’s. I looked back to find that the Thing was not chasing us anymore but then a scream seemed to echo towards us.

“We have to go back and help Mary!” Screamed Colin

“We can’t! I yelled back “It’s too late, she’s gone, we have to keep moving or we’ll be next!” I didn’t feel guilty; Mary only brought it on herself. I had tried to help her and she refused to come with us, so I’ve no guilt following me. Although hearing the screams and after seeing what those Things did to Joan, I did feel sorry for Mary. No-one deserves to die in such horror and pain. Based on the screams we didn’t have to go back to check if she was dead.

When the screaming finally stopped, Colin and Jason and I had got to a muddy hill that we ran up in the hope that there were some hiding spots beyond it. Even if we had found a hiding spot, I couldn’t help but feel it was only delaying an inevitable death. We got to the top of the hill and sat on the opposite side to catch our breath, as running up a muddy hill is exhausting. We had not eaten a real meal in a long time.

“This is hopeless. We can’t keep running and running.” Colin held his head in his hands and I couldn’t disagree because he was right. Running away all the time was useless, especially when we didn’t know if we were alone or if help was coming. We’d had no signs of life since the whole thing started. I couldn’t go on running; I had lost everything except my son. I had to try and protect him from what was coming but so far I hadn’t been successful. Joan had depended on me to help her and I let her down. She was tore apart by those Things who don’t seem to want anything other than to kill us. We had done nothing wrong, nor had we harmed them, but they still come after us to kill. “What are we going to do dad?” Jason voice was ragged; he was too young to run so far. I smiled as best I could. “Nothing, Son, we’re just going to wait here for a few minutes.”

Colin was panicking more and more. I spoke to Jason to calm him down but nothing was working for Colin “We’re done!” he ground his fists into his eyes “They can kill us when they want, Ben! Can’t you see that! We’re done!” He screamed the last words directly at me. I turned my back to Jason so he couldn’t hear me talking to Colin. “I’m trying to calm Jason down and your acting like we’re dead already. It’s scaring him.” I kept my voice as low as I could so Jason couldn’t hear me. Colin returned his head to his hands without another word.

We had been sitting almost an hour, unsure of what to do, when we were attacked, but not from what we thought we would be. Bugs the size of a human hand came flying from the dirt in a swarm, their angry hissing sounded like a tyre was deflating. I jumped to my feet, dragging Jason with me and headed for the bottom of the hill. It was the easiest place to run to.

Colin had seen the bugs but didn’t react in the same manner as I did. “Aw, what the fuck now!?” He laughed. “Get up Colin, come on run!” I yelled at him but he didn’t move. He met my eyes and shrugged “Why bother?” then lay flat down on his back.

The bugs were so dark you couldn’t see any features but was the same shape a cockroach. I tried to grab Colin but the bugs were coming towards me and Jason, so I had to run. That was the last time I saw Colin. Covered in so many bugs that I couldn’t see him at all, it was just a blanket of bugs hissing all over my friend. I reached the bottom of the hill with Jason, who was shaken after everything he had seen and gone through. It wasn’t fair on him. He was so pale in the face and was well past the point of crying now; he was in a state of shock, in his own world.

We stood in silence, as a gust of wind blew; ruffling our hair and making me shiver. I looked at Jason, who dropped to the ground with his hands over his head, almost hiding from what the world had turned into. I sat down beside him, putting my arms around him to protect him from the wind, but nothing I said would help with what he was going through or what I was going through. Everyone I knew was gone, taken from me by something I didn’t understand. I knew it was over, help was not coming and Trinity was probably crawling with Things. I had nowhere to go, no safety, no supplies and no hope. I had two options; sitting there and waiting to be killed or trying to run as far as possible and I liked the second option better.

“Jason” I broke the silence “I’m sorry for all of this, but we have to keep moving or the Things will come again.”

“I don’t want to move again” Jason stared at the ground. I tried to keep in mind what he had been through, but I needed him to move. “I know son, but trust me, we have to keep moving to find help.” Jason looked at me and finally his head nodded in agreement. As we both stood up I looked around to try and determine the best direction to walk. No direction looked any more appealing than any of the others, but I didn’t have to pick because the ground starting to rumble where we stood in terror, guessing what was going to happen.

I had to protect my son, but also myself so Jason wasn’t left alone if something happened to me. I could never have taken his life, even if it seemed like the right thing to do to prevent him from suffering, although I would be lying if I said it hadn’t crossed my mind. “Dad, they’re coming again!” Jason was screaming, I held a hand up to quieten him.

“Calm down Jason, it could be anything” I knew what it was that was coming.

The rumbling noise got louder and louder until the expected happened. Two Things came out from the ground with speed. They stood facing us as I grabbed Jason and pushed him behind me but not fully out of danger. “What do you want!?” I screamed at them, but to no response. “Leave us alone, please!” They started to move towards us slowly, almost like they were just studying us and moving with caution. There was nowhere to run and almost no point in it either, all I could do was stand and fight but not with Jason standing here.

“Run now, as fast as you can and don’t look back for anything” I ordered him. He didn’t move.

“You have to come”

“I’ll be after you in a minute, go on!” He turned and started to run off, I watched him for a second and turned to find that one of the Things was right in my face. They were so dark with no features, I couldn’t even tell if they were disfigured from what happened or if they were even human, but one thing I did know was that I couldn’t stop them.

I went to push the thing away from me but it hit me so fast, I didn’t see it coming; I was on the ground before I could even move my arm. The pain was unbearable; they had so much power “how much damage could it do to me with one hit?” I thought. They could do a lot of damage it seemed. I looked down to see blood coming through my t-shirt, but I didn’t check it. I looked up to see the Thing just standing there in the same place, which was when I realised there was two of them and the other was after Jason. I looked behind me to see the Thing carrying Jason’s head; he dropped it on me as he walked past, blood dripping from where the neck should be. My son, gone in a brutal undeserving fashion which not only devastated me, but this feeling became over shadowed by anger. A rage that was built up from these Things. I threw the head to the side, I couldn’t look at it. It was not my son anymore. “What do you want?” I screamed again as I lay, injured on the ground.

I wanted to use the anger that was filling my body to stand up and fight the Things, but I just couldn’t. The blood was spilling from my abdomen; I pulled up my t-shirt to check. There was a hole pierced through my skin.

They stood over me looking at me but then they left. Back down into the ground where they came from. I screamed from them to come back, I knew I couldn’t beat them, but after everything they had done I at least wanted to try. To die trying to avenge my friends and family, but they left me. They left me alone to die. They killed everyone around me in a brutal way in which I’ve never seen but they leave me to die alone from a wound.

I lie here beaten, physically and mentally, by something I can’t explain. Something I’ve never seen and something I cannot defeat. I am alone, no-one to help me or comfort me as the pain turns to numbness, as I go into shock. I lay flat down on the ground with a puddle of my blood all around me and my sons head not too far away, this is not my vision of what my death would be like, but it’s the death I have been given. As I drift in and out of consciousness I don’t have the energy to be angry but I hold on to the thought of seeing my family again, but it’s only a thought.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 If I knew where I would end up it would have been easier to kill everyone right there and then. The pain I had caused these people, my friends and my family. I only wish I had killed them when I had the chance.

 As I sat comforting my wife, to which there was no end, I knew I had to search for supplies for the group right away.

 “Joan, I have to go. I have to find anything that could be useful for the next few days” I said trying not to offend her.

She was offended.

 “Am I not as important to you Ben?” She yelled her eyes red from the tears.

 “You know that’s not true, but I have to do this! For all of us.” I stood up and started with the bedroom. Searching for anything that could be used.

 “Why bother Ben?  We’re all dead already and you fucking know it!” Joan turned towards me with venom.

I knew she was right, but how could I admit that to the same people that were depending on me to help them. Not only friends, but my family, who would just give up on surviving and instead roll over and die.

“Joan, don’t say those sorts of things! You’ll scare Jason!” I turned on her “Look, I need you to trust me Joan, right now I have to go back to the kitchen and bring the flashlights up. Just stay here and rest and I’ll come get you when or if anything is happening”

 I went to the kitchen to find Colm and Alan beside a pile of food, water and candles.  I could tell from looking at the supplies that it was never going to be enough to last a week.

 “Is that all you could find?”

 They exchanged a look, Alan shook his head and sighed “We searched everywhere, but this is everything we could find from the supply room and all the bedrooms.”

 Colm stepped forward “We were due a delivery next week, so this was all that was left until that came which I guess we can rule out over coming now?” Said Colm with an edge of humour which was limited during those times but always refreshing.

 I nodded, it was bad “It’s the best you two could do and I appreciate the help. I’m heading down to Paul to see if he’s had any more luck” I started walking, yelling over my shoulder “but gather everyone for when I get back because we have decisions to make as a group.”

 I headed down to Paul hoping for a miracle, that everything was going to be fine and we’d live happily ever after, but I was only entertaining the idea so I wouldn’t crack. I already knew what we had to do next, but including the group in the choice would comfort them that it was the right decision and not the only one. I hoped.

I miss roaming those corridors; the colours are so white it’s relaxing. I did always wonder how they never looked dirty for being such a bright white. It was one floor below to Paul but I took the long route just so it delayed the answer I knew I would get, and I could live in my dream happiness for a few minutes longer. Eventually I arrived at the communications room to see Paul with his head on the keyboard as if he was sleeping, but he wasn’t.

 “Paul?” I whispered

 As I walked closer I could see the blood around his feet on the floor. I turned his head so I could see his pale motionless face, his eyes gazed at me but with no life. It was then that I saw the knife on the floor in a pool of blood. His throat was slit so deep he would have died in seconds. All I could think of was how this would affect everything for us. I didn’t think of Paul and what he went through, only what it would mean for the people upstairs who were alive. It might sound selfish but when you’re in a crisis you think of the people who are standing beside you and trying to help the situation. I didn’t think I would get so cold so fast but when it comes to my family’s safety everyone else is in second place.

 “Paul, you stupid bastard!” I cried out as I stood over his body, lying on the keyboard. I believed Paul was a big part of us surviving. He was a strong person and I never predicated this to happen. I have found that the manner in the way a man talks and acts are two completely different things. I was so angry at him for doing that to me, he knew I needed him, if only he had confined in me with his problems. I moaned into my hands “How will I tell the others?”

 I left the room fast and headed back upstairs to the kitchen where the others were being gathered. I would have to break the news to them, I couldn’t hide Paul or too many questions would be asked. I reached the kitchen to find everyone there talking amongst themselves; I felt like this could not get any worse, any time I speak to these people I have nothing but bad news for them. They all looked at me with hopeful eyes as if I had all the solutions to everything that was happening around us.

 “Ben, is this all the supplies we have?” screeched Mary in a tone only she could use.

 “Yes Mary, but we have another matter to attend to first.” I turned to the rest of them “What I’m going to tell you will be a shock” an audible groan went round the room “but please remember that we are all in this together” I tried not to sound too scared.

 “Ben, what’s going on?” Joan said, her face still red and swollen from the tears.

 “Paul killed himself” the group fell silent “in the communication room. I just found him while I was checking for a response” I tried not to make eye contact with anyone.

 I got the usual response that anyone would give, which was to ask questions, to try and understand the situation. The truth was that no one was ever going to understand why Paul did what he did, only understand that he was gone and that we had to move on and look after ourselves. However, there is no easy way to say that to a group of people who all knew Paul and were devastated by his death. The whole situation just made everyone realise that death was a real threat and it might only be a matter of time before it got to them.

“He shall not enter heaven” Mary said, a disturbing smirk on her face.

 “Mary” I turned on her “now is not the time for your nonsense or opinions. We have to remain objective for our own safety and decide the next course of action” I stepped forward in a demanding manner, as they needed a leader now more than ever.

 “We should at least bury him” Said Alan, trembling with shock

 “We’d have to go outside to do that” Joan pointed out.

 “Well, judging by our supplies, we have to go outside sooner rather than later.” I stepped past her “I don’t want to have to wait until there’s no food left before we go searching outside.” A few nods of agreement “We have three radiation suits here that we could use” I tried to sound positive, adopting an attitude to try and help keep their spirits up, unsure if it was working or not.

 “You should not venture outside, Ben” Mary clutched the crucifix that hung round her neck “it’s a bad idea, it’s not the same place we remember from before.”

 “It’s the only option, Mary” I started out of the room “or we can stay inside while we run out of food and water. We have to try and do something.”

 I shouted out to the men around me “Colm and Alan, I need you two to come with me outside. I can’t guarantee anything but you’ll be helping out a lot.”

 “Ben! You can’t be serious about going! What about our son and me! “Joan shouted in disbelief and anger.

“I have to go Joan; there is not much choice in the matter. I am doing this for you and Jason” I didn’t have time to explain or convince Joan of my actions, I just knew what I needed to do. We had to get Paul and bury his body before it was too late and the smell of death travelled around what was an already scared and tense atmosphere.

 “Do what you want as usual!” Joan snapped in her cynical tone, intent on making me stay, but I couldn’t

The three of us headed down to the communications room to move Paul. I brought some spare sheets to cover his body, but all we had were white, which was not going to be good with all this blood around. We had no choice but to stand in the blood, picking Paul up from the chair while trying not to retch. His body was already cold and stiff but we could manage between the three of us. It’s an upsetting view, to see a person you consider a friend to be lying, motionless and pale, on the blood covered floor with his throat cut open wide enough to fit a finger inside. I never imagined he would do this to himself, even in times like this. I guess you don’t know a person until their back’s against the wall.

 Colm had some trouble dealing with the situation and could not seem to hold it in “I’m gonna throw up!” Colm cried, clutching his hand over his mouth, his eyes so wide they seemed to extend from his face in panic.

 I wrapped the sheets over the front of his body and struggled with Colm and Alan to get him in to the air, staggering through the white wall corridors, now spattered in blood which seemed to be leading a trail to a disgusting surprise. The hardest part was trying to carry Paul up the stairs; they are practically vertical, which is not the best way to move a dead body. It was, however, our only option.

 “Come on Colm, we’re nearly done, just grab a leg so we can get this done.” I groaned in the most pleasant way I could when holding my dead friend by the arms. Colm was beyond helping so I had to climb to the top of the stairs while Alan tried to lift Paul up in my direction, but he was too heavy to lift up. With Colm unable to assist us and Alan not being strong enough, I went to get a rope to tie to Paul and pull him up using a modified pulley system. Eventually I found a rope in the supplies that we found around Trinty X1. Alan tied it to Paul’s legs as both me and Alan pulled Paul up by the arms, which was not the best way to transport the body but it was all we could do at that moment for him. We had to carry the body through the kitchen to the main door in order to get outside. Trying to hide the body from the others was near impossible and, to be honest, the least of our worries. We carried Paul through to the kitchen area; Me carrying him by his arms and Alan, with a bit of support from a very ill Colm, had his legs. Even though the body was wrapped in sheets, they were white and the blood was coming through which unsettled some of the others. Mary as usual was hovering around the kitchen counters, looking for something to look at or annoy, while Joan and Jason were in our bedroom avoiding the situation.

 “You can’t go outside” Cried Mary as if she knew what was out there

 “Not now Mary, this is not getting any easier to carry” I mumbled, struggling to carry the body of my dear friend. We came to the lift that would bring us up to the front entrance, the biggest lift door I’ve ever seen. Well above six feet high with the clear, shiny surface. It was nearly as good as a mirror, so when the lift doors opened you sometimes got a fright because you forgot it was even a lift. It was not used much as we stayed underground for months on end and the only time it was used was when we got supplies once a month, but we never seen anyone actually come down the lift. Well never people, just food, but that would change.

 “Ok, drop Paul here and we’ll go get the radiation suits on.”

 “I thought it was safe outside by now” Alan cast a sidelong glance at Paul on the floor.

 “We might as well be safe just in case.” I wiped blood from my hands “we still don’t know the full effect of the earth’s damage.”

 We suited up, which would only make the carrying harder, but we didn’t have far to travel. We stood in the lift going up, I don’t know what Alan and Colm were thinking, but I was terrified. We had not been outside for months and then was not the most ideal time to go exploring and bury a dead body. It felt like we were heading out into a new world of the unknown because that’s what it was. I thought maybe we would find help from somewhere or the when the doors opened there would be the military waiting for us with open arms and food, but that was not the case. So many scenarios ran through my mind, it felt like a very long minute to the top. I could swear the doors opened in slow motion just to be dramatic.

 The doors opened up to devastation; there was nothing left outside our base. The ground was dry like a desert with no life forms in site. We walked out from the lift in shock, we even forgot about Paul, and stood looking out at the dark dry land. The ground was dark brown like it had recently burned and there were no trees left, or even bushes. There was nothing in front of us that we could see, but we didn’t have time to go further and find out more.

 “Where will we bury him?” Asked Alan who looked like he wanted to jump back into the lift and go straight back down. I scanned the area around us “We’ll just bury him over by that little hill” I pointed towards the one I meant to clarify as it was a bumpy place with a lot of hills and bumps throughout the mountain side.

We carried Paul over to the hill and placed him on the ground. I stayed with him as Alan and Colm headed back down to Trinty X1 to get shovels, we couldn’t carry everything at once. I wish one of them would have stayed with me but they were both so terrified and I don’t blame them. They were a lot younger than me so I felt it my duty to protect them. As I was waiting on them to come back I walked over the hill to try and see if I could see anything moving, any sign of life at all to show some sign of hope that I could bring back to the group. As I walked down the hill I turned left which lead me to a pebble path that was going down. I followed the path as I looked around it was the same scenery everywhere. Darkness everywhere and a dusty sky filled with clouds. There were still cockroaches but they were all running up the hill towards me like something was chasing them. That’s when I saw it, these things that can’t be categorized as anything I know or have seen before. They were thing’s, and they were coming right for me, about two hundred feet from me. I stood and stared in sheer fear of them, they were so dark, like they had been burned so badly, but they still didn’t melt. I thought, at least, they used to be humans, but only the fact they were walking on what seemed like legs was all that resembles them as humans. They had no faces, hair or clothing; they were just big black blotches that did not look like they were coming to rescue anyone. When they spotted me they all stopped at the exact same time, looking right at me with their blank heads, or at least I think they did because right after that they all let out an ear-piercing scream. Just as they did I saw one pick up a cockroach and shove it into what might have once been a mouth but it was no longer anything a human would have. The whole jaw dropped down and acted as a mouth as if a human mouth was not big enough for the things it has to eat. I stood for what seemed like minutes, staring and afraid to make any sudden move. There were at least ten of them facing me as it started to get darker, which seemed impossible as it was so dull already.

 I would soon realise what these things were capable of, but for now I had one thing on my mind and that was to run as fast as I could up the hill and into the left to Trinty X1. But nothing is ever that easy in this life.

 I stood looking at those things, watching every move I made and slowly reacted, moving forward. They made a noise that I can’t compare to anything I have heard, it was as if they were trying to shout out there larynx, if they did in fact have any. I knew that what with my radiation suit and the fact that I had to run up a hill, it wasn’t going to be easy. Almost impossible.

I heard a voice shouting but I couldn’t make out what it was saying, it was then that I noticed Alan coming with the shovels down the hill. I turned and tried to lift my legs and run up the hill as fast as possible to warn Alan to run back to Trinity. Just as I moved the things started to move quickly towards me. They made even louder screeching noises as they moved swiftly forwards. I met Alan on the hill as I tried to run up. The dry soil no longer had grass on it, like all the land as far as I could see. I grabbed Alan and pushed him backwards “Run back to Trinity and don’t look back” I yelled.

“What’s going on?” Alan stared, carrying a confused look and a shovel.

“Just run now!”

 We ran side by side in our radiation suits; we were about 600 meters from the Trinity elevator located in our loading dock area. Alan still hadn’t seen the things, but as I looked back I couldn’t see them. It looked like we were in the clear until we got to the elevator.

I pushed the button and the doors opened so I stepped in. Alan went to pick up the other shovel, left on the ground by Colm who must have gone back down to Trinity. As Alan was walking back with the shovels a black object came out of nowhere and stood beside him. He jumped backwards in shock and looked over towards me, as if I should jump out and assist him.

“Holy shit fuck!” Screamed Alan in absolute terror, dropping the shovels.

I thought in my head the right thing to do was to run outside, grab one of the shovels and help Alan, but I didn’t. I couldn’t do it, I was so selfish for not helping but I just thought that my family would need me more. Just as I had my thought another thing attacked Alan from behind. The thing attacked in a way I have never seen. It wasn’t like it wanted to kill Alan; it was like it had to kill him.

One thing grabbed his neck from behind as the other put his arm right through Alan’s stomach, he pulled his arm back out, watching Alan’s insides falling out on to the ground, a puddle of red liquid followed by mounds of organs and intestines. The thing dropped to the ground, licking them up with a tongue that looked and acted like a snakes would, while the other pulled off Alan’s head and swallowed it in one go, its jaw dropping so something that big could fit inside.

This happened in the space of what could not be more than 7 seconds as I pressed the elevator door as fast as I could. As the doors began to close the things noticed me. They threw the rest of Alan’s body at me just as the doors slid shut and after a second it started to move down

 I stood in the elevator, Alan’s remains on the floor, already giving off the aroma of fresh meat. His head was torn clean off; a piece of ragged skin hanging from the neck was all that remained of it, along with a hole that was punched through his torso to confirm that what had happened was real. I started to drift away, looking at the elevator button pad without realising that I was going back down to Trinity. I couldn’t let my people see Alan like this. The fear and panic this would cause would no doubt send them over the edge and get all of us killed.

As I was getting closer to Trinity I still couldn’t think of a plan to cover the body. The white radiation suits were now a dark bloody red which could not be hidden from the others. The elevator slowed to a halt. I held my breath as the elevators door opened only to see that no one was around. I could hear voices, which had to be coming from the dining area. The walk from the elevator had nowhere that you could hide a dead body so I had to do the only thing that I could. I could hear them up there, screaming in that way that I couldn’t understand, so loud and disturbing. I clicked the elevator button to go back up to the surface with what was left of Alan. Another good person lost. I felt that this would be a familiar feeling but I still didn’t know the full extent of the damage throughout the world. All I knew was the surface was not a safe place, but hiding down in Trinity with low supplies was not an option either.

 I ran back to the dining area, bumping into Colm on the way. “Hey Ben, Did you guys finish burying Paul already?” asked Colm.

“No not actually buried, but we have bigger problems right now” I growled distractedly.

“Fucking hell Ben, what’s happening now? And whose blood is that on you?” Colm took a step towards me. “It’s nothing Colm; I need a few minutes in peace to think, please!” I shouted as aggressively as I could. “Where’s Alan?!” Colm began to panic “Ben! Where is Alan?” he grabbed my arm to pull me back, “Shut the fuck up Colm! You ran back down here, so where were you?”

I know this was not something that I should have said to Colm, but in the moment I was just so angry at what I had to do and what had happened. Colm did the right thing coming back down to Trinity. “Alan’s not coming back down! Something got him out there!”

“What are you talking about? Is it help? Are we not alone?” Colm’s face creased up in confusion. I find that the more questions asked in one sentence the more confused that person is, so by those rules Colm was three times as confused as normal, which was understandable given the situation, but explaining what happened was not going to be any help.

“Just come with me Colm, I’m going to get the others together so I can tell everyone.” I started walking, but he didn’t follow.

 I went down to my room to see Joan and Jason but they weren’t there. I checked the other rooms in case they moved or went to find supplies but I couldn’t find them anywhere. I checked all the computer rooms on the bottom floor in case they just went on walk, but I they were nowhere to be found, not even a trace. I even went to Mary’s room, which no one went to since it smelled and looked like a church, with scary religious pictures of people either dying or being killed all over the walls. I never understood why most religious paintings were so dull and depressing, with eyes that follow you around the room. I got to Mary’s door and knocked a couple of times until she answered so dramatically it was if she was expecting someone or something else to be at the door. “Have you seen Joan or Jason anywhere?” I asked, already suspecting the answer. “You have seen them haven’t you?” Mary said in a tone that made me feel like it wasn’t so much a question but confirmation. “No I haven’t seen them! I’m looking for them now Mary!”

“You have seen them, I can tell.” Mary squinted up at my face “What have they done?” She asked gravely.

I was confused at what she was asking me, but I soon realised that we were talking about different people, or different things. “Mary, I need you to tell me where they are right now!” I demanded. “I do not know Ben, but if they’re not inside Trinity, where else can they go but up?”

 I ran as fast as I could back to the elevator to find Colm. They couldn’t have got past Colm without him noticing, I told myself. I would have seen them leave the elevator if they did go to the surface. I kept reassuring myself that they were safe and not on the surface with those things. Colm was still standing at the elevator shaft; his face has an expression of surprise across it, staring so intensely that he didn’t even notice me coming towards him. “Colm! Have you seen Jason or Joan? I can’t find them anywhere!”

“No, they haven’t come this way. I’ve been here since I came back down before you and Alan. Did you look everywhere?”

“Yes, of course!” I snapped “but I haven’t found them anywhere and this is the only way up to the surface!” But right then I knew exactly where they had gone. There was an emergency escape ladder on the bottom floor, hidden away so as not to make anybody panic or feel uncomfortable that it might not be entirely safe down here. “Oh, shit…” I ran my hand through my hair, realising that that’s where they had to be, but why would they go there? I told Joan that it was only for emergencies, and I know this is one, but why would she leave while I wasn’t here? It didn’t make any sense.

I turned to Colm to explain where I thought they had gone when the elevator shaft started to hum into life. Something was coming down in the lift. There was no way to tell if it was a thing or my family but either way I had to wait and see.

“Holy shit, why is the lift coming down?” Colm face was a picture of terror. “Why is it coming down Ben?” He raised his voice as panic started to set in.

“I don’t know Colm, but it’s coming and we have to hide.”

 I thought our best plan of action was to close the door separating the elevator from the corridor and block it with whatever we could in case it was something that was not supposed to be down here. “What the hell happened up there Ben? Is the something that got Alan coming down that elevator?!” Colm’s voice had risen to a scream.

“I don’t know Colm! But we have to be ready if it is. So go get Mary, head to the bottom floor, go to the last door on the left and behind the book case there is a ladder up to the surface. Take Mary and go now!” I made it clear that it was an order.

I had to take the risk, it was my family. I couldn’t leave them alone in Trinity not knowing where anyone is, but if I was wrong then I was in a lot of trouble. I grabbed everything I could to block the door or at least hold anything off. The elevator was getting closer but it was silent. There was no high screaming, which suggested that it wasn’t the things, but I grabbed any object I could find to use as a weapon, which in my case was a steel table leg, until I spotted a blow torch which must have come from the maintenance rooms.

 

The elevator was just hitting the ground as I picked up the blow torch and tested it to check the flame. As the elevator doors opened to that screaming that was not from any human, I peered around the door to see. Three things emerged from the elevator, but I couldn’t tell if they could see at all let alone see me, but I couldn’t risk it. I did the first thing that came to mind, which was to burn all the items I blocked the door with and run.

 

I set alight to it with the blow torch, took one quick look up at the things, who seemed interested by the noise and flames, and they must have seen me because they screamed so loud, and it sounded so angry and violent, it was as if they hated me. I ran as fast as I could through the corridors hoping that Colm and Mary where out and my family were safe up there too, but I had been up there already and I knew what could happen.

 

I ran through the dining area down the white corridors, now spattered with the blood from Paul’s body, I could see the stairs down to the bottom floor and I raced towards them. As I turned around to go down the ladder I saw a thing at the end of the corridor on fire, but it seemed totally unfazed by it, as if he was not on fire at all, but just chasing me. I didn’t notice at the time, but he was alone, the other two were not with it but I was too busy just trying to survive. I got down the stairs and I ran down to the last door on the left. The bookcase had already been moved so I knew that Colm and Mary had gotten out in time.

 

I couldn’t look back; I just knew I had to get up the ladder as fast as I could. It took about three or 4 minutes climb up, and as far as I could tell the thing did not follow me. I could see the top so clearly now, not just a hole of light, but I could see the sky. I climbed up on to the surface to find Colm and Mary both sitting on the ground and looking unharmed.

“How long have you been here?” I said gasping for air.

“Only about five minutes, what happened?” asked Colm. Mary did not even look at me.

“The things came down the lift and chased me up here” I said, trying to catch my breath.

“We should close it back over, just in case” Said Colm.

I looked around the land to see if I could see anything or anyone, but it was all flat barren land in front of me, except for one part. It looked like it used to be a barn, but a shabby one, so I did a desperate but stupid thing and I called out for my family. “Joan! Jason!” I yelled at the top of my lungs.

“What are you doing, you’ll get us killed” Colm hissed, grabbing my arm to pull me back.

“It’s too late for that anyway my son” said Mary in barely more than a grunt.

 Just as Mary put doubt in our minds, Joan and Jason came out from the barn. I waved my arms in the air at them, watching as they rushed towards me. I was so relived to find them safe and alive until I saw them. The two things emerging from the distance. It had to be the two from the elevator, but how and why? I didn’t understand what was happening but they were heading for my family and I had to do something. “What the hell is that!” screeched Colm, helpfully.

“It’s God’s men carrying out his work to cleanse the world of its sinners” Mary clasped her hands as if in prayer.

 “Shut the fuck up, Mary, please!” I turned on her “Your nonsense and book-bashing won’t work now!” I stepped towards her menacingly “So just take in the situation around you and come to the conclusion that God is not here, and he certainly is not the person behind all of this!”

I lost it with Mary, her tone and act can only last so long before a person cracks. My problem with religion is all the holes and gaps that they fill with the word faith. “Have faith” is their phrase, though what for I have no idea. They ignore the bad things and focus on the good things in the bible, but it’s all just stories. I can never understand how people can devote their whole lives to a cause that is unexplained and unrealistic. That a man in the sky made you and loves you while another man in the ground hates you and will torture you if you go there. I guess I never treated Mary like a normal person because of her beliefs, but her opinions and faith were annoying, she was just ignorant to the facts.

“Oh, Ben” Mary smiled serenely “you never did listen to me, but you should because we are all dead already.” I opened my mouth to speak, but Mary just kept talking “Those things, as you call them, are playing with you. They can kill you when and how they like because it is what they have been sent to do.” She peered around me to see the things approaching and turned back to me, placing a hand on my arm “Now look at your family, because it won’t be long now.”

I ran. As fast as I possibly could. To my family, to my last remaining sense of a normal life. I tried to signal to them to run faster by shaking my arms in front of me but it proved redundant. As I got closer to them, something abruptly came up through the dry gravel and hauled Joan down into the dirt, pulling her away, bumps forming in the dirt like a track leading back into the barn. Jason, unaware of what happened, just kept running towards me. Until he looked to his side, and then behind him and realized his Mum was gone. Luckily I got to him before he did anything that put himself in jeopardy. I grabbed him “Run up that hill to Mary and Colin, I will be right there. I’m just getting your Mum” I ordered, my voice screeching involuntarily, as I knew that his mum would not be joining us, based on what I’ve seen those things can do. I had done what every husband and father would do, I had to try and save my wife, the mother of my child.

As I ran towards the barn I had flashbacks of my life before any of this happened, time I spent with Joan and Jason when we were a normal family living in the suburbs. Things can change so fast without anticipation from a normal happy life to fighting for your life, future and maybe even the survival of your species.

 I could hear Joan scream as I got closer, it was almost thunderous and full of terror, which made me run faster and that bit more desperate. I burst through the barn door to find Joan lain out on the ground of the barn, scattered. My wife lay in pieces.

The barn had turned red with Joan’s organs, so much blood surrounding what was left of her body. The torso was the only familiar part I could see, her head was no where to be seen. As I collapsed, taking in the horror of what had happened to Joan, the pain and heartbreak was too much for one person to take, on top of everything that had happened since the solar flare had occurred. I wept, her body parts lying around me, my anger starting to build. I clasped my fists and tried not to take a deep breathe as the smell was overpowering and would make any person sick to their stomach. I lurched to my feet, trembling with shock, but more importantly anger. I screamed, emptying my lungs to get that Thing’s attention. They took my friend and now my wife, I knew it was over. Nothing we could do would stop what was going to happen to the future, but I could determine how it would end here and I intended to do some damage to these creatures before it did.

 I didn’t want to leave my wife in that state, but I had to go and nothing I could do would help other than getting to the people I had left behind. I pushed open the barn door and ran back towards the hill to the others, calling out as I ran “Colin!” I yelled, trying to figure out their location. As I got closer to the top of the hill, I saw it was lifeless. They were gone without a trace. All I could think of was my son, “my son can’t be gone too.” I started to panic when I realized the sky was becoming dull. I had to find them fast before the night came and I turned into a sitting target for the Things. Just as I was about to run in any direction to find them, a soft voice called my name. I looked around but couldn’t see anything. Until I felt something grab my ankle.

I jumped from the shock. It was Colin, under the ground, looking up at me through the gaps on a wooden hatch door. He pushed it open “Get in quick Ben” he whispered urgently.

 I climbed down the ladder onto a dusty gravel floor. The room was lit by a single lamp flickering in the undersized space. Mary was there as well, but didn’t even turn to look at me as she faced a wall, seeming to be arguing with herself. “Where’s Joan?” Colin asked. I looked down to the dusty ground and up to the corner, where on a pile of old clothing in one corner Jason was sitting for comfort. I ignored Colin’s question and walked towards Jason to tell him that his Mum would not be coming back. I crouched down beside him and lowered my voice “Jason, I have to tell you something” my voice cracked.

“Where’s Mum?” Jason started to cry.

“She can’t come with us”

“Why! I need her!”

“So do I son, but we are going to have to do this together, just me and you, ok?”

He dropped his head, he knew what was happening, he wasn’t a stupid kid but I couldn’t tell him the truth of what had happened. I never could. I patted his shoulder “I’m just going to talk to Colin, ok? I’ll be right back.” I whispered. As I clambered to me feet Colin came towards me and asked me again where Joan was. “She’s not coming.” I said with more and more anger each time I had to say it. “I’m so sorry Ben, everything’s falling apart” Colin cried, his hands over his face just as Jason screamed. I ran over to him where he was sitting on his hill of clothes. “What’s wrong, Son?” I grabbed his shoulders as he pointed to a limb under the clothes. I plowed through the stack of clothes to find only a pool of blood under the soaked clothing. It then dawned on me that we were trapped, right were the Things wanted us. In a dark place with only one exit, we were just waiting to be killed unless we got out right away. “Everyone out now!” I barked at the others and grabbed Jason by the arm. “What the hell is going on?” Colin wiped his nose on his sleeve.

“They have been in here before, the clothes are covered in blood and I found a limb! We have to get out of here now!”

 I told Jason with wait at the bottom of the ladder as I climbed up to check it was safe to leave. I slowly lifted the dusty wooden door open to peek my head up and look around. There was no sign of the Things, only emptiness and silence, so I climbed up and told the others it was safe. Jason came up first and then Colin followed him but Mary was nowhere to be seen.

I stuck my head down to see if I could see her but it was poorly lit. With my vision limited, I tried to remember where she was standing the last time I had seen her but it was too dark from up here to see any form of shadow. I called out her name but got no response. “Mary! Come on, we’re leaving!” I yelled. Still no answer, but we had to move and I did not want to go back down there. I looked to Colin “We have to go, she wants to be left.”

Colin’s eyes widened, he stammered “We can’t just leave her there; she’s vulnerable to an attack!”

It wasn’t that Colin was wrong but we didn’t have time to be trying to convince people to survive. I tried calling for her again but I got no answer. Then I got frustrated at how selfish she was being after everything we had been through. “Listen, Mary! I know you’re down there, we are leaving because the Things will be back! If you’re coming then get out now!” Still no answer from her. Colin was starting to get impatient as well, but he was not comfortable with leaving her down there.

“She hasn’t spoken in a while; I think we have to get her ourselves. We can’t leave her here to die, Ben.” Both of us bent over the hatch and peered into the dark hole. Just before we had time to make a decision a thunderous noise came from nowhere, it scared me to my core. There was nothing North of us but gravel for miles of flat land as far as we could see, but to the South there were hills of brown dirt, though still no buildings or signs of life. The sky was turning to a bright green after dusk; I’ve never seen the sky such a colour. It was something that you wouldn’t be able to forget.

 At first I thought the sound was coming from the sky, and then the ground started to rumble like an earthquake. Colin spotted something moving in the ground and coming towards us. It was the same noise that took my wife. “We got to go now; it’s one of those Things!”

“What about Mary?” Colin started to panic. I grabbed Jason’s hand and Colin’s jacket and started running “We have to go or we we’ll be killed!”

  We ran past the hatch heading South, towards the hills where we might have a better chance of getting away than on flat land. I tried not to look back so I could just focus on running as fast as I could while carrying Jason. Colin was just ahead of me, starting to slow down as we got closer to the hills. We heard a scream just as terrifying as Joan’s. I looked back to find that the Thing was not chasing us anymore but then a scream seemed to echo towards us.

“We have to go back and help Mary!” Screamed Colin

“We can’t! I yelled back “It’s too late, she’s gone, we have to keep moving or we’ll be next!” I didn’t feel guilty; Mary only brought it on herself. I had tried to help her and she refused to come with us, so I’ve no guilt following me. Although hearing the screams and after seeing what those Things did to Joan, I did feel sorry for Mary. No-one deserves to die in such horror and pain. Based on the screams we didn’t have to go back to check if she was dead.

When the screaming finally stopped, Colin and Jason and I had got to a muddy hill that we ran up in the hope that there were some hiding spots beyond it. Even if we had found a hiding spot, I couldn’t help but feel it was only delaying an inevitable death. We got to the top of the hill and sat on the opposite side to catch our breath, as running up a muddy hill is exhausting. We had not eaten a real meal in a long time.

 “This is hopeless. We can’t keep running and running.” Colin held his head in his hands and I couldn’t disagree because he was right. Running away all the time was useless, especially when we didn’t know if we were alone or if help was coming. We’d had no signs of life since the whole thing started. I couldn’t go on running; I had lost everything except my son. I had to try and protect him from what was coming but so far I hadn’t been successful. Joan had depended on me to help her and I let her down. She was tore apart by those Things who don’t seem to want anything other than to kill us. We had done nothing wrong, nor had we harmed them, but they still come after us to kill. “What are we going to do dad?” Jason voice was ragged; he was too young to run so far. I smiled as best I could. “Nothing, Son, we’re just going to wait here for a few minutes.”

Colin was panicking more and more. I spoke to Jason to calm him down but nothing was working for Colin “We’re done!” he ground his fists into his eyes “They can kill us when they want, Ben! Can’t you see that! We’re done!” He screamed the last words directly at me. I turned my back to Jason so he couldn’t hear me talking to Colin. “I’m trying to calm Jason down and your acting like we’re dead already. It’s scaring him.” I kept my voice as low as I could so Jason couldn’t hear me. Colin returned his head to his hands without another word.

 We had been sitting almost an hour, unsure of what to do, when we were attacked, but not from what we thought we would be. Bugs the size of a human hand came flying from the dirt in a swarm, their angry hissing sounded like a tyre was deflating. I jumped to my feet, dragging Jason with me and headed for the bottom of the hill. It was the easiest place to run to.

 Colin had seen the bugs but didn’t react in the same manner as I did. “Aw, what the fuck now!?” He laughed. “Get up Colin, come on run!” I yelled at him but he didn’t move. He met my eyes and shrugged “Why bother?” then lay flat down on his back.

The bugs were so dark you couldn’t see any features but was the same shape a cockroach. I tried to grab Colin but the bugs were coming towards me and Jason, so I had to run. That was the last time I saw Colin. Covered in so many bugs that I couldn’t see him at all, it was just a blanket of bugs hissing all over my friend. I reached the bottom of the hill with Jason, who was shaken after everything he had seen and gone through. It wasn’t fair on him. He was so pale in the face and was well past the point of crying now; he was in a state of shock, in his own world.

We stood in silence, as a gust of wind blew; ruffling our hair and making me shiver. I looked at Jason, who dropped to the ground with his hands over his head, almost hiding from what the world had turned into. I sat down beside him, putting my arms around him to protect him from the wind, but nothing I said would help with what he was going through or what I was going through. Everyone I knew was gone, taken from me by something I didn’t understand. I knew it was over, help was not coming and Trinity was probably crawling with Things. I had nowhere to go, no safety, no supplies and no hope. I had two options; sitting there and waiting to be killed or trying to run as far as possible and I liked the second option better.

 “Jason” I broke the silence “I’m sorry for all of this, but we have to keep moving or the Things will come again.”

“I don’t want to move again” Jason stared at the ground. I tried to keep in mind what he had been through, but I needed him to move. “I know son, but trust me, we have to keep moving to find help.” Jason looked at me and finally his head nodded in agreement. As we both stood up I looked around to try and determine the best direction to walk. No direction looked any more appealing than any of the others, but I didn’t have to pick because the ground starting to rumble where we stood in terror, guessing what was going to happen.

I had to protect my son, but also myself so Jason wasn’t left alone if something happened to me. I could never have taken his life, even if it seemed like the right thing to do to prevent him from suffering, although I would be lying if I said it hadn’t crossed my mind. “Dad, they’re coming again!” Jason was screaming, I held a hand up to quieten him.

“Calm down Jason, it could be anything” I knew what it was that was coming.

The rumbling noise got louder and louder until the expected happened. Two Things came out from the ground with speed. They stood facing us as I grabbed Jason and pushed him behind me but not fully out of danger. “What do you want!?” I screamed at them, but to no response. “Leave us alone, please!” They started to move towards us slowly, almost like they were just studying us and moving with caution. There was no where to run and almost no point in it either, all I could do was stand and fight but not with Jason standing here.

“Run now, as fast as you can and don’t look back for anything” I ordered him. He didn’t move.

“You have to come”

“I’ll be after you in a minute, go on!” He turned and started to run off, I watched him for a second and turned to find that one of the Things was right in my face. They were so dark with no features, I couldn’t even tell if they were disfigured from what happened or if they were even human, but one thing I did know was that I couldn’t stop them.

 I went to push the thing away from me but it hit me so fast, I didn’t see it coming; I was on the ground before I could even move my arm. The pain was unbearable; they had so much power “how much damage could it do to me with one hit?” I thought. They could do a lot of damage it seemed. I looked down to see blood coming through my t-shirt, but I didn’t check it. I looked up to see the Thing just standing there in the same place, which was when I realised there was two of them and the other was after Jason. I looked behind me to see the Thing carrying Jason’s head; he dropped it on me as he walked past, blood dripping from where the neck should be. My son, gone in a brutal undeserving fashion which not only devastated me, but this feeling became over shadowed by anger. A rage that was built up from these Things. I threw the head to the side, I couldn’t look at it. It was not my son anymore. “What do you want?” I screamed again as I lay, injured on the ground.

 I wanted to use the anger that was filling my body to stand up and fight the Things, but I just couldn’t. The blood was spilling from my abdomen; I pulled up my t-shirt to check. There was a hole pierced through my skin.

They stood over me looking at me but then they left. Back down into the ground where they came from. I screamed from them to come back, I knew I couldn’t beat them, but after everything they had done I at least wanted to try. To die trying to avenge my friends and family, but they left me. They left me alone to die. They killed everyone around me in a brutal way in which I’ve never seen but they leave me to die alone from a wound.

I lie here beaten, physically and mentally, by something I can’t explain. Something I’ve never seen and something I cannot defeat. I am alone, no-one to help me or comfort me as the pain turns to numbness, as I go into shock. I lay flat down on the ground with a puddle of my blood all around me and my sons head not too far away, this is not my vision of what my death would be like, but it’s the death I have been given. As I drift in and out of consciousness I don’t have the energy to be angry but I hold on to the thought of seeing my family again, but it’s only a thought.

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