She goes to work. Stocks the shelves that do not need stocking. There is nothing else to do. No one else there. The cuckoo clock goes off every hour and she either jumps, hops slightly, or gasps when it begins its tune. It depends on if she gets enough sleep or not what the reaction could be.
The generator keeps going but it might not be long until it runs out. She dug a hole to the tank, dangerously, knowing what could happen if she struck the metal just right. She would cease to exist. Snap out of it she thinks. Familiar thought patterns can be daunting.
“I got through it.” She mutters.
She continues to mop the floor. Hoping someday, someone will come in again. There is a shelf always there beside the door, with pictures of her family. Smiles, all the same, beauty, all the same. She remembers the flowers in the background. How they smelled. The first pick of a tomato right from the vine.
“This is what God would eat if he exists.” She would think. “He would not settle for any Genetically modified crap they sell nowadays.”
She realizes she said they. As if someone else now exists. If they do, she does not know of them. Which could, or could not be a bad thing. She is so bored, she is willing to find out at this point. She has plenty of ammo to share with a friend, or put into an intruder. Nothing to lose, but years go by without anything eventful. She watches thunderstorms, convincing herself they are terrifying while clutching to her teddy bear. Nothing is the same anymore though. Even the familiar is now becoming unfamiliar.
She sleeps with a gun beside her bed. Ready to be shot. No safety on. She has estimated she will need more fuel in seven weeks. More like five. Which means the search is on presently. The power goes out. She knows this is odd. Perhaps a wiring issue. Maybe the last storm created damage. Either way, she must find out if she wants to survive comfortably. She opens the hatch to the roof then everything becomes a blur. Then she sees a face.
“Who the hell do you work for?!”
“I am here to help you.”
“I said, who the hell do you work for?!”
“I am one of the last of those wanting to protect you.”
“This doesn’t make any sense. You are suppose to be dead like the others I have seen. I don’t even know who you are!”
“I am sorry. This is a shock to me as well.This just defies all odds. It is like standing in the middle of a field with an umbrella in a thundstorm and not getting struck by lightning!”
“I wasn’t outside when the blast happened.”
“You are missing my point. The fact you exist is compelling. All civilian life was wiped out. Those who were already at military bases or close to emergency tents were able to get an antidote in time, but many could not. You, however, have defied all odds. We have been looking for you for some time. We knew if we could find you, you could help us understand the difference between your immune system and the others who have since passed. We have waited so long for you. It is almost as if the research is done, but you were not found yet. Come with me. You could be the future.”
“Is this some kind of alternate reality? You think you can waltz in here, disconnect my power, then tell me to come with you? Who do you think you are?! I need ID.”
He throws a badge. Sure enough, it fits.
“Well, how do I really know you are on my side?”
“What other side is there?”
“Point taken. Let me get ready.” She says with a grin.
He drives the road like he waited years for the moment. He takes every turn perfectly as if he patrolled his whole existence away for her. She knows this could be true, and it kind of makes her flattered but disgusted at the same time. She is momentarily deciding if she can cope with his presence in the future. She knows loneliness can be terrible, but terrible company can be as well.
“So how did you end up out here?” He asks.
“I was born here. My parents ran that shop back there. I converted it into my safe haven. I can always go back if you want to keep asking me questions.”
“I just asked you one….I am sorry. I know this must be difficult for you. I forget you have been out here alone for years.”
“Sorry, as well. I just am on edge honestly. Hopefully this is the right decision.”
“With all honesty, it is. And if it isn’t, then I will have to step in later on.”
“Okay.” She shuts her eyes and imagines a new life. Sipping margaritas again. Lying on the beach with her ipod going. No fear around, no hate. She could have shut her eyes and awoken intact, unlike today.
He keeps driving into the hills. The road becomes more desolate. She starts thinking of his weight, height, and how she will kick his butt but she is realizing this might not be possible. She might have to just kill him. She knows her eyes give her away. They always displayed this kind of anger that could not be hidden. He senses this of course.
“What’s the matter?”
“How can I trust you?”
“You just should. I am a nice person.”
“I don’t just run off like this. I usually ask questions beforehand.”
“Well, I wasn’t suppose to tell you my name because when I signed up as an agent I agreed to go by Jared. Since then, everyone who wrote and enforced this contract has died. My name is Jordan. I grew up in a same town, moved to a city. Took classes, then was hired by the CIA after years of experience with the NYPD. I cannot get into anything after that, just incase someone else is alive out there, but you must trust me. This world is not as it seems to you. You have been in bubble. Encapsulated in a dream state, miss. ”
“What do you mean, dream state?”
“I hate to tell you but everything in that store wasn’t really there. I kept you alive for years there after the blast. I killed men, created fruits and vegetables, with the sight of you. When I first saw you, you were like a part of mother earth and Marilyn Monroe.The perfect combination. I could never leave you side until I heard your voice.”
“You mean to tell me you are the only reason I exist.”
“Yes.I am sorry if this makes you uncomfortable.I don’t mean…”
“Oh, hush. If this is all true, then it would be my honor to continue this journey with you…”
She looks outside the window. As if she is curious of the unknown. His eyes now glimmer with hope, as do hers. They know, somehow, there might be someone out there waiting to test this path. But the thought is off in the distance, because the moment is too strong.
They arrive at the palace. He opens her door and she thinks it is funny how he acts as if he owns the place. She knows better. He is just humorously entertaining the fact. It seems to bring light to a dark situation.
They walk around. He shows her all his hard work. His water purification system, solar power, generators, electric cars and rvs. He converted almost everything there. No wonder he tried so hard to get her there.
“I could not move you. You were so fragile when I found you.”
“I believe you.” She stares into his eyes.She tests to see if his eyes move rapidly. They do not.
He stares right back. “I hope so.”
That night the storm rages on. Water billows over the dock outside. She wonders if the hot tub will be taken away into the ocean. She knows there are plenty of other houses they can move into if they had to.
“So, what made you come here?”
“I wanted somewhere safe. Away from the city. Away from everyone. Somewhere rich though. I never experience rich. I had a nice home but by no means the nicest on the block. This is like no place I have ever been. I thought of how it would look in years if no one was here. I imagined all those you tube videos of explorers going into abandoned beautiful homes and it made me ill. I could not leave this one behind. It spoke to me. The way the sun came up over the horizon here was as corny as it sounds, the greatest selling feature.”
“I see what you are saying. It is impressive.”
“Picasso is impressive. This view is monumental in an apocalyptic landscape.”