Empty Night

Atop the old, red brick schoolhouse, in the still summer evening, I find my eyes wandering past the darkening hills: What lies beyond those green mountains? Taking a cold can of cola in hand, I pull the tab, and the satisfying sizzle of pop soon rises to my ears. I take a swig, but the flavor is gone. Nothing tastes right anymore. Still, I sit upon the ledge, my feet dangling over the playground, and finish the cola methodically, sipping at the children’s drink until the hollow can echoes with its emptiness. A few drops remain, but now the can is empty. Alone in the setting sun, I chuck the bottle into the air. Drawing my revolver I blast the red target in two; the halves hold together and fall to the asphalt below.

The ghosts of my mind fill the playground, memories of the departed. I can almost hear the shouts and laughter, the cries of pain, the life which is no more. All over, I think to myself. Five of us up top, and I don’t know how many underground. Only us five. The underground people come up, dressed like spacemen, to scavenge. They’re friendly enough. The world is so empty.

As the final moments of light dim to a soft glow behind the dark hills, I replace my spent shell. Dropping from the ledge, I sail down three storeys, crashing into the asphalt. Cracks radiate from where I land, a small crater formed beneath my feet. My strength returns in the darkness, and I begin to run.

 

Beyond the hills the quiet plains enjoy a few more moments of sunlight, those few animals remaining after the apocalypse shivering with excitement as the night waxes.

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