No one knew where it’d come from. I watched the TV non-stop from my dorm room, expecting some type of news, some explanation as to what it was, why it was there, and where it’d come from, but no one knew. All of the news was about it. However, no one had any clue, any thoughts even, as to what was going on and that’s when the panic rose.
I wanted to leave. Something terrible was going to happen and I didn’t want to be around when it did, but my parents lived in Washington, in the middle of the mountains, and I couldn’t get out. No one could. The barrier made sure of that, keeping all of us in and everyone else out.
Lots of people tried. They drove their cars into it, crunching them as if they’d run directly into a wall. Though, this wasn’t a wall. It looked like shimmering fog that extended upwards from the ground to form a dome around the city. We could see people on the outside. They wanted to come inside, to go home, but nothing could go through the fog. It was like something straight out of a bad sci-fi movie and the skeptics went mad with the idea of aliens, and ancient technology, but we wouldn’t find out the truth until later.
So, I did the only thing I could think to do: I waited. Trapped in my dorm with the doors locked and barricaded I watched from my window as the chaos started down in the streets, people stealing food and water, preparing for an apocalypse. They weren’t wrong. Actually, it was an apocalypse, but it wouldn’t affect us. The fog kept us safe. What good that does when the rest of the world’s gone to Hell, I don’t know, but I watched.
Two days after the fog appeared, the bombs fell. Through the sky they rocketed, this time like something out of an old war movie. From my balcony I watched the bombs hit. They catapulted into the ground with such force that the ground instantly erupted, a giant mushroom cloud signaling its impact. My heart raced watching the explosion propel towards us. Nothing can stop a nuclear bomb. That’s what I’d been taught. I imagined my shadow burned into the pavement of my balcony for centuries to come, but the aftermath never hit us. It crashed into the fog wall. Breaking apart it washed over us like a wave crashing into a rock, just sweeping over us.
I still don’t fully believe what I saw that day. I couldn’t help but wonder at the time if I was dreaming. Perhaps none of it was real. Perhaps I was lying in my bed and when I woke everything would be normal, and that thought stayed with me for a few days, but only a few days. When the ash began to settle and the world beyond the fog reemerged I knew it wasn’t a dream, even if this was crazier than any dream I’d ever had.
The world beyond the fog had vanished. Anything outside the city was gone, obliterated by the bombs. Panic washed over me as I scrambled for my cellphone, slamming the speed dial for my parents. No signal. I tried my laptop to message them, to e-mail them, to find any sign that they were still alive out in Washington, if maybe the bombs hadn’t reached them. No internet. All ability to communicate with the outside world was gone.
Slowly, I wandered back to my balcony, staring into the burned, charred world beyond the shimmering fog and only one question came to mind: Are we all that’s left?
Next Installment: ‘Life Goes On‘