posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 04:19 PM
The night was cold. A sharp, damp wind made him tuck his head down into the protection afforded by the collars of his jacket and he squinted ahead as
best he could. The blizzard had intensified with the coming of the night, throwing the world into a muffled silence. Ahead lay only a dull white
plain, an eerie ghost of a place marked by the black trunks and branches of trees on either side, marching into the swirling snows of the near
He grimaced as he thought of the warmth of the fire the night before, when he had talked to the strangers he had met in the abandoned town. Above the
crackling flames, fed by the smashed furniture they'd gathered, their eyes had flashed within the sockets of haggard faces; bearded, splotched with
dirt and scabs, they had talked about their families and what once had been their lives...now so suddenly lost.
On the map he had secreted in his inside pocket, he knew another town lay ahead. How far it was, he had no idea. The deep drifts had slowed his
progress through the day and now he was in dire need of shelter. He peered between the trees, hoping for a farmhouse to show itself through the
blowing snows, but was unwilling to leave the lines of trees which deliniated the highway. To lose these markers would certainly be his death.
It was amazing, he thought, how tough he had become in the time since the world had begun to unravel. Seventeen weeks had passed since he had seen the
last person dying. The disease, whatever it was, had done it's work and let the rest live. That had been June, he remembered, long after his wife and
children had died the winter past. The snows had come early that year, and brought with a pestilence which few escaped. It seemed as if everyone was
dying around him and the memory of it choked his throat in a painful way. He could not dwell on the faces of his kids as they had watched the sickness
take hold of them. They had known what was coming. So had his wife...
He stopped walking then, as the scenes played themselves out in his mind, and stooped over as if to retch, the pain he felt was overpowering. Hands on
his knees, he squeezed the tears from his eyes and moaned in desperation of his loss. It was a nightmare. And there would be no waking from the
horrors. Raising himself erect, he stared once more ahead and then side to side through the trees.
Just then he spied the farm, about 500 yards to his right. A rush of relief passed over him as he lurched in its direction. Big Maples marked the
laneway to the house, their trunks blotted white and invisible on their windward sides. Black windows and the lack of tracks was all he needed to
know...he would be alone here tonight.
The back porch seemed to be the best way to go and he slogged his way through the heavy cover of snow. A laundry wheel was banging into a metal pole
just off the deck, clanging away, and it reminded him of those times when he had worked on farms like this. The farmers wife would bang an iron
skillet with a wrench to let them know dinner was ready. He smiled at the recollection, but it was whisked quickly from his face as he turned to the
door. He would have to clear a lot of snow to open the screen door, so he just ripped through the fine mesh, twisted the knob on the inside door and
pushed it inward.
There was no smell.
That was unusual in itself...most houses he had used had at least a couple of bodies, and he had grown used to the initial task of dragging them
outside before anything else. The kitchen looked clean. Dishes gleamed in the glass fronted cupboard and the appliances looked shiny and white. The
table bside the window held a newspaper, a candle and one glass half full of clear ice. In the dim blue glow from the windows, he saw the matches and
snatched them up, lighting the candle.
Ok, fellow writers...what was in the kitchen, the living room, the bedrooms? Who lived here? How many lived here? What was their story before they
all died? I'll pick up again after someone has some fun with this place. This is, after all, collaborative fiction.