Both of us stare into the distant horizon of thousands of corn stocks. Normally right now we’d be detasseling it, but not today. Tom ran over the reaper. Killed it we think. We haven’t spoken yet, I don’t know if we ever will. It's been about a week and a half since this all started. It was kind of cool, the apocalypse.
Life was getting boring, to static. I’m only 4 years away from college and I still have no idea what I want to do with my life. Now it's too real. We killed someone. My mom and dad could be dead, the same for Tom. I don’t know what to do now.
But I can’t think about that now. We needed to get to the town hall, to find people who can help us. The shortcut was a mistake, that’s for sure. But we were almost there now.
“We made it,” I exclaim.
“Yeah,” Tom says, his voice faint. The town hall is completely intact. It's bordered with scraps of stuff like dumpsters and pallets. A person walks out through a makeshift gate made of torn fencing. It's Charlie. His brunette hair is combed back on his head, a bushy mustache above his lip.
“Eh?” He says. His voice is ragged and rough. He’s about 40 from the looks of it. Tom pulls over the car and we get out. “Kids!” He says confused. “You drove that thing?”
“Yeah,” Tom says. “Is this Rehab?”
“It sure is son, are you fellas alright?”
“We're fine,” I say back.
“OH TOM,” A woman comes running out of the town hall and over to us with open arms. Tears fall down her face.
“Mom? Tom asks “Mom!” He begins to run towards her too. They both engage in a giant hug, both of them crying tears of joy. I smile, I’m glad Tom found his mom. I just hope I can find mine too.
“Jacob,” Tom's mom exclaims and walks over to give me a small hug.
“Have you seen my mom at Rehab?” I ask her.
“I’m sorry,” She says “I haven’t seen her around.” God, I hope she’s ok.
“Well come in,” Charlie says. “I’ll show you where you’ll be staying.
Charlie had done a surprisingly good job in the week and a half this has been happening. There were 5 age groups that everyone was sorted into.
“In here,” Charlie says, ushering to one of the meeting rooms. “We have ages 1 through 5” Lots of toddlers are crowded into the room with toys. “Parents don’t have to have their kids there, most of these are just unclaimed children,” Unclaimed children? How could he say that? These poor kids had no one. We walk down the hallway and look in another room. “This is the ages 6 to 10” More kids packed in the room. “And this is 11 to 15 where you’ll be staying. It's almost empty except for a few I recognize from school, including Ken. Wait… is that-
“Matt!” Tom exclaims and runs over to him. “You’re alive!” Matt perks up and sees a familiar face. He grins and gets up. His hair is messy and his glasses are cracked.
“Hey guys,” Matt says casually, obviously joking “What's new,”
“Glad to see you,” I say. I hope Liam’s ok, he should be here. “Have you seen Liam?” The words spring from my mouth hopefully.
“No, I was hoping you have,” Matt looks down at his feet disappointed.
Matt has been friends with Liam before they both met Tom. They grew up together and when Matt's life got tough a few years ago, Liam helped him through it. They were almost brothers to each other.
"So what the hell happened to you man," Tom exclaims. I was curious too. "How'd you end up here?"
"It's been a journey," Matt sighs as he starts his story.
"Me and my mom were at home when the attack began. We didn't even know about it till one of them burned down Nancy's house. We saw it with gasoline and a match, and it started pouring" Nancy was Matt's neighbor. She was that kind old lady, the one that would bake you cookies and stuff like that. I’d never actually seen Nancy before, just heard about her, and ate some of her cookies.
"Is she ok?" Tom asks.
"No," Matt says and his eyes begin to well up with tears. "She ran out of the house and… one of them was chasing her" Matt lets out a sob and I pat him on the back, comforting him. We had all been through so much trauma lately.
"Did she..." I ask dreadfully.
"No," Matt sobs. “I didn’t see her get killed but I don’t know if she made it way” There was a long pause of silence before a smile grew on Tom’s face.
“What is it Tom?” I ask. Why was he smiling at a time like this?
“Nancy’s OK,” He explains. “We saw her looking around for her husband,” So that's who that woman was. Matt doesn’t say anything but he smiles and wipes away his tears. He continues his story.
"We heard a knock on the door and someone yell if anyone was in here. My mom got a baseball bat and opened the door swinging at the person in the door. It was Charlie." Charlie lived only a few houses down from Matt. "He had a few other survivors behind him. He told us to come with him to his cabin." Charlie was one of those paranoid people who was prepared for the apocalypse at any moment. He had army rations in his hunting cabin as well as metal window barricades.
Is it that bad to plan for the worst? It gets a bad outlook from people but maybe we should all do it. Most people laugh at the thought of a zombie apocalypse but now, during this catastrophe, these people become leaders. Maybe getting a bunker with some beans or a remote house out in Alaska isn’t the worst thing. Charlie did it and he did survive though all this.
Matt continues his story “There were about 15 people with us and we all crammed into the house. We stayed for a few days, living off of his rations. But then it all changed when the water turned off. The water turned off at around day 10. We think the things destroyed the water plant but we don’t know for sure, Charlie says he is going to send some scouts out to check it. Anyways, it got really heated. People were getting beat up over the last bottle of water. Two men also died from drinking from Brewl. They got parasites and- I’ll spare you the details.”
Brewl River was the river that ran through the forest. It skimmed its stream along the very edge of Bedferd but it is more prominent in Brewl, the city a few miles away from Bedferd on the other side of the forest.
Throughout the years, our towns have developed somewhat of a rivalry. Mostly the teens on either side play it as a kind of a game. Anyways, if you go over to the other city alone you’d probably get beat up.
“We eventually had to go out looking for water so Charlie went with a few other men. Only Charlie came back, with no water. We decided that we had to move for our safety. We decided to go to town hall.”
Townhall was the obvious choice for a base because it was the storm shelter. If there were ever a tornado, which we got a lot of, very close by, we would all go there. I didn’t live here when the old hall was torn down to build a new one, but from what people say, it took 6 months. The place could survive a wrecking ball smashing into it.
Charlie went to the town hall to make sure it was safe. While he was gone, that's when they attacked.”