I drank myself to sleep, and when I woke up I’d lost several hours. My watch still worked at that point. When I walked to the front door, the first thing I noticed was footprints in the snow. Three sets, two small, maybe kids or women, one big, going just past my house, no more than three feet from my house, where once upon a time in some other world my porch had been, and I had slept through it. I yelled and screamed for a half hour hoping that someone would hear me, but no one came. No one yelled back and told me to shut up either. Just absolute silence. No birds, just the roar of the swollen Hudson. Nothing else.
I’ve thought about that day, the fourth, a couple of times. Was it the fourth? The fifth? Did I sleep more than a few hours? I don’t know. And that was the day my watch stopped working so I don’t know. One minute it was working, the next it wasn’t. The face was blank.
There were a couple of more aftershocks that day, and I began to wonder if my house would be standing much longer. After all, nearly everything around me was destroyed already. And I thought, what if that was an aftershock? Like I had thought the first quake was the real one and then the one the next day was so much stronger. It made me realize how stupid I was to still be in that house. And I thought, no wonder no one is answering when I yell. They were all smart enough to get away from the buildings. Leave. And if I left also, I reasoned, I’d most likely catch up to them, whoever they were, wherever they had gone. I looked at the buildings still standing in Manhattan. They were still standing. It looked odd to me, but maybe just seeing those buildings silhouetted against the sky when nearly everything around me was flattened. Were there buildings missing from the skyline? Buildings I had always taken for granted? Buildings that my eyes just skipped over? I couldn’t tell. If they had skipped over those buildings, taken them for granted, they were still doing it. That was when I had glanced at my watch and noticed that it had stopped working.
I had been in the habit of looking at my watch all day. Just nervous, I guess. I was positive that I had just looked at it and it had been working. But when had that been? What time had it been? And when had it been exactly that I had looked at it? How long ago? All I could remember for sure was that the last aftershock that had started me wondering had been at 2:57 P.M. I wasn’t sure of anything after that. Even when I thought back on it later, wondering what day it was, I wondered why I had never thought to push the little date button to see what the date had been. Or had I? Had I and then forgotten that I had? Had I only remembered subconsciously that it was the fourth? Anyway the watch was dead. And what time was it? And where should I go? And how soon would it be dark? After wasting time wondering about things like that, things that were absolute bullshit in light of everything else, I just jumped down into the snow and headed off toward Old Towne.
There were a few buildings standing in that direction. It was still snowing pretty hard, but I could see the outlines of the buildings through the snow.
There were planes overhead in the night. I know that sounds crazy, but I awoke to hearing them. There was a strange smell in the air, and I was thinking, in my dream? Maybe in my dream or maybe awake. Anyway, I was thinking crop dusters. Like they were crop dusting. Spraying something. It was weird. Now I could see traces of blue… powder? Something on the snow, and it made me remember the dream. But I pushed it away and walked. Too much to see and comprehend as it was without worrying over bad dreams.
Normally it’s no more than a fifteen minute walk to the Square. Old Towne has an old New England style Public Square that is the center of downtown. I figured that if anyone was still alive that was where they would be.
In fact, I told myself, they probably would have some buildings open for shelter. Fire Department passing out blankets, bottled water, hot soup. I could see it so clearly in my head. I was wrong, of course, but that’s a story for tomorrow. My fingers are shot. Hey it would be easy to write this on my computer keyboard, but computers are a thing of the past now.
I’m warm. I’m dry. I’m pretty much okay. I survived the day the world ended, but my fingers are sore and I’m tired, so I’ll pick this up tomorrow.