It wasn’t hard to find it. It’s on an old abandoned road below the level of the square, but a good hundred feet or so above the level of the river. Some of the rock cliffs that towered above it had fallen. The factory itself seemed okay. It’s built from what looks like rock from the the surrounding area. Not just brick and mortar, or concrete block. It’s really solid. Some rock from the cliffs had come down near it, but not much. Most of the rock lying around looked pretty old, like it had been there for some time. Given the buildings in Old Towne, which were still falling, or the factory, I chose the factory. It just seemed to make more sense.
The open area in front is huge, and dry, more room than I could ever use, so there’s no need for me to go into that darkness and explore the rest of the building. I have vague memories from childhood of a second story that seemed to be nothing but glass windows the entire length. From the outside those windows are gone. Probably blocked in when the rest of the changes were made. Whatever there is up there, and I suppose I will go look before too much longer, is all dark and dust. Maybe I would need the space someday.
And that’s funny, isn’t it? What is it that I’ll need? Might need? Could need? I don’t know. I do know I won’t be spending the rest of my life living in a factory, that’s for sure. But it’s winter. I have to stay somewhere for the next few months. Then maybe I’ll head south if no one shows up to rescue me. I guess it would be me, there’s no one else here. It shouldn’t be that way though. There has to be more than me.
I spent the rest of the day looking around. I walked all the way out to Arsenal Street as well as Washington Street. The mall, or most of it, has collapsed. But I should be able to get some stuff out of it. The turnpike is car wrecks and bodies everywhere. I could see it from an overpass. I didn’t feel a need to go down there to see it in person. I didn’t want to. Same as I don’t need to go into Manhattan to know that it is as dead as everything else around here is. There is an odor on the wind that tells me all I need to know about the city.
I hadn’t really seen many bodies. Some at the mall, some at the market, a few others here and there, but there is so much ground, houses, things missing, that I think the other people just got swallowed up by the quake. There is a lot of raw earth. Most of the streets are messed up. The turnpike is like that in places, what I can see any way, but close to Arsenal Street, it’s all wrecks and bodies, wrecked and burned vehicles; and it smells horrible. I could smell it long before I came up on the overpass. I’ve decided it will take a lot to get me to go back out Arsenal Street again.
The market has that smell also, and I found two people up by the checkouts when I first dug it out, but none since then as I’ve dug out other parts of the store. Maybe it’s the meat department at the back of the store that smells like that.
I spent most of the next day wandering around, trying to start cars and trucks, calling out to the people I had hoped were there. Nothing. I heard something that sounded like an engine running, but it came and went on the wind and I couldn’t tell where it had come from. But I took that as a good sign. It has to be someone, right?
I can’t imagine being alone.
I tried to start new cars, old cars, new trucks, you name it. None of them do anything except turn over. But at least the batteries are working.
That was the day I realized that the daylight seemed to last way too long. My watch wasn’t working, so I can’t say for sure, but the sun just seemed to hang in the sky for hours that I had no way to keep track of, then it sank in the wrong direction once it did set. And I was sick all day. My stomach. And I was light headed.
The night lasted a long time, and the sun came back up in the wrong place, unless my sense of direction is off. Maybe it is. In any case, I don’t know what happened. Maybe it was the earthquakes? I don’t know. It could’ve been, but it doesn’t seem possible.
The end of the world books were saying the Earth would stop and then run backwards. Maybe it did, but I didn’t feel weightlessness if it did, or at least I don’t think so. I thought about the vehicles, magnetic poles. Maybe because everything is electronic now they can’t work? I don’t know. It’s just an idea, but I’m thinking I’ll look for an older vehicle to try out my theory on. Like I said, I wish I were a mechanic, then I’d know.
Once I found the factory my mind was pretty much made up. I spent a lot of time clearing out the rock and broken bricks, bringing food in and even some chairs, blankets, things like that. I’ve collected a lot of firewood and every butane lighter I could find. Paper plates, plastic forks and spoons. And, man oh man, coffee. I found a small metal coffee pot in an aisle with camping gear. It works pretty damn well. I got some heavy duty pots and pans there too.
All of that over the last few days, but still no other people. It makes me wonder about the tracks that went past my house. Where did they go? Where is there to go? I turn the radio on every once in awhile and give a listen, but nothing. Even so I’m keeping my attitude upbeat. Positive. There has to be other people. Doesn’t that just make sense? Winter can’t last much past May, and then it will be time to get out of here… hopefully with other people.