A long time ago, I remember watching the news... on TV. I also listened to radio. That's not the case anymore. I stopped because it told me the things I already knew or suspected. It was a business, one with a model curved for those who couldn't foresee consequences. Man makes a big fuss about something or other, man disappears. Protesters in the streets? Riot police. CEO dies, and it happens every year, stock market takes a dive. I had to turn it off, lest the droning turn me into one of the masses. But oh, how I envy them. Even still.
My story, like so many others, starts on a Saturday. Something in the air. Something poisonous. Crazy strain of flu from what I heard, and the news would likely cover that theory in a couple of hours. It seemed everyone was scrambling, getting ready for the approaching storm. There'd be looting. There'd be murders. There'd be a lot of sick in the streets, mingling with the protesters, and rioting with whatever strength they could muster. When the news had just started to spread, there were papers all over the city. A whole bunch of religious groups were calling this judgement, and offering indoctrination. Those same religious groups were in the streets, making a big fuss over an experimental treatment for the super bug. It was a rumor, there was not treatment, experimental or not. Oh, but to top it off, people thought they were seeing things encroaching on the cities. Creatures like never seen before. And, of course, there were rioters pointing fingers at other religious groups, at the government. One big mess. One fun Saturday.
I didn't have such a grand plan as others. Some had built bunkers, or stocked up on supplies and weapons. I was contempt with just getting out of the city with a small knapsack of food, water, and some other things. I figured if the new strain of flu was going to kill me, it already would have. I lived in a city, after all. Well, not really. I was already moving out when I first heard the news. I knew what it was going to bring. Overreaction or not, it saved my life.
I was going West, into the countryside. Not a whole lot of people lived out there. If I was really lucky, I'd find someones summer cottage; if I was lucky at all, I'd find some people who would let me stay a few days. That's how it was, coasting on luck, like a gambler. But I was betting my life. This isn't a dramatized tale, though, so I'll tell the fullest extent of the truth I can on how my travels went. Everyone was in the cities protesting, except for a few people smart enough to get out of there. The few people I did see tended to give each other a wide berth.
Not everything lasts forever, and soon I'd be well into the country. Far from any city, but probably still within the boundary of a town. I distinctly remember one place. Farmland for as far as I could see, and a silo peaking out from the horizon. That's where I went. It was quiet there, but I didn't take the chance of startling someone into a fight or flight response. I went up to the door of the farmhouse, not so monolithic as the silo, but visible from a great distance. It was painted, but the paint was faded and pealing. In some spots the paint was completely stripped away. In all other respects, the house was rather average. There was an air conditioner sticking out one window, but it was off. I suspected that the power was out by now, about a week in, but I also thought that a place like this might have a generator someplace. I knocked on the door. I could hear muffled footsteps from within the house. It was a few seconds after I heard the steps stop that the door opened. Before me was a man, an old man. He had almost no hair, but those he did have were short and white. He might have been in his late seventies by the look of his face. He reached out his hand, "Frank Lawsey, do you need something?".
Behind him I could see an older woman, probably his wife, and a child playing with a toy truck. I shook his hand, "My name's Leonard, I was wondering if you've heard anything on the current situations in the cities,"
The child, a boy who couldn't have been older than seven, looked up at the woman and asked who I was, she didn't give a response. She was watching Frank and myself.
"I haven't heard anything since last week, sorry. Do you need anything else?" he asked me.
"No, that's all I was needing. Actually, if you could tell me what town's down this road, that'd be much appreciated,"
He was quick with his response, "Down that road is nothing, you're practically at the lakes. Just a few miles. Leads to a beach, and curves up North towards Silver Lake State Park,".
I thanked him and was leaving when he asked me to watch out for a man and a woman in a blue pickup, they'd have a young girl with them about the age of the boy, who had ceased asking the woman questions and was now watching the conversation. I said I'd look out for them, thanked him again, and went on my way.
Rar! Rar rar rar! Thanks for reading :)