The scene: An idyllic houshold, with no peculiarities. The cast: A traditional nuclear family, living caricatures from a Norman Rockwell piece. The parents make small talk as they all eat a breakfast of bacon and eggs. The children hurriedly scarf down the meal, eager for school. The mother picks up the dishes and together they walk out the door to begin the day. Their footsteps make no noise as they walk on the black dirt where grass grew once upon a time. The father takes a whiff of the toxic, poisonous air and declares it is a fine day as he waves goodbye to his family and begins the trek to work.
The brown and grey pollution that covers the sky shields the land from the scorching sun. The father whistles a tune as he carefully manuvers around the corpses and trash that litter the road. He decides to take the long way since there is yet another traffic jam made up of destroyed cars and fallen buildings.
“Morning, Jim.” He says to no one in particular as he steps into the decrepit office, with holes in the celing and decomposing bodies at the desks.
“Another day another dollar, eh?” He says for the 5,789th time to his cubicle neighbor. He types on the broken keyboard for a few hours, despite the monitor having a cracked, blank screen. Eventually he gathers up a few discarded papers, organizes them neatly, and picks up the suitcase he never opened, ready to go home.
“See ya tomor-”
He stops midsentence. Something…isn’t right.
“I…uh…morning, Jim…heh…wait. Uh…” Suddenly his head feels like someone has hammered a nail into it. He drops his empy suitcase and looks around. The father of two walks around the office, causing the rats to scurry away from their meal.
“I don’t feel very good…something the wife cooked maybe? Hah…”
A part of him knows there is no one here to talk to. Yet such thoughts feel …wrong. “Of course there’s people here! Richard, you sly dog, you were just over for poker night last week! Right?” No response of course. Yet he has heard his friend speak millions of times before. Why, he wonders, is Richard…and everyone so quiet today?
“I need to go home and lie down maybe. Sorry, guys, don’t let my episodes distract you, haha…haha…haha.”
He wanders out the doors and begins walking home, forgetting his rustic car. Glass crunches under his shoes in the very old parking lot. Head still hurting, he walks to the charred skeleton of a tree and sits aganist it.
“What’s wrong with me…feels like everything is falling apart..” He runs his hand through his hair and feels something odd. It feels like an ant has bitten his finger. Expecting to see see a red bump, he instead sees a small blue wire protruding from his index finger.