I don’t know what’s worse, the screams that ended a few weeks ago, or the silence that has fallen since then. Before, I felt like everything should be done to help others. Now, in my self-reflection, I don’t know anymore.
It was like any other day in the city. Sunny, crowded, and busy. I was walking to work at a large national bank, where I recently began an internship. I remember the day well because, besides the obvious fact that the world ended on this day, I had finally convinced myself to talk to the cute secretary across the hall from me. Things just seemed to be going my way that day. I walked to work every day, and the flow of traffic was straight my way. That’s when the alarms sounded.
There was a mass panic, as is expected. I watched as thousands of people ran in hysteria, all going absolutely nowhere. Some of the people ran for the subways, anything deep in the ground. There’s only so many places to go, and as I stated before, people weren’t getting very far. The only option I really had was to follow all those going into the subways. There were some military personnel in the corridor instructing us down the tunnel, wearing full military gas suits like they were equipped for some sort of bio-air attack. You couldn’t see their faces at all, and they looked ominous. Some people were crying and the children were screaming as their parents dragged them into the ever darkening tunnel.
It must have been a few hours that I walked in darkness with crowds of people before more military personnel, dressed in similar attire as described before, signaled us to turn left into a behemoth of a vault. The characters N77R2D80F were written across some of the steelwork. I was lucky enough to have gotten in because I heard gunshots after walking through the metal frames and the large bronze looking doors were shut behind us. More screams could be heard outside and more gunshots. Things got quiet outside after a few minutes.
The explosions began around fifteen minutes later. The sound was deafening and the ground shook like the Gods themselves were trying to kill us. The children continued to screamed through it all and continued long after. The thing that disturbed me the most was the lack of noise outside.
Things remained quiet in the vault for the next few days. People talked about what it was that might have happened on the outside, and the general consensus was that a nuclear explosion had detonated on the surface. It was a miracle that we were still all alive to be honest. There was a small cafeteria for us, but it was obviously overwhelmed by the amount of refugees here. The food rations were fairly small and seemed inhumane, though we all knew there wasn’t enough to go around.
It was around the third or fourth day that noises began to come from outside of the vault. The soldiers were instructed by their superiors not to open the doors for any reason, and I think we were all thankful for it. None of us wanted to see what was on the other side; especially now when we heard their pleas.
“We know you’re in there! – You have to let us in. – Help us. – We’re dying out here, do something! – For the love of God, help!”
Their cries went on for around three hours before gunshots sounded on the other side of the door. I don’t want to know who those shots came from, but we were all glad for the quiet.
After a week more, the voices were back. This time they cursed and threatened us all on the inside. They went on to say that once they were on the inside, they’d eat our flesh and suck the marrow from our bones like a straw. I tried not to let it get to me but it wasn’t working. The voices followed me into my dreams and caused me horrible nightmares. I dreamt I was on the outside in the probably leveled city, being chased by sub-humans trying to eat me. I know they’re just dreams, but who knows if that’s too far off from reality.
Recently the leaders of the vault had all agreed that our rations would be halved. There was protest and a small faction tried to take the cafeteria, but they were all shot. I’ve begun hording the food I’ve gotten in my bag for work. Like I said, there’s not a lot, but I stow away what I can when I can.
They’re inside the vault, and they’re not human. I caught a glimpse of them as i ran through the corridors, and those things are not humans. They have horrible green glowing eyes, and their hairless skin is yellow. I locked eyes with one of them, and in that moment I felt the hatred he, or it, felt for me. A step, two steps, and then finally a burst of rounds into his head from his left. I didn’t stop to wait and greet my savior. I ran. I ran as fast and as hard as I could run. You’ll probably think me a coward for what I’m about to say next, but I don’t care.
I arrived in the cafeteria and went straight for the kitchen. Breakfast was just being served, so one of the storerooms wasn’t locked up, and no one was around. I locked the giant door behind me and listened to the carnage outside of my door. Some shots continued to ring throughout the next couple hours, and were silenced. I spent my time taking stock of what food I had, and it was enough to survive for, let’s just say, a hell of a long time. A soldier lay inside near the door with his rifle to his front, and his sidearm still holstered. I grabbed the sidearm and pocketed it.
I have been in this room for longer than I can keep track. By the amount of cans stacked against the wall, I can only guess a month. The corpse in the room began to rot a long time ago, and the stench is horrendous. It fills my nostrils day and night.
The worst of it is they know I’m here. They know I’ve locked myself in this room and they keep telling me I am going to die here. I am going to die in this room. This is the place. They whisper to me in my sleep that they’ll peel my eye lids off of my head and rip my fingers off one by one.
I spend the days curled up in the corner, watching the man rot, wishing my hell would end. I’ve thought to myself many times that I could just shoot myself in the temple and then this nightmare would go away. The food is dwindling, and the idea is more and more tempting.
Those hollow things call my name. In my loneliness I told them who I was. They tell me to open the door and it’ll all be over. Those hollow, unhuman things tell me to end it. End the torture on my own terms.
They got one thing right. Tomorrow, when I wake up, I’m ending it on my own terms.