It’s the year 2037 and the world as I knew it, as everyone knew it, ended 20 year ago. It all started in the beginning of the year 2017 and at first nobody really noticed, it started slowly; there was no sign of snow in Canada on the usual coldest months of January and serious freezing temperatures in Ghudamis, Libya where people build their houses out of lime, palm tree trunks, and mud in order to survive the brutal heat and sandstorms. There was a high progression of infertility problems and premature births around the world and more people dying of old or new diseases. We all thought that the world would be going to shit anyways but we never expected what was going to happen next. When the sun stopped coming out and all of the best scientists on earth couldn’t provide an explanation, that’s when we knew that something more was happening. The entire planet was in total darkness and everyone was searching and trying to find meaning in this new world. A lot more people were starting to become more religious and various crowds all over Europe, America, Africa, and Asia were beginning to regroup or kill each other because of their differences in religion, but then again it was nothing new. For centuries, us humans have been fighting and killing one another in the name of god, politics, territory, or money. When the government failed to control the population; it was total anarchy and chaos in the streets. All cell phones, televisions, computers, or any sort of communication system whatsoever, were no longer working. The people were starving and becoming angry and more aggressive. We couldn’t depend on anyone; we were all left behind to deal with this ourselves while all the rich and the powerful fled and hid away hoping to live longer and find a way to preserve human kind. We all knew that someday all of this might have happened but we all thought that we would have more time. With the world as we knew it disappearing before our eyes religious and satanic fanatics were taking control and dividing people. They all had their own beliefs on why this was happening. The Muslims were certain that god was punishing the infidels; Catholics believed that this was the commencement of the Apocalypse and that all the worthy souls would be sent to heaven soon and leave all the sinners on earth to suffer; the Jewish were still praying, hoping and waiting for their messiah and finally the Devil worshipers believed that Lucifer would walk on earth and make it his new hell. However, nobody really knew the reason why all of this was happening. Things were getting more awful every day and the small percentage of survivors left were fighting to survive one more day.
Despite it all, the worst was yet to come and believe me when I say that we never expected what was coming next. I don't remember much, since I was only seven years old at the time, but my parents did their best to protect me and my eight month old brother Eric. We had to move a lot from one place to another and stay away from the big cities. We no longer had a place to call home and the days seemed longer, for there was nowhere to go, nothing to see outside the boundaries of our safe places. My mother and father spent most of their days hunting for food and scavenging from house to house to find anything that could feed us. In the mean time I would hide most of my days taking care of Eric. When looking at Eric with his big brown eyes and blond angel hair, I felt bad for him knowing that he would grow up in this world. He will never know the warm feeling of the sun in his face, the scent of the blooming flowers in spring time or seeing zillion of snowflakes dancing in perfect synchronization in the winter months. I would wonder what kind of life we would have. Was this it?
While waiting in this old Victorian house for our parents to come back all we could see against the dark night was the crumbling walls that were nothing more than a ghostly silhouette of some previous existence. The wind from outside whistled through the trees bringing with it the laughter of children who once lived here. I was starting to hear noises coming from outside even Eric got startled and started crying. I was doing my best to calm him done and stop him from sobbing. We had to keep quiet at all time so no one could hear us. I was standing in the doorway with Eric in my arms when I heard my mother‘s voice screaming my father's name.
I knew something was wrong, she always told us to stay hidden and quiet. If she was screaming, I knew she was in trouble somehow. I glanced at the front window to see what was going on. I couldn’t see anything only the vast darkness of the woods surrounding the old house. I decided to put down Eric in his stroller while I opened the front door and stepped outside. I couldn’t leave my mother if she was in trouble I had to do something to help her; she might have been injured or worst… I started walking towards the pitch black and foggy woods. I could hear voices that weren’t my parents and strange noises coming from the forest. My heart was pounding so fast that I could actually feel it beating when touching my chest and my skinny little legs were shaking so much that I could barely walk or even move at all. I heard my mother screaming again but this time I could actually feel her voice trembling with fear. I was walking further into the dark woods and I started to see these figures but I wasn’t certain if they were my parents. I was approaching the silhouettes slowly and that’s when I saw them; my mother was covered in blood and begging for her life. From far he seemed like a man but as I got closer I could see his cracked skin, frowning looking and his long sharp nails that were grabbing my mother’s throat and his glowing red eyes; but not human eyes. My mother was staring at me and as she took her final breath her lips whispered my name; "Lucinda..." I never been so afraid like I was that day, I couldn’t scream, I couldn’t talk, I couldn’t run; all I could do was stand there while watching this thing, this demon slaughter my mother. I still remember his smell as he walked away from her bleeding body; he just left her there to rot. I waited and made sure he wasn’t around anymore before I could even start walking towards her. There is only so much horror you can take in and understand, after that your mind will snap especially for a seven year old girl. I always feared death but when I saw her lying on the grass, covered in her own blood with her eyes so empty, I felt nothing. I wasn’t afraid anymore; I was relieved that she was finally at peace, that she was no longer part of this awful world.
At this point I could only think about my little brother’s safety. I was so careless; I shouldn’t have left him alone in the house especially with these creatures outside. I turned around and started running as quickly as my skinny long legs could carry me, as my tears were blinding me. As I got into the house I saw my father holding Eric, he just stared at me in silence he knew she was gone and as we looked at each other I knew the horrors that he must have seen that night. We stayed there looking at one another for what felt like hours until one of us could finally say something.
"Daddy… What are those things that killed…" I said afraid of his answer.
"You can never leave your brother alone again! Do you understand me?" He replied ignoring my previous question.
I knew not to ask again and just by his look earlier that night I knew that he had no idea on what was happening or where those creatures came from. We both tried to sleep that night with no success. All I could see when closing my eyes was my mother being murdered by that thing. My dad opened his radio; he did that every night since everything went silent. He still had hope that someone out there had an answer for this or at least one country was still fighting for us all. But all we could ever hear was the same recording over and over again, the same message that was playing from the beginning of it all.
"THIS IS NOT A TEST, THIS IS AN EMERGENCY PLEASE STAND BY FOR FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS…"
My father closed the radio quickly as we heard some noises coming from outside. We looked carefully by the window and we saw a group of men walking towards the house. He gave me his knife and a small cross he kept on him at all times and whispered in my ear to take my brother and hide somewhere and no matter what I heard or saw; I had to stay hidden until it was safe. I took Eric and ran downstairs to the basement. All I remember was hearing steps and a lot of voices and a gunshot go off. I knew they shot him, I somehow felt that he was gone. Eric depended on me now; his life and survival depended on me. I looked at his big innocent eyes and how he didn’t have a care in the world since he didn’t understand what was happening yet and I felt jealousy, I was jealous of his innocence. I waited for hours in the basement for them to leave. I was trying my best to keep my brother quiet but I could see in his face that he was going to cry soon since he needed his diaper changed. I couldn’t believe that we lost our mother and father on the same day. How could a seven year old girl like me with a toddler survive in a world like this? I finally heard the group of men leave the house but I couldn’t bring myself to go up there and see my father dead. I took a deep breath got up and started to go upstairs. The first thing I saw was a pool of blood on the main floor and I instantly recognized my father; he was just lying there. I got closer and covered his legs with a sheet I found on the floor and put my scarf under his head. I still don’t know why I wasn’t crying my eyes out but I had to be strong. I promised him to take care of my little brother and that’s what I intended to do. I was no longer a child, at this moment I knew that life was going to be different and that Eric was depending on me. I put the cross my father gave me around Eric's neck and hoped that it might protect him better. We had no food to eat, no medical supplies in case of injuries, no matches to make fire and no diapers for Eric. They took my father’s backpack with all our remaining supplies. I felt like giving up and started wondering if all of this was really worth it. Maybe I should have given up right there and then. But then I looked at Eric and I knew I had to keep going for him. I went upstairs and took a sheet from an old dusty bed and used it as Eric’s diaper. I went to the kitchen and to the basement to find any supplies that could help us and last for a while but all I found was two cans of beans and another can of corn. I was starving but I made Eric eat first until he was full and satisfied. I found a backpack in one of the rooms with blankets inside and a flash light. We couldn’t stay in this house anymore we had to keep on moving and find some more supplies. I put Eric to sleep in his stroller before starting to walk away from the house since he needed his sleep and we had a pretty rough night. I was scared to see one of those creatures that killed my mother earlier that night or the group of men that shot my father. As I was walking through the woods I felt like someone was following us and the last thing I remember from that night was a burning pain on the back on my head; everything went dark and the last thing I saw was Eric sleeping in his stroller as my eyes closed.