After a very bladder-tight 36 hours in the pantry wolfing down Heath Bars I had emerged. The store and the town were just as I had left them.
When I returned home I had moved across the street to Lucy’s house for a while, just in case. Most of the following days I sat at her front window, almost completely hidden from the street by both window décor and plant life, and watched my front door, my windows, and my garage for movement.
But I’d heard and seen nothing but the dogs of the town causing disturbances, fighting with each other, playing with each other, wandering and yipping contently in the sun. I hadn’t cooked anything for fear of someone or something smelling my dishes and slamming through the glass windows. I would wait for 45 minutes until Cleaver barked to flush the toilet at the exact same time to hide the sound. Every night I locked him in with me in the wine cellar and drank myself to sleep.
But today, I had promised myself to leave the house again. I hadn’t seen signs of danger yet. Even the cathedral of cars was eerily peaceful, I realized days later. If indescribably creepy.
In the early afternoon, Cleaver and I entered a classroom in the main building on campus and I grab a dry erase pen from the tray.
Nuclear warfare/warnings of same
We stare at the list for a long time.
“There have to be more explanations. What about the cars?” After a moment I add again.
War for oil/gas/resources, I’m left behind because I’m inconsequential
Genocide of some kind
Government experiment gone wrong
Most of these don’t make sense. There are no bodies, anywhere. The lack of technology is not explained by these, unless there was an electromagnetic pulse or something similar. This still wouldn’t explain why there are no bodies. Nuclear warfare might have caused everyone to evacuate, perhaps they destroyed or disconnected every electronic device before they left so that our resources would be useless? So that they couldn’t be tracked to where they were going? But just this town? It didn’t fit. Economic collapse might explain it, but still, the electronics, the cars?
An act of God
I stare for a long time at my wobbly handwriting. I’ve never been a religious person. By that I mean I’ve never believed in God. I always wanted to, but I could never quite convince myself. Everything that happened on this planet, in my life, seemed too random. But now, this change, it felt purposeful. That was the only thing I really could decide about it. It was consistent, and purposeful. That doesn’t rule out acts of man, but not one door was left closed in this entire town.
An act of God
Although I couldn’t think of why He would spare me. I’m no one. I’m neither sinner nor saint. And then it comes to me, the only other answer that truly fits, logically.
If I am dead, perhaps this is the afterlife. I did drink my weight in tequila the night before this. Maybe I poisoned myself. Perhaps it is a different existence than simply Heaven or Hell. A test of character? Or will? Or perhaps it is a test of my faculties, my ability to survive without the help of others? If I believed in reincarnation, perhaps this is the test before I pass on.
Possible explanations (in order of probability)
Divine intervention My Death
Nuclear warfare (exodus)
Economic collapse (exodus)
War for X resource
When the list is completed moments later I move towards the whiteboard again and make an addition at the end.
Until the exclamation points start to tip downwards and go off the board.