Looking around in the quickly-diminishing sunlight at the half-destroyed buildings and streets which looked almost as if an earthquake had struck this once-great city of Chicago, I attempted to picture it as it was just a few years ago, a bustling center of commerce where the lights created what appeared to be a second day during the night. Now the only illumination was from the fading sunlight.
As I snapped back to reality, I quickened my pace of the pre-nightly scan of the perimeter around our stronghold in one of the less-demolished skyscrapers in the city's heart. Nothing appeared out of the ordinary. The grass was beginning to grow in the cracks of the roads, vines climbing up the buildings, and the occasional songbird was whistling a happy tune. A breeze blew through the nearly-empty city, causing my black hair to dance in the wind.
How are the birds able to be happy even among all of this fighting? I wondered to myself. Then I wondered why an eighteen-year-old boy such as myself would be thinking about such things. Adjusting the hunting knife I wore in one of my belt loops, I walked back to the entrance to our hideout, a place where a bomb had made a crater and a hole in the wall. We had repaired the wall and added a door, though we made it so that it was nearly impossible to see from the outside.
"What's the password?" I heard from the inside.
"Weeping Willow," I said with confidence.
"Very good" said the voice, and the door swung open, revealing the hide-out, poorly lit by oil lamps.
"Hey guys," I said, "How's it going?" as I saw their rugged, battle-worn faces.