I awoke around noon to a pouring rain. Unwilling to get soaked, I busied myself cleaning and loading guns and stationing them all around the house. I set the SAW in a window overlooking the lawn, and put a giant .50 caliber bolt action gun in another overlooking the backyard. I then worked on setting up generators, and by that evening, had all my refrigerators and freezers hooked up to power and humming contentedly. I then further entertained myself by hooking up my new TVs and CD players and blaring loud classic rock throughout my lair.
I popped in Seinfeld and watched it until midnight, and then fell asleep on the couch. I repeated this process for a week with little variation, save when I left the house once or twice to spray paint my satellite phone number on some billboards.
The next morning, I awoke feeling curiously energized. I wanted to do something. I wanted to treat myself somehow.
“Well, what can I do?” I asked myself out loud during breakfast. I had been doing a lot of that lately, and it worried me a little. “I’ve got motorcycles, cars, guns . . . pretty much everything I wanted.”
I mulled this over for a while, and then it hit me. I had always wanted a Corvette, and I’d seen them around town before . . . someone had to have one. . . Yes! I grabbed my large backpack (which contained guns, ammo, knives, flares, and other random junk) and my helmet, and went out to the motorcycles. I took the Honda and roared out of the garage, barely remembering to stop and shut it behind me.
I buzzed down the road, checking all the auto dealerships. No luck. I continued looking until lunch, and then ate a sandwich and Pringles from my bag and refueled the bike.
Eventually I ended up at the airport. I kicked in few doors looking for people, but had no luck. I then dug around in the hangar, and while I found plenty of perfectly good airplanes and helicopters, they were useless to me.
I also indulged myself a little by riding the Honda as fast as it could go down the runway. I made it to 95 miles an hour before I chickened out and hit the clutch to slow down.
I drove around a bit more, not so much looking for a Corvette anymore, but just for anything. I found no people, plenty of stray cats and dogs, and one very nasty traffic pileup, where another tanker truck had jackknifed into a gas station. By the looks of it, it had been one hell of an explosion.
I continued driving around the outskirts of town, feeling very alone, and finally decided to go home.
Night fell before I could get there. I turned on my headlight and drove slowly as I made my way down city streets. The power was flickering again, and it made it very hard to see.
Suddenly, there were a series of loud pops from my right. I hit the clutch and brakes and skidded to a halt.
“What the heck?!” I shouted as I yanked my Kimber Warrior and flipped on its light. I scanned the trees to my right, but saw nothing. I elevated the pistol and fired a round in the air. “Who’s there?” I hadn’t seen anything out of the ordinary all this time, but I was very on edge. Am I going crazy? I asked myself, Hollering at a tree branch falling?
I nearly fell off the bike. That was a human! Were they real? I shut the motorcycle off, put out the kickstand, and dismounted. “Where are you?”
“In the trees! Don’t shoot!”
“Come out slowly!” If it was a person, I probably had nothing to fear, but I was taking no chances.
A large shape loomed from the trees. A big man stepped out from behind the trees, raising his hand to cover his eyes as my beam hit him. I gasped. I couldn’t move. I knew that face.
“S- Steve? S-S-Steve? Is that you, Steve?” My hand was shaking so bad I could barely hold the pistol, and I put the safety on and dropped it. It bounced on its lanyard.
The man lowered his hands, revealing who he was. Steven Randson, a great friend of mine, stepped out of the trees. He had been out of town when the event had occurred, and I had assumed him gone like everyone else. “Todd?” He asked, “Are you real? Is that you?!”
I sprinted forward to embrace him. “Oh gosh, Steve! Dude, you’re alive, you’re real!” We embraced and pounded each other on the back until we were both almost numb.
“How’d you get here?” Steve asked, “How’d you survive?”
“I almost didn’t,” I replied, “I was all the way back in Stumphouse Tunnel, y’know, the old railroad? And I hurt really bad all of a sudden and there was a really loud humming, and when I got out, well, all this!” I gestured to the desolation around us. “How’d you get here?”
“I was coming back from Ohio,” Steve responded, sitting down on the curb, “And I was going around a bend in a tunnel in the mountains when whatever it was happened. Everything started to hum and everyone in the tunnel stood on their brakes. I saw this incredibly bright blue flash from both ends of the tunnel and felt like I was being peeled apart, but then it was over. I was the only one left. Well, me and a few other drivers.”
“Where are they?” I asked, looking around. More people!
Steve was solemn. “One of them drove out of the tunnel and started screaming about how everyone had disappeared. He went completely hysterical. I was trying to call my wife when he pulled a gun out of his car and shot himself right there.”
“What about the rest?” I asked, my hopes receding.
“The other guy drove off the other direction, back the way we’d come. I didn’t follow him. I just took the dead guy’s gun and kept on driving. When I ran out of gas, I stopped at a station and stole some . . . I didn’t know what had happened, I was just trying to get home. When I got back into South Carolina, I just knocked on doors trying to find people, and when I couldn’t, just holed up in houses, too scared to do anything . . . I just didn’t know what happened.”
“That’s fine,” I said, slapping him on the shoulder, “You’re home now. Here, get on the back seat and I’ll take you to my place. I’ve built it up like a fortress with plenty of guns, food, and water.”
“Cool.” Steve complied and climbed into the back seat, “Where’d you get the bike?” he hollered over the engine noise as I started it.
“I ‘liberated’ it!” I shouted back, grinning wolfishly, “Taught myself how to drive this bugger and I was all set!”
We took off down the road, and soon were arriving at the house. Steve whistled at the sight of the tanker truck, the Deuce, the pickup, and the SCHP car, “You’ve been busy.”
“Heck yeah. It was really hard at first, but I’ve . . . adjusted.”
Steve grunted in agreement and we headed inside. I pointed out the important parts, “Generators there, everything here runs off those. Propane lanterns and stoves for eating, battery and propane heaters too, bottled water everywhere, plenty of books all in these two rooms here. A zillion rounds of ammo in the master bedroom, and guns are all around the house, but most are in there. The 249 is upstairs so I had better coverage of the yard and surrounding areas.”
Steve chuckled, “What exactly are you planning to be attacked by?” he laughed, “There’s not exactly many people around here, and if there are, we don’t really want to shoot them.”
I considered this, “Well, something intelligent and unfriendly that is out there somewhere tried to make every human being and only human beings disappear off the face of the earth and they were damn near close to doing that. I figure that if they come calling, I need to be ready.”
Steve rolled his eyes a little at this, and then rolled them again as I began to pull all my guns out from under my clothing. I was carrying about three handguns, along with a sawed-off shotgun and a grenade or two.
“Oh, yeah.” I had remembered something, “The long green tubes are Stinger surface-to-air missile launchers or anti-tank rockets. I’ll show you how to use them later, but for now, just leave them alone.”
“Dude, where’d you get all this crap? Raid an army base?”
“Close. National Guard, along with the police station. I’m considering going to Fort Jackson to load up some more, but that’s a bit of a drive.”
Steve had a good laugh at this.
We ate dinner and shot the breeze until around midnight. “What are you planning to do tomorrow?” Steve asked as we prepared for bed, “You’ve got everything you need here.”
“I’m going to go to the Chevy dealership next town over and get a Corvette. Then I want another Humvee from the Guard armory, one with missile tubes. Then I’ll need to practice, and since Stingers are heat seeking, I’ll set a house on fire somewhere.”
“You’re completely crazy. Think we can head to the library or something for more books, or is your nutty schedule too full?”
“Nah, we can do that. Night.”