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I awaken to the bitter screech of an alarm. I lay listening in confusion as I slap my clock, only for nothing to happen. As the morning fog begins to dissipate from my head, blood-curdling screams break through the volume of the howling background alarm. Vibrations send my hairs on end synchronous to the thudding of what seems like a thousand footsteps on the concrete outside. Sounds of screeching and twisted metal causes me to nearly gag, still stuck like a board to my bed with nothing but my eyeballs moving, darting around my bedroom trying to make sense of this new morning ambience. Two beams of light break through the curtains and cut through the dust floating in the air; the beams carry a faint blue tint, flashing on then off repeatedly. The lights get more and more intense at the same time a siren begins to gain volume. A loud screech is heard before a crash, then the lights stop, the siren continuing in an irregular tone. Through the breeze dancing around my room from the slightly open window, a smell of burning is carried; it lingers for a small moment before intensifying drastically.
"Kaleb!" I hear the twisted screams of my mother from downstairs, her tone getting louder and louder as she looses distance between herself and my room. I throw the bed covers from my body and they crash to the ground, crumpled by the weight of my feet as I stand from the bed. I hear my door burst open and quickly move my eyes toward the disruption. "Get up, now!" There's a sense of urgency in my mothers voice, one I've never heard before, from anyone. I rub my eyes and they widen as I open to mouth to finally utter what I've been thinking.
"What's happening out there?" I ask, my voice breaks through a yawn as I begin to move toward the window, placing my hand on the dark red curtains. "Has there been a crash?" My naivety shaking something sinister inside of my mother.
"Get dressed, we're leaving... now!" She watches me as I pull the curtains apart, observing my jaw drop in horror.
"What..." At a loss for words I stop. Outside my house I see a pile of at least four cars, twisted and mangled together in a searing ball of fire; their passengers still inside, melting to the seats inside. The thick black smoke finally makes it's way to my nose, causing me to throw myself back from the window coughing and choking. "Mom... what's going on?" I look up once more to see that she's no where to be found. I take one more glance out of the smoke-shrouded window before I make my way into the hallway, still in nothing but a pair of grey track pants.
I hear a rustling from downstairs and begin my descent down. "Mom!" I call once more, making my way through a disturbed version of my everyday home; paper carpets the floor while drawers are left pulled open and their contents spilled out onto the floor. I see a flickering light from the living room, casting a silhouette of a woman onto the wooden floor in the hallway I'm frozen in. As I make my way in I begin to hear the voice of a man who is trying but not really succeeding to stay calm.
'We have confirmed reports...' He takes a short pause to rub his eyes with his left hand while holding a piece of paper in his right. '...of detonations in London, Hong Kong, Zurich, Seoul.'
He switches the paper for a new one behind it. 'We have sights on fifty nuclear missiles heading for the US...' His voice breaks as he tries to compose himself. 'We have roughly... 40 minutes...' The paper in his hands begin to dance their way onto the desk in front of him. 'It's all gone... Camilla, Lucy, if you see this, I lo-' The broadcast goes black and the TV turns to static. I feel my heart beating so fast it feels like it's going to burst out of my chest, every beat is a drum sending vibrations through my entire body; my eyes begin to fill, half because of the absurdity and sure false nature of the situation and half due to the looming darkness of truth held over me.
"We have to go, Kaleb... now!" I feel a tight grasp on my arm, turning my entire body at such a velocity. She grabs my face and focuses it to hers. "I love you, Kaleb..." Her voice is a mere whisper at this point, I watch as she tries to unearth words to say before she embraces me, tighter than ever before. Her feet take her toward the front door, still with her grip latching onto me.
Air has never smelt more sour, soaked with the pungent stench of burning bodies and melting metal; I watch as people flee the suburb to the glass city half a mile away. I watch the events unfold as I step into the car, the engine is already howling, ready to leave. Just before I shut the door I make eye contact with one man, limping down the road as he clutches a wound on his chest before he collapses and succumbs to the pain, cracking his head on the concrete. I turn away unrelentingly and close the door as my mother pushes the car into drive.
We speed through the city watching people flee, running into the road narrowly avoiding other cars that are trying to flee the unknown blast zone. From even within the confines of the car the atmospheric tension is at an extreme, squeezing my head ready to burst like a ripe watermelon. I keep my head focused forward, giving my mother not even a small glance; she grips the wheel as we swerve left and right, bouncing so hard the suspension screams. I turn my attention to the window on my right, I hear a thud but see nothing. I hear another, harder. The towering skyscrapers dwarf us in the city grid, casting their ominous shadows on us. I hear yet another thud, this time accompanied by a splash of red on the window. Before I have the chance to open my mouth a rain begins; this however is not a rain of water but a rain of dozens of souls throwing themselves from the rooftops and balcony's above. I can't quite describe the sound a human being makes when they hit the concrete from an extraordinary height but it's not one I find myself enjoying.
"Shit!" Is the last thing thing I hear before the crackling smash of the windscreen causes everything to go black. I feel like I can still hear the chaos around me, maybe it's just the passing of time as I remain unconscious.
The world is black and silent. Everything from the screams to the thudding have stopped, frozen in time. Blood and metal fuse together to create a most unorthodox flavour. I feel as though I am weightless in an eternal void, no pain or suffering, just black. I feel a thud on my head, pressing down with all of its might; then a slap upon my cheek.
I cross-fade back into reality, the black fades into the colour of red as I lift my arm to wipe the blood from my eyes. I raise my head from the dashboard and peer to my right only to see my mother has gone. "Mom..." I try to scream but the immense pressure on my throat belittles my voice. "Mom!" I choke, spewing blood from my bitten tongue; the blood splats land on my still bare chest and dripping down my body. I grab the handle of the door and kick it open, something in my foot crunches but adrenalin keeps me from stopping; it falls off at the peak of its swing; I step out into the street to see a wall of bodies almost neatly stacked at the foot of almost every tall building. Blood fills the cracks within the concrete, forming a small river of gushing vital fluid for as far as the eye can see. People run and scream in terror, barging past me trying to find anywhere safe. I begin to run but can only bring myself to form a fast limp. I have no where to go, I feel like a clock is slowly counting down to zero and with each tick-tick-tick I'm one second closer to death. The screeching of the siren alarm pounds against the inside of my skull trying to break free.
Suddenly I feel almost a suction in the air, pulling away all of the noises, smells and light. The world is once again silent but this time in reality; I slowly turn myself, greeted with a dark sky illuminated only with a giant mushroom radiating light through the swirling-formed clouds. I stand stunned along with everyone else in the street; I hear not a scream or cry, I see no one running. The light getting brighter and brighter forces me to put my head in my hands, to no avail; the brightness shines through my closed eyelids and I see myself as never before, the bones show through my skin as if I was getting an x-ray. Before I have time to compose myself a roar is heard from the same direction the mushroom is, peaking over the skyscrapers; the loudest sound I have ever heard, I can feel the sound fighting through the air as a wave of white comes soaring towards me from at least a mile or two away. I turn to run through the silence, the only sound being the ripping apart of concrete and steel behind me. Debris flies past my face as I run, missing me narrowly. My stomach feels as though it's collapsing. In this moment, I feel my feet lift from the ground; I watch the earth below me as debris, bodies and even the road itself is swept away. My consciousness is failing, I feel a crunch; black.