Hear My Story
Brushing aside a thick layer of dirt, you pick up a piece of paper. Attached to it by a paperclip is a picture of a pretty woman with red hair and a happy smile. The paper is browned with exposure to the elements and the picture is almost faded. The paper was in the clutch of what appeared to be a skeletal hand.
If you're reading this, don't be afraid. I don't want to scare you, I only want you to understand what we've been through these last few months. As I write this, I can only hope that somewhere, a survivor will find this and know our story.
It began in April, 2017. Nanotechnology was flourishing and nanomites were nearly a household product. They could do anything. Clean, rebuild, even do chores. They seemed like a godsend. But something happened, some programs got corrupted with a virus and we couldn't erase it fast enough. The nanomites began to devour everything. After a day, the entire city of New York was gone. Within a week, America was a wasteland save for stone. Before the month was out, the only countries unaffected were the third world countries, the ones with no access to the nanomites. But it didn't stop there. The nanomites, they... evolved. I don't know any other word to describe it but they managed to get into people's heads, take control of their minds. Turned the human race into a bloodthirsty mass of monsters before the end of the year. I don't know what the nanomites did to them, I don't even know if they're even still alive. All I know is that they're no longer conscious.
Right now, I'm on the roof of a hospital with a small group of survivors. My name is Derrick Hartwood and I was a surgeon before all this started. I'd been using nanomites for a few months, to be honest... They were perfect for delicate operations and saved so many lives. I don't like to think about what it was like when they went berserk... I was off duty that day, spending it with my wife and daughter. It was her seventh birthday, I'd gotten her One Direction's new CD and an art kit. She loved One Direction, even though neither I or my wife liked them. It used to annoy me when she played their music at full volume, drove the dog out of the house. I'd give my life to be able to hear the dog barking at their muffled lyrics again...
With me is Jessica. She used to be a police officer. A gun isn't very useful against nanomites, especially since they can rebuild themselves faster than the bullet can fly. There's also James and Kenneth, a couple of brothers who just got into university when it started. James was hoping to work for Microsoft one day and Kenneth wanted to own his own company someday. If this ever ends, maybe he can make his own business. Philip is... eccentric, is the right word. He's so jumpy and paranoid, I swear he's scared of his own shadow at times. Anyways, we're all up here and trying to survive on what little food we have left. If I've split it up evenly, we've got enough for maybe a week at most. After that, we might need to scavenge for more. The nanomites look to have abandoned this city but you never know. They could just be in the sewers, devouring all the pipes and waste. None of us want to take that risk. If one of us gets infected and comes back up... well, let's just say that there's a chance we're the last humans left in the country. We haven't seen any sign of life for days, there's no phone signal and it's starting to become winter. We'll either freeze to death or starve to death, neither is an end I particularly want.
If anyone manages to read this, please know that we tried. We tried out best. If my wife is still alive, please tell her I love her more than anything. If she isn't, I'll see her soon and that gives me a bit of comfort.
You hand the paper to your travelling companion, a young girl in her late teens who slightly resembles the woman in the photo. She reads over the words and as she does, you turn and look through an obviously old cooling box, only finding empty wrappers and bottles. There are a few other skeletons on the roof, four to be exact. After a few minutes, you go back down the stairs into the hospital, out the front door and sit in the rusty old car that's proven to be very sturdy the last few weeks. Your companion climbs in beside you a couple of minutes later.
"We found him." She says, her face blank and her voice emotionless. You start the engine and start driving, continuing your search for civilisation.