I am such an idiot.
I guess I shouldn’t be too hard on myself; after all, I did predict the end of society and managed to wrangle up the money to practically buy every supermarket and pharmacy near my house. But I guess there’s no preparing for the other stuff.
I watched on TV, sitting in the living room of the house that I’ve always lived alone in, fascinated as people marched on the streets of Melbourne, angrily waving signs expressing their outrage at the big bad government. It happened in other cities too, according to the news, but Melbourne got more attention than anywhere else.
I watched, in horrified interest, as the angry shouting of protesters turned into terrified screams as gunfire erupted in the streets. I can still remember the rapid booming sound of automatic weapons, a little faint – the cameras were a fair distance away – but easily recognisable as the sounds you’d hear in most generic boring action movies.
The cameras were close enough, however, to capture the important bits; people dropping their signs and screaming, running to find the friends and family they had dragged along with them, probably hoping there was someone behind them to block the hail of bullets. People running away in terror, taking cover in nearby buildings or holding up their hands in surrender while hoping that they’d just be arrested.
Tough luck for them, I guess.
The politicians went on TV and radio to blame it on extremists. The extremists went on social media to blame it on the government. It was around this time that I looked out the window to see the neighbours I barely knew packing their car and heading for…somewhere.
“World’s ending mate,” one of them said when I’d come out to ask him where they were going. “Word is there’s a safe-zone being built just outside of Melbourne. If you’re smart, you’ll tag along.”
Don’t believe me when I said I was an idiot? Well listen to this; instead of hopping in my car and following them to this ‘safe-zone’, I stayed in my house, locked all the doors and windows, drew my curtains and went out once to buy as much important-looking stuff that I could find. After that, I kept my lights off and kept a flashlight on me at all times. So I never noticed when the power went out for good.
It wasn’t long after the neighbours left that the TV went dead, but not before showing the streets of Melbourne littered with debris and abandoned vehicles. On the radio, they made some vague statements about martial law and bringing Australia’s armed forces home to restore order.
The radio went silent about two weeks after the TV did, plunging me into the dark. Nobody showed up at my house. No cars came down the street. With the silence came the fear, creeping up on me like a predator stalking prey. It overwhelmed me; I started imagine cities around the globe, deserted and in ruins. New York, London, Washington D.C, Los Angeles, Moscow. The list went on, and the rain and grey skies just added to the quiet gloom.
From the moment the information stopped coming to me, I knew damn well that the basement full of provisions was only going to last so long. If I rationed – even though I wasn’t thrilled at the idea – I could make it a year if I wanted too. But it was that, and the idea of spending all of my time cooped up in my house alone, that made me think about leaving. Packing the car with all the gear it could hold and driving off to nowhere was an idea that I obsessed over. I tried to distract myself with food, writing, and watching movies on my laptop until the battery went dead.
But now I realize that I can only hide in here for so long. Eventually, my food will run out and I’ll be forced to explore the area with no food. I guess I should go out there now while I’m as prepared as I can be.
The next day, I pack the boot and back seat of my car. As far as weapons go, all I’ve got is a few blunt objects. The thought of using them makes me sick to my stomach, but I’ve got no choice; guns were already on the brink of being outlawed and gun shops would have long-since been looted.
After taking one last look at my old house, and taking in the sounds and air of the new world, I get in my car, start the engine, and drive away.
I’ll figure out where I’m going sometime soon.