It was a hot summer evening and Lacy contemplated the setting sun from her perch by the window. The dust shifted slightly as the wind blew. She hadn’t seen rain for so long, she wondered if it would ever come back again. The desolate landscape, empty buildings – sometimes they would get to her.
A portable Walkman CD player sat beside her and she picked it up and walked to the stacks of music – she looked through the stacks of CDs and finally found the one she wanted. “Klemperer Beethoven Symphony No. 9 Choral” were printed on the front cover of the CD. She popped it into the Walkman – her walkman, really – and went back to looking out the window. Night was coming on fast and with it, tendrils of sleep began to mingle with Lacy’s thoughts as she drifted off to sleep.
Lacy jolted awake. She heard a ping as something hit the window beside her head. She looked out quickly, surveying the street. Her eyes locked on a boy, not much older than herself, who was getting ready to throw another rock at the window. She backed away from the window and moved towards the large glass doors, yelling as she exited.
“Hey, stop throwing rocks at the window!”
The boy looked at her and a rock flew from his grasp, hitting her in the head. The impact knocked her back and, sitting down, she felt a trickle of blood make its way down her forehead and nose, until it reached her lips. The metallic taste made its way to her mouth, and a surge of nausea came over her. She had to work hard to steady herself, especially when she noticed that the boy was advancing on her.
She started to get up to walk inside, but the boy’s words stopped her.
“I’m sorry for hitting you in the head.”
She looked at him.
“Well, why did you do it?”
“I don’t know. I guess I didn’t know what to expect. I was a bit scared, I guess.”
“It’s been a while since I’ve seen anybody. I mean, after … ”
He stopped there. He didn’t need to explain it – she already knew what he was talking about. The memories remained with her. In actuality, it wasn’t really a sudden collapse. It wasn’t just one thing that happened, but rather a multitude. The US had become a militant nation, a virulent strain of HIV that began infecting people by the millions and with people dying left and right, it wasn’t long before the revolution took hold. But then, it was too late. The already collapsing economy imploded, and amidst the blood and violence, very few remained alive. And those that did knew how to protect themselves. Lacy remembered her parents vaguely – remembered the privileged lives they’d had before everything fell apart. She remembered ice cream and trips to the beach. But now that was all behind her. Dust and heat was all that was left.