I drop to my knees in the dust. It had been days since I’d had a proper drink. More than a week since I’d found something to eat. The heat is horrible, and it’s been getting worse since I stopped sweating. But that isn’t what’s getting to me.
It’s the silence.
I’d wondered what the end of the world would look like, but I never even thought about what it would sound like. But this silence is… it’s awful. Oppressive.
All around me nothing moves. Not even the wind dares to rustle the dust. I hardly want to breathe, because the sound of my ragged breath comes out like machine gun fire. When I walk, each shuffling step sounds like a bomb exploding.
I fall forward, my face in the sand. I stare out at the dusty wasteland that used to be green and lush. I wonder if green even exists anymore. If there’s no one else out there to remember it, and I can’t even fathom the concept of green in this desert, can it still be real? Was it ever real? All I see is shades of brown. And red, where my skin has been torn open.
I blink. It’s hard to open my eyes again. It’s been getting harder every day. I wonder what the point is. Why do I keep going? What am I looking for? I think—no, I know—that there’s nothing else out there.
Just the silence. The never-ending desert. The brown. The red.
But that’s it, isn’t it? It’s the red. It’s my own blood that tells me I’m still alive. I keep moving because I don’t want to die. I don’t know why I still live, but I don’t want to die. I know this.
I struggle to stand, my limbs shaking. I take one step, and then another, and then still another. I’ll keep moving. Keep pushing forward, going God knows where. I know what I want.
I’m seeking sanctuary.