When I look back on everything that happened, perhaps I could have been more empathetic in the aftermath, but there’s no telling if empathy could have been my cause of death. Maybe had I gone out to find my family, I would have ended up in some ditch with others with likeminded goals. I cowered inside, watching and hearing the riots outside. The thought of going out in it made me fearful of my inability to fight back or outrun anyone.
I watched my coworkers’ faces as they registered the fact that a real emergtency was happening. Their gazes slowly traveled up in the direction of the sound of the alarms as though the world were traveling in slow motion. I felt my phone go off and checked what was incoming. My parents were calling, my roommate was calling, and my cable company was calling, presumably because I hadn’t paid my bill in tow months. Instead of picking one or the other to talk to, I pulled out my gas mask issued when the first virus outbreak came out. It seemed a little thin and flimsy as I stared at it in the fluorescent lighting, so I threw it into the trash and then crawled under my desk, and hoped everything would just work itself out.
In some respect, it did. Those of us who survived were locked in the building, effectively cut off from the rest of the world. In the days that followed, we made unfruitful searches on the news, which then turned into rumors that I suspected people were just making up.
“I heard,” my direct supervisor said on the second day into our forced stay at the office. “That pet shelters were selling hospitals infected organs. And that’s what happened.”
I shook my head. “Maybe you should check your sources on that,” I said. “Remember when that got disproven six months ago?”
She thought about it. “Was that where I heard it?”
“That’s where everyone heard it.”
The lack of constant information is hard, especially when you come from a time when it was so easy to get. No media, no Internet, nothing. I even lost all my high scores on Tetris on my phone. Welcome to the Stone Ages.Daphne Lamb was raised in the wilds of Colorado and now resides in a very different wilderness known as Los Angeles. She is a comedian and award winning writer who has worked in television, film and video games. In her spare time, she enjoys collecting comic books, discussing awesomely bad movies and thinks about what it would be like to own a cat.