Sunrise Part One
My name is Emily; I’m a normal 12-year-old; I should be running around the house, or playing with friends, going to school. Our world has changed, for reasons unknown, the sun stopped rising. The world was plunged into a second Dark Age. Humanity divided into warring tribes every day was literally a fight for survival.
I can’t remember exactly when the sun stopped rising; I was probably 7 years old; I distinctly remember playing and exploring Yellowstone national park with my family. It was a sort of checkmate in one move, the darkness I mean, plants, crops stopped growing and dried up, trees withered. Without the sun, the earth cooled exponentially. And without plants, the animals began to starve, unable to reproduce. At least, the herbivores, the carnivores evolved into carnivorous beasts who either hunted themselves to extinction or developed a taste for human flesh.
We were nearly out of food and supplies; we had sheltered in a Wal-Mart, so it was our job to go out every night and forage for either food, weapons, building supplies, or even, if we were lucky, a new safe place to settle. But every time we scoured at night, our numbers would dwindle as we would fight emboldened desperate bears or wolves which lurked in the dark. Sometimes we fought rival gangs; they were trying to kill us for our supplies, the joke was on them. Survivors would sit around the destroyed store and contemplate our truly pathetic plight and take their own lives.
One night, I was foraging outside when I came across a large house covered entirely in vines and debris. There was light emanating from the windows. Were there people? The front door was boarded up planks, but I could easily open the door. I cautiously stepped inside. I was surprised to see the light was coming from hundreds of candles all over the house. I went to the refrigerator, remembering my task. Food! Wow! I opened the cupboards and saw more food as well. It looks like this house has a larder. While I was packing the food into my backpack, I heard footsteps coming from upstairs. I climbed the stairs and followed the footsteps down a long hallway. There was a room at the end of the hall. I approached the door, and as I touched the door handle, I saw something move from under the door space.
Was it someone I should be afraid of? I kicked the door down. I entered a room that had lots of furniture pieces covered up in dirty white sheets. Toys and comic books littered the floor. There were emergency flashlights all over the room. It looked like someone had been camping in the room. A kid? Wonder where they went…
Just then, I heard the click of a handgun and a voice behind me. “Who are you!?” I turned around and saw a boy holding a gun aimed at me! He was a black kid who looked to be about my age. I could see that his hands were trembling as he held the gun. Maybe it was his first time encountering another person in a while.
“I won’t hurt you.” I said. “Please lower the gun, and we can talk.” To show that I meant no harm, I lowered the bat to the ground. “See? I’m not gonna hurt anyone.”
The boy looked at me for a bit, and then he too lowered the gun. “Who-who are you? What are you doing here?” he timidly asked.
“Emily and I’m looking for food for my family.” I replied. “What’s your name?”
“Chadwick.” The boy said. “And you’re not here to hurt me?”
“No, I wouldn’t.” I replied. “What are you doing here?”
“I live here.” He said. “Mom and Dad went out to look for help. But they never came back.” His parents must be dead. I thought. I watched as he crossed over to the stack of comic books and toys and then he asked. “Do-do you want to read one with me? We could play a game after. ”
Play. I haven’t heard that word in a long time. “I want to, but…I have to bring food to my family.”
“Just for a little bit.” Chadwick said. “And… There’s lots of food in the kitchen and pantry. You can bring that to them.” He held out a die-cast car to me. “Come on, let’s play.”
It has been so long since I last played, he meant no harm, I took the bright orange mustang from his hand. Soon we started playing games of all sorts. Board games, make-believe, you name it. For the first time in a long time, I felt like a child again, playing with another kid and laughing. I could tell Chadwick felt the same. We played for what seemed like hours until I finally realized it was getting late.
“I have to go back.” I said. “My family might be looking for me.”
“I see.” Chadwick said. “Will you come back and see me soon?”
“Yeah!” I said. “I had the best time ever!”
“Me too.” He said, smiling the biggest, happiest smile in the world. “I had the best time in the world. And I hope it stays that way.”
I quickly waved goodbye and hurried back home. I gave my backpack to my Dad, who asked me where I got the food. I told him that I found it in an old house, purposely leaving out Chadwick. I don’t know why I omitted him in the explanation, maybe because I wanted it to be a secret of sorts. I know now that the house was a sort of oasis and Chadwick was magic. I can’t remember the last time I had a friend; children don’t tend to live long. Either way, my family got food and I got to be a kid again. I didn’t know then that would be the start of something I never thought possible.