2015 -- 7.2 (Spring) Fiction

The Culvert

by Anonymous


Curled up in the culvert, I spun the cylinder on my revolver as I struggled to release the last shred of emotions that had once made me feel human. To my surprise and discomfort, a black crow landed by my feet. To me, it was a sign that the loaded gun in my hands was ready to be used. If I wasn’t going to travel outwards, then I would surely either die from the cold or the heartache of infinite solitude.

Although I had no real way of tracking the days anymore, I figured that it had been almost a year since the plague had wiped out humanity. Ironically enough, one could assume that my immunity to this severe, lethal pneumonia would have made me incredibly fortunate, but as it turned out, no one else in the city of Albany had been quite as lucky.

For months on end, I made radio calls that were never answered. I considered traveling south to avoid harsh winters as well as potentially finding others, but I couldn’t bring myself to leave the borders of my hometown. I wasn’t sure whether I was more terrified of impending disappointment or simply feared interacting with strangers again.

It was late February when it happened, right after most of the snow had already fallen and melted for the season. I assumed that it was around late October or early November by now. The weather was becoming crisp and I had an intuition that snow would soon fall. Survival had been slightly challenging without electricity so far, but I made do. The city had an endless supply of candles, blankets, canned goods and water to last the rest of my lifetime. My main concern was the amount of snow that would fill the streets. I could only shovel so much by myself. Soon enough, it wouldn’t matter anyway.

“Goodbye,” I said, holding the barrel to my head and making direct eye contact with the bird.

Just then, something happened that inevitably saved my life. Perhaps the bird was not an ominous sign of death, but God creating a split second distraction so I did not pull the trigger before I was able to spot the beautiful woman walking towards me. Did I still believe in God? I wasn’t sure of anything at that moment. I wasn’t even sure if I had been hallucinating or not. Maybe I had finally gone mad. Although my mind was mesmerized, my body reacted instantly. I jumped out of the culvert and tucked the handle of the gun in the back of my waistband.

A petite, blond and incredibly attractive woman approached me with the sudden movements of a small rabbit. Her appearance was not nearly as grungy as my own, so I assumed that she had remained more secluded.

She was obviously nervous, but I knew that she was just as excited to see another human being as I was. I finally heard the soft, timid voice of this angel say, “Hi there, my name is Angela. You are the first person that I’ve seen in a really long time.”

Angela. Of course, she had the name of an angel too. I held my hands up in surrender and said, “It’s okay Angela, I’m friendly. You are the first other survivor that I have met so far.” I held out my hand for her to shake. “Blake. Nice to meet you.”

She smiled with teeth whiter than those one would imagine seeing in the apocalypse. Then again, I’m sure that she has had just as much access to the endless supply of toothpaste as I have.

“What have you been through, sweetheart?” I asked tenderly.

“Well, I’m from Troy. I’ve been held up in my home, for the most part. I’ve only wandered three times. Twice I have filled my van with food and supplies, which lasted me for months. This is my third time. Before now, I didn’t want to leave the walls of my home, for those walls were the only true thing that I had left that made me feel safe and helped me remain sane. I think that I finally faced the fact that I was going to die alone and I also feared the harshness of the winter, so I decided to head south.”

“That’s what I considered doing, but I had essentially given up on trying. Angela, you truly don’t realize what you have just saved me from,” I said, carefully revealing my gun, ensuring that it was pointing at me, not her. She jumped back instantly. I could tell that she was not familiar with it’s presence. “Please, don’t be scared. I won’t hurt you.”

“Were you about to…”

“Yes, I think so. I mean I know so. Either way, thank you. I really owe my life to you.”

She looked at me expressionless, eyes wide. I could sense how terrified she was. I felt as though I was trying to coax over a baby deer in the woods. I unloaded the gun, pouring the bullets into my tattered shirt pocket and placed the gun in the culvert. She had to know that she was completely safe. We stared at each other in awe for a moment. She was so beautiful. Instantly, I was no longer the most unfortunate fellow on the planet, but a man of incredible luck. What were the odds that the first person I found would be this stunning? I wondered if I would have a chance with a girl like her during domestic times. We inched closer and closer together, examining every detail, as if we were reassuring ourselves of each others existence. The sensation I got from being next to her was remarkable. I held my palm to her cheek, craving to touch and taste and smell every bit of her. I pulled her in for a passionate embrace and we held each other there tightly, surging with the longing desire that we each possessed. Angela, the delicate angel, saved me from myself.