This story has no title. Why? Because it’s ominous and weird and unique. But mostly ominous. Maybe I should have titled this story “Ominous” because that’s what it is. But I didn’t. I called it “This Story Has No Title” which technically means that it has a title. Clearly I didn’t think this through.
Rosa was exhausted, and rightfully so! She had pulled a 12 hour shift at the restaurant and was only now able to get some rest before her next shift early the next morning. Ugh. Work can be such a pain some times!
She set her phone alarm for 8:00 AM the next morning and almost before she closed her eyes she was asleep. Her last thought before drifting away was “I hope I get tipped well tomorrow.”
When Rosa woke up, it was quiet.
She lifted her head off the pillow, awake and instantly confused. This seemed like a dream but felt so real!
What’s going on?
Looking around, she saw that it was light outside.
Weird, it feels like it should be dark!
She reached for her phone and sat up to look at it. Nothing but a blank screen greeted her expectant eyes.
What’s going on? it should be charging!
She followed the charging cable with her eyes to the outlet where it was plugged in just as it should be.
So why isn’t it charging? This is SO weird!
Rosa bolted to her feet, startled, even though it had been a full minute since she first suspected that everything was different.
Everything is different!
She said it aloud. It sounded weird. The words felt stale in the air; echoey, hollow. Something was definitely off.
Rosa walked five steps that way and reached for her door handle. Fear seized her and she froze.
She let out her breath in a gasp.
I was holding my breath? Whoa, calm down, Rosa. There’s nothing to be afraid of.
She took a few long breaths then opened the door.
Nothing assaulted her, which was good, but something definitely felt off. She walked slowly from room to room in her one story apartment, taking in her surroundings. At the end of her tour, she found herself at the front window. She gazed out upon the neighborhood.
What is it? Why does everything feel so… weird??
She sprinted to the front door and turned the key in the lock. Opening the door, she left it behind in a hurry.
Even the air outside felt weird. The sun felt colder, the sky looked grayer although it was a cloudless day.
Day? How can it be the middle of the day already? I set my alarm! Why didn’t my alarm go off? Why did my phone die? Where is everybody? I hope Mildred is okay!
Mildred lived directly across the street from Rosa. She was an elderly woman who was in remarkable shape. She was eighty-eight and still played tennis. Rosa had grown very close to Mildred since she had moved in, visiting at least a couple times a week to engage in friendly chats and the occasional glass of wine. The old woman had always inspired her to live more intentionally. In the back of her mind, Rosa knew that Mildred would die someday sooner than later, and that fear was constantly nagging at her.
Answer the door, Mildred!
After waiting not long at all, Rosa busted in. Good thing she had a key.
No answer. Fear crept higher. She checked every room. No Mildred. In fact, it didn’t appear like anybody had lived there for years!
Rosa ran back outside. At this point, she was beyond confused; she was ready to break down in a fit of tears if somebody didn’t explain what the heck was going on!
Where is everybody?
After knocking on a couple more doors in the neighborhood with no success, she returned to her own house, pushing back the emotions that so quickly fought for her attention. She grabbed her keys and tried her car. Dead.
NO! What is going on?!
Rosa was getting desperate. As a last effort of sanity (although as she looked back on it later, she realized it was more of an effort of insanity), she began jogging down her street and out of her neighborhood. The restaurant she worked at was just a few minutes down the road; surely she’d find somebody there!
Normally she would’ve been breathing heavily after a few minutes of jogging, but adrenaline told a different story. She was superhuman in this moment, like a mom saving her child from beneath an SUV.
Keep running. You’ll find somebody. Don’t worry. Everything will be okay.
It’s amazing she found so much positivity in an obviously corrupt and hostile world. If she had had a little more strategy in the moment, a little more discernment, maybe a dash of perception, she may have been able to avoid some future pain. But in her current mental state, the sky could have be falling and she wouldn’t have noticed.
She stopped running when she reached the restaurant. Now she knew something was wrong; everything was wrong, actually.
The restaurant was abandoned. It was run down; crumbling. It looked like the apocalypse had happened there.
You have to understand something about Rosa. Although she was one of those weirdos who actually believed the zombie apocalypse was a realistic expectation of the future, she had been too lazy to prepare. Aside from watching The Walking Dead, she had done no more than merely conjecture about what she would do if presented with an apocalyptic situation.
Well now she was presented with an apocalyptic situation, and what did she do?
Rosa fell to the ground, unconscious.