setting driven story...
Title: The End of the World as I Know It
Summary: Paris, Rome, and Hong Kong gone; Moscow, Cairo, Sydney, and London destroyed.
The wind howls around me, drowning out the sounds of dogs and blowing through the shells of buildings that were once houses, businesses, and entertainments, all deserted decades ago, back when there was actually a decent amount of people in the world. It carries with it the threat of winter, but it doesn’t bother me any. All I have to worry about is what my contact has to say.
One by one the cities around the world had failed, slowly starting the world’s trip into chaos and death. Paris, Rome, and Hong Kong gone; Moscow, Cairo, Sydney, and London destroyed. All of them have fallen, and they managed to bring down the world’s economy with them. You know of the ‘Great Depression’ of 1929, the one during the presidency of Herbert Hoover? At least they got out of it.
My city, my home, my Chicago, was barely holding on. Everything seemed so robotic now; so mechanical and routine, nothing new has happened for years except for the news of more places failing. How could there be any hope now? The only thing holding up the United States was the fact that Washington D.C. had yet to succumb.
Without a word, I stop walking the train tracks and walk out of the red line's Addison Station. I can see the old Wrigley Field, and it’s amazing how different it is from the pictures that were taken before the collapse of the world. There had been grass in the outfield, and more colors had been available. Now there was only dirt, and the only colors that were left were the faint ghosts of what they were.
Out of the corner of my eye, I can see a rat-dog scurrying down the street, searching for any food the poor thing can find. Instinctively, my hand touches the gun I have hidden in my pocket, knowing that if the mutt found me appetizing, then it would come after me and there would be nothing able to stop it except for a bullet. If I had to use it, I would be putting the damned thing out of its misery and saving myself at the same time. How handy that would be.
I watch the mutt for a moment more before glancing at my watch, the face barely visible with the light from the full moon covered in the clouds that hung there all the time now, almost as if they were hiding the world from the horrors beyond, or keeping some god or goddess from peeking in on us and seeing how horrible everything is.
Squinting and seeing that it was nearing midnight, I turn right and start off at a run towards the intersection of North Sheffield Avenue and West Addison Street, hoping to get to the entrance for the bleacher seats so I could meet up with my contact before she disappeared again, keeping me and the others from finding out the fate of the rest of us and the rest of the world. Halfway there, I have to stop and cover my face from the wind, having to choose between breathing and seemingly being suffocated by the chilly wind.
Slowly, I make it to the entrance, having found the perfect balance between running and covering my mouth, and part of my collar had developed a layer of condensation from my breathing. I get there and look at my watch, glad to see that I had a minute to catch my breath before my contact arrives.
However, with a yelp and a grunt, I find myself getting pulled back through the doorway before I have a chance to catch my breath. I do whatever I can to recover when we stop, and I lean against the wall and look at her as she goes to sit down, her face lit by the fire that she had started in a little pit.
“Is there any news?” I ask, my patience having disappeared on me a long time ago.
My contact looks up and searches me for something. “There is, and I’m afraid that it doesn’t bring any hope at all.”
“What is it?”
“Washington D.C. is not far from failing. Everyone is leaving the city.”
“And what are we supposed to do now?”
“All that we can do is go on about our regular lives, and hope we die before the suffering becomes too much.”
I search for words, but find none. A knowing expression crosses her face, and I have no desire to hear more from her as I start on my way back out to the streets. My world was over. My home, my city, my Chicago would soon be another idea of the past.