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Everything began without warning. The winds roared and the waves towered high above, cackling as they swallowed all that the world had held close. The screams of the buildings, people, sidewalks, all were silenced by the blanket of water. Running down an empty street I shrieked, watching as the water prepared to bite. Colors blurred, voices muffled, whoosh, everything is carried away.
My eyes crack open, staring up into the sunset. Thoughts race through my mind, the wave, the screams, the horror. The world is silent, the steady chatter no longer fills the streets. No one is left, not a speck of life can be seen.
I used to be afraid of crossing the street, worried the cars wouldn't stop and they would hit me. I always pondered where I'd go when I died. Away, lost in oblivion, alone, searching for something to touch. Never did I think I would be in such a situation when I was alive and well.
This was a busy, powerful city in the past, at any moment you had a 75% chance of seeing a celebrity walking in the streets, being one of the crowd. Large corporations chose this city to be their headquarters. We were rich, we felt important. I bet all of the CEOs thought they were the ones who were going to be in history books, generations away people would say their name in awe. The minute disaster struck, all of their empires crumbled into nothing. There are no more children to whisper their name. There is only me.
It's only me to remember all of the people that once lived. I was always told to make my mark on the world, but never did I believe I'd have the task of remembering everyone else's marks too.
Tough challenges or disasters for that matter don't daunt me. When I was a 21, all of my family died in an airplane crash. I stil had to go on with college, get my Bachelors, and my Masters, and do everything like nothing happened. I was an adult. I couldn't break down and cry. That hardened my heart against future tragedies, and it may be the reason I'm not so effected by this one. It's not the fear of being alone that scares me, it's the fear of being lost. Having no path. No dreams to hope for.
I used to know these streets inside an out, but all of the buildings blend together into the same, the streets too destroyed to even recognize. Billboards hang helplessly on the posts, the streets lie cracked and useless beneath my feet. I do not know this city that I stand in anymore, but I still have a path. A path to something better. I have hope.
Once the day disappears and night covers the Earth, the feeling of lost begins to set in. The feeling that every step could be the wrong step, every breath might be your last. In the darkness, mysterious things begin to happen. Your eyes easily twist images, you see things that aren't really even there, you feel a hand touch your shoulder when it's really only the air. I look up to the sky full of stars, unaware of my presence in a tiny, fallen apart world light years away from them. They give me tiny crumbs of hope that maybe aliens will come and rescue me from this darkness, and I will sail away in a UFO safe in the hands of the aliens. Far fetched I know, but you play these games with yourself when there is nothing more to hope for.
I can feel the soot and dirt common of an alleyway, and I lightly feel a brick wall behind me. Sliding down, I sit on the bare ground and close my eyes, dreaming of something better. In my dream, it is the City Festival, where all are let off from work, school, or any other obligation and we dance around the city square and rainbow confetti flies everywhere. Arcade game stands line every street, children and adults alike enjoy the fun little prizes. There's an aura of pure happiness, no worries, no thoughts. I was strolling around the plaza, watching all of the schoolchildren as they ran about, shouting at one another with
bright colored ribbons tied in their hair. Beneath my feet I felt a soft rumble, then a larger, one, then a larger one, and the ground began to split in two. The atmosphere was crowded with fear and shrieks, as everyone tried to grab hold of their loved ones on the other side. Running away, I weaved down the streets in the comfort of the buildings, although a growing sense of fear was taking over me. The fear that I had no path, no place to be. I didn't have anyone to scream for, I was alone amongst the giant buildings, I was on a race to nowhere. The sun grew dimmer and dimmer as I mindlessly wandered the streets, panicked and flustered, every footstep beating on the ground like a drum. Darkness was taking over, and I continued to run faster and faster only this time the street seemed to go on forever and ever. My feet never stopped moving, the darkness constantly biting at my heels, and it seems like I would run forever...until a voice whispers in my ear.
“Wake up, wake up,” it whispers, gently patting my shoulder. My eyes shoot open, heart still pounding from the nightmare. I look up and see a pale, almost transparent face with glowing blue eyes staring back at me. “Shhhhhh,” it whispers, “don't let the devils hear you.” Taking my hand, it begins to lead me away, and oddly enough, I follow.
“What devils?” I whisper, looking around, although all I see is darkness. The figure looks back at me and shudders, and their eyes dart, looking into the distance and shuddering.
“The devils lurk in every nook and cranny. In every shadow, any place of darkness, they hide, and pray on the weak, the vulnerable. Your nightmare was nothing more than the work of a devil. Devils trap you in your nightmares, you may have run forever and ever away from the splitting Earth. But it is such a torture to run that long, isn't it? So, I had to save you.” Stories of devils, good guys, bad guys, they all sound like they're meant to be on television or in novels. Life appears so simple, so straightforward, but we never know what really goes on unless we look close, until there's nothing left to focus on but the details.
I look up and see I begin to see a long, long road, like the one in my dream, except this one is filled with hope, and the sun lies in the sky to guide my way. My city is an isolated little community surrounded by the vast desert, and the world lies beyond. We begin to run, surging faster and faster with every step. In the distance, a small village begins to emerge, with green grass and daisies, and log cabins and tall trees. The figure stares back at me, beginning to fade into the sunlight.
“Hope is what the Devils tried to get rid of. Now hope is what I'm giving to you. There is something better.” It whispers, and I begin to lose the touch of it's hand as it fades into nothingness. I turn my attention back to the village which seems so far, yet so close at the same time. I begin to hear the sound of voices, children's laughter, echo across the land. The road to my dream of reaching that village seems never ending, but with every step I am closer. No matter if I run 20 more minutes or 20 more years, I will run all the way.

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