This church is my outpost for tonight. Tomorrow I continue West. Looking through the abandoned cathedral, I find a door going downstairs and I follow down it. No batteries for my flashlight. It’s nearly impossible to find batteries that haven’t corroded. When I was younger, I occasionally wondered what it was like to go blind. Times like this are when I know. No windows and no light source. Feeling my way down, I come across another door at the bottom. Perfect. I walk back up the stairs into the dim light. I’ve got maybe an hour.
Before I start, I grab a can of vienna sausages and my water flask from my tattered bag. Some people say those sausages are an acquired taste. I’d have to call them insane. Then again at this point it’s more likely that I am the insane one. No matter. I choke them down and flush the taste out with some water. I can’t drunk too much. Always must conserve. Clean water is not always easy to find. The taste lingers slightly. I remember the early days. Eating more than once daily, gulping down my water with no care. I eventually ran out of food and drink. I think I nearly died then. I’ve learned to conserve my commodities and take care not to over-consume.
Putting my things away, I start to seal every ground-level entrance. I’m lucky that there are no low windows. I’m not so lucky that pews are incredible heavy. Then again, I’m also lucky that they are not bolted to the floor. 50 minutes at most. I begin pushing one of the massive wooden pews. Little by little, it shifts across the rough stone floor towards the door. I need to keep changing which end I push to keep it straight. It takes at least twenty minutes until I get it to the door. The task is exhausting. I also bar the door. Luckier still, the wood has not rotten through yet. I approach the stairs and check the door. Deadbolt on the inside. This place is perfect. I step through and lock the door behind me. Just me and the darkness now. I walk down to find and open the door at the bottom. Another lock on the inside. I enter and lock it.
I cannot see a thing. I know nothing of this room’s form or function. I assume the priests used to do work down here. I feel around for the makeshift torch and lighter in my bag. I try not to use them, but there may be something of use. As I light the torch, the room is clear. Small, not more than four square meters. An old wooden desk and cabinet. I start in the cabinet. Old papers, stale bread, and empty bottle of church wine… And a silver necklace with a cross hanging from it. I do not believe in any gods, but I take it anyway. Perhaps it will bring more good luck. Towards the back is a musty old can of mixed fruit. I take it, hoping the contents haven’t spoiled. I next turn my sights to the desk. Four drawers. The first on the bottom left is empty. The bottom right is more stacks of old papers. The top right contains half a bottle of scotch. Dated 1987. Before my time. I take it and put it in my bag. Perhaps if I can find an ample water supply I can amuse myself for a night. The top left drawer has a bible in it. I leave it be. I put out my light and sit on the hard floor. I should survive tonight.
After some time, I drift to sleep. Even if they did breach the massive main door, I wouldn’t hear them. Some hours pass.
I wake to the darkness. A dreamless sleep. My internal clock tells me that I’ve still got an hour before dawn. I hope it can be trusted. I think back to the first night of this. The day everything changed.
Nobody saw it coming. Nothing indicated a change. One night, everything just changed. The whole world. My family was downstairs. I was occupied by a book in my room. Then all I hear is screaming. My entire nuclear family screaming bloody murder. All I could think was that an intruder had entered the house. I wasn’t entirely wrong. In a panic, all I found myself doing was pushing my bookshelf in front of my door, which luckily opened inward, and hid under my bed. I suppose I’ve had a lucky life. Banging on the door started. Not some sort of hard knocking, but full force banging on it. The shelf held the door in place. In the days where rotten wood was far less common. The banging went on all night. I didn’t sleep that night. I left my hiding spot probably an hour after the banging. It was bright out again. Nobody in the streets. No sound. I went down to find my family. Whatever they are, the drained all of their blood with no wounds to the flesh. I left the house. Nothing. Knocked on doors. Nothing. It was as if humanity ceased to exist.
In a way, it did. Billions must have died that night. If not, hundreds of millions. The world changed that day. No wind. Sudden weather changes. Animals went from common to extremely rare, which no cadavers to be found. The day the world ended. Now I just survive. I’ve got no idea why or to what end. It must just be the animal-like drive to survive. To live on to another day.
After deep thought on the past I’ll never know again, it must be morning. I unlock the door after feeling for it.
It’s time to move again.