He pushed himself on tired legs. With 11 kilometres to go, and the sun almost touching the hills, he wondered if he had spent his last day on earth. As a Christian, he didn’t fear death; only that it seemed such a waste of his life. At only 15, he hadn’t achieved anything of any lasting consequence. Sadly, with the passing of the world, he lacked the opportunity to make a difference, even if he had lived.
Barely able to run at a decent jogging pace, his hopes withered with its feeble thrashings. The sun had dipped its underside beneath the ridge, and continued to sink, like a dagger into his heart. He pushed on out of duty; not that he had any great desire to live, only that to give up was a lack of faith for his God.
Two yellow squares presented themselves a few kilometres into the distance. Brad’s goggles zoomed in, revealing a lonely garage with a shed both painted in the same colour. He had forgotten about the garage. His parents never pulled in there to refuel. They often complained of the exorbitant prices displayed on the sign.
Brad exerted himself; his eyes firmly fixed on his goal. Sunlight dimmed with the sun’s descent, lowering the temperature as Brad raced the last kilometre and a half to the garage. He trotted to a halt at the front door, grateful that it remained unlocked. With rifle aimed ahead of him, he entered the main shop area and checked among the shelves. They appeared almost barren, possibly picked clean by other survivors.
He took out two bottles of ginger beer from the fridge; he hated ginger beer, but thirsty as he felt, he guzzled one, then stashed the other one in his pack. A quick scan of the shelves for food revealed cans of minted vegetables, such as asparagus and beans.
“I’m not hungry enough to eat them yet,” he muttered.
His search for food ended with racks of homemade chocolates and sweets by the cash register. He tore into a ragged ball of chocolate, as the stashed more into his pack. The confectionery consisted of marshmallow and nuts. He forced himself to swallow as he dreaded the oversweet mixture, determined to continue eating until the nagging in his stomach subsided. Tomorrow, he would shoot something to get meat into his diet.
Through the window he stared. Absent of streetlights, the darkened road seemed eerily quiet. On the other side, he could make out the lines of fruit trees. Anything could lurk in there; even watch him now. He took an armload of tourist towels from the shelves by the counter and looked for somewhere to sleep out of sight of the windows. It had to be behind the counter.
He locked the front door and rounded the counter. A skeleton wearing a light cotton dress and apron laid on the floor.
“I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to move you in a minute.”
A door beside him stood ajar. It led into the shed beside the garage. Brad didn’t want to enter the dark. There may or may not be something inside, but he thought it more prudent to simply lock the door.
He reached for the knob and froze as something growled softly from within the gloom. Cautiously, he withdrew his hand, causing the rumbling in the darkness to cease.