Almost a day after I got serious about food, an act of something godly intervenes. I found a landmark that corresponds with a guide book. Thank the gods for muffins. According to the book, there's a river nearby that is company to a camping spot. I clear the hill and exit the forest to be shocked.
"Well I think I'm reading this guide wrong," I murmur to myself in suprise, "'cause this is defiantly not a, ah, 'Small, good camping area – a great place to get away to!' in any way."
Before me is possibly one of the biggest tourist franchises I have ever seen. There are street performers, booths full of food and (probably overpriced) trinkets, all walks of clothing for sale and even a small petting zoo. It must me a carnival or a fair, because there are thousands of people swarming this new self-contained city. Hm. This could be the perfect place for me to start my new life, the fair provides enough odd jobs and there could even be a chance that I might find a steady job at a booth or something. I could check this out and then continue onto the seaside if I don't like it? That sounds fairly okay to me…
I debate about leaving my bags hidden in the woods where I can find them, but end up keeping them and start to jog down to the festivities. This is before I realize something is wrong. I can't hear any voices from the city at all. There's a hush of awe, pertaining to something out of my vision, something to make near everyone drop their voices. And then it broke.
I could hear the massacre before I saw it. Thousands of people's voices, screaming and crying, were drowned out in a mighty roar. I couldn't stay myself and sooner than I could take into account what I was doing, I began to run. I ran for longer and faster than I had ever run before. The ground melted into a blur beside me, and the packs on my back were weightless to me. I had to run to it, it was the only thing I could do. Belatedly it occurred to me that I was running to a disaster, where people would be dead, dying and grief stricken.
And then I heard the second wave.
There were no screams for help, or shrieks of shock, dismay or grief. The wave came to quickly for anyone to take a breath, much less emit a sound. The silence was even worse, cruelly deafening my ears in its roar of fury and then suddenly it was gone.
Facing me what had once been the most prosperous of cities lay in the ruined wake of a monsoon. It was devastating. I looked at the figures floating through the streets on the waves of water… all I could think was…
Everyone is dead.
I dropped my bags at that point and fell to my knees, crying in grief for all the dead people, all the dead chances of a new life and all the lost hope. I had heard every single voice explode in my head, just like when the science lab blew up. "Please god," I cried in my mind, "don't let them join me like the others did, please, I don't want to go insane!" my vision blurs even more, and I can feel warm tears cutting tracks on my cheeks unbidden.
I had barely begun to cry when the silence accompanying my grief was shattered. And it could only have shattered in such a profound way with the simplest single gasping, spluttering, and choking breath.