The house was quiet. Its single human inhabitant lay asleep in his bedroom on his luxurious king-sized bed, legs tangled in laborious folds of the heavy blankets and dressed in his favorite pajamas. It was utterly silent; no lost dogs barking, no noisy, impatient car honking or splashing through the streets and no modern technology with its electronic buzz. Mr. Kinston turned over in his bed, his light, pleasant snores only stirring the air around him.
Suddenly an otherworldly buzz filled the room, and Mr. Kinston, waking, turned off the alarm on his clock radio. Yawning, he sat up and stretched, an illustrious grin spreading across his face. Looking around, he blinked rapidly for a few moments, licking his dried lips and thinking of the splendid activities that would fill his day.
He got out of bed and walked into the bathroom adjacent to the bedroom. Inside, he shut the door behind him and sat down on the bone porcelain toilet as he shed himself of his pajamas, humming tunelessly.
A long shower at the precise temperature proceeded, and when Mr. Kinston got out he put on his brown and black striped bathrobe. From the top drawer on the counter came a half filled tube of shaving cream, which he applied and shaved afterwards, now whistling.
"I wonder what's for breakfast, today," he remarked to himself, which he found himself doing a lot recently. He rubbed his hands together and opened the bathroom door to the rest of the house, a thick cloud of bath steam dissolving into the bedroom air.
Mr. Kinston made his way to the stairway and descended, his feet comfortable and pleasant as the walked on the clothed steps. At the bottom, he went through the living room and found himself in the kitchen.
In the center was a large wooden table with a red table cloth, and the walls were bordered by cream counters and chrome sinks and the latest technologically advanced appliances. At the table were four situated chairs, all empty but the one at the head, which was occupied by Mrs. Kinston. Her body was slumped backward and her eyes store off into space.
"Good morning," Mr. Kinston said to his wife, cheerful, as he walked to the refrigerator, stopping only to give an affectionate kiss on his wife's forehead, at which he whole head lolled to the side. "Do eggs and toast sound appetizing, Charlotte dear?" Mr. Kinston said, opening the refrigerator and admiring its contents. "Good. It's just what I'm in the mood for." He took out a few eggs and two slices of bread, putting the bread in the toaster and the eggs on a frying pan.
"It's strange, you know," Mr. Kinston started, "that out of the whole blasted world, you and I are the only to survive. And Boxer, too." He paused for a minute, as if listening to an answer. "Yes, thank heavens we are both all right." He took two plates from the cabinet and loaded them with breakfast. "Breakfast is served," he said, placing a plate in front of his wife and then the other at the opposite end of the table and sitting down in front of it. "Oh!" Mr. Kinston exclaimed, laughing, "I forgot our orange juice." After this task was accomplished, he sat back down and put an embroidered napkin in his lap.
"Well, it's Sunday. Are you thinking of going to church?" Mr. Kinston asked. He took a bite from his blackened toast, and then a sip from the glass juice cup. "Well, I wasn't. We got a Bible right here at home, right?" He laughed, throwing his head back. His eyes seemed to roll back into his head. "And this – it's a Sunday breakfast, is it not?" Another bite of toast. "I'm glad you like it." A few minutes later, "I think I'm going to go up to the supermarket, today. Stock up on canned meats and canned fruits and canned bread. Of all the metal scrap and aluminum that we buy, it should be an alternative energy source!" He laughed, bringing his white and gold napkin to his mouth and wiping. "I'll take Boxer for a walk, too."
Standing, he took his and his wife's cups and plates and put them in the dishwasher. He gave her another kiss on the cheek and left the room. Mrs. Kinston's face leaned to an even stranger position.
Mr. Kinston went down the stone steps to the basement and took Boxer out from his cage. Mr. Kinston took the leash from the table nearby and fastened it to Boxer's collar, who barked excitedly.
"Let's go, boy," he said, giving his dog a pat on the head. Boxer ran up the steps, the bell on his collar ringing with each bound. Mr. Kinston followed up the steps while Boxer waited, running in circles at the top landing.
Traversing the first floor, they went through the thick heavy door with brass knockers and doorknobs and down the lengthy porch steps. Boxer's eyes did not even shade to the three or four lawn chairs strewn to his right left; the stayed on the perpendicular road ahead.
The first few breaths that Mr. Kinston took in were, like always, hard and thick; a pungent sour odor had permeated the air, condensing and reflecting and evaporating far away to create the orange-red skies and looming, purple clouds. He wondered if it was this same strange smell that had yellowed the grass and stripped the trees of their earthy color.
But nevertheless, the first few breaths had passed and Mr. Kinston was still walking, and so was Boxer. They reached the sidewalk and started on their way to the supermarket, Boxer sniffing a dead old lady's body splayed across the driveway and Mr. Kinston stepping over it.
As the couple made their way to the supermarket, the sun rose. Its bright brilliance and steadfast predictability was almost the only the only thing that had retained its old self.