We trudged for a lot of hours, climbing on top of burnt buildings or sliding off of tarmac to get from one place to another. Every road and street we saw just broke a piece of my heart every time. You never really appreciate something until its gone. Now I understand the metaphor funnily enough. I looked at our once country literally shattered and burnt to bits. What was once filled with people walking down the road chatting about their day, or taking your child to the park? People in their Cars swearing at the other to move out of the way because of traffic at every corner. People in their houses admiring the beautiful scenery or just washing the windows from the outside. everyone and everything had a different job to do and a purpose in life to live by. now, everyone had the same job: survival. no one had a purpose except the same thought which was if they ever get to see the next day, most of them didn even care anymore. they just wanted it to be over. who could blame them? when one loses the one thing they care about most they feel useless and done. I was once was like that, until someone gave me a reason to live, to show the world that Im not going down without a fight.
now all we saw in front of us was despair, fire, charcoal and a little lava on the street which burnt holes in the ground making it impossible to reach our destination but we improvised by jumping from one rooftop to the other since the houses melted it was easy to get on top of one. I was determined yet gloomy, I haven really had a moment to just find my happy place, I couldn really afford to, my head had to stay in the game. on the other hand, Nick just kept on surprising me. he smiled and laughed at every chance he had, and even exclaimed: " This is such an adventure, a story to tell the kids for sure". I envy his admiration for the future, I cant decide if he actually has optimism for the future, or if he is just doing it for me, either way, its not working. nick was always like this, in the bunker he would tell jokes to the children and perform a measly magic trick for the elderly. he wanted everyone to keep a smile on their face which is why I never really thought me and him would never click. how can one keep a smile on their face while THIS is going on? I mean you would have to be insane. he can just hide away the negative, he needs to show it as well, life is not all sunshine and rainbows, clearly.
" Alex? Alex?!"
" Yeah?" I was too lost in my thoughts to notice nick calling my name to stop me.
" look at them," he said while pointing to a couple of firemen and policemen on the edge of a cliff talking to one another.
" survivors," I replied, quite content there were still people trying to help this God-forsaken place.
" Trouble." this was the first time I ever saw nick serious. he had a look so sharp it could kill. why was he so cautious all of a sudden?
" what do you mean? they
e the ones that are trying to keep this world together, how could that be interpreted as trouble?"
" you seriously don think that it isn a bit suspicious that out of nowhere there are a bunch of policemen and firemen without a car or anything to prove that they are of their work? what if they stole the costumes to fit in?"
" maybe the car fell off the edge or broke down and they
e walking" I stated like it was the most obvious thing in the world but honestly even I had my doubts in that.
" the.car.fell.off.the.edge." he mimicked sarcastically
" you never know!" I exclaimed, in some way or another it could be true
" right. well Im taking the other approach where we just observe them at what they do next" he stated cautiously
" or we could just go up to them and talk to them like humans on how we once lived before" I retorted. how was the world meant to return if we never tried
" the world isn how it used to be-"
"I get that but what if they find us spying on them, then they will definitely trust us and Im desperate and will take my chances on 50 50. now if you want to be a wuss and stay here be my guest, Im going." I cut him off rudely but I don really regret it, he had to learn that this isn a game its real life and we had to take certain leaps to get to the other side of where we want.
I walked cautiously towards them and yelled out " hey!". I raised my hands in surrender meaning that I meant no harm and that I just wanted to talk.
" Sorry to bother you but we just were hoping for some directions," I said carefully since I still didn know if they were real cops or not. nick was backing me all the way, he stood a few feet away to make sure that they won try anything and to protect me. this was a new feeling for me, protections that is. I never really had anyone who cared and even though I could take care of myself it felt nice to have someone there.
" Hello little lady, these are very dangerous roads to be on, you should be inside" one of the cops approached me, he seemed quite friendly. He was quite tall about 6 foot, nick was only an inch taller than him which was 6 foot 1. he had white hair yet clean and combed as well as his attire. he looked ready to help anyone in need and didn mean any harm. after all, this what I admired about him was he still wore his police uniform even though it really didn mean anything anymore and he couldn really do anything to help his job at the moment. the only thing we had nowadays was pride, and I could tell he would keep it till the end.
" well we were hoping for some help to get inside from some cops, you are cops.. right?"
" unfortunately few of the real ones left"
I let out a big sigh of relief but nick wasn truly convinced yet.
" wheres your vehicle then?" nick questioned as if they were in an interrogation room.
" nick-" I was just about to scold him for being rude for no reason but the cop beat me to it
" don worry, I can imagine no one tells the truth around here anymore, I will let it slide. truth be told we ditched our ride a few miles away, ran out of gas but ran into this nice fireman that is sparing some gas for us" the cop said nicely
" huh, I see" I smirked at nicks way to tell him I told you so and that these were real cops to help us.
" you needed help with something you said?" he asked nicely
" yes we were hoping you could show us the way to the aurelia flower" I piped up finally experiencing some hope in this miserable world but he just burst out laughing.
" hey, BOYS! you hear that?! this girl and her man wanna find the aurelia flower" he yelled while still trying to contain his laughter. the other firemen laughed with him while others just shook their heads.
after he was done laughing he continued " kid, go inside and somewhere safe, don get yourself killed over some stupid ** that doesn exist"
" your lying" there is no way that everyone has heard of this and now this cop is telling me its a fake.
" why would I lie about this? what would I gain? the flower is a myth, just to give people hope. the truth is there is a patch of a meadow surrounded by untouched soil seeds that have grown around the grass that is on the very east side of the country where the lava hasn hit yet and thats the reason people be saying that its magical, the lava hasn effected it yet, but give it time and it will." the cop explained, it is true that he had no reason to lie to me but then again why would he just tell me the story?
" so thats it. you
e just giving up? feeding people lies, to what? make people hopeful?" I angrily told him quite furious since this was his only job and he wasn committing to it
" better than dying a sad death" he retorted
" and I thought cops where the only thing this country had that could save it, boy were they wrong" I scoffed
" you think I haven tried?! you think me and my team gave up immediately?! we were the only division who cared enough to try and go near the east to try and save this mess of a place but the lava is surrounding a big chunk of it, no one big as us could fit there to get a sample. half of my men died, I can risk anyone elses, Im a cop, Im supposed to save people yet the opposite is giving. I ain giving up, Im simply defeated." the cop said in such a rush yet so much passion
I heard every word and sympathised with him. I knew he was doing his job but now I see his job was limitless since the lives to save where everywhere, and now there are more people in bunkers trying to survive than cops trying to help, he had no choice.
" look, I know you think you
e defeated. but thats no reason to just give up. I know this must have been hard for you, but I want to do this, I don want to give up yet, Ive lived on my own all my life, Ive made do what its like to live outside, find my bearings and climb rocks and hills. if there is even a small chance I can get to that place and get a sample I will take that chance, people have suffered enough, someone has to keep on trying and I don care if its just me." I gave him a speech of my own filled with passion, somehow with just this, I felt a connection to him, though I didn know how to base it on just yet.
he sighed and thought for a few seconds and then said " ill give you the coordinates as best as I can if you get the sample go to this lab and then circle this path and the people there will tell you what to do. I have faith in you, you
e the first person here to give me hope again, and thats saying something" he said kindly while demonstrating every detail he showed me on the small map he provided.
" Thank you, officer..." I can believe all this time Ive bonded with this cop yet I didn even know his name and vice versa.
" Carter." as soon as he said that something triggered in my brain like I have heard that before but I have met so many people it probably just brought back a few memories of no worth. " your parents would be proud of you" he continued
I snorted and replied "I doubt that" while looking down slightly ashamed
" come again?"
"Ive never really had parents, my home was an orphanage, clearly they didn care enough to raise me on their own, who could blame them? I was a reckless child" I chuckled but no humour held to it. I don know why I was inclined to tell him my life story, it wasn like me at all, but somehow with this cop, I felt something stir inside me. I always wondered what really happened when I arrived at the orphanage, I don remember much, only that I was a four-year-old wandering in the streets until a nun pulled me in the home, I always thought about my parents if they cared or why they abandoned me, but at the end of the day I shouldn give them to much thought, they clearly never thought of me so I shouldn give them the time of day. but somewhere deep inside I wondered if they survived all of this.
" Sorry to hear that. I lost my daughter when she was very young, one day she was there, the other vanished into thin air, taken," he said sadly
" Im sorry, no one should lose their kid like that" I replied remorsefully
" it was a long time ago.. anyway best be on your way, that young man has been waiting for quite some time" he nods his head in the direction of nick who was slouching on pole hands crossed and a sour face on meaning he was bored. I looked at him and chuckled since he was acting like a child at the store and wanted to go home.
" it was nice meeting you Ms.." he held out his hand expecting my name in return.
" Alex," I said as I put my hand in his giving him a friendly handshake.
" Alex? is that short for something?" he asked curiously
" Alexis, the only thing my parents gave me" his eyed widened a little but soon turned back to normal
" is something wrong?" I asked worriedly
" no-no, the name is just.. familiar" well I wasn that surprised many people are called Alex here it was quite a common name but I hated my actual name so I just went for the shortened boyish version.
"I see.. well see you I guess Officer Carter and thanks!" I waved and went back to nick patting his arm and pushing him forward to move.
" your welcome Alex" he waved back and then turned his head to face the other firemen and started talking with them as if we were never there.
we started walking in the direction he gave me in silence but soon was disturbed when nick said
" Alexis?" he said while trying to hold his laughter in.
" shut up." I glared at him but soon turned into a smile and then a burst of laughter followed by his. I could tell this journey was already turning out a little better than expected.