March 20

One morning, I wake up, perhaps the only person to remain. The lights are on but the hallways are empty. Outside, the sky is completely gray and rain drizzles down. A few stray cars remain in parking lots. An eerie silence pervades.

A whole city, gone completely empty. “What wiped out this human civilization?” a science announcer intones. “What caused thousands of people, in the midst of homes and bikes and cars to just disappear?”

“Was it a virus? Some sort of mass suicide? A war?”

“The answers, tonight, on Frontline.”

And then the kids move in — are they children of investigating archaeologists? — laughing and yelling as they run across the empty city.

One restaurant stays open, feeding the visitors and the handful left behind. People walk quietly, with the silent thrill of going someplace they know they’re not supposed to go, but can now that nobody’s around to stop them. Looting hasn’t yet set in.

Outside my window an excavation crew has a large and extremely noisy machine that makes a circular hole right in the middle of the street. It gets quite deep, deep enough for an excavator to stand in it and have half his body disappear. Eventually the hole lengthens into a trench. Good thing I get to leave soon.

posted March 26, 2005 07:44 PM (Education) (0 comments) #


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