I hadn’t visited Uncle Jimmy since he’d gotten real sick. I felt bad about that, especially when I was told he’d left me something.
The small package contained a DVD and an envelope, the words “WATCH THE FILM BEFORE OPENING” etched boldly into the bleached, white manila.
Flickering, colourless reels of people and places of another time. A man on a rickety bicycle rolled unsteadily across the screen. He paused to raise his cloth cap triumphantly towards the camera. As the lens zoomed in my heart began to pound.
It can’t be. How could it be?
I opened the letter. Hands shaking, I started to read.
A lone gull hovered above the windswept harbour. Its heart-breaking cries echoed unanswered amongst the rusted, abandoned hulls below. In the distance angry crimson clouds continued to rumble, yet the seas remained eerily, unnaturally still. There was nothing left I could do here – there had to be someone else alive, and I had to find them before it was too late. I checked the map once more and readied to leave. I looked skywards just as the gull turned inland towards the smoldering city. A chill went through my body as scented warm rain began to fall.
It was mid-July – it should’ve been 80 outside, instead it felt more like 50. Glistening Icicles hung from the twisted branches of Mr Ebdon’s Apple Blossom tree. Sun-beaten kids used to dusty, humid summers pelted each other with powdery, white snowballs.
The crackling transistor in the kitchen announced the main road to Franksville was now blocked: the whole midwest had been thrown back into winter.
As the day darkened the flakes continued to fall – heavier with each fresh, frozen flurry. Nobody seemed that worried, most just fooled around. But I was worried: this meant something, and I was sure it weren’t something good.