By Andrew Looney

They waited. The hours stretched into days, then into weeks. They continued to wait. From the windows of their apartment, on the sixth floor of a building downtown, they could see much of the City. Each day, they saw fewer and fewer people in the streets below. Most of the people who had lived in the City had of course fled during the first few days; But those who stayed behind gradually disappeared, one by one. Ramona and Eleanor rarely ventured out of their apartment now; it was safer to stay inside.

The thick clouds overhead grew thicker each week. Soon, the daytime was never any brighter than twilight, and then the distinction between day and night faded altogether. They continued to wait. They ate canned soup and weak tea and bottled water and crackers and oatmeal. They had a small supply of TV dinners and Hershey bars, but these they hoarded and ate only occasionally.

In the third month, the Power Plant shut down. The City became dark. Those who were still living in the city had to resort to candles and fires.

In the fourth month, the day finally came when Ramona and Eleanor saw no other people. They sat as usual by the windows, watching the streets far below. But the gradually dwindling number of people that they saw moving around on the streets had finally dwindled to zero. They watched all day, but no one was about. They saw no other candles burning, no other bonfires, no other torches. They waited for a full week, but they saw no one at all. The City was abandoned. They were completely alone.

This story appears in My Secret World. Copyright © 1985 by Andrew Looney.

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