Okay, I am going to post something different here. This is the first time I have finished something like this and I have surprised myself in that. So, here I am…cup of coffee at the ready and the movie Serinity playing in the background:

She didn’t notice at first. She rarely looked out her windows. She’d only have to look out the window at the right time to have known. See, she didn’t leave the house. Why should she? In this day and age, you can have everything delivered. Groceries, medicines, alcohol. Something breaks, call a repair service technician. There are even services that allow for a Doctor consult over the internet. Why leave your home?

She and others like her have that inner voice. The one that tells you to stay in. Too many crowds out there. Parking is an endless amount of going round and round looking for a spot. Too dangerous to walk to and from the car. You could be mugged, beaten, assaulted. No..much safer to stay home. And you’ll never have to worry about being too hot, cold, wet, dry. Home, you never need to leave.

She might look out her windows once a week. Hard to see the changes. Less and less people out and about. Just a bit more trash out on the streets. ‘Now why hasn’t the home owners association done something about this yet!? I’ll have to send them an e-mail.’ she thought. In fact, you wouldn’t notice anything different…..until the utilities stopped working.

For those with agoraphobia, severe anxiety, depression..the kind that leaves you housebound, the sounds of the outside world would only increase the fear of leaving. Fear from the sounds of accidents, fires, groups pounding on a neighbor’s door. She also wouldn’t know not the let the sounds of her day to day life carry outside her walls. Would the sound of her washing machine or dish washer attract attention? Her bedroom and family room were interior, sounds of her TV streaming programs would not be heard. If this had been heard or if she had gone outside, she’d have known to be very frightened. That any device of hers could lead to her being discovered. She was only annoyed when the trash wasn’t picked up. She had a standing agreement with her neighbors. She would fill up her trash bin, open the garage door, roll it just outside. Then sometime after she had closed the garage door, they would roll it to the curb. But even being that close to going outside caused her to have to go lay down. It was too close to being ‘unsafe’.

When the electricity went out and the water turned off, that caught her attention, for others this would be an inconvenience. But she needed everything to work for her to survive. She didn’t have the luxury of inconvenience. She was momentarily caught off guard by this. She angrily picked up he phone to call customer service, only to find the phones didn’t work. She dialed on her cell phone, but no answer. Or a busy signal. But soon her cell didn’t work either. ‘What was happening?’ she thought. She dug around in the garage for her old radio/cassette player. Then it took her another 4 hours to find some batteries for it. “Wow, this is old school.” she smiled as she said this. She searched the stations on the radio for one broadcasting.  Mostly there was static, few sending out the Emergency broadcast signal. And that was just telling people to stay indoors. Well that wasn’t helpful, she was always indoors. Maybe there would be further updates later. It was time to go really old school. She lit some candles and grabbed a book. There were so many that had built up over months and it looks like now there was some time to get reading.

She didn’t use her MP3 player, she just felt she should save it for another time. She cooked and ate the meats, vegetables and fruits first. She had packed them in the freezer figuring they would last longer with the ice. She’d leave the canned and dry goods for later. After all, she didn’t know how long this ‘Emergency ‘ would go on. Agoraphobia is a funny thing. You spend such a large amount of time away from people. It allows you to become accustomed to solitude. With this, you never notice a loss of people around you. Especially a slow loss. ‘Inside life’ almost prepares you for a new different kind of life. While solitude and quiet makes most people jumpy and afraid, people with a mental illness are more accustomed to it. Sometimes a chat with one or two people is okay. But large groups…terror!

After about a week and half, she used her MP3 player. But it stopped working when the charge ran out. Before her cell stopped, she tried to call to have groceries delivered. But the phone died while listening to a recording saying all the lines are down. So, without her delivery, she would run out of food very quickly. Even rationing would not last her long. She felt a growing sense of dread and nausea just thinking about having to leave the house for food. This brought on one of her panic attacks. As she laid down, her chest tightened, her breathing became rapid and her heartbeat increased. Deep down she knew that soon she would not have a choice. She would have to go look for food and water. If anything, she would finally find out what was going on. That day came all too soon.

When that day came, she opened her front door and just stood there trying to prepare herself to cross the threshold. ‘Deep breaths..’ she thought. She closed her eyes trying to build up the courage to walk out the door. One foot in front of the other is how she shakily walked out, down the steps and out to the front yard. She stopped for a moment as she got dizzy. The world around her swam in and out of focus. She squated, tucking her head down for a moment. Forcing her vision to clear..to focus. She stood up, taking a look around her. The neighborhood was so quiet. So deserted. But it was during the day so people were probably just at work, the kids at school. Still.. no dogs barking, no birds singing…nothing. Quiet is nice, but this was disturbing. She walked slowly to the sidewalk. She looked to the right. “Jesus!” she exclaimed. About two houses down,  in the middle of the street, there were cars smashed together. Another had been driven into one of the houses. ‘What the hell…’ she thought. What ever it was that caused this must have happened some time ago. No smoke from the cars but they looked burned. Also no people milling about. Where were the cops? It’s like it happened and everyone instantly vanished. Why didn’t a tow truck or truck with a flatbed come and haul away the wreckage? This was by far the strangest thing since all this started. Now, with more fear and panic, she turned to look to the opposite direction. Not knowing what would be there. And….nothing. At first. Then she saw old Mrs. Tinsley shuffling down the road about 4 houses down. Geez, the Woman never walked that well to begin with, but now she really seems to be having issues. ‘Maybe she was injured in that car accident. Yeah, and no one took her to the hospital!? Sure, that happens!’ She starts walking after her, thinking ‘maybe I can help, not sure what I can do for Mrs. Tinsley, but I can’t just leave her there alone.’ She quickens her pace to catch up to Mrs. Tinsley. She calls out “Mrs. Tinsley? Are you okay? Do you need some help?” The old lady stops and stands there for a moment. ‘I think I confused her. Poor thing.’ That was when Mrs. Tinsley turned towards her. “Oh God! Oh Jesus! What happened to you?” she screamed. There were deep gashes, blood and bone sticking out from her face. And Mrs. Tinsley’s skin was mottled in color, hanging off in places. But it made no sense, how was still moving if she was rotting? She skidded to a halt steps away from the old lady thing. She backward ran away as the old lady gnash her teeth and reached out for her. When she turned to run forward, she still had her head around to look over her shoulder. Looking at that nightmare old woman staggering towards her. She got about half a block when it happened. She was so focused on getting away from Mrs. Tinsley, that she never saw the others. So she ran right into a crowd of about 10 of them. They had heard her scream and came to the street towards the sound. When she collided with a couple of them, they tumbled to the ground. She was surrounded and it only took a couple of ticks of a clock for her to realize it. She managed to get to her feet, screaming as they grabbed at her. Trying to hold her, trying to bite her. Her mind was reeling as she struggled to break free. She was almost free of them when one of them grabbed her harder than she thought possible. It jerked her back to them, she then heard screams that she didn’t think could have come out of them. She was right. It was her screams as they ate her.

Society today is almost geared for those with anxiety, fear and agoraphobia. But will they be better able to cope with an apocalypse or will they be least able to survive?

-THD

Please disregard any typos, grammatical errors. It’s 2 am.