Nobody really knows what happened to the world. One minute everything was normal, the next everything went to hell. Or, at least, we all wish it did. It’s cold. Not normal cold. The type of cold that seeps into your bones, that burns into the depths of your lungs, and never lets go of your soul. The scientists say that this whole situation is not a natural occurrence. But, who knows if you can really trust their word on that or not. There’s nobody left to debate them.
It happened in the summer of ’17. I remember watching the news reports back then. The cold drifted in from the north. Canada was hit pretty hard, pretty early. In the middle of July, Toronto was looking at temperatures of -72 degrees fahrenheit. The northeast quickly shut down because nobody was expecting subzero temperatures in the middle of the summer. Within weeks, the south got hit too. It was colder than anything we’ve ever seen before. And, the temperatures were just the start of it. The cold froze all the water. Rains stopped. Anything that survived the cold eventually became dehydrated. The entire globe was now a freezing desert.
Today, I woke up slowly. I didn’t wake up at all during the night but I still felt like I didn’t get any sleep. I rolled over to check my clock. The screen was pitch black. I flipped my covers off and immediately regretted my decision. Every inch of my body quickly puckered up into goosebumps. I rolled out of bed as fast as I could, but that was still too slow. My pale skin was now bright red and my joints ached as I managed to pull on some warm clothes. I walked over to my light switch and pressed it on. The light never even flickered.
I stared at the lightbulb and listened. The usual hum that I was accustomed to wasn’t there. The generator must have run out of gas. It shouldn’t have though. I just filled it up the other day. There was plenty of gas left in there. I threw on some more heavy clothes and waddled over to the door. I grabbed my rifle and stepped outside. Making my way around the house, I eventually made it to the fuel tank next to the generator. I wasn’t the only one that was here recently. I looked at the footsteps that came to and from the tank. I looked at the tank and the cap was still open with a hose hanging out. Damn thieves. This is the third time this year they’ve stolen my gas.
I followed the tracks through my backyard and down to the old canal. After they hit the solid ice of the canal, their tracks disappeared. I swung my rifle off my shoulder and looked down my scope in both directions. Nobody was to be seen.
Muttering to myself, I put my rifle back onto my shoulder and trudged back to the house. I stepped inside and grabbed my walkie talkie before leaving. I walked back out to my car and started the tedious process of scraping the ice off everything. Even the side mirrors were covered in crystals today.
Hopping inside the car, I keyed the ignition and the engine slowly roared to life. I gave it a few moments to heat up before I got it moving anywhere.
I pulled out onto the empty road and made my was south. Most of the gas stations around me had dried up over the years. It had to drive further and further each time I needed to refuel everything. Luckily, I my car’s radio still worked and I had some old CDs to listen to. I reached into the glove compartment and pulled out one of my favorite albums, Hell Freezes Over. How fitting for my current situation.
The drive didn’t take too long today. It never really does given that there is no traffic on the road. Maybe an occasional car here or there. On my way here I drove past the Welcome to the City of Fort Lauderdale sign. It was covered in ice but I could see that the population sign was changed recently. 3,793 people. It sounds bad but that’s actually better than it was this time last year. I smiled with the thought that maybe this all wasn’t the end of the world after all. Maybe it was just a change that ended up clearing out all the underbrush.
I pulled into the closest station and waited in the car. One of the strangest things to me amongst all these changes in lifestyle was the fact that gas stations weren’t self serve anymore. Mainly because you couldn’t pay in anything but cash. But, I wasn’t complaining. It was damn cold outside and I sure didn’t want to go out there. But after a few minutes, I decided to climb outside because I didn’t see any movement. I checked inside the store and nobody was around. I walked back out and started pump my own gas. I’d leave change behind but I needed to get moving.
I grabbed the gas cans out of the trunk and set the on the ground. I pulled the nozzle from the pump and pulled the trigger to no avail. The pumps must have been shot. I looked around and finally found a manual pump for the gas. They were pretty common nowadays too. I started pumping and pumping waiting for the first drops out gas to flow out of the nozzle. When the gas finally decided to come out, it didn’t make it’s usual sound though. It didn’t flow out. Hell, it didn’t even sound like water. I pulled the nozzle clear of the gas can and jiggled it around to listen. It sounded like rocks inside. Curious, I poured the contents onto the ground.
Even, the gas was frozen now. I let out a long sigh.
It’s gonna be a long winter…