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    Chapter one of my attempt at fiction. “Elviskator” by Dan D. Gray
    1. Alone…
    My Hummer purred down the boulevard, barely moving. I picked my way carefully among the stalled, parked vehicles, some already showing signs of neglect and disuse. The silence weighed heavily in my ears as I gingerly steered my Hummer through the gaps and around the dead hulks of steel and chrome, interrupted occasionally by the fenders scraping against dead cars. I kept expecting, and wanted dearly to hear the steady roar and drone of the interstate I had just exited, or of an airplane taxiing to take-off at the airport I now found myself parallel with, or just any sign at all of the world I once knew. The strain of trying to keep my senses tuned, in order to not miss anything was taking its’ toll, and the lack of sleep didn’t help. My eyelids felt heavy and drugged, but the dreams, the dreams. Though I could never remember them completely, they left me drained, as if I hadn’t slept at all. The steady, idling hum of my commandeered truck tried to hypnotize me as I fought to stay alert.
    “Where is everybody?” I asked, and caught myself before answering. Talking to myself… It was a game I had begun playing recently and wondered if it was a sign I was going crazy, or maybe I was sane and this was normal and what happened when one is totally alone. I hadn’t spoken to anyone in over month. My mind, completely on its’ own, replayed the scene, that by now I was certain was completely made up. In the way one’s mind will change the past so that one might easily accept the new reality.
    “Easy baby,” I spoke soothingly, to my dying wife. Candy looked up at me with eyes that had already given up and tried to smile as I mopped her brow with a damp cloth. I looked into her eyes wondering where my once vivacious girl had so quickly gone. It seemed to me that just yesterday we had both called in sick, packed a picnic lunch and headed to our favorite spot under the willows. There, secluded from the world, we made passionate love, the kind of love that solidified our commitment to one another, where nothing else in the world mattered.
    I snapped back to the reality that I now found myself in, Candy was trying to talk but only her lips moved, nothing escaped her throat but her tortuous, ragged breathing. There wasn’t even a sign in her eyes of what she wanted or needed. Candy’s eyes became far-away looking and slowly glazed over.
    The next morning was a sultry, mid-August scorcher in South Carolina. I laid my Candy to rest, under a maple tree we had planted fourteen years earlier, just a sapling, much like our relationship then, that had grown strong and tall. And like everything else, would only last so long, then die. I remember the sweat pouring from my brow, into the freshly dug earth, turning it to mud, and wondering who would take care of my body when that time came. At least that’s what I think I remember, who knows….
    We, Candy and I, were not overly religious, we had our own beliefs and worshiped in our own private way. I asked my God to see to it that she was taken care of and left a marker made of treated pine with her name and dates burned in.
    The heat from the fire burned against the back of my neck as I walked away from my burning house, away from my previous life. I’d taken only what I could carry in a backpack, my military retired ID. and a picture of Candy and myself. We sat in front of another fire in the picture, a campfire, and one could see the joy and contentment in Candy’s soft smile. It’d been happier times, good times. It was a lifetime ago.
    Where I was going and why, and what I’d find, were questions that rattled around in my brain-housing-group as I plodded through my already old, new neighborhood. It no longer had that familiar feeling, it was too quiet. There were no man-made sounds.
    I hadn’t seen, nor heard from anyone for over two months. Most of the utilities had ceased working the week after Candy had become bed-ridden. There had been no newspaper or television and the phone had died in mid-ring as I attempted to call Candy’s mother. No electricity meant no air conditioning, and I believed the heat had hastened her decline. I knew I had done all I could for her, but felt an awful guilt that it was her and not I.
    We had spent her last days together, alone in isolation, cut off from the rest of the world. Now I was truly alone. Surly if I had somehow survived then others must have also. The thought that I may very well be the last man on earth, raged. The heavy-feeling burden of loneliness rested itself upon my shoulders. I tried to shrug it off and more thoughts careened around in my head. Thoughts of despair and suicide nagged at me persistently as I continued to place one foot in front of the other.
    Please critique with a critical eye, thanks.

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