Eve took several deep breathes. The newspaper date, her friends from the past, William Hancock. Was she in a nightmare, soon to awake? Had she lost her grip on reality? She looked around her surroundings, realizing that she was in the subway channel. She listened. No sounds. She needed to break into the Engine House. She knew she’d be safe there. Then she remembered.
She was dead.
Only Stephen and Glenda knew what she looked like. To the rest of the country, she was just a nameless woman trying to survive the war. Suddenly, she felt relief. What were the chances that they felt safe enough to leave the hotel? She slowly climbed the stairs, and reaching the street, she looked around. It was early in the morning, maybe two or three. The war hadn’t reached this neighborhood, the destruction hadn’t taken out the street lights, hadn’t destroyed the buildings yet.
She began walking down the street looking for a store that might sell a tool she could use, something to help her break the lock on the Fire House. Yes, I need a hardware store. I have to stay safe until tonight, until I can lead Ron and Christine into the coffee house.
In the distance, she heard a rumble. The sound increased, the windows in the stores next to her began to move in and out of their jambs. Across the street, she saw one of the large windows explode. The roaring sound became more prominent with each second, something was approaching. Something of great magnitude. The sound became so great that she had to cover her ears. She backed into the depression of a building that led to its doorway and waited. Stretching her neck to see beyond her safe haven, she watched. The street curved in a way that stopped her from seeing beyond a block of city structures. Louder, louder. The sound made everything around her vibrate, shake. A smell in the air caused her nose to quiver. What was it? A memory of driving through a territory where cows grazed flashed through her mind. Maybe pigs? The county fair? Then the front of the line came around the corner, its massive thrashing sound came into sight. It was a spectacle beyond any she’d ever laid eyes on.
Elephants were heading the stampede, charging down the road. Closely behind were tigers, then giraffes, monkeys, every animal she could think of. They seemed to be moving on instinct, nowhere to go, and yet followed their leaders because they couldn’t help themselves.
Eve looked on with a feeling of ecstasy, she couldn’t help laughing. Her sounds were drowned out by the thunderous clomping of their hoofs. She suddenly realized that she was jumping up and down, screaming with delight. Catching herself, she froze and watched with pure pleasure as the parade of exotic creatures promenaded next to her.
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