Chapter 2

Written by: Ray Stone

My Pop used to say that you never really miss anyone or anything until they’re gone. I guess that’s what hit me the most after several days on my own. 

I decided to make for Saint Augustine, a small town over on the coast, taking with me as many supplies as I could. My hunting rifle and plenty of ammo were top of the list. I remembered what happened when Katrina hit and all those news pictures on TV showing the looters and such. I could do without any of that – that’s if there was anyone else around.

I picked up a few small tools and then the biggest backpack I could find in the store. I figured water and tin food I could get along the way. After stuffing the pack full, I settled down for the night, still trying to figure out what the hell had happened. 

In my heart, I knew Hank wouldn’t be in Orlando. Bigger and stronger than me, he’d do the same as me if he was alive – head for the coast. I planned on getting a small cruiser, not that I ever had one, but I was good with engines and reckoned I could handle the boat as long as I stayed near the coast. Miami was the best place to head. Mind you, Miami was a long way to go. That’s where people would be if there were any left alive though. I was beginning to think like a survivor, I suppose. I had to look after myself.

“Hey, Mister.”

It was getting dark, and I was real tired. My head was playing tricks with me.

“Hey, Mister.”

I sat bolt upright. It was a kid’s voice. I waited.

“Hey, Mister, I seen ya. Can I sleep with you?”

The kid sounded real sad, but I wasn’t gonna get caught with my pants down, so to speak.

I picked up my rifle. “Over here, kid. Take it easy. I got a gun.”

Tin cans and packets of whatever fell or rolled noisily as the kid approached me. He appeared from around a freezer and stood looking at me.

“What’s your name?” I asked.

“Benjamin.” He stared at me and the rifle wide-eyed for some time. “I don’t have a gun, Mister, honest.”

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Meeting someone I could talk to was like receiving a birthday present.

He came over and sat next to me, and I judged him around nine or ten. Long streaky hair ran down his back, and a Cardinals T-shirt covered the top of a worn pair of jeans. 

“Well, Benjamin, my name is Ray.”

“So where you headed, Ray? Can I come along?”

“Sure, why not. I wanna get a boat at Saint Augustine and head south – see what I can find.”

“We might be safe from them there,” he murmured.

“Safe – from who? What happened?

Benjamin was leaning against my shoulder, fast asleep.


Good hook at the end. This has an interesting narrative voice which is easy to read and also captures the character's personalities. The mystery unfolds.