Somehow, the temperature had begun to drop so fast it was impossible to get used to. The days turned darker and it was some sort of twilight that ruled over the world instead of the light people had enjoyed for so long. No one knew exactly why this was happening but many people pollution and others climate change. But it didn’t matter what humanity thought of the matter, the planet had changed and it was beginning to die faster that ever before. Animals and plants started disappearing forever and people had to build new homes in order to survive. Whatever had happened it was too late to fix it and people had no other way but to endure what had come for them. Many died in the first few weeks.
Not all people had been created to resist something like this. Most humans had been too comfortable in recent times to even bother to think: “What if everything changes? Am I going to be ready?”. No one asked that and that’s why people just died in the middle of the streets or even killed themselves. They had no idea how to survive, how to keep going, so they chose death over life. But others did endure because they loved life so much they couldn’t just let it go. Some people got organized and created small communities that moved around the globe looking for a better climate and others occupied places where they could live a sheltered life, surviving by eating bugs or whatever there was at hand. They did what they had to do and no one in those groups ever complained.
In one of those groups, of the kind that migrated around the world, there was a woman named Ylia. Before the transformation, she had a family consisting of a husband and two children. She wasn’t rich but she wasn’t poor either. She had a good life, living in a small apartment and working for a small tourism office. She wasn’t exceedingly happy about her life but it was her family that made her happy and fulfilled. She had always dreamed to go with them to one of the destinations she showed her clients and had been saving for that everything changed. The transformation took her children and then her husband, mad with pain and grief, killed himself when she was out trying to find some food.
Since then, Ylia decided to start moving. She broke in several abandoned stores and gathered winter clothes and tried to get some food but she could only get her hands in frozen fish. So every night she would make a small fire with some igniting stones and eat the frozen fish, that was always small and tasteless but it was better than to eat nothing. She moved on foot and off the roads, in order to avoid groups of people that had come to realize how much they loved to kill people. According to them, as humanity was already doomed, they only wanted to help by moving on with the process. So Ylia stayed far from roads and turned off her fires when she was done cooking her fish.
One day, when she was doing that same thing, she noticed a presence near her. It was something scary, as if she was about to be attacked by monsters or something. So she stood up and yelled like mad towards the tall grass around her. Soon, a group of three children came out of the grass. They were all filthy and it was obvious they hadn’t had anything to eat for days. She could see the rib cage of one of them. They didn’t talk, just sat down near her and stayed there. She took some of her fish and cooked a piece for every one of them. To be honest, she did it kind of reluctantly because the fish was not eternal and soon she would have to start hunting or stealing something else. She had to feed herself and know; apparently these ids needed her in order to survive.
When the light was even dimmer in the world, she knew it was night so she lay down in the ground and the children did the same. She didn’t have anything to give them to sleep better but the only thing she could for them is to ask them to sleep all together, all very close to one another in order to keep the heat. They seemed to understand, so they got close to her and fell asleep fast. It was difficult not to think about his own children, who had no chance against this kind of life, against the destruction of what humanity used to mean and of the world, that had become visibly fed up with every single person. It wasn’t a secret any more that our own world wanted us out fast.
The next day, Ylia and the children started walking up, through the forest towards the tallest part of the hills that separated the city from the ocean. Her logic was that maybe the ocean creature had not died out yet, so maybe there was a way to catch something to eat before it died or got extinct soon. But having the children with her proved good and bad at the same time. They were fast and agile but sometimes they got tired really fast and she needed to have a certain rhythm when going cross-country like this. In the mornings she would always tell them that they needed to be fast and never to stop for hunger or thirst. All of that could wait once they were safe somewhere else.
But they were children and she knew she couldn’t ask that much of them. They were often afraid and even one of them seemed to be closer to death that the other two. She didn’t discuss it because she didn’t want to face something like that again, but it was obvious he wasn’t doing well. The day arrived when they saw the end of the hills and knew the ocean could not be very far. But then, an arrow flew directly at the sick child, taking his life. The others reaction was slow and Ylia had to push the other two children in order to avoid the arrows that flew their way.
Hidden behind a rock, Ylia confirmed what she had thought: it was a group of killers and they knew there were more humans to kill. A bit nervous but resolved, Ylia came out of hiding, surprising the children, and took out a gun she had hidden inside her big coat. It was a revolver that she started shooting with, wounding at least three of the members of the killer gang. She was not very good at shooting and new she wouldn’t manage to kill anyone but she was successful in scaring the hell out of them. They all ran, turning back to where they had come from. When they disappeared, Ylia and the children when back to where the kid had fallen and decided to bury him beneath the rocks that covered the hillside. She was about the leave the place when she saw the children doing something she hadn’t seen in a while: they were praying.
They spent some time there, the children praying and Ylia thinking what their next move should be. She knew she needed a better weapon than the one she had but that revolver was the only thing she could find. In fact, it was that revolver that took away her husband’s life. But had not thought about him when she fired towards the killers. She had not thought of anything. Ylia realized she was becoming like all those people that were just shadows of what they used to be, just killers or machines that lived but not really liked to be alive. Ylia was on that edge but she knew she wouldn’t be there for long.
With the remaining children she started walking towards the ocean. She knew it couldn’t be too far so she kept on walking, despite the complaining of the children that did not talk but did growl and complain on their own way. She gave them some hours to rest but then they were attacked again. More arrows fell off the sky, like rain, and landed in one of the children, killing him and on Ylia’s shoulder. She took the hand of the remaining child and ran like mad towards where she thought the ocean was. They didn’t stop for a minute and then she knew the kid wouldn’t survive. She was carrying dead weight and it may be her fault that he was dead. He collapsed a few minutes later, dead too.
She went on alone, running at times but tired and bleeding from her should. Ylia looked around and then ran and then stopped and ran again. She was erratic and insecure because she knew what had come. Then, she heard the sound of the waves and felt sand that was wet. Her happiness filled her so much that she just ran towards the water and got in the ocean, wanting to swim there and drink the water even if it was salty. But it wasn’t. The ocean was now acidic and she had just drunk a huge amount of poison, not unlike cyanide. Ylia died with a rather disturbing smile on her face and with the realization that she had done what she could but her death and everyone else’s, was already written.