In the city, the world is dark. Sparks of orange light peak over the far black mountains, taunting the mind with the shadows it casts. Silence permits the weak to breathe and blankets the fear of war from our trembling thoughts. The tickle of a breeze struggles to mask the stench of decay. Embers glow on broken streets, beneath crumbling infrastructure and crisp vegetation. The well-worn winding road from stone giants to metal giants, is now void of creatures or any living presence. Likewise nothing stirs within city limits, despite the fact that the markets should be opening, the children should be stumbling out of bed, and the morning paper boy should be making his rounds. The world should be chittering and chattering and rising to a new day...but the world was silent, the creatures gone, and the living nonexistent.
Shattered glass glistens like a thousand tiny diamonds against black asphalt, giving the illusion of beauty in the midst of mire. Blocks of concrete lay where they fell, some covering the bodies of those who couldn't escape. A child's tiny hand stuck out from between two massive pieces of roof, still clinging to part of Mr. Teddy. Locks of smooth, golden hair, now singed black at the tips, are barely visible in the concrete dust that covers everything like volcanic ash after an eruption. An arm and a leg from opposite sides of the mangled woman's body can be seen in the rubble, and a rebar wire protrudes from her swollen abdomen.
Copper fragments of bullets and casings shimmer in the waves of early morning light, reflecting an erie glow in the gutter and on the wall of what was a small coffee shop on the corner of a four-way intersection. A car's hazard lights still blink on, off, on, off, on, off as it sits abandoned in the middle of the street, one side riddled with bullet holes and the engine still smoking and warm, from a fire lit hours before. Two bodies—an elderly couple—remain slumped inside, the man against a steering wheel with his mouth open wide and blood dripping from his mouth, ears, and nose; still holding the hand of his late wife, who had three shots to the chest and one to the head. There'd been no real chance of escape, but they'd packed what little they could and tried anyways. Everyone had tried to escape—men, women, children, the elderly, but there was no real warning and no escape.