We were on the road for only a short period of time before dark storm clouds rolled in. The deafening thunder traveled throughout the blackened sky and then without warning rain began to fall. The sound of large droplets crashing against the top of the bus echoed through the hollow inside of the vehicle.
With the soothing sound of the storm accompanied by the strong smell of Greece weed, my pain started to subside and I fell into a light sleep. I was brought back to reality when I felt a slight touch. I opened my eyes and saw Renee standing in front of me. She asked if there was enough room on the bench for her, as well. Before I could say anything Renee climbed over me and snuggled down against the backrest. Within moments we were both fast asleep.
I began to dream of life before the sickness, when everyone was still alive and happy. I watched Michael and Maria as small children while they played in our backyard sandbox. My wife Helen was on the phone, and at the same time she dug through a pile of papers. My mom and dad were there as well. They were sitting in the living room with Tina and Rose watching TV.
I walked over to my parents and gave them both a tight hug. I told them that I missed and loved them. My dad told me that he and my mom had just visited last week. I did not bother wasting what little time I had with them by arguing about how long it really was since I last saw them.
I walked over to my sister Tina and embraced her; I told her that what she had done back at Palace city was a brave thing to do. Tina looked up at me and gave me a smile, telling me that she was in a much better place.
Then I went over to my wife. I wrapped my arms around her and started to cry. I told her that I missed her so much, that it was unbelievably hard to continue life without her by my side. Helen turned to me with a bright smile and she said that I had done fine and that I did not need her. I held on to her a few seconds longer before she told me that I needed to go see the kids. I gave her a soft kiss and told her that I loved her. She gave me another big smile and told me to get a move on.
I stepped out the sliding glass door into the back yard. My two kids were still playing in the sandbox. As I got closer I saw that they were making sand castles. I sat down next to them and watched them play; it was a bitter sweet feeling to see them there so happy and carefree. Michael handed me a small plastic shovel and asked me to help him build sand castles. I sat there for some time filling their pails with sand and enjoying the time I had to spend with my kids one last time.
As we sat there the sky began to rumble and I knew that my time was almost up. I hugged my children, hugged them tight. I told them that I loved them; they embraced me back, begging me not to go. I tried to be strong but eventually I broke down and started to cry.
Another loud crash of thunder rattled the now black sky. As I opened my eyes I realized that my children were gone. In fact, just about everything was gone and what was still visible was in complete ruins. When I turned around to face the house I was shocked by the condition it was in; it appeared that it hadnít been lived in for several decades. The structure reminded me of something straight out of a horror movie.
I slowly walked from the yard back inside the house and was met with a pungent mildew odor. The interior of the house had been nearly destroyed by several years of neglect. As I walked farther inside it became harder for me to see, especially in the long hallway that lead to the bedrooms. I had to feel my way through the darkness. I could feel the wet and slimy debris from the wall build up on my hands and it was beginning to become difficult to walk; it felt as if my feet were slowly sinking into the floor.
As I got closer to the other end of the hallway, I began to see a glowing blue light which outlined what would have been Michaelís bedroom door. As I neared, the brightness became more intense and I could barely make anything out. I felt around for the door knob. Oddly enough I found it in the center of the door. I quickly yanked my hand away because it was freezing cold. I prepared myself for the intense pain and grabbed the handle once more, then cried out as the coldness burned my hand.
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