Goodbye, Brooklyn PART 2

One street after the next, he slowly made his way through Brooklyn until he stood in front of a large, ten story apartment building. The iron gate stood wide open, as did the front door. Glass littered the walkway, crunching loudly beneath his feet as he entered the building.

The lobby was large and spacious, especially now that it was devoid of furniture. Half of the front desk was missing and the other half was a charred hunk of wood. Scraps of paper stuck to the wreckage, clinging to the final remnants of normalcy.

For a brief, nostalgic moment, he allowed himself to remember the way the room used to look. He imagined the plush armchairs and the small, low coffee table sitting on the opposite end of the room, making the lobby look more like that of a hotel. He remembered the mailboxes that lined the wall, labelled with the numbers of each apartment. Half of them were always crammed with mail while the others were utterly empty. He remembered finding amusement in the two extremes.

The brightly-lit room disappeared, receding into his memories. All of that was gone now, just like everything else.

He crossed the lobby, heading for the stairs at the other end. An open elevator shaft stood next to them. The inside was pitch black from the utter lack of light, just like the rest of the world. He took one long, yearning look at it before turning away.

The wooden staircase stood directly in front of him. It was untouched by the fire that had ravaged the front desk and looked the same as it had the last time he’d seen it.

Except it wasn’t the same– nothing was, not anymore. Even the dusty oak boards looked depressing.

His entire body protested the thought of climbing even a single step, but he ignored it, leaning heavily against the banister as he lifted one leg then the other onto the first step.

The first flight sapped most of his energy. He collapsed on the threshold, rolling into the carpeted hallway of the second floor. The grey ceiling met his gaze, mocking his efforts.

He flipped back over. The filthy floor was covered in a thick layer of grime and dust, assaulting the sensitive skin stretched over his cheekbones. His weak arms could hardly push himself away from it.

He was running out of time.

He turned back to the stairs, sitting on his heels and glaring at the wooden steps. He still had three more flights to climb.

He forced himself to crawl up the first two on his hands and knees before collapsing on the threshold of the fourth floor. With one more flight to climb, he knew he couldn’t rest long. He had to make it to that apartment, no matter what. If there was even the slightest chance they were still alive he had to find out.

He just had to.

His entire body screamed in agony as he began the final climb. His numb hands could barely hold him up and his shaking knees kept missing the stairs. He nearly fell a few times, but somehow pulled himself into the hallway of the fifth floor.

His family’s apartment lay ahead of him, only three doors down. He pulled his weak body across the bloodstained carpet, ignoring the other half-opened doors with skeletons leaning out. His nose was already accustomed to the stench of rotting meat and death.

The mahogany door stood before him, open only a few centimeters. He stopped, forcing himself to sit up. His hand reached for the doorknob before freezing.

His entire body felt paralyzed, trapped in an incapacitated state. He couldn’t make his hand move. He couldn’t open the door.

For the first time in days, he felt something, deep inside him. A fear of some sort, one that made his weak heart pound faster than he ever thought it could. It made his head spin faster than the blades of a blender, nearly knocking him out. The room went sideways as the floor slipped away from him and he fell backwards. His back hit the ground with a light thud and his eyes closed reflexively.

His mind was a jumbled mess. Thoughts streamed in and out mixed with colors and shrouded in a thick layer of darkness. Nothing made sense yet at the same time everything was clear.

The events that had led up to that very moment suddenly came back to him and they seemed to fit together like pieces in a puzzle. From the first news report to his mother’s final frantic phone call. From his boarding school burning to the ground to his long journey here. From his final meal out of a dumpster to the nights of starvation in the streets.

Everything came together, forming a desolate image of an ended world.

The final piece was here, at this moment, at this apartment. The puzzle, the journey; everything was coming to an end, right here, right now.

All he had to do was get up and push open that door.

Syphoning his last morsels of energy, his arms pushed him up one final time and his eyes opened. The door swam in and out of focus, becoming nothing and everything at the same time. He saw his hand move towards it, though he could no longer feel the limb.

The room ahead of him was small yet comfy, almost the same as when he had seen it last. The furniture was dusty and the smell of mold filled the air. He dragged himself through the doorway and towards the other end of the room, where a bedroom door hung wide open.

His heart was pounding so fast he couldn’t breathe through the frantic beats. He pulled himself past the couch he had sat in nearly every afternoon, then underneath the dining table he’d spilled countless drinks on.

He pulled himself into his parent’s bedroom, holding his breath and keeping his eyes to the ground. He couldn’t look up. He couldn’t face his greatest fears.

Seconds ticked by. The air felt heavy in his lungs. His head pounded harder than his heart until he finally gave in.

He took a breath.

Death. The stench of rotting meat. It assaulted his nostrils and stung his eyes, stronger than it had ever been. It forced his head up towards the king-sized bed.

There they were, all three of them. His entire family, lying in a row on the soiled comforter. His younger brother lay between his father and mother.

None of them breathed, for they had no lungs to breathe with. They were merely skeletons, trapped in an eternally resting position.

They were gone. The world had taken them too.

He was alone.

There were no tears left to stream down his face. His mind went numb.

He reached up with his bony hand, grasping the comforter with shaking fingers. It didn’t take much effort for him to pull his weak body onto the bed.

He lay himself down between his little brother and his mother, sinking into the mold-infested bed.  

His monochromatic eyes closed, dropping the last piece of the puzzle into place. His time was up. Everything was over.

With his final breath, he whispered “Goodbye, Brooklyn.”

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Goodbye, Brooklyn PART 1

He awoke to the sound of his stomach consuming itself on a smoldering summer morning. The dirt-coated floor of the once-popular nightclub that had become his refuge left his back in agony. He sat up, pushing against the rubble with weak, bony arms. The dull Brooklyn sun, filtered by a layer of air pollution, stabbed his eyes from a hole in the roof. He shielded them, his entire arm shaking from the effort of raising his hand. A headache pounded away at his temples like a hammer.

The act of sitting up had left him out of breath, his heart pounding a mile a minute. His lungs struggled to take in what little oxygen the air provided.

He looked around him, his vision swimming in and out of focus. Nothing had changed since he’d stumbled in last night. The pile of rubble that had once been a stage with a DJ table was still pushed against the wall. The chunks of plaster from the roof and the neon painted walls still littered the checkerboard floor.

The only other person in the club was a female skeleton propped up against the remnants of one of the walls, bones picked clean and covered in dust. He stared at her, wondering how long it would be before rats feasted on his flesh.

Using a large chunk of debris, he pushed himself up, swaying as his monochromatic eyes went momentarily blind. The white light that replaced his vision only made his headache worse. He endured it as he had every other morning—barely.

Just like every other morning, he had a goal in mind. He had a place he needed to be and no amount of starvation and dehydration was going to get in his way.

He placed one foot in front of the other, taking slow, deliberate steps while trying to keep his balance. If he fell, he knew he wouldn’t get up again.

He stumbled out the gaping doorway and into the streets of what used to be Brooklyn. Decrepit buildings loomed over his head, lining the abandoned streets like rows of soulless soldiers. Skeletons littered the silent streets, sprawled across rubble, creating a blanket of bones on the cracked asphalt.

A newspaper lay at his feet. The words were faded and the paper had yellowed, but it was still legible. It announced the fall of Paris, one of the last cities that had remained untouched. From Paris to Tokyo, Baltimore to Toronto, Memphis to Dublin: everything was gone. The overpopulated world had gone down in flames in the blink of an eye.

Each step sent agonizing bolts of pain through his feeble body but he ignored it. The sound of his light footsteps filled the putrid air, rattling in his eardrums like the beating in his chest. He forced his lungs to take one raspy breath after another, keeping time with his steps.

Every few feet warranted a break. He leaned back against the low wall of what had once been an office building and tried to catch his breath. The world around him felt as though it was spinning and shaking at the same time and he was caught in the epicenter.

His eyes lifted to the sky, searching for the sun. It was the one thing– the only thing– that had remained constant throughout this nightmare, but even now that shining orb provided little comfort. He longed to feel the warmth of its garish rays on his chilled skin but the thick layers of pollution and smoke prevented the heat from reaching him. He reached up, trying to swat at the air as though that would clear it, somehow. His efforts were futile, only succeeding in expending precious energy.

His arm dropped to his side, resting against the burnt plaster. Every limb felt heavy and it was a struggle to push himself away from the wall and stand on his own two feet.

But he had to. He couldn’t give up now; he had come too far.

Goodbye, Brooklyn INFORMATION

Parts: 2

Upload Days: Saturday

Genres: Tragedy, Apocalypse, Dystopia

Trigger Warnings: Death

Tags: Brooklyn, Apocalypse, Dystopia, Fiction, All Time Low, Third Person POV, Male Protagonist, Family, Survival

Requested by: Madin456 to the song “Hello Brooklyn” by All Time Low. Request parameters: Male protagonist, aged 17-25, tragedy: either about the end of the world or someone’s death, third-person POV, 2,000 word count limit.

Please let me know what you think in the comments! All criticism is appreciated! 🙂

Announcement: Requests

Hello readers! 😀

First of all, thank you for existing. I can’t believe that anybody reads my stories so I really want to say thank you. 🙂

Second of all, I am officially taking requests for stories!!! 😀 I am in constant need of something new to write and I love a challenge. I am willing to write just about anything (except smut, sorry but no. Just no.) so fire away!

To request a story, email me at: celeste.stranburk@gmail.com .

Your email must contain answers to these questions:

Story: Genre*? POV? (Third or First Person; I’ve never really written in second person POV and don’t particularly want to). Length? (ie. Short story or flash fiction? Please include maximum word count, otherwise I may try to turn it into a novel. I’m serious. This has happened before and it never ends well.) Anything you want to avoid? (ie. Character death*, violence/gore, romance)

Protagonist(s): Male/Female? Age Range? Any characteristic you want them to have? Once again, anything you want to avoid?

*With regards to genre, this can once again be anything except smut. Also, if you do not have a specific genre in mind, you can send me a song or an image and I will create a story from there. All other questions must be answered regardless.

WARNING: In case you have not noticed, I have a tendency to kill off characters. If you want the story to end with people still breathing, please specify this. Otherwise, I may upload a fictional pile of corpses. Also,  if you request something in the fantasy, horror, or similar genres and you dislike violence/gore, include that in the email otherwise… *ahem* Pile. Of. (Fictional.) Corpses.