Tristan and the Apocalypse 1

By Asa Montreaux, pen name Andrew James

It is proper to think of our private lives. This world is just so big. And yet I might as well have been able to describe the things inside Allister’s mind because there were similar things in my mind, much darker I fear. I was worried about the things I was seeing everyday. It was strange, everyone like me went through an experience like this, where things weren’t as simple as you thought when you were young, or rather they are as complex as you feared.
Dad said that things had always been like this. Things were going to be okayish. But it made me sick to think, that we had not been around for forever, that things had changed so much in some time before my Dad.
When the storm came, it was twice as big as we thought. It touched land in Miami, and devastated the area. The sea swept ashore everywhere. The storm kept its strength into the Midwest. Tornadoes followed in its wake. Further destruction was discovered as time went past. By the time it had got to us, it wasn’t as strong as expected, but Vancouver wasn’t built for such a disaster. Schools collapsed, cars were rivered away, homes were ruined, power was lost along the whole coast. Across the country, there were thousands of deaths.
Maisie and I stayed downstairs with Allister, away from the windows. It was very scary. My heart raced. Allister held his knees under a blanket. We watched movies on the portable dvd player. I kept an eye on what was going on outside. Occasionally, whole branches, legs of trees it seemed, flew through the streets. They collided with the sides of the house, the boards on the windows. The whole house quavered. It lasted three days. The streets were dismantled, strewn with objects, the sewers overrun. It was as if God had signalled the end of each and every one of these neighbourhoods. Rain battered the house with such incessant artillery so that we could do nothing but read each others lips. The house shook, its wood readied itself to break, its brick prepared to crumble.  We prayed we would be all right. There were so many things about our lives that we wanted to hold on to. We didn’t really know it, the city had changed forever, and this was only the start. For three days, we ate what was in the house, we stayed together in the only space we thought it was safe. In three days, the character of the people in the city had changed, and we would all have to wait to see what remains, and just what has not survived.

Chapter 2
A week later, the water had gathered in small valleys everywhere. Some of the ponds where so deep you could drown a man three times. Whole houses, whole power lines were underwater. There were paths where you could walk, some long stretches you would need to swim, or use a boat. The government thought we ought to start a shuttle service, to get people across some of these distances, but there was no way to organize it just now.
  Most of our street was above water, and we got together to see what was possible. No one was able to have contact with the surrounding world without having to travel across the waters. We feared many people had died. We established that between us, there was plenty of food for a while, and we wouldn’t need to be bargaining with whoever we could reach across the water just yet, or rather we wouldn’t need to be asking for that kind of help just yet.
There were massive power outages all across the West Coast. Quantifying the damage wasn’t possible just yet, and didn’t seem feasible anyways. Whenever we stepped outside, there was some new detail that made your heart wrench, and the air was different, the world was a new colour. It was strange. We even thought we would need an expedition. We couldn’t bring everyone, but we selected a group from the street, that was to row all the way to the centre of town, and survey things, and then find help. We needed to know what was going on now. They left, and they were only to be gone for the day. By nightfall they weren’t back. We couldn’t be concerned because we didn’t have contact with them, so we had never lost contact. But they did not return the next day, nor did they within the next few days. They were dead.
There were a handful of us now. That so many people had died put people on edge, and that there were so few of us, it made us all distrustful. The three of us figured we would have to leave at some point. We would have to find some way to be safer. Allister would sit outside and listen to people talk to find out any clues. He kept trying to estimate, in his head, how far away the water stretched. I could imagine it with him, and I wondered, were there unsafe spaces, waterfalls, had the ocean filled up the water with creatures, sharks, worse?
Allister for the first time was full of fear on behalf of us. There would be things he would need to do, to help us be safe, and he would need to be one of the ones to help us decide how to rebuild, or even just to regroup.
He had a intelligence about him as if to say I’m not wise, but what the hell does the world need wisdom for? It just needs ingenuity. Young people see the world like it is a forest. There are obstacles that they navigate and old people are spooked because sometimes they don’t see you, but only there goals.
Teenagers always yearn for other teenagers, and we were always a little older than him. We always feel we need friends other than our brothers, other than the people that are just around us. He was lonely here, and the disaster only multiplied that feeling for him. Loneliness isn’t usually something you need to communicate, but it isn’t always easy to solve. Sometimes loneliness brings lots of fear because some people will look down on you. I wish when I was his age I didn’t yearn for such specific things, for a prize beyond all, but that was just what happened.
When there would be someone ready to set out, it would be Allister. He was telling us things, that we were hearing as well. The East Coast had been devastated, in the south the death counts were still rising, and there were continuous gun fights, over territory, over whatever there was. They blamed each other for not seeing things coming, they blamed each other for not being prepared.
Allister was thinking we should leave in the next couple days. We shouldn’t let our reserves go to waste. He said we should just try to go together, but there wasn’t someone we could trust with Maisie. If we tried to ask her to leave, regardless of if there was someone for her to stay with, she would want to come.
Allister said I don’t think we need to build anything. The boat is here, we have enough spare tools in the garage out there for pretty much anything.


Daphne, do you think we need to be here?
What do you mean?
Do you think that school can shape us, or does it crush our individuality?
University is supposed to be a place where you learn to study independently.
Not really. Not unless you’re in the arts. And if you’re in the fine arts, they teach you to make art in a certain way. Most artists seem to need some school, but usually the ones I read about are the ones that gave it up at some point. But surely, if you aren’t going to try to write or make things outside the norms of society, then you should stay in school. I wonder why they think they can teach so many people to write sometimes.
Sometimes that was the best, was just to have a safe place, and some movies to watch. Sometimes people criticize me, but I’ve always thought pizza was one of the best things. One day I got to thinking it wasn’t much different from pasta, and they wanted me to eat pasta before each and every game. College was great to me, even though I was anti-normalization, anti-dorms, anti-the same for everyone, that I could localize my life, instead of living it all over the place. That’s the problem. I don’t know why people think trains are not things you can only use occasionally, or for a couple years. Even in LA, they all seem to live so far out. For example.
Daphne felt there was nothing to be concerned about around here. The centre of the universe was fine. I was someone that was a little too dark, she felt she needed to say. The world was stable, more or less.
The people that aren’t dark at least a little dark are the stupid ones. Just be dark with me. It makes you feel better about yourself.
That doesn’t make sense.
How does anything make sense if it is not paradoxical. Otherwise we would never speak.
Uh huh.
I’m serious. Why wouldn’t you want to be stuck-up? It makes you feel great.
In a few days, most of my work was done, just a couple of papers to finish. The library was oddly empty. I kept expecting people to walk by, but there were hours when I wouldn’t see anyone, except a few heads at far-away desks. One day there was a commotion at the other end of the library. I looked over and there were men in suits, walking through, talking rapidly on big cellphones. I was expecting them to walk back after they walked one way, but I realized they disappeared into the library staff’s back room’s. People weren’t just leaving and going home. Everyone was there. In class, no one was missing. I was sure it wasn’t even conscious. People were acting differently, staying home more, moving more slowly, and behaving more quietly. There eyes were bigger and wetter, somewhere inside of them now aware that they were at the mercy of the world and the stars. On my way home,  all the lights were dim. And there was some creature singing to me, some sombre song. Surely we have no nightingales. Daphne said that someone wanted to teach you through the bird. It wasn’t the bird, or anything from the world.
That was one of the things I thought about. Eventually, we would have to go that far east. I was really hoping for some way to reach her, but there was no way yet. Eventually, surely someone was going that way that could relay a message.
Allister said there must have been a bunch of people that we know in Texas that are in trouble. Yes, I said. We’ll have to offer help. And there are many people we know that are… dead.
We sat through many of the nights with the fire on. We were not so cold, but we shivered with shock. One night I thought about how at war I was sure men were mostly fine, but when they came home, they could often seem not to adjust back to normal life. You always have something to think about. The mission, what to do next, who to trust, how to stay alive. I thought, how could you ride the train to work after that? Anyways.
Allister and I started preparing, packing supplies on the boat. Maisie wanted to help with all of these things, though we wanted her to rest. We made sandwiches, cured meat. Brought a cooler of fruit, bottled drinks, warm clothes, some books to read, flashlights, maps, what we thought we would need. Before we left on the boat I held her hand and tried to feel strong, but I felt cold as well. We left shortly, deploying into the water, and I started the engine, with two hands on the steering world, to brace myself against the unknown.
Strangely, harrowingly, we reached the downtown core before buildings poked up around us. We drove carefully, trying not to run ashore on some rooftop, or whatever it could be. It was desolate. Something must have happened, because there was no one. Some of the windows we could step inside, but there was little to find, and no evidence of what had occurred.
Maisie’s eyes looked hollow, the water rapped back and forth in her haunted day visions, the same ones all of us were experiencing. We sailed on. It had never occurred to me just how much could be lost beneath water, as it rocked slowly, as one ocean.
Many days later, we reached a space where the water seemed to end. There was a vast rising desert before us. Allister tied us ashore. We walked along the waters edge some time, and we couldn’t see any end to the shore either way. We took backpacks, and began walking farther east. It was late in the day and the temperature was bearable. After a few hours, there didn’t seem a point to turning around yet. We had found nothing. We kept walking, and eventually we found a safe area to pitch camp.
It got cold at night and we sat around the fire with some food we brought. There were animals alive. There presence was comforting, everything else was bleak. An owl sang intermittently for us, and the trees hung ambiently around us. Over the last few years little Allister had had a lot of questions. There wasn’t much to say, there wasn’t much to laugh about. All of the sudden we were very alone. I couldn’t even say we were confused, I am not even quite sure I could say we were perturbed, just very alone.
He fell asleep where he was on a fold up chair. We had two of them. Maisie was sitting in the other one, and I was sitting on a blanket. The fire wasn’t very big though we weren’t getting very cold yet. Maisie and I stayed up and passed some of the night. Eventually, she woke Allister, and we went over to our small tent, and fell fast asleep. In the morning, I packed things up.
We walked with a brisk pace over branches and bushes. It was almost silent. There was a strange smell, desolate, coming from far away, not too far away. There were streams and we stopped to replenish ourselves with some water. It cooled our bodies, and I felt it was a little more humid than we had anticipated. In some places the forest wasn’t as thick, and it was quite barren. Another days travel was behind us and we set camp again. In the middle of the night I woke up feeling ill and I left the tent and went off a ways into the forest.
For the first time, trying to find some head space, I heard something. It was more than a rustle of the wind, but it wasn’t another person. I couldn’t see much, but I listened very closely, trying to determine what the sound was, and where it came from. It was sudden that I didn’t feel nervous or even very frightened. I listened for a few moments, then I moved forward some, and I heard something again. Like a choked voice, a sonorous whisper, almost from the trees. I spun around trying to follow it. Then I heard again and it was like words. It wanted to say something to me.
It encircled me, not threateningly. It brought a mysterious spirit, of something not of here and beyond. It meant to guide me. We were so lost. I couldn’t understand its tongue. It illuminated the forest around me in a green and in a blue. It showed me images, they came to me through it, of what was going to happen, and what I was going to do. My insides moved and I trembled. The spirit in its twirl began to turn red, it shifted colour and blinked glaringly in red and subsided into its soft blue. It lasted a few more moments, and then the forest returned to normal. I was shaken, and awed and stuck in two different realities, slowly becoming one, both relinquishing me. I suddenly felt a little out of breath, and put my hands on my thighs. The forest stood there intent on being as if nothing had ever happened.
I returned to the tent, and Maisie had become awake as well. She sat where the fire had been with a blanket. She was in a thought. I sat down by her gently. She noticed me and I waited for here silence to include me. You not sleeping?
No. A lot of things on my mind now.
Sorry. Me too.
I get frustrated. Why has nothing happened like this before?
I sat there and I didn’t really say anything yet.
It is sad that I feel safe here. There is no one out there. There is something happening, and yet no one has it out for us. Someone knew we would live.
She didn’t seem to have seen or experienced what I had just seen. I said, I don’t know what to say.
It makes me angry. I’m really angry.
I’m sorry.
It isn’t our faults but it is. It is your fault, don’t say it isn’t.
I’m sorry.
It’s not fair.
It’s not fair.
I felt a little empty inside.  I didn’t have much emotion to give right now. I didn’t feel as happy. I couldn’t be positive. I want everything to be okay, but everything isn’t okay. We have no guarantees, no reason to feel our lives aren’t over, I said.
You’re still being pretty fucking positive.
What’s the worst? We’ll die? We might die. That way it’s just over.
She looked sad, and if there were a fire she was watching it burn.



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