Alone

The day began like any other. He showered and ate breakfast while listening to music. The drive into the office was uneventful. That itself was the first hint, but he was too focused on the day ahead to take proper notice that there were no other cars on the road.

Once inside his building, the absence of other people became too prominent to remain unnoticed. The lobby and stairs were silent, and his office suite was still locked. First he checked his phone to make sure he wasn’t just very early, then the date to make sure it wasn’t a holiday.

Having ruled out those explanations, he walked back outside. There was no evidence of any other person to be found. No cars, no pedestrians, and there wasn’t a single store open. He began to believe that there was no other living thing within the area until he heard a bird call out from somewhere nearby. Something still lived, at least. But where were all the people?

He got back into his car and began driving. Reflexively, he turned on the radio. At first, he could find nothing but static. Finally, his search found one station still on the air. A song was playing that he didn’t recognize. When it ended, the DJ got on and briefly discussed the previous track and then introduced the next one. There was no mention of anything strange going on. Still, it meant that there was one person somewhere else. That was something.

Using his phone again, he found the location of the radio station and began driving towards it. Now the empty roads struck him as eerie. Everyone always seemed to joke about the zombie apocalypse. Could that be what happened? The thought unnerved him, but he tried to reassure himself. He had seen no zombies, no signs of attack or hasty departure. This didn’t seem like the work of zombies.

Another thought struck him; it’s not just that there weren’t any other people, there were no bodies, either. No evidence of destruction. It seemed as though everyone had just vanished. There were no signs of people at all.

With no traffic, it did not take long to arrive at the radio station. The front door was unlocked, but there was no receptionist. He wandered around empty hallways for several minutes before coming upon the broadcast booth. It was dark; no one sat behind the microphone. A quick scan of the room revealed a reel-to-reel machine playing a prerecorded tape of a broadcast. There was no one here after all.

He returned to his car and sat behind the steering wheel. The sun had climbed high, and the few clouds slowly meandered through the blue. The sky looked normal. But he didn’t know what to do or where to go next.

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