"WAKE UP, ARA!!! The building is on fire!!"
"WHAT?!," I sprung up out of the bed, tangling the sheets around my legs and plunging headfirst to the ground. I jumped up and looked around wildly- how we would get out, where was the fire- was Gabriel safe?, what-
Addison collapsed onto the bed in a fit of giggles. I turned, staring at her in disbelief.
"You should see your face right now, you look like Bambi after his mom got shot!" she continued to giggle, sitting up and pouncing on the side of the bed, while I willed my heart to stop pounding. The floor was cold on my feet, and I looked down, realizing I had slept in the clothes she'd given me.
"The building is on fire- really?" I gasped out.
She grinned, "Of course it's not, its almost completely cement, but I've been dropping things and pounding on the walls for hours. Do you realize you slept through the full day, and the entire night? Its time to wake up!" She shouted the last part, and leapt off the bed, circling me like a hawk.
"We better clean you up too," she said after a moment with a sigh, and I felt self-conscious for a moment. It was an odd and uncomfortable feeling, like stepping into something squishy. I realized I haven't felt this way in years. For so long there was no one to perform for..... I looked up at Addison and her cheeky grin..... or was it perhaps no one to compete with?
Addison grabbed a lantern placed beside the door, the same type as had been in the bathroom. It was small and electric, and I recognized the design. My family had used them for camping occasionally. Part of the handle doubled as a lever that could be manually rotated to recharge the batteries. This one also had a button that lit up only the bottom to change it into a flashlight.
Addison pulled me into the hallway, and I almost gasped from the cold. Both of us were barefoot, and I high-stepped, trying to keep my feet off the ground as long as possible. Addison didn't seem to notice, and pulled me along like I was a child following her. I was going to have to talk to her about this whole touchy thing.... but in a way in was nice, almost like she knew me or we were already family. This time the hall was not completely dark. Bits of light leaked in from above, lighting it dimly. It must be day above us. I paid close attention as she pulled me along. I had thought the basement was just a hallway with a series of doors, but now I realized it was more complicated than that. There were areas that seemed homemade, held up by boards, with slanting earth ceilings, while others were cement tunnels with piping that ran overhead. There was also more than one level, and as we descended two floors it grew progressively darker, until I was happy Addison's hand was in my own and she held the lantern in the other.
"Sorry, I should have had you put your shoes on but I wanted to show you this.... and it's where one of the bathrooms is." I was glad to hear it, worried she was going to pull me on this adventure forever.
She knocked on the door, and when we entered I heard a strange sound, rumbling and deep. The room was made of stone, with green scum covered the walls, and a deep fine mist kicked up. It ended oddly, seared off, the stones torn off in a rugged edge. Addison dropped my hand and walked to the l jagged edge, peering over, an excited look on her face. I paced forward slowly, looking hesitantly over.
Below us, tumbling and roaring, was a dark river. Its current was black and swift. I stepped back, a sharp spike of fear in my gut.
Addison didn't notice, her face still turned in rapture to it.
"It's an underground river. It was mostly dry when they damned the river above the city, but when it burst it filled up again. Its one of the reasons we live here. Gabriel says its purified by the aquifer."
YOU ARE READING
The Last SheScience Fiction
A plague has swept over the Earth, killing the majority of the population and every female. Except one. Ara witnessed the horror and destruction, but for the last three years has somehow survived. Now desperation and hunger force Ara out of the mou...