A short story, published at midnight.
I knew that it was midnight.
Though I carried no timepiece, I could tell that it was midnight, and I carried on walking.
Past what had once been busy shops, and what were now empty houses I continued my trek, walking.
Sometime before, I’d lost the need for sleep. Or had I? I no longer remembered sleeping, but sometimes, occasionally, I seemed to start suddenly as if waking from a light slumber. But the memory faded soon enough.
It was midnight.
I shifted the small backpack until it was more comfortable, and strode forward, kicking up dust with every step.
I slowed as I approached a large piece of rubble in my path, and then stepped around it. There was a brief moment of surprise at the lightening of the sky as the heavy clouds parted for just a moment and an unaccustomed feeling of warmth struck me before they closed again, and the world darkened once more.
A grunt of acknowledgement from my own mouth mildly surprised me as I rounded the edge of the building and saw the clock tower ahead, its hands permanently moulded to the clock-face.
The nuclear weapons had struck at precisely twelve o’clock, and every clock, watch, and electronic time-keeper had frozen at that moment.
I turned and looked behind me. Another town where no-one had survived.
What was that? A hundred and seven?
I paused at the town boundaries, muttered the usual regrets, and walked on. The next town was ahead, somewhere in the distance.
I knew I’d get there by midnight.
© Lee Barnett, 2011