I'm precocious and a bit of a dreamer; at least that is what my foster parents and teachers used to say. But never in my wildest dreams did I ever dream this kind of nightmare would come true. Oh sure, who hasn't dreamed that some crazy thing would come along and Mad Max would rule the world? But for real?! No, this kind of stuff was only supposed to happen in fantasyland; or if it did happen it was supposed to be far in the future and happen to some other more deserving people. It wasn't supposed to happen to me.

I'm not even sure why I'm writing except that it gives me something to do while I wait out the rain. I mean, if I'm going to be stuck in this stupid storage building I gotta do something to keep from freaking out. When I'm walking I'm too busy keeping my feet from tripping over stuff and too tired from carrying this big backpack to really think about all the junk that has happened. But now that I don't have that to keep me busy it's real easy to get scared. I had enough of that yesterday trying to avoid those creeps that were probably only after you know what.

That stupid grief counseling that the court mandated I go to gave me the idea. It isn't that the counseling was stupid but it sure seemed like some of the counselors were. For a while afterwards I was a real brat and the counselors only made me feel like being brattier. Is brattier even a word? Geez I miss spell check. And my laptop. Writing by hand stinks.

Anyway some of the counselors always struck me as being so holier than thou. When I would get mad after listening to them lecture me about my "behavioral problems" I would ask them what their loss had been that gave them the right to tell me how I should be acting. They would answer, "We aren't here to talk about me. We are here to help you." That was nothing more than adult doublespeak that said they hadn't ever experienced anything like I was going through but that they still knew what was best for me … even though nine times out of ten they didn't know jack.

But there was this one guy. He was kinda young but old enough that he didn't do the stupid fake "friend" thing. He knew what loss really was. His dad died during the First Gulf War and he lost a brother in Afghanistan. But he wasn't anti-military or anything which was better because my Dad had been military. Mr. Kramer … that was the guy's name … is the one that talked me into starting a journal. He said that a journal was kind of like a dumping ground for stuff that builds up inside you. It gives you a place to take it out and examine it to make sure what you are feeling is for real or gives you a place to put down things you don't want to forget. I really liked him but not the way all the other staff thought I did. It was more he was a person I could respect because his opinions and suggestions were based on real life experience and not something that he got out of a book. He understood in a way all those other jokers didn't. The administration in its great and infinite wisdom was suspicious because my chart showed I was improving with him when I never did with any of the other schmucks so of course they reassigned me to some other counselor that didn't have a clue what to do with me or for me. Then they spent weeks trying to figure out if there had been an "inappropriate counselor-client relationship" between me and Mr. Kramer. I really wanted to make a stink but I was afraid to make things harder on Mr. Kramer than they already were. Talk about a bunch of jerks. He finally had to quit and go to work someplace else. Just one more loss in my life and it only made me hate that stupid counseling center even more.

When I was accepted to the IB program at the highschool I was finally able to stop going to "counseling." They called me "cured" and I called me tired of talking about my feelings to other people that didn't have a clue. Either way we were all off the hook and could back to our regularly scheduled programming. But the journal idea is a good one. It helped me then so I hope this one helps me now.

After I made my decision to hit the road I read that old journal. I can't believe I kept it all that time; it sure was a pain to keep hidden from the other kids. It was kind of like a security blanket I guess. But so many other awful things have happened that those feelings weren't security anymore; they felt like a weight and I had to decide to dump them to make room for all the other things going on. One of the hardest things I've ever done, next to burying my family, was burning that journal. I read it one more time, put a match to it and then gave it its own burial in a hole I dug in one of the flower beds that surrounds the building where all us kids were being warehoused.

So here goes. First you are supposed to identify yourself and take ownership. That sounds stupid but I guess it would be more stupid to not do it that way.

My name is Kiri Michelle Snow, I'm sixteen years old and the world as I knew it has come to an end.