The Last Night of the World
"Gone. It's all gone." Kate Brewster stepped away from John Connor and the radio, her head in a daze. Her eyes combed the empty bomb shelter, the quiet echoing in her ears. She rested her back against the nearest wall and slid down to the floor. She brought her knees to her chest, wrapping her arms around them. "Everyone's gone," she said, and the tears came, wet and salty on her cheeks.
Her father, her fiance, her friends...everyone. Yet, she lived, locked away underground with a man she barely knew. A man who was supposed to lead a revolution in the future.
'Second in command,' the terminator had called her. The thought caused her heart to speed up. She didn't know the first thing about being a soldier. She was a veterinarian for crying out loud. How the hell was she supposed to help fix this now-broken world? Her heart pounded at the mere thought.
She wiped her eyes and watched John yelling orders into the radio. Did he even know what he was doing? He seemed to know they were fighting for their lives, but Kate had only known him for one day - the last day. They had watched the world end and survived.
After a while, John turned away from the radio and their eyes met. He looked as sad as she felt, his blue eyes already making him appear older than his actual age. He walked to where she was sitting and sat down next to her.
"Are you okay?" he asked.
"Am I okay?" Her voice dripped with disbelief. "How can I be okay? Everything and everyone we've ever known is gone!" Her voice rose with every word. "Machines are taking over the entire world and we're stuck for God knows how long in a bomb shelter. A bomb shelter that wasn't meant for us, by the way."
John was quiet for a moment, his face an impassive mask. "We couldn't stop it," he finally said.
Kate sighed and rested her head on the wall behind her. "What do we do now?"
"I don't know."
She laughed, the loud, rich sound ringing off the walls. It didn't sound right to her ears. Laughter shouldn't be a part of that place. "You're kidding me, right? You're supposed to be the savior of the human race, and you don't know what we're supposed to do? Lovely."
John joined her, his deeper laugh mixing with her lighter one. After a few minutes the laughter died down. They sat side by side in the quiet.
"Do you think anyone else survived?" Kate asked after a while.
"I think so. I don't know how, but I think so." John stared straight ahead.
All of Kate's energy drained out of her. Without thinking, she rested her head on his shoulder. "How are we supposed to find them? When are we supposed to find them?"
"I guess after the air clears."
"Did your mother ever tell you how long that would be?"
She felt his shoulders move in a slight shrug. "My dad and the Terminator left that part out. Kind of like they left out the part about you."
Kate reached out and took his hand. "I guess this means I'm stuck with you for a while, huh?" A half-hearted smile tugged at her lips.
"I guess so." Kate looked up to see John smiling down at her.
She blinked. They were smiling at each other, another strange thing in this dreary place. She curled her fingers around his hand, holding on for dear life. They sat like that for hours, neither moving or speaking.
Her grief came and went in waves. So many people were dead and gone. Innocent people who had no idea this horrific event was coming. They couldn't save them, and that broke her heart.
She studied John's profile. Could they do it? Could they save the human race together? Was there anyone left to save?
She looked at their joined hands, her tiny one inside his bigger one. Whatever was going to happen, it was in their hands. 'The future isn't set,' John had said. What kind of future would it be? Would it be the same one the Terminator had told them about, or had they changed it at all?
Whatever future was awaiting them, Kate knew it was time to start planning for it.