Thanks for reading! I hope you like it, but feel free to review with critique (I'd actually really appreciate that, because I'm always looking to improve my writing).

1: All Alone

There is about one minute, when I first wake up and I haven't opened my eyes just yet, when I forget everything that's happened. The nightmares are just dreams, and in that moment it could be any old day back at home. It could all just not be real.

But then I open my eyes.

Reality is bleak. I have spent every day except for one alone since the initial outbreak, and most of me prefers it that way. There is a small piece of me that whispers every now and then of loneliness, but life could be far worse. I even have a home, if you could call it that. I was lucky enough that some rich and eccentric Georgian happened to have a cabin at the end of one of the roads I turned down. It was high enough on the mountain that in the days since I arrived it was almost untouched by the outbreak. The owners must not have made it here after everything, and I can't help but be thankful for that. The property was fenced in, and the second I laid eyes on it I knew. I just knew. Some kind of peace floated over me that moment. Barbed wire and all, if I could have a home now this would be the best thing I could find, and it was. After I scanned the property I found that it was much more than I bargained for.

"Environmentalists, God love 'em." I looked up at the solar panels and all I could do was smile. With all the things I lost I was beginning to think that the universe had something against me, but those glistening black panels were all the proof I needed. This was where I needed to be. It took me several trips to clear the town down the road from the house of everything valuable, but I did it. That's what I do. Sweep in and take everything that I can carry. Every book, every blanket, every can of food, everything I might need. I had space in the house that I needed to fill. The more stuff I had around the less the thought of being by myself scared me.

A normal day is full. I wake up to that brief moment of happiness, and then get to work. I check the perimeter, and then have breakfast. I never knew a whole lot about gardening, or working land, because most per-med senior students in Baton Rouge didn't have time for those things. I've had plenty of time since it happened. Nowadays most of the daylight is spent watering and harvesting. I take the buckets from the river the runs under the fence (I took some extra fencing and patched the holes under the water just to be cautious), and then I would make the walk to the fields. Whatever I could I threw into a compost pile at the corner of the field to use for the soil, and I'm embarrassed to admit that on more than a few occasions I would just take my bathroom breaks by the pile. I have to think like that now. Whatever time is left I spend on the roof with a book and the long-range rifle I picked up in some infested town on my way here, binoculars in hand. I do a full scan every few pages. When I first got here there wasn't a day when I didn't have to climb down and grab the baseball bat, then put another soul out of its misery, but now weeks go by. I've been putting the bodies about ten yards from the fence, because a part of me hopes the smell will drive off the others, but it's just an idea I had that I can't seem to shake. A glimmering hope for protection. It brought some sort of order to the kills. In the evenings, as soon as I can't see past the fence I go inside and make dinner. I was never much of a cook until this all happened. I had always pictured my mom and I in a kitchen when I was older, maybe even married, cookbook open and her helping me do things the way she did them. That's the way it goes, I think. There is always time until it's gone. At this point in the day, depending on my mood I do one or two of a few things. Thanks to the electrical setup of this house's previous owner I might watch a DVD. I might even get in a good workout, but I mostly reserve those for days before cleanings. I might practice the guitar, or keyboard. I might do yoga. I might relax while listening to music. I might read a novel. But almost every night I study from the med school textbooks I picked up. Finally, whenever my eyes start to get tired I turn the lights off and go upstairs to sleep. Every night I barricade the door, just in case. The bat is never out of my arms' reach.

I have a few of those kinds of ideas, the ones that bring a bit of order to everything. Every Wednesday and Sunday I give myself a good cleaning. Once every four weeks I even use shampoo, and I try to make those days special. I even will pour myself a glass from one of the many liquor bottles I have stored up, each time toasting 'the little things,' toasting 'still being human,' toasting 'not dead yet.' It's how I keep track of time; even thought time had become pointless to me. It's how I keep from falling apart.

Or at least, it was.

Author's Note: I am going through trying to fix things I don't like or feel like need improvement. Because of this go crazy with the critique. Anything you see off or that confuses you just let me know; it'll really help with the process.