Once the fatigue completely disappeared, as did the stagnant water that made my steps difficult, my walk became smoother.
Strange, because after being hit by those four, the pain in my body was always present since I got up and started running. Besides, while that did not stop me, it did make me think about stopping with every step I took, yet now that unpleasant feeling has been replaced by a very different one.
What took its place was an annoying stiffness. My muscles and joints felt uncomfortable to move as if I had gone a long time without using them.
Truly an unusual sensation, but since it wasn’t bad, I let it pass, treating it as a delayed consequence of the electric shock I received from the lightning strike on my house.
I didn’t pay much attention to it since my focus was elsewhere, on something much more worrying than the unusual sensations that ran through my body. That was the darkened road where I had been walking for a while.
Despite previously addressing the lack of cars passing through these streets as the result of a tree blocking the road after being split in half by lightning, now that I am here, my thoughts about this have changed a bit.
Not too much, as I still don’t exclude that it was due to an object blocking the way. After all, that is one of the few logical reasons that come to mind. However, I can’t deny that I’ve started to imagine crazy things after seeing so many cars parked on the side of the sidewalk, practically lined up in a line with no apparent end.
In addition, something that makes me doubt even more the possibility that I previously thought is that even though I have been walking on the edge of it for some time and, due to this, I have crossed streets that branch off in other directions where residential areas are located, I still do not see a single person, much less a vehicle, driving on these.
All this, added to the dark and flashing sky, as well as the silence that is perceived in the environment, has generated in me a slight feeling of fear for what is hidden in the shadows of the houses and trees, one that would be greater but for the fact that common sense dictates me that everything is fine, that the lack of life in the place is due to a logical reason that I just don’t know.
Several trees have fallen on the streets, a severe hurricane is approaching that could threaten the lives of residents leading the government to issue an evacuation order, or perhaps it could be due to the approach of a solar storm.
Various reasons, some crazier than others, gave me the motivation I needed to keep walking in search of transportation to take me away from here.
I walked while still worried about the loneliness around me, as well as what my mother and uncle would do in such a dangerous situation. I was tormented by the thought of whether they would manage to evacuate in time or if they would be recognized in the shelter by my enemies.
Yes, after some thought, it seemed to me that the hurricane possibility made the most sense.
‘I hope they are well. I pray to God that nothing happens to them’
Although, I knew that hope in a divine being, in this case, would not do much good. So, the one I trusted the most was my brother, for he, as the youngest of the three, should be the one to deal with the problems that struck them.
The worries and fears continued to haunt my heart, even though I had decided to overcome them. So big were these that I was about to return home to check on them and see if they needed help with whatever it was, but before I could turn around, I noticed something that stopped me.
In the distance, I saw a group of people crossing the road from side to side. There were four of them, three following the back of the one in front. Due to how far they were, I could not distinguish their appearances, so I accelerated my steps to get closer to them.
I did not run, although I wanted to, because I had two great reasons that me to do so.
The first of these was caused because encountering signs of life swept away all the fears of the supernatural that had gradually awakened in my heart due to the accumulation of unpleasant situations of this day. The blows I had received led me to think unconventionally.
Meanwhile, the second reason that urged me to approach them as soon as possible originated from more rational thought. I wanted to ask them what had happened and if there had been a notice on the news which I had missed.
After a while, I reached a sufficient distance, so the raindrops did not obstruct me from seeing their aspects. Besides, they also noticed my approach once they arrived on the same sidewalk where I was walking, leading them to stop, perhaps because of the surprise of seeing someone outside in the middle of this storm.
I could not recognize the appearance of the guys in the back since the hoods on their raincoats hid their faces. However, the one in front, on the other hand, I could see him unobstructed, for he was carrying an umbrella in one of his hands, which he used to cover himself from the rain.
He was a young man in his late twenties to early thirties, with light brown, somewhat long, and wet hair that fell across his forehead, half covering his eyes until it reached the nose. Also, from his sideburns grew a beard that covered the lower half of his face, which was short and unkempt, probably coming from a week or two without shaving.
Although too much hair hid his face, his appearance seemed familiar to me.
The way she stood, the context of her body, the color of her hair, and even her eyes reminded me of someone I had recently seen.
However, that was impossible. After all, it made no sense for him to be walking around here, not to mention that the last time I saw him, he had a bullet wound in his shoulder, but now he was using that same arm to hold an umbrella.
Impossible, I’m getting the wrong person… or so I thought until I heard his voice, which was deeper than usual, softly calling my name.
”… brother, so it really is you”
No mistake, he was the one standing in front of me. He was the one I thought would be helping my mom pack and who would assist my uncle with any problems they had.
Imagining the scenario in which he had abandoned both, who were older adults, to escape on his own, or worse, that he had left them behind to go drink with his friends, I became angry. So, I abandoned my fast walk to run towards him, thinking of reprimanding him for what he had done.
”You! What the hell di-…”
I did not get to finish my question since before I had time to react, he came to my side, and with movements that I could not follow with my eyes, he grabbed me by the neck to lift me in the air using only one of his arms.
”Fucking bastard, where the fuck have you been all this time?”
I did not answer him, despite the urgency for an answer I perceived from his voice. I could not do so, as the hand that was choking me prevented me from doing so, one that I could not move even a millimeter away, even if I tried with all my strength.
I was short of breath and felt my face turn red from the effort, but no matter how desperate this situation was, there was only one thought in my mind.
‘When-… Since when is he so strong?’
Engraved in my memory was that brother who loved parties and alcohol, someone whom every weekend would prefer to go out drinking with his friends than stay at home spending time with us, but who, even though he didn’t interact with me that much, never did anything to bothered me.
In fact, I came to believe that he was afraid of me.
So, who was this? Who is this man with strength far beyond what I had in my prime and who looks at me with such anger reflected in his eyes?