Sam sat there in the corner looking at his fingernails. With a shrapnel in his hand, he was digging the dirt, which only he could see, out his fingernails. He looked up for a moment, and then looked around. Nothing much had changed.
It had been so long since he had locked himself up in this damp room on that fateful day that he had lost a sense of time. This was his personal man cave before that. This was a space where he ran all the experiments, all the projects that his day-to-day job did not allow him. He spent most of his out-of-office hours in this room living a life he always dreamt of living. That was before the epidemic engulfed the town. He never dreamt of living a day like today outside of a reel projected on a movie screen.
And since that day, he had been to no place else. The room has been his attic and his living room. His kitchen and his bathroom. It has been his world, his universe. And the light bulb dangling in the centre has been the sun around which his life revolved. The quietude lent an altogether different perspective to Sam. All the perennial void was his vast canvas; and the numbing silence his music room. His imagination brushed the canvas with glittery moments from his past life and slippery periods that could never check in. He laced it with his creations from the instrument-less music.
He had been directing this fancied life for so long now that time was not the only thing he had lost the sense of — it was reality too. His world was full of personalities and voices; he could no longer distinguish which ones were real and which ones were just the makings of his mind.
They are coming, Sam. Sam heard the voices speak. He was startled out of his dirt-digging exercise by some stutters outside, back to the reality. At least his perceived reality.
“Who do you mean by ‘they’?” Sam queried. He was still searching for the source of the voices, his eyes staggering all around the room.
You know very well who are coming. Sam knew to whom the voices were referencing.
Since the day epidemic broke out, the world all around had been a raw hunting ground. And Sam had somehow managed to lock himself away from the walkers and the hunters outside. All he knew was no one worked in dark as if the darkness could hide the savagery of the fear all around.
And if you are to survive, you need to switch the light bulb off. Rather just shatter it, the voices were growing more authoritative now. You can’t keep it glowing when you know that’s the way they can find you.
“Yes, that’s the only way someone can find me,” Sam repeated. He looked at the light bulb that was still shimmering, blanketing the darkness. “But that’s my sun,” he quipped.
Shuttering noises outside were growing, getting closer. Sam kept leering at his sun, and his universe. Grinning.
Whaam. The sun was killed and so was the canvas for Sam’s life that he had so merrily painted.
“There is no light anywhere Commander. Safe to quarantine.” A voice was heard as the army moseyed past the room.