Alone

Journal of Kiff Porter

October 9, 2033

It’s been a really strange day today. Things aren’t working, no one is answering their phone, and I haven’t seen a single soul all day long. Of course, it’s not like see a ton of people on any day, what with Winfield being so small. But today? Today was… different. Like, nobody on the road that passes my house. At. All. It’s weird, too, because I hate people. I mean, it’s one of the reasons I moved out here to the ass end of nowhere. I should think this is a godsend, seeing as one of my dreams is to the last man on Earth. But now that I don’t see anyone, it’s kind of weird. Like, I almost miss them, walking past, trying to talk to me, and just generally disrupting my life. Make a note of that “almost”, though. Because I don’t think I actually miss them. It’s more that, with them not being there, things are different and I hate “different” about as much as I hate people. Really, I don’t think I’d care at all if I could get my stupid streaming services to work right. Not sure what’s up with that but it’s so damn irritating. Maybe things will be better tomorrow.

October 10, 2033

After another day of seeing zero people, I decided to get out and walk around a bit. It didn’t help. Hell, if anything, it made shit even weirder. I hadn’t gone a hundred feet from my front door when I started finding these piles of clothes lying on the ground. Not in a wad like they’d been tossed out a car window, either. They were in like an orderly heap. Sort of like the person wearing them had been sucked out or just evaporated. They weren’t damaged and had no blood or stains. No signs of attack at all. I can’t figure out where the people might have gone. Fucking weird, man.

Also, TV and streaming services still aren’t working which sucks. Fortunately, I’ve got a huge stash of DVDs/CDs and plenty of books to stave off boredom. Plus, my pantry is pretty well-stocked. That’s important because when I was out, I saw that all the stores were closed. Even the 24-hour Walgreens and they always open. Not sure how long this strange state of affairs will last but I hope it gets resolved before I run out of food.

I’ve been thinking it over and have decided to keep a comprehensive account of this event. That way, there will be some kind of record since I seem to be the only person left in my community. I hope it can be used to keep this kind of thing from happening again.

October 11, 2033

Well, so much for hoping this ends quickly. I say that because today the power went out which can’t be a good sign. Fortunately, I’ve been moving off-grid over the past few years and invested in a solar power system. I feel bad for anyone who hasn’t got some sort of backup because you can’t get anyone at the power company to answer the damn phone. Even worse, the internet is down, too. And, they’re just as responsive as the power company, i.e. Not. At. All. I’m beginning to think this won’t be over anytime soon. When the power cut out, I went down to the grocery store to see if I could get a deal on perishables before they, well, perished. Still no one there. But the doors were unlocked, so I decided to top off my freezer and fridge. That required a not-inconsiderable amount of food since I installed commercial-sized walk-in units for just such an eventuality. I left a note with a detailed list of everything I took with my contact info so we could square things up once shit got back to normal. Whenever that will be.

October 14, 2033

Had to take a couple of days off from journaling to get the food situation squared away. As of now, I have enough meat and produce to last me a good long time. Honestly, some of it will probably go bad before I can use it but better if it does that here where it’s accessible than sitting on the shelf in the grocery store. Plus, I grabbed all the canned stuff my pantry would hold. I know that sounds like a lot but I’m getting the feeling that this situation is going to be very long-term, if not permanent. I ventured out to the neighboring town and it was just like mine: no one around and strange piles of clothes everywhere. That means I can’t expect help from other places. I’m beginning to wonder if this weirdness isn’t nationwide. I’m starting to get concerned. I mean, I was concerned when it started but now? Things are getting scary. Whatever it is, I still have things to do to make it through the long haul. Tomorrow, I’ll load up the generator and see if I can’t get some power to the pumps at the gas station. Something tells me I’m going to need a lot of fuel before this is over.

October 21, 2033

It’s been a very busy week. Last Friday, I trekked down to Dutton, about 20 miles west of here. Again, no people, just clothes lying in tidy little heaps. This trip wasn’t just for exploration, though. There’s a farm supply store there that has fuel storage tanks. I brought the trailer so I could make this in one trip and loaded up one 500-gallon tank (for gas) and a smaller 150-gallon model (for kerosene), both elevated so I won’t need to worry about a pump. I headed off to the gas station once I got them set up. It took multiple trips to fill them, but it’s done now. According to the literature, the tanks are air-tight but I added some fuel stabilizer just to be sure. That way, this supply should last me at least 24 months. I hope.

After that was done, I decided to make sure I had enough wood for the winter (my primary heat source is a wood stove). I already had a decent supply, but figured more wouldn’t hurt. Plus, whatever I cut now is going to need some time to cure out. I dropped 3 good-sized oaks and a maple that died last year. Even better, I came across an old pine stump that I’d somehow missed. I used the tractor to pull it up and then drag it and the trees out of the woods and up to the house where I could process it. So, now I’ve got plenty of firewood and a nice supply of lighter pine to boot. Between all that and the kerosene heater, I shouldn’t be cold this winter.

October 25, 2033

Something strange has happened to me over the last few days. Stocking perishables/essentials was a lot of work so I decided to take a little “me” time. I thought it would be nice to whittle down my “to be read” pile. At first, it was lovely. But, after a day or so, I began to feel strange. I couldn’t put my finger on it, all I knew was that it was different. Something I’d never felt before. After a bit, I realized what was bothering me: I was actually a little lonely. I counted it up and it’s been 17 whole days since I saw another person. Longer than that since I spoke to anyone. And, up until now, it’s been heaven. I’ve never been a social person. I’m very introverted and incredibly socially awkward, so dealing with people has always been a nightmare for me. I have this knack for saying exactly the wrong thing at exactly the wrong time and “normal” people are never shy about letting me know how I’ve screwed up. And, I haven’t had to deal with that for several weeks. I should be elated. Instead, I’m dealing with the onset of a depressive episode because there’s no one around. It’s just batshit crazy. Of course, this whole situation is batshit crazy, so why should this be any different?

October 28, 2033

I thought maybe if I got out and did some manual labor, it might get me out of my head and this loneliness crap would stop. And, it did… as long as I was actually working. Within a few minutes of stopping, though, the loneliness came back. Even harder than before. I’m going to have to do some research and find a way to deal with this. No way this is a good situation to be in.

October 31, 2033

So, research didn’t really help. Well, to be fair, research hasn’t helped so far. That may be due to my limited resources. I’m certainly beginning to see how much I relied on the internet for things like this. When it still worked, I didn’t have to worry about finding sources, that shit was right at my fingertips. Now, I have to rely on physical books, magazines, journals, and the like. And, I just don’t have a lot of that sort of material here. I guess another trip to Dutton (the location of the nearest library) is in order. Hopefully, they’ll have something on the subject. I better come up with some answers quick because the feeling is only getting worse.

November 4, 2033

Well, the library trip panned out, thank god. I do have to say it feels weird to be thanking god for learning that my situation is even more screwed up than I thought. I say that because my loneliness is getting worse and everything I can find about combatting it basically says “Be around people more”. Which I would gladly do if I could find some people to be around. It’s getting hard to get up and do stuff now. Yesterday morning, I stayed in bed until noon (I’m usually up by 6:30 every day) and when I finally did get up, I laid on the couch in my robe and pajamas. All I ate was cereal, Pop-Tarts, and chips. Today was better, though. A cold front blew through last night and the temps dropped pretty dramatically and I made myself build a fire and fix a pot of soup. It was from a can, Campbell’s Chicken Noodle, but I also made a grilled cheese to go with it. Comfort food, you know? Reminded of when I was a kid and Mom was still around. I miss her. Hell, I miss everybody. I never thought I’d say that.

November 10, 2033

The depression is getting worse. I haven’t had an actual meal since I made that soup and sandwich and have been living mostly on junk food. I did have some green beans the other day. Ate them cold, right out of the can. Same with potatoes. I tried to do that with some canned salmon but it was just too gross. I’m surviving this way, but I don’t know for how much longer. My plan for today is to get up, put on actual clothes (not pjs), and get outside a bit. I also need to bring in some wood and top up the kerosene heater. I’m hoping the activity can pull me out of this funk.

Okay, I followed the plan and it seems to have helped. It felt good being out in the sunshine and accomplishing something. Afterwards, I even had enough energy to cook a full meal. Salmon patties, pork and beans, and cabbage, all like Mom used to make. It may be the best meal I ever ate.

Okay, something weird happened just now. I know everything’s weird these days, but hear me out. I was lying in bed, reading (well, trying to read. It’s been hard to concentrate lately) and I swear I heard someone talking. I got up and took a look around but there was nothing. After I got settled back in bed, I heard it again. Nothing that I could make out, kind of mumble-y, you know? This time, it sounded like it might’ve been outside, so I put on some shoes, grabbed a flashlight, and took a turn around the yard. Still nothing. Like I said, weird.

November 11, 2033

This morning, I drug myself out of bed as early as I could manage (9 o’clock) and tried to figure out who I kept hearing last night. I went over the entire house, the yard, and all the outbuildings, looking for signs that someone had been here. Everything was just like I left it. As I was heading back inside to make some breakfast, I swear I saw someone out of the corner of my eye, standing at the edge of the woods. They were gone when I looked though. And, when I went over to check, there was no sign that anyone had ever been there. Maybe it was an animal. Maybe my brain is starting to play tricks on me. I don’t know.

November 13, 2033

Okay, it’s been a couple of days since I first heard the voice, and it’s only getting worse. I still can’t quite make out what they’re saying but they are getting a little more distinct. I think there may even be more than one of them. It’s hard to say, but it feels like two people instead of just one. They seem to have different cadences, different inflections. Strange. I also feel like I’m being watched. Not all the time, just when I’m outside. I keep looking around, trying to see if anyone’s there (and oh god how I wish there was) but nothing. After the other day when I thought I saw someone in the tree line, this feels so damn odd. On one hand, I don’t like the idea of being spied on. On the other, having a real, live person to talk to would be nice.

November 22, 2033

It’s been a while since my last journal entry and I know I’m getting slack. Lately, it’s harder and harder to get up and do stuff. And, I’m still hearing voices (I was right, there are two). The difference is I can understand them now. They’re telling me it’s okay if I don’t get up, that I don’t need to eat or drink or any of that other stuff, that just take it easy things will be better tomorrow. Really, it’s been kind of nice now that I can understand what they saying. It’s like I’m not alone so much. And, I was also right about being watched. Yesterday I saw a man in the woods, right where I thought I had that time before. And, I got a good look. He even waved at me. I’m thinking about inviting him in for coffee. I can’t tell you how much would love to have coffee with someone. Of course, that means I’m going to have to clean up a bit. The place is kind of a wreck as the voices have said housekeeping isn’t so important and I’ve kind of let things go. I’m thinking it will be nice to have a friend, though. Maybe I’ll even cook us a nice meal.

November 23, 2033

Haven’t seen the man since yesterday but I left a note inviting him up to the house. I decided dinner was a bit forward, so I stuck with my original coffee idea. I’ve got a cake in the oven and the coffee pot is on so I hope he comes by. Okay, something smells strange. It’s coming from the kitchen. Smells like smoke or something. No matter, I’m sure it’s nothing important. Don’t want to leave the window. I might miss my guest.

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