Isaac’s feet pound the sidewalk as he sprints down the street, eyes to his running feet that seemingly glide across the neglected cement below. From cracks bloom flowering weeds, from loose stone turns dust. Isaac feels himself breathing heavily and tries consciously to control and maintain an equilibrium as he pushes himself harder. ‘Run, RUN’ reverberates through his head. The streets before him are desolate, cars littered about without pattern. As if the drivers had tired of doing just that, so pulling the handbrake, they step out and away from this lonesome street. Shop fronts are painted black with the memories of a fire, the once bustling CBD now a relic of all lives lived here. Running still, glass crunches between the soles of his shoes and the brown stained pavement. Feeling himself tiring Isaac puts everything he has into this final sprint; his clear mind brings him a delightful moment of solitude as his feet beg him to stop. Violently panting his legs begin to shake beneath him until he slows himself allowing a deep inhalation and a satisfactory release. Pulling his wireless headphones out of his ears as he looks upon a converted parking lot, military vehicles abandoned and countless bodies lay alone in black bags, stacked atop one another, and scattered without a care. From the headphones Isaac still hears Vivaldi’s Four Seasons: Spring, the stunning strings and chaotic sunshine energy ring out through the empty city streets. He wonders what he did to deserve such a beautiful sunny day.
“SOMEONE, PLEASE, ANYONE” Isaac screams into the empty halls of the Royal Hospital. Returning to his spot beside the bed he clenches his father’s hand. “Dad” He whispers, a whisper carried on a breath of frost as if the very soul of this man he loved so dear was blocking his plead for him to return. Isaac opens his eyes, quilted in bed he lay in the foetal position. Tears running down his cheeks like rivers and his breath a frosty mist.
Birds chirp atop the trees, wind rustles the Ficus Emarald leaves and below Isaac sits on a small metal chair as he leans his book upon the accompanying table. Both the chair and table are rusting, dry yellow paint peeling and falling to the long grass below. The parklands around him are overgrown, teeming with life. Birds soar high above, dipping in and out of the trees and landing to pick through soil for their insect prey. A possum walks across the narrow beam of a path fence and foxes scout eagerly through the underbrush. Looking upon this resurgence of nature Isaac dog ears his book and places it upon the table. He recognizes a familiar taste in the air, a downpour will soon be upon his little oasis. Rain is never great for business he thinks to himself before laughing audibly, regrettably only heard by the canines, birds, and small marsupials.
The old timber door swings open and wind blows in as if in a rush to fill the restaurant. Isaac throws his keys to the waiter station just inside the door and turns back to the old glass panned entry, swinging the small sign from closed to open. Light pushing in through the window reflects across dust particles in the air, like starlight through a planetary ring. Through the small kitchen and passed a door labelled ‘Staff Room’ Isaac assesses an idle generator. Unscrewing the cap and closing one eye he looks inside “plenty for the day” he mutters aloud to himself. Screwing the cap back on and reaching across to the cable start. Putting his right foot on the generator and his left hand clutching the cable he pulls hard once, twice and the generator starts with a cough and a splutter. Smoke begins to pour from the exhaust as Isaac makes his way back toward the restaurant floor. Standing to attention, apron on and smile on his face Isaac stands facing the entry. Waiting for his first guest of the evening, maybe first guest of the year. How long had it been? He questioned his inner clock. Was anyone coming, would anyone ever come again?
Isaac, no older than 8 runs circles around the tables of the inner-city restaurant. Guests enjoying humble but well put together dishes giggle at the energy of the young boy as rain pours down outside. Small rivers run down the outside of the pane and Isaac is held gently by a man with kind eyes. “papa” Isaacs soft voice uttered. “This will be your place someday my boy, yours to care for” the stern but loving voice echoes though him until he jolts awake.
Isaac looks out over the small lake where he had skimmed rocks many times. However, now it was frozen and desolate. He had never seen a cold enough day for the lake to freeze over but on this day, the day that he realized there was not a soul left in the world, all was colder than it had ever been. He pulls his headphones out, one ear at a time. From them the melancholy reverberation of Thom Yorke’s Dawn Chorus plays out into the approaching night. He stares into the frozen membrane atop the lake and wonders, what next?