Never have I seen these streets so empty. Teenagers used to roam these streets day & night. Families used to flow in & out of these shops. But now, there is nothing. Fallen telegraph poles litter the streets creating a maze. Houses and shops are now hardly standing with missing walls & rooves.
What happened her you might ask? Well it all started 19 years ago.
I was only a young boy among this peaceful town. Being December though, this became like any other capital city around the world. People everywhere trying to get those last minute gifts. No was in their homes, everyone was out and about. Unfortunately, I was one of those last minute frantic shoppers that wait out the front the previous night.
Yes I was one of the people that was waiting outside the shop all night to get one Christmas present. 8 hours of precious sleep that I will never get (I didn’t sleep because I would lose my spot if I did). I waited, and waited, and waited, and waited. Didn’t talk to anybody. Didn’t go and get something to eat. Didn’t go for a bathroom break. I sat and starred at the brick wall next to me, and counted how many bricks were in the wall. And once I counted all the bricks, I would go back and count all the cracked bricks. Then I looked to see how many shades of red there were.
That was my entertainment for 8 gruelling hours that seemed like an eternity.
Next morning though, as I finished counting how many shades of red bricks there were. The doors finally opened. We all charged in like a stampede of raging bulls, desperate to get that one thing that would bring joy to their lives. And I (surprisingly) was part of that stampede, trying to a stupid doll or my little sister. I had to be quick though, as the stand that they were located was in the back corner of the store. This was never going to be an easy shopping day. I turned into a homicidal maniac, I shoulder barged three elderly women on to the floor and didn’t even bother to stop and help them back on their frail legs. I was unstoppable.
But that wasn’t the worst part.
As I reached the stand where the dolls were, there was only one doll left and it turned in to a Mexican standoff between me and stocky mother (I am trying be nice this women was massive). I needed this stupid doll or I would hear it for the rest of my life from both my mother and my little sister, and I wasn’t going to go down without a fight. But unfortunately, I did go down without a fight because I was put flat on my backside by this women (cut me some slack t was like trying to stop the fastest train in the world with my finger. It wasn’t going to happen).
I left the store with battered pride and dignity and a bruised back feeling depressed. I waited 8 hours for that stupid doll and now I had to return home with an incomplete mission.
Or so I thought.
As I was the leaving the main street a mysterious figure pulled me down a dark alleyway, with his hand over my mouth, he whispered, “I hear you are need of gift”. He released me from his grasp and I nodded, too scared to open my mouth. He pointed up toward the town dam at the top of the hill and said “Bring $100 and some of the finest jewellery you can get your hands on and meet me up there, bring no one”. Then he left, and dropped note at the corner. I scampered to get the note before it blew away and it said ‘You have 1 hour or the town suffers’
He wasn’t mucking around this was serious if I didn’t give him what he wanted everyone would suffer the consequences.
I decided I had to get a move on, so I raced back to the house and decided to steal the finest jewellery that mum had (It wasn’t much it was only a watch with to fake diamonds on each handle). I got on my bike and rode at the speed of sound to the mouth of the watery beast.
As I reached the mouth the beast, with two minutes to spare I saw the prize that I have come this far for. The stupid doll. Rested in the middle of the wall. The only way to get to it was by facing my fear of heights and walking across the mouth of the beast. Without thinking about the worst scenario that could possibly happen, I took the first steps on to the wall.
Step-by-step. I slowly made my way across the wall (it must have been expanding because the dam thing just kept getting longer and longer). As I reached half way, the voice of the man that made me start the death defying stunt, yelled out to me saying “You might be able to walk on a thing block of granite, but can you walk on water”. And then the worst scenario that could have possibly happened, happened.
He pulled the emergency floodgate lever (stupid design feature). The floodgates started to open and the water burst out of the beast. I tried to save the doll but it wasn’t worth it, I jumped on to the other gate and ran back to the viewing area.
I watched the whole town get wiped out before my eyes that day. I don’t know if my family got out alive. I haven’t gained the courage to try and search for them. I am comfortable the way it is now. Not knowing if they are alive and hoping that they are now living a joyful life.
This place will always be a place in the world. But my family will always be my family, and they will never be forgotten.