1 Eye of the Storm

"Category 5 hurricane about to make landfall in an hour. Residents are advised to evacuate. Category 5 hurricane about to make landfall in an hour. Residents are advised to evacuate. Category 5 hurricane about to make landfall in an hour. Residents are---"

The sound of the radio cut out as Alan coughed out some blood. He had been warned about the hurricane, of course, but he didn't care. It wasn't as if his wife had died and he wished to follow her, or he stayed back to warn the others -- he had no noble purpose. He just didn't want to live anymore. Or maybe he did. He had reached an age where he wasn't sure himself. God made the decision for him when his disease was revealed to be terminal, so he chose to take back his life from God. Or some bullshit like that. Truth was he was just tired, and an endless nap seemed like the remedy.

The neighbors all thought he was a quaint old man, and he was. "Wake at 9, sleep at 9, just before drink some wine" was his life's motto. Sipping his Merlot (the cheapest kind of course, he wasn't rich) he decided to start humming a tune to a song whose name he didn't remember, when his eyes chanced upon some scratches on his wooden flooring. "Damn it, not this again" were his only thoughts before his mind went back to his wine and whatever old men think of when they're at peace.

The sharp sound of knocking broke his reverie. Meandering to the door, he opened to see a 6 foot something blond haired blue eyed cop that probably featured heavily in the wet dreams of that whatchamacallit organization that kept mouthing off about the purity of this or that. He didn't care nor remember them, after all, he didn't talk to them, and they never cared about a poor old man that lived three blocks from their "grand assembly" or whatever they called it.

"Sir, we heard that you won't be evacuating? I'm one of the last people leaving town, so if you wanted a ride--"

"Son, did you come here just for that?"

"Yes Sir! It's my duty to make sure everyone gets through this, no problem"

"Don't worry about me, son. You go on and leave now. It'd be terrible if something happened to a good lad like you while you were waiting around for little old me"

"But Sir, the hurricane--"

"Ah who gives a shit son. I'm dying anyway and the whole block knows it. Some even gave me a goodbye present. I'd hate to let them down"

"But Sir, if you would just reconsider--"

THUNK. A loud sound punctuated the relative quiet that indicated it was the calm before the storm. Or quiet according to him. His ears didn't work so well now that he'd gotten on in years. A windy day was his new "quiet".

"Leave now, son. The wind's been startin' to pick up around here, and I made my choice a long time ago. Goodbye and godspeed, boy. You're a good one, make sure you stay the same even when you're grey like me"

"Alright sir. Goodbye"

With a reluctant look the model cop left, and Alan walked back into his home without looking back.

THUD.

THUD. THUD. THUD.

"I see the storms getting on. Won't be long now". The storm was picking up, and even to his almost deaf ears the quiet was turning into a roar. Meanwhile the thudding sound was increasing in intensity and tempo, it was almost constant now. The man sat there drinking his wine again for almost an hour when he heard a shriek amidst all the thudding and the creaking of the poor house that sounded like the death cries of a beaten dog.

"Ah, is it time already?" He went into his basement where he heard the shriek, and opened up the door to the small room in the basement. The door was a thick mahogany with iron plating in parts. It used to be one of the alcoves which he'd personally turned into a room, back when he was still able so long ago. As the thick door swung open, a man came into view with a clearly dislocated shoulder murmuring obscenities.

"You fucking lying piece of shit scum let me out let me out i'll kill you--"

"Did no one teach you respect for your elders, son? I know my memory ain't so good but I remember I was taught respect back in my day"

An angry 22 year old stared back at him. His wrists were tied up and rubbed raw, indicating he'd tried to escape his bindings.

"What do you want old man? And where the fuck are we you said you wanted to invest in my company you lying asshole"

"Ahh what are they teaching kids these days. Cursing like a sailor. And to answer you question I just wanted some company and some friends before I died that's all. I get bored".

"Let me out of these and we can have a nice long chat..."

"I really didn't expect you'd wake up so soon, but this is great! The people before needed a lot more time before they wanted to spend some time with an old man. Follow along and we can chat!"

The young man shuddered as he realized the implication of the statement. He could've killed the old man any day of the week, for being strong one of the perks of being young. After being drugged at a private meeting, he still couldn't control his body very well. And the bindings didn't help. He'd dislocated his shoulder trying to break down the door, and now all he could do was follow the madman.

As he stepped out the room, he could hear it. And he instantly knew where he was.

"We are in the hurricane zone"

"That we are"

"Why? What have I ever done to you? Why are you killing me? I want to leave now. Mother...Father...I want to leave".

"Why do you want to leave? You promised to chat! You lied to me. But friends forgive each other, so I'll help you".

As he slowly climbed out of the basement, he could see the broken windows and literally see the house was about to be pulverized. He tried to protect his eyes as the old man pointed in what he thought was a random direction and said "the closest safe zone is that way. Good luck!"

The young man didn't even look back and started running as fast as he could towards that direction. He knew running out during a hurricane was sheer stupidity. He knew he was going to die. He just wanted to try. When the reality of the situation sunk in, he despairingly turned back and looked straight at the old man. Although his doddering old body was desperately trying to hold onto something so he wouldn't fly away, his eyes seemed pitch black and unmoving.

THUD. A piece of debris speared the young man, and he died.

You could see a tear fall out of the old man's eyes as he lost his friend.

"Soon. I'll die soon. I'll go meet all my friends and we will reminisce about the times we had. So fun. So great. I'll die soon. I hope I wasn't a bad friend. I just didn't want to be alone, to die alone".

Another muffled shriek came from inside the house

"I forgot about the other one".

"I was a bad friend".

His body flew off as the wind howled, the shrieks becoming quieter, and quieter, and quieter.

Then just the wind howled.