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Homecoming
____________________________________________

You never liked buses.

Big, obnoxious, things that clogged up the roads and were always filled with the strangest people imaginable. You had usually found yourself on one whenever you went to and from your job after highschool; night shift at a drive-in coffee shop. The buses at night had always unnerved you, more than once you’d been accosted by drunks or druggies, twice you’d come home with a black eye and several bruises.

In recent years however, almost five of them to be exact, they’d been the chariots that had delivered you to some of the most unpleasant and downright traumatizing moments in your life.

Bootcamp, the AIS Diligence, the Federation port on Prosperity, the POW Camp, you’d been ferried to them all in those big, stupid white buses. Now, however, one was scheduled to finally take you back home, and you weren’t sure what to think. On one hand you were glad to finally be home, but now you were told that your hometown of Averlia had been reduced to a ghost town due to the war; also the Red Cross letter had kindly informed you that no one would be expecting you when you returned. You had nowhere to go though, unless you wanted to join the Peace Corps and die on some resource planet fighting pirates, going home was really the only option that appealed to you, regardless of what awaited you there. You would find a way, you always did, this homecoming, however was fixing to be something of a shock. Your future looked grim at best, absolutely mind-breaking at worst.

It was dark inside the bus, your eyes were slowly adjusting to the dark; you found yourself reminiscing of how the roads at night used to be illuminated by the occasional street light, even this far from the capitol.

You were currently sitting alone in a bus parked outside a small airport approximately an hour drive away from the planet's capitol city, the airport still had a few lights shining from its large windows, but it was clear they were shutting down for the night. Before the war, John Porter Airport had been used in a usual capacity, landing and takeoff of planes to various destinations around the planet, now however, the main facility and its runway was used as a landing zone for smaller space-faring ships. These small ships, sometimes called “Atmosphere Hoppers” were all being used in the relief efforts for your home planet, bringing in supplies and taking those who didn’t want to live here anymore to the bigger Carrier Ships floating around the planet to ferry them off to new horizons. The airport had found itself in an important role once the hostilities ceased, the big airport in the capitol had been destroyed, meaning this little runway was now the only place where a large number of ships could land and supply the starving citizens of the war torn Mastosit. The Commonwealth had apparently come in immediately after the war, hired anyone who could lift a box, drive, or fly and began relief efforts for the planet in record time, one of the staff working there had told you the Commonwealth officials on the planet were planning to expand the runway and its facilities.

You checked your phone, 12:47 AM, you wondered if your driver had changed his mind and decided to leave you stranded, you didn’t blame him, it was past midnight and the drive home was at least two hours, the guy probably just wanted to go home and sleep; still this meant you would probably have to sleep in the airport and catch one of the relief trucks into the city and hitchhike to your hometown. You thought about maybe just taking the bus and driving yourself back home, the keys were in the ignition after all, but you didn’t feel like getting arrested by Commonwealth Peacekeepers a day after getting home for stealing this rust bucket, also you wanted to catch a small nap on the way home.

Just as you were about to grab your bags and head inside, a figure coming up the bus steps sat you back down. It was your driver, a shift manager who worked leading a small team of teenagers unloading all the ships of relief supplies and loading them onto trucks heading to the city; you also knew he was present while the battle had raged on your home planet, you were hoping to ask him some things about it since you actually knew very little about the Siege of New Shanghai. He had given you the keys to the bus and told you to wait for him there; thinking about the drive that awaited you however, you maybe should’ve taken the time to quickly grab some water, you were parched and the ship that brought you down to the surface had been full of supplies . . . dumbass you for not asking for any.

“Ready to go?” asked the driver.

“Yeah, I’m good” you replied

The bus’s door shut with hiss and the engine groaned to life, it sounded like it was ready to drop dead, you hoped your driver wouldn’t strand you both halfway into the city.

The bus slowly began to leave the parking lot, shaking with every speed bump that it rolled over. It turned onto the main highway that led into the city as you settled in for the journey ahead. You turned to look out the window to stare at the darkened silhouettes you were passing. The airport was situated closer to the mountain range to the south of the city, meaning all you had to look at for the time being was a bunch of trees. Once you left the forest, the trees would grow scarcer and you would eventually have a chance to gaze upon the ruined city of New Shanghai.

As you sunk deeper into your seat and gazed at the passing landscape, your mind wandered back to the past.

Highschool, Home, The Federation Armada, The War, Prosperity . . . and Joey.

Oh Joey . . .

. . . Fuck, Man.

You are Anon, hailing from the resource planet of Mastosit, specifically from the town of Averlia, a small rural community that had originally sprung up around a now abandoned mine. An hour's drive away was New Shanghai, an impressive, and modern city that served as the planet's capitol. Mastosit was a part of the Federation of Unified Planets, a massive, human-majority empire spanning dozens of planets.

On the year 2276, the Federation had declared war against its rival, The Fendorian Commonwealth, the opposing anthro-majority empire; which humanity had lost to in a humiliating defeat. The year was now 2284, several months after the remnants of the Federation government had signed a declaration of unconditional surrender; after a long, tiring journey through the cosmos, you were finally back on Mastosit

Shortly after finishing highschool, you had joined the Federation Armada and had dragged your best friend Joey along. You both had joined into what they called a “Co-Op Contract” where you and one other friend could join the Federation armed forces and be guaranteed to go through boot camp and be stationed on your first duty station together with your fellow joinee. The recruiter had convinced you both to join the Expeditionary Corps, which at the time sounded badass. He had gotten the both of you the rates of GM or Gunners Mate; Armada personnel specialising in the operation and maintenance of everything from machine guns to ship-mounted rail guns. You and Joey were both excited, relishing in the foolish thoughts of fighting on exciting planets,shooting huge guns, and killing a shitton of Anthros . . . ironic considering your moderate pool of Anthro friends back home.

“But they’re Federation Anthros” you used to justify to yourself ”they’re all loyal Federation citizens no different from the humans, these are Commonwealth Anthros we’re fighting; beasts, savages, rapists, looters, and scum they are.”

The Armada had definitely been an . . . experience, both good and bad. The battle that happened on the resource planet of Prosperity being perhaps the most deep-seated memory you had . . . but still, you didn’t like to think back to it . . . It was where everything went so . . . wrong.

You reach to the back of your head to feel the small pinhole scars you had beneath the hair on the back of your head.

It’s where you got these.

That bastard Lieutenant Commander Owens . . .

Him and his fucking lapdog . . .

They were the reason so many had died in a hopeless assault. They were the reason Joey had to die. They were the reason you were so fucked in the head presently. They were the reason the whole damn detachment had to be fitted with those hellish Redecker Devices.

You were glad they were rotting in an unmarked grave still on Prosperity.

You gaze down to the seabag settled against your seat, the little moonlight that shone through the trees only barely illuminating the embroidered patch sewn onto the bag.

GM3 MOUS, ANON, Y
AUXILIARY SECURITY FORCE BATTALION 79
FEDERATION ARMADA

ASFB 79 had been you and Joey’s first and only command, of which LTCMDR Owen had been the executive officer for. The security forces that you were stationed with were tasked with the protection of Armada ships, essentially security guards. You would guard camps with machine guns, protect the construction battalions, and do other things of that nature that all in all were actually really boring, the worst being having to work in the armory, which usually entailed sitting around all day and staring at concrete walls. You hated your job at times, cursing the recruiter for promising you that you’d be manning gigantic missile launchers aboard ships, but in the end it was still a stupidly easy job.

At least until the AIS Diligence, the cruiser ship your battalion had been attached to, shitted out half the battalion, you included, on the surface of Prosperity, deciding they didn’t need the whole force anymore and had left . . .

But there would be time to reminisce about the Armada another time.

Preferably never.

You dug through your pockets to grab your phone. Its bright screen made you squint your eyes to read the time. 1:27 AM, you still had a ways to go.

You thought about what awaited you in Averlia. You knew very little about the state of your hometown, besides that the war had spread there. It apparently lay abandoned if what you heard was true, its cadavre inhabited only by vultures and the destitute.

“The hell am I doing going there then?” you thought.

You didn’t really have a good answer to that.

Maybe to see your parents?

Find someone you knew that was left alive?

Attempt to etch a living there?

It seemed pointless, but it was too late to turn back, you were already here and it's not like you had anything better to do. Maybe once you were done there you could find work with some merchant ship . . . or see a Peace Corps recruiter.

A light out the corner of your eye catches your attention. You turn to look out the window and you gaze upon what looks like a completely alien city in the distance.

This had to be New Shanghai.

Across a small river, only barely illuminated by the clear night sky and several distant lights laid the ruined and bombed out remnants of your planet's capitol. You couldn’t even recognize it, you knew several high-rises were missing from the view, the tallest building with a rounded top which used to be a Federation Administration center was nowhere to be seen. The few towers remaining were very obviously missing several top-story floors, crowned instead with twisted and jagged peaks. The buildings closest to you remained only in memory, the only indication there was ever anything there being burnt piles of rebar and concrete.

You stood up, hanging on to the seats at either side of you to try to get a better view. You managed to make out some of the residential homes just across the river, they were all riddled with holes and several had entire walls blown out. You looked down one of the passing streets and you saw a ruined Commonwealth tank sitting in the middle of the road.

You could only imagine the loss of life that was had here, New Shanghai had been home to just a little under a million people before the war. Devastation on this scale must have had a proportionate loss of life. From what little you were able to recall, Mastosit was one of the few planets still under Federation control near the war’s end. The Commonwealth had been on the offensive for years now taking planet after planet from the human empire. Mastosit was next in line, and they were expected to surrender to the Anthros in a matter of days, they instead were able to hold back the might of the Commonwealth Military for eight months.

Even before the war, Mastosit had always been different from the rest of the Federation planets. Several decades before you were born, there had been an uprising here, the planet’ citizenry was tired of the unfair treatment from their Federation overlords and managed to overthrow them. A fierce civil war ensued, which Mastosit seemed to very nearly win.

Due to its importance as a resource planet for the entirety of the empire, the Federation was quick to accept Mastosits terms during negotiations.

Your planet always feared another Civil War, and with the freedoms won from the first conflict, Mastosit set about creating the largest planetary defence force in the entire Federation. Arms factories, munitions plants, the fifth largest Armoured Vehicle force in the Federation, and even a small air force all for a war with the Federation that never happened.

You made your way to the front of the bus, looking to see if your driver could shine some light on what happened here. You had to tread slowly and hold on to the seats as you went, the road seemed to be riddled with potholes, you had to hold on tightly as the road shook the bus. You took the seat closest to the front.

“What happened here?” you asked.

The driver briefly looks back at you with a confused look before turning back to the road.

“The war, man” he replies ”what, you didn’t know this world got fucked up?”

“No, I knew something happened here, but . . . not this bad.”

“Well, we got invaded, like the other planets and the fucking Federation just left us some of those Directorate fags then turned tail and ran.”

You knew about the Directorate, they were originally a security force for the Federation capitol world, but as the war got worse and worse for humanity, they eventually developed into the Federation’s own secret police. Essentially Political Commissars, they’d get sprinkled into different worlds and were tasked with carrying out the ruling parties' will. This usually meant executing a bunch of people.

“They left us out to rot” continued the driver ”a token Federation element, An inexperienced Planetary Defence Force, and a bunch of civilian militias against the combined might of the Commonwealth military. I’m surprised we lasted even a month, let alone eight.

“Were you stuck in the city when it happened?” you asked.

“No, I fought with one of the militias in the mountains.”

“Oh . . No shit. What happened up there?”

He paused, as if searching for an answer.

“I’d . . . rather not talk about it.”

“Ok, I understand.”

You felt the same way about your service, you’d rather not remember, let alone talk about it to a complete stranger.

“You fight anywhere?” he asked.

“Yeah, on Prosperity with the Marines stationed at the port there” you answered.

“Hmm” he replied.

“Do you know what happened in Averlia?”

“Not much, except that it got taken when the city got surrounded. The Militia that I was with fought mostly around the woods near the airport, we were never able to get close to that town. I do know that some of the Federation regulars tried to take the town back several times, never made it though. Heard it got pretty bad there . . . lots of refugees.” he finished with a somber tone.

You thought over what the driver just told you. It sounded like the defenders in the hills were forced to wage a guerilla war against a much stronger enemy. They were probably desperate to break the siege, which would’ve placed your town right in the center of the fighting, seeing as Averlia was situated in a more accessible pass through the mountain range. You had hoped that your home wasn’t as ruined as New Shanghai, but seeing just how bad the capitol was, those hopes were quickly fading away.

“I guess we’ll see how bad it is in a bit here” the driver comments.

“Yeah . . . guess so” you say dejectly.

You stood up from your seat, hanging onto the railing sticking out of the roof as you made your way back to the center of the bus. You slouched back into your previous nest and tried to get comfortable for the remainder of the ride.

You turned to the window to get another view of the city. There were a few distant lights emanating from the few buildings still standing, which probably meant there was still some form of populace still living there. Maybe you could go and see the city itself one day.

You looked away and rested your head against the seat.

“Too early to be thinking about tourism” you thought to yourself.

You thought about taking a small nap, you haven't slept since the cargo ship had brought you to the surface down from the carrier. Your only other alternative was to stare at the passing landscape.

As you close your eyes, your thoughts drift back to your present situation.

You had maybe four-hundred Federation dollars in your pocket, maybe some more if you could somehow access your bank account, that is if your bank even still existed. You could probably live in your parents home for a little while before heading for the city and finding a way off the planet.

Was anyone even taking Federation dollars anymore?

Would there even be any stores left to buy things from?

Was your house even standing anymore?

You tried to push all those thoughts aside as sleep started to overtake you.

As you drifted into unconsciousness your mind briefly drifted to your friends. Childhood buds you had spent the years of your youth with.

Were any of them alive?

____________________________________________

The first thing you hear as you return among the living is the rumble of the bus’ engine. You wondered how far out you wh-SHIT!

You suddenly lose balance as the bus takes a sudden turn, nearly throwing you off your seat, you manage to grab on to the edges of the mattress and sit yourself back upright.

“Sorry back there, had to dodge that wreck!” you hear yelled from the front of the bus.

You looked down the line of bus seats to see out the rear windows of your vehicle and were able to make out the obstacle that the bus had swerved to avoid.

A burnt Federation tank was sitting right in the middle of the street, you recognised the vehicle due to its large, bulky body yet smooth armor plating as well as it’s barely recognizable dark green-colored camouflage. You could tell something had hit it and set off its ammunition rack, as the turret was missing. You peaked over the seats to get a better view of the road and sure enough, laying upside down a few feet away was the ruined turret.

Wait.

You recognised the small buildings you were passing; you were driving through the main road of your hometown, if you kept going down for another mile or two, you would eventually hit the area with the abandoned mine and the rock crusher quarry.

You looked out your window, and recognised the family-owned pawn shop that you used to sell old video games to for a few dollars. It looked like it had taken a grenade or something through the front door . . . you hoped poor Miss Ridley wasn’t inside when it happened.

Looking out the other side of the bus, you knew you would be passing a 24 hour burger joint shortly, and sure enough, there it was and was looking surprisingly intact, save for a few windows with garbage bags taped over them, maybe they would still be in service.

Looking past all the immediate structures, you could tell that the war had been pretty rough on your town; windows were shattered, almost every building had bullet holes or looked burned; some had been completely demolished. The few cars still sitting in parking lots were ruined or had been peppered in bullet holes.

The bus passed the occasional burned-out military vehicle resting in the middle of the road, both Federation and Commonwealth alike, the most prominent being two tanks who looked like they had been trying to ram each other before they had been knocked out.

Before you became too enraptured with the passing destruction, you stood up and started to make your way up the bus, dragging your seabag behind you. You knew in a minute or two you would be passing a bus stop that was within walking distance to your neighborhood. Sure enough, in the distance you could make out where the bus stop used to be, the little roof that stood over the waiting point had been knocked over, obscuring the plastic covered seats from view.

“Hey man, I can get off there” you mention to the driver.

You hold on as the hydraulic brakes hiss and the bus slowly comes to a stop, you hear the bus doors open with a loud squeak. You shoulder your seabag, normally it would’ve been a pain with all the uniforms and other Federation trash in it, but all you had to your name currently were two sets of uniforms, some boots, some undergarments and maybe three sets of civilian clothes, plus whatever little things you had managed to hold onto; making carrying the bag a breeze.

As you pass the bus driver, you dig into your pockets. You weren’t gonna be that asshole. You pull two twenty dollar bills and try to hand them to the driver. He in turn puts up a hand and shakes his head.

“Nah man, don’t worry about it.”

“C’mon, I know you probably aren’t going to get much sleep tonight after driving all this way” you dispute.

“No bro, don’t worry, I can call in late tommorow, my boss will understand, he fought down here too.”

“Well, for the gas cost then”,you say trying to put the money into his hand.

“The Commonwealth gives us all our fuel, your money’s no good here. Besides . . .” he takes a look outside the windows ” . . . judging by the look of this place . . you probably need the money more.”

He was right, you didn’t know what awaited you. You pocketed your cash.

“Well, thanks” ,you say as you begin to make your way down the steps.

“No problem, if you’re ever back at Porter’s, look me up if you need anything” the bus’s doors close as soon as you step off and with a groan of the engine, he takes off and you're left alone on the dark road.

“Well . . . home at last” you think to yourself.

You begin your walk to your parents house, the sidewalk is somewhat illuminated by the clear night sky, you look out across the street and are greeted with the same devastation: ruined buildings, trash everywhere, holes in the concrete.

You stop walking for a second to gaze at a ruined APC sitting a few meters from you. You recognise it as of Federation origin, the Marines on Prosperity had made extensive use of these, except the ones there had those massive 105mm cannons; looking at this one's bent turret barrel, you could guess it only had a heavy machine gun.

You continue as you keep looking at the remnants of the town. Your home was maybe a five minute walk from the bus stop, you hoped it was still standing. In the distance you can see a single street light illuminating a portion of the road, gazing up at a passing light, you saw the glass was knocked out, its “guts” hanging out. Looking further down, some were knocked over, others were just not illuminated.

You turned at an intersection, this was Glass Street, which led from the main road into the residential area. You eventually started to walk past some homes and they looked just as bad as the storefronts on the main street. One stood out at you, it’s roof had collapsed and had knocked down some walls, leaving only a pile of rubble, you knew the family who lived here; you had gone to school with their son, Randy Tello, you didn’t know him much but you still prayed that they weren’t inside their home when it had been hit.

You kept walking until you hit a T in the road, further ahead the road ended and merged into an entrance for the creek, a popular jogging path and an area you remembered fondly during your childhood. To your left was Hart Street, where your home was. You turned and walked down the street, passing by more homes whose inhabitants you used to know.

There was Mrs. Delain, her home didn’t look too bad, a few burns, some trash laying about. Maybe the old widow was still alive.

A few houses down was Zachary Jones, whom you had known well and hung out with occasionally, he used to live here with his parents and two sisters, but presently the home looked abandoned, the windows boarded up and the front door wide open.

You continued and passed by the old home of Marco Ramirez.

Oh shit, his lights were on.

You stopped before his house and tried to make out any occupants inside. All the curtains were drawn but there was definitely someone moving around inside, Marco had always been a night person, so it wouldn’t surprise you if he was up and about right now.

You considered walking up and knocking on his door, but you decided against it; you were tired and knew that any reunion would probably take a while. You kept walking, vowing to come and see Marco again sometime. He had been one of your good friends, on par with Joey or Annie. In highschool he had been the one who introduced you to shooting and the collection of firearms as hobbies. When you turned 17, you had bought a kit to assemble an unserialized pistol from him and had spent an entire summer scrounging together the money for the remaining parts.

The memory made you smile, you wondered if that old thing was still hidden in your dresser beneath all your clothes.

At long last, you were able to make out a familiar shape among the rows of houses. Your beige-colored single story home came into view and you were a bit disheartened by the view. Some of the windows had been knocked out, and you saw that the garage had a pretty decent chunk torn out the wall. The garage door had some holes in it as well, although they didn’t seem to be from bullets or shrapnel.

Shit.

What if looters had gotten into your home?

Your mind briefly thought about the Red Cross letter you had received in the POW camp, and you looked up to the roof. Sure enough there was a
massive blackened hole around the center
of the roof.

The Red Cross hadn't lied to you, that shit had really happened.

You felt hesitant to enter, anxious about what you knew awaited you inside. You steeled yourself and slowly trudged up to the front door.

You laid your hand on the door knob, pausing for a moment, before pushing the door open. There was no lock, and the door creaked as it swung in. You stepped inside, dropped your seabag and closed the door behind you.

You stood in the darkness for a while, as if fearful that turning on the lights would reveal a monster. Finally, with a sigh, you reached for the light switch by the front door.

*Flick*

Nothing.

*Flick* *Flick*

Guess the lights were out.

You reached into your pockets, pulling out your phone and turning on the flashlight, you shined the light around the place.

Fuck.

Your home was a mess, all the furniture was either covered in dust or knocked over. You looked over the wall in front of you, all the pictures that your mother kept hung there were missing, illuminating the floor beneath and you saw they had all fallen off the wall, several of them shattered and had spread glass all over the carpet. You slowly walked into the living room, taking care to not bump into any of the furniture in the dark.

You gazed at the couch covered in dust and small flakes of drywall, surely knocked off the roof. You turn to where your dad had installed a TV on the wall, only to find nothing there.

Strange.

Next to the couch was a makeshift alter your mom had fashioned out of a spare coffee table, shining your light over to it revealed that most of the religious pieces had been knocked over.

Your mother was always big on religion, ensuring you spent most sunday mornings in a church. You felt compelled to clean the altar up a bit, as your mom always kept it looking nice.

As you walked up to it, you heard something crunch beneath your feet, shining the light at the floor and moving your foot revealed one of the altar's clay statues had fallen and shattered, leaving little shards all over the floor. You made a note to clean it up sometime in the morning. You reached for the little cross that served as the altar's centerpiece and stood it up.

You sighed.

Mom would’ve been so happy to see you again.

You felt a lump in your throat, but before you could get too emotional, you turned and headed into the kitchen. It was in a similar state to the rest of the house. The dish rack next to the sink had fallen over and dropped plates and utensils all over the floor, anything fragile had shattered.

You reached for the sink’s faucet, surprised as water began to flow when you lifted the lever; guess the Commonwealth had brought the water back.

You reached for one of the plastic cups laying on the floor, ceramic shards crunching beneath you as you moved. You rinsed out your chosen cup a few times to get any dust out, before filling it up and taking a sip.

As you drank generously, you turned to inspect the rest of the kitchen. Several things were missing, like the microwave, Mom’s favorite blender, and a jar of change that was kept on top of the fridge.

Looters had definitely been here.

Bastards.

You placed the cup beside the sink once you had finished the water, finally satisfying your thirst. You turned and walked through the living room, past the front door, and into the hallway which led into the bedrooms.

The first door on your right was your parents room.

You didn’t want to go in, you knew what was on the other side of the door.

Against your better judgement, you turn the knob and push the door open.

The room was completely unrecognisable, your parents bed looked like a pile of ribbons, springs sticking out at odd angles, the mattress being reduced to ribbons. All the furniture looked shredded, as if a large animal had taken bites out of it. All the walls were covered in heavy, black burn marks, the outermost wall was missing a giant chunk and looked ready to fall over. A breeze running through the room made you turn to the roof, finding a massive hole punched through.

You thought back to the Red Cross letter

Dear Gunners Mate Third Class Anonymous
We regret to inform you that your hometown of Averlia has been captured by Commonwealth Forces. During the fighting over Averlia an artillery round hit the home of your immediate family, Anonymous, D. N and Anonymous M. N. They passed away on the fourth of September of the year 2283 and have been properly buried in a local cemetery.
The Red Cross extends its deepest condolences for your loss.

Your parents were dead, they had been pulverised by an explosive shell in their sleep.

You couldn’t help but feel guilty, all this could’ve been avoided somehow. If you hadn’t gone off chasing childish adventures you could’ve stopped this somehow.

You felt weak in the knees and you fell back to a lean against the wall, this was too much to take in. You felt a tear rolling down your cheek.

“Mom . . . Dad . . . I'm so sorry” you stammered out almost at a whisper.

The tears really began to flow now, you wiped at your cheeks, only managing to make the rest of your face wet.

“I’m sorry . . . “

You sobbed silently, your hands came up to cover your eyes as you slid down the wall and slumped down to the floor.

“I could’ve . . . done something.”

You don’t know how long you sat there crying your soul out, your heart felt like it was jumping into your throat with every sob.

You couldn’t bear with the unbearable grief, this room was swallowing your being.

You shakily stood up, hanging onto a nearby dresser, you felt dizzy and disoriented as you stumbled to the door.

You passed through the door frame and shut the door behind you. You’d try to clean out your parents room some other time.

You made your way down the hallway, still fighting against the urge to cry. Fragments of the knocked down photo frames cracking beneath your feet as you made your way to the final door on the left of the hallway, your room.

You opened it and stepped inside almost in a rush; you couldn’t bear the thought of living through this nightmare anymore, you felt like death and just wanted to fall into unconsciousness if only to escape the ever present sadness you felt .

Your bed was still made, as your parents liked to keep everything clean even in your absence. You started to shed your clothes, letting everything fall to the floor; you didn’t care, you just wanted to sleep and let the day finally end.

You yanked the covers off your bed, even in darkness, you could faintly make out dust and drywall flakes falling to the floor. You dropped onto your bed, the shifting springs breaking the silence, you layed down on your side and tried to shut your eyes.

Even with the fatigue from the day, sleep still evaded you, your mind instead being swarmed with thoughts of your dead parents and the state of your home; you couldn’t help but start to tear up again.

Your home.

Your family.

Your friends.

Everything.

It was all gone.