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Follow Me to Nowhere

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Shinya woke up around midnight to the sound of sirens. He smelled smoke in the air and groggily got out of bed to see if he needed to worry. He went over to the window and looked outside. At first he thought he must still be dreaming, because the sky was painted orange from fires. Just a few blocks away a building was completely enveloped in flames, and as far as he could see, fires lit up the city. When he looked down onto the street, he saw people everywhere, like little ants scurrying here and there.

Shinya lived in a suburb up in the hills, and his view over the city from the 9th floor was quite impressive. More impressive than he’d like, tonight. What the hell was going on? He picked up his phone, glancing down on the screen to check the local news sites. No signal. Rubbing the sleep out of his eyes, Shinya started to get anxious, and his bladder was telling him he had somewhere he needed to be.

As he stepped into the bathroom, he realized two things. One, he couldn’t turn on the light. And two, his annoying dripping faucet wasn’t dripping anymore. He flipped the switch a few more times before he gave up and tried the faucet. No water. Fear started to creep up on him as he realized things were more serious than he thought. He quickly relieved himself but didn’t flush, and then took a quick round in the small apartment. It didn’t take him long to realize power was out in the entire city, and that the smell of smoke hung heavily in the air. Down on the street, there seemed to be a commotion. He couldn’t quite make it out from up here but there seemed to be people looting the convenience store on the corner. And was that a fight on the other side of the street?

Seriously scared at this point, Shinya tried to decide what to do. He could hear neighbors moving in the corridor and voices yelling. It seemed people were getting the hell out of here. He returned to the window and looked out over the town. Impossibly, even more houses were on fire now, including one just down the block. Whatever it was, it was coming this way. He began to understand why his neighbors were getting out of here.

Shinya stood by the window for a minute, trying to make up his mind. Should he stay here and hope his house was spared from the fires? Or should he take his chances down there, and leave the relative safety of his own home? A loud crash from the street, where people had started breaking windows and torching cars, was enough for him to make up his mind. He quickly sorted through his things, taking out his largest backpack and stuffing it with warm clothes, a knife, and bits and pieces his scared mind thought he might need. He started to pack all the food and drink he could carry, but soon realized he didn’t have room in his backpack. Throwing some of the clothes out, he stuffed the food down. Lastly, a small photo album got shoved down a pocket on the front.

He dressed in as warm and sensible clothes he could, putting on layers to be able to bring as much as possible. He was always cold anyway, so he didn’t mind wearing extra sweaters and winter boots despite the fact that spring was here already. A glance out the window made him hurry even more – things were getting worse by the minute down there. He was almost done and out the door when it hit him – medicine! He didn’t have time to go through it, so he quickly sacrificed yet another sweater from the backpack and swiped down all the bottles from his medicine cabinet into the bag, topping it off with band aids and scissors. He stuffed his phone into his pocket, in case he could find a signal later. Then he pulled a woolen hat down over his blond hair, and was out the door.

The corridors were filled with confused and frightened people, and at the end of his corridor some neighbors stood outside the elevator, arguing about whether it ran on emergency power or not. Shinya opted for the stairs instantly, and held on to the railing tightly as he was pushed this way and that by running people on his way down.

Once he reached the street he was happy he had gotten out when he did. A crowd of rowdy alphas with some omegas in tow were just about to set fire to the store on the corner. Shinya turned the other way and tried to make himself as invisible as possible as he made his way down the street through the crowds.

He had a clear goal in mind. His friend Satsuki lived a ten minute walk from Shinya’s apartment building and right now, Shinya didn’t feel like being alone. Getting there was easier said than done though, and he had to stop several times and go around to avoid fires or violent gangs. The walk took him nearly forty minutes, and when he finally stood in front of what had been Satsuki’s house, Shinya felt like weeping. The house was in flames, and there was no chance anyone still inside could be alive. All he could do was hope Satsuki had made it out in time.

But where would his friend have gone if he had? Shinya tried to think. He was pretty much a loner himself and had only a few close friends, but Satsuki had quite a network of people he surrounded himself with. But who was he closest too? And who lived near enough so he would try to get there? While he was going over the list in his head, trying to remember names and addresses, he didn’t notice that someone approached him from behind.

“Shinya?” The voice startled him badly and he jumped, an undignified yelp crossing his lips. He spun around and was met by a familiar face, now scrunched up in worry.

“Yuki!” Shinya exclaimed with infinite relief. A friendly face was just what he needed right now, and it seemed he wasn’t the only one as Yuki threw his arms around him and hugged him tight. The omega was a friend of Satsuki’s, and though he and Shinya weren’t close, Shinya liked him. They’d met on enough parties and movie nights, dinners and concerts, for Shinya to know him pretty well.

Yuki was shivering slightly as he let go of Shinya and threw his arms around himself for comfort. “What is happening, Shinya? This is all crazy!”

Shinya just shook his head in answer, he had no idea. He looked around, searching for familiar faces and trying to figure out where to go next. “Have you seen anyone else?” he asked, looking back at Yuki.

“No one. I’m on my way to Hiro’s, and figured I’d try Satsuki since he lives on the way. I had no idea it would be this crazy and take so long to get anywhere. Do you… Do you think Satsuki got out ok?” Yuki studied the burning building behind them with a worried look on his face.

Shinya nodded. He had to believe his friend got out ok. But where would he go? Maybe to Hiro’s as well, the alpha lived further out in the suburbs, in a house of his own. He wasn’t sure where, but Yuki obviously did. He hoped the omega was ok with him tagging along, but was a little shy to ask.

“Shall we try Hiro’s place?” Yuki asked at the same time, and Shinya nodded with a relieved smile. Maybe Hiro’s neighborhood hadn’t been affected by this madness? He let Yuki take the lead through streets that were quickly filling up with rubble from fires and looted stores. He couldn’t believe this, what had gotten into everyone? With wide eyes, he and Yuki wandered through battered streets of what used to be a quiet neighborhood, looking at the destruction around them.

“Did they burn your house too?” Yuki asked quietly, as they stopped in front of a burning car that blocked their path. Shinya nodded. “They were about to. Yours?” The look on Yuki’s face answered his question without words.

“I didn’t even have time to find anything more than what I’m wearing before I had to get out,” Yuki whispered, pain in his eyes. Shinya suddenly remembered that Yuki had a cat, and realized where the pain came from. He put his arm around his friend’s shoulder and gave him a hug, the only thing he could think of to do. Words had never been his specialty, and he wasn’t good at finding the right thing to say in moments like this. That didn’t mean he didn’t care though. Yuki hugged him back for a moment, and then he shrugged, drying a tear from the corner of his eye. It was strange to see the usually so cheerful omega with tears in his eyes, and Shinya looked away so his friend wouldn’t feel embarrassed.

The motion turned out to be a stroke of luck, as it made him spot the two alphas before they were upon them. He cried out and quickly took a step back, Yuki reacting at the same time, the two taking up a defensive position. The alphas stopped a few feet in front of them. Now that they had lost the element of surprise, they were in no rush to finish this.

“Hello boys,” one of the alphas said, grinning at them. He reminded Shinya of a predator. “Are you sure you should be out here all on your own in this?”

“Stay away from us!” Yuki exclaimed firmly, scared but not about to back down. Shinya glanced around, looking for escape routes, while the alphas started closing in.

“Oh no, sweetheart, we couldn’t do that. What if someone came and tried to hurt you? We’d better stay and protect you.” The alpha looked terrifying, and as he stressed the word protect meaningfully, Shinya felt a chill run down his spine. They had to get out of here fast, or that would be the last “protecting” they ever had. The fear gave him courage he didn’t know he had, and suddenly he felt his foot connect to the balls of the alpha on the left, sending him to the ground clutching his groin. The action stunned both the other alpha and Yuki, it was such an unexpected turn of events. The alpha quickly recovered though, and lunged towards Shinya with a growl. The omega stumbled and fell on his back, the backpack breaking the worst of the fall. The alpha was over him in a flash and raised his arm to deliver a hard punch.

By now though, Yuki had recovered and took the opportunity to kick the alpha in the side. The alpha grunted and missed, the punch landing on Shinya’s shoulder instead of his face, and though it hurt like hell he could still move. The alpha turned to face Yuki, and Shinya took the opportunity to scramble to his feet. The alpha realized he had no backup from his friend, still down, and growled as he faced the two omegas. He was apparently not ready to let them go, but he couldn’t grab them both. As his eyes darted between them, trying to decide whom to go for, the two omegas started drifting in separate directions slowly, forcing him to choose. He ultimately went after Shinya, but the omega proved too fast for him as he ran for his life. In the corner of his eye he saw Yuki running with him, the alpha lagging behind and stopping after a block, panting and yelling curses after them.

The two omegas didn’t stop until a few blocks later, panting heavily as they caught their breaths. Shinya wondered if he looked as spooked as Yuki, but realized he probably did considering how he felt. What the hell was wrong with people tonight?