• The scorching sun beat down on me as I walked down the isolated street. It was hard for me to breathe underneath my plastic shield, my surgical mask I was instructed to wear. My fingers were hot and sweaty inside the cheap latex gloves.
    The ripple of fear had spread when there was an outbreak of insanity. Then that ripple in the lake caused the lake to flood. I walked faster as the thought of it crossed my mind for the thousandth time. I had been afraid to lose myself in the swirl of uncontrollable chaos.
    I came to the door of a store, opening it slightly and peering inside before I walked in. The ring of the door chime echoed into the empty shop. The back door was cracked open and a little stream of light shone out.
    “Hello?” I called out, but it echoed back to me. I walked closer to the back door and I thought there was a weird noise. When I got closer I could hear a pounding. Like a hammer slamming on a piece of steel over and over. Would I lose myself to insanity too? I stepped into the stream of light and looked up as it shone a strand of gold on my face.
    “Hello??” I called again. Still no answer. I opened the back door slightly and it creaked and groaned in response. The light was almost blinding as I stepped slightly inside the room. I looked around. The room only contained two objects. A table and a book. The book was named One Way. I wondered what it had to do with this world.
    I turned to a fragile page and looked at it closely. The carefully preserved page nearly crumbled in my grasp. I read the words:
    “There is not, never will be, and never was a way to fix our problem, unless you help us.”

    I couldn’t think of what that could mean to me. What problem? My train of thought crashed as I stood frozen to the ground listening. There it was again. The pounding. It was like a blacksmith working in their shop. As I listened to it the sound slowly got fainter. No! I begged for it to keep going, for it was my friend in this silent world. Then suddenly it burst out, an explosion of noise. Overpowering and overwhelming my senses as it towered over me. I nearly collapsed on the ground, fearing I was to be pounded next. Then it stopped just as quickly as it had started. And it was gone. Even though it had nearly torn my sanity to pieces, I wanted it back.
    I looked around the room. The light had begun to fade. I sat there on the floor breathing heavily as I waited for something to happen. But nothing was going to appear in the midst of my lonely world. I waited and waited as my stream of hope slowly trickled to a stop. All that was left was a puddle of fear.
    My mind traveled to a new location. The book. I stood over the table looking at the page I had been reading. It played as a movie in my mind:
    “One day the world went crazy. Everyone screams and laughs hysterically. Will we ever be repaired? They might as well jump off the ends of the earth. They might find that possible in their imaginative insane asylum inside their heads. But their will be one last hope to the world. One person might save us all. Or will they give in to the craziness and take off in their own jet of curiosity? Will they leave our once safe and loved planet behind? If you are reading this. This has become your guidebook. Help us, please!”
    I stopped reading and closed the book. I looked at the cover. The author’s name was inscribed in the old and worn cover. The name inscribed was mine.
    My puddle of fear dissolved into a cloud of wonder. Was I the only one left?