The Scarlet Plague, Part 2

Me
We stood at the window of the Faculty Club looking out across campus town, over the hills toward the bay, where fires lit up the growing night. For our world was dying at our feet and though we had so far been spared, we knew we, too, were dying with it.
Bill
Contact is still being maintained with London. Toronto went silent a few minutes ago. This is now our only contact outside continental North America.
Me
Yes, but we are really only getting two stations in this country, in Washington and Chicago. This is unbelievable.
Radio
They are about to name the new president of the United States to replace Edward C. Dozier.
Me
What’s the use?
Bill
Well we still agree on leaving, right?
Me
We must, if by some miracle we do survive, we will be out of food here in three days, and tonight may be the last chance to find any. Probably looting at every store.
Bill
I guess that’s the best reason to get started now then.
Me
Right. If we can make three or four trips with the van tonight we ought to be set here for quite a while.
Bill
What about those pistols? Dr. Barnes said there were a couple of them in the safe.
Me
Yes. I’ll get them. Funny how things are changing. He was chancellor of this university; now he’s foraging for food.
Bill
Yes. Well, I’ll gas up the van and get it over here.
Me
Myra!
Myra
Jim! Thank heaven you’re still here.
Me
Barnes was worried about you, Myra. And Bill just went into the other room I’ll tell him you’re here.
Myra
Thanks, Jim.
Me
He was afraid there might not be anybody here when you came back.
Myra
I was hurrying to get back and I caught my heel on the edge of the walk and fell. I think I hit my head.
Me
Tripped and fell. The whole world dying and you trip and fall!  Yes it is funny, Myra.
Myra
Bill! What is it, what’s wrong?
Bill
Barnes is lying just outside.
Myra
The plague?
Bill
Yes! But he got the pistols, here they are!
Me
Thanks.
Bill
You know how to use one of these, Jim?
Me
In a general way. Well, we’d better get started, Bill.
Bill
We shouldn’t be too long.
Myra
You’re not gonna leave me here alone!
Bill
What? She’s right, Jim. I wouldn’t want to be left alone either.
Me
All right, let’s all go out.
Bill
We’ll try the Oakland docks first, the big food warehouses along the railroad tracks. *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *
Me
It was a dead end. From a mile away we could see the blaze towering into the night sky the whole dock area was in flames. we swung the van back out on the ramp and headed across the bay bridge toward the city itself, fighting our way in and out of the jumble of traffic and the terrified crowds on foot.
Bill
Let’s go back. It is getting worse every block.
Me
I’m trying to get a chance to turn around.
Bill
There’s an alley there by the hotel. Maybe you can edge in there to try it, anyway.
Me
 Hey, there’s a man blocking the drive. What should we do?
Bill
He’s got a gun!
Me
You can’t come in — sorry!
Man
I ain’t taking a push around from nobody, not anymore.
Bill
I understand, but I told you…
Man
I got your van.  Look at a forty-five, wise guy.  If you look close you can see the bullet starting to come out. [Bang!]
Me
Myra, come on. Come on out on this side. Forget the van. This way, Myra. The hotel entrance. It’s all right. Come on!
Myra
How can we make it, Jim? The crowd saw us come here. They’ll be after us in seconds!
Me
The stairway, there next to the elevators!  Maybe we can find a room that’s open, someplace to hide. Come up the stairs!
Myra
Where can we go?
Me
Well the hotel’s about twelve or fourteen stories high. The elevators aren’t working. I doubt if anybody’d bother us on one of the top floors. They wouldn’t have any reason to climb up there. You want to try it?
Myra
All right, Jim let’s go!
Me
For five days we stayed on the top floor of the hotel, and no one came up to bother us. Twice, with pistol in hand, I left my place in the room and slipped down into the streets to forage for food and supplies.
Me
Gradually over the three days, I saw the mobs diminish, thin out as the scarlet plague raged unchecked. On the seventh day I brought Myra down from the room to see what had happened to the city.
Myra
There’s not a person in sight. No one but us, not a living soul as far as you can see.
Me
Here, listen, there’s not a sound! It’s a dead world.
Myra
But there must be others, not just us! They’re hiding!
Me
We’ll take a car and drive and look for them.
Myra
There must be others!

* * * * * * * * *

Me
But she was wrong. We drove for a hundred miles all over the city and the countryside around it and when we finally stopped on a hill above the bay we knew that there was not another living soul in the city. We were the only human beings left alive in San Francisco, maybe the only ones in the entire world. But why, I asked? Why no one else?
Myra
I don’t know why. I don’t know why any of this.
Me
It’s, it’s just too vast to begin to comprehend, but we’re alive! That’s the only thing that’s certain. We’re both alive!  But to be alone, to be the only living human being in the world would mean terror, absolute terror and insanity.
Myra
I feel guilty, somehow, being alive and everyone else is dead.
Me
I can’t feel guilt when we don’t have a choice. It was nothing we did, and besides, Myra, don’t you see what it means? Since we’ve been spared, mankind itself has been spared and, and civilization will have children.
Myra
Yes, I know.
Me
We will teach them, see that they remember and pass on the greatness of the past! Yes, oh yes, together, together we can do it. We can give mankind another chance, you and I, Myra, we can keep it from being lost forever.
Myra
Yes. Suddenly I feel so calm and sure.
Me
Together everything is different; there’s a new hope; something to live for, and work for!
Myra
True.
Me
Wait, your face! It’s turning scarlet!
No matching video