In the Tunnels (flash fiction)
Walking in the tunnels is very frightening, with the darkness swallowing your flashlight’s ray and the noises of rats scurrying around you. Worst is feeling like you’re the only people left on Earth. That is, until you hear talking ahead from another survivors’ settlement at a subway station. Thankfully, sound carries in the tunnels; you hear the talking well before you reach the station. You have to venture out in pairs at least, in case something happens. It’s necessary for your well-being, seeing faces different than those at your station, hearing other people’s stories, seeing the station with a garden painted on a wall, taking a turn on the stationary bike hooked up to the battery recharger. These are some of the coping rituals we’ve come with, to tide us over until the scientists tell us it’s safe to return to above. Some think that’ll never happen, but I like to hope.