What if one moment you go to sleep, life around you the same as every day just to wake up and find everyone gone? No trace of life for miles around. How would you react, what would you do, how would you survive? For Lyrah Mercer, this became very real for her.
"Mommy do we have to go to bed?" The small child asked.
Lyrah smiled down at her twins, "Yes, you both need your rest. Plus, if you don't, no park. Understood?"
"Yes mommy!" They chimed together.
Matthew and Larissa jumped into their beds and looked at their mother, she didn't have to ask what they wanted, grabbing the book off the stand, she sat between them and opened up the pages.
"You two are truly me," she stated. "Loving to read books bigger than you."
"Mr. Silverstein is a good book maker." Matthew said, snuggling into his bed.
"Author Hun, author." Lyrah corrected him.
"Aren't you one mommy?" Larissa asked.
"Yes but mommy writes a little differently than Shel Silverstein." She replied. "But now it's time for bed."
Her twins made themselves comfortable as she began reading their beloved book. Even Lyrah herself got lost in the story, how it brought back memories.
The door opened quietly, Lyrah's eyes darted from the book to the distraction that could wake the two.
"Just me," came a whisper, "it's past nine, Ly."
Lyrah sighed, not realizing how much time had passed by.
"I'm coming Dylan." She whispered back.
"They crash?" He asked as she got out of the room.
"Of course, not even three pages in and they were out." She replied.
"And yet you stayed there and read." He poked her side, making her jump.
"I got lost in the moment." She explained with a giggle.
Her husband grabbed her hand, pulling her to him, "So you like being lost in the moment, how about a moment with me to be lost in?"
Lyrah smiled, "I can get lost in that, we have that proof in the other room."
Her husband laughed against her hair, picking her up bridal style and carrying her to the bedroom.
Lyrah smiled at her adoring Dylan, her life was full. An amazing husband, two wonderful children, a job she loved and a gorgeous home she called hers, yes for her, her life was complete.
The early autumn morning etched away the dark of the bedroom, the song birds awakening the day and Lyrah. She sighed into her pillow, not wanting to leave the comfort of the spot. Whimpers from her door caught her attention, begrudgingly, she finally got up and donning on her running gear, she opened the door to find her big dog baby, Levi.
"Alright, alright, it’s time for the walk, I know." she said, stroking the wolfhound's head.
Levi darted past her and to the back door, "What, Dylan not let you out?" she spoke aloud as she let him go.
"Strange?" she pondered, looking around her home.
It was eerily quiet in the house, normally giggles and the pot hissing would be heard, clinking of cereal bowls and maybe a cartoon, but there was nothing.
"Walk." Lyrah nodded to herself.
Dylan at times would take the twins for an early morning walk so she could sleep in, that had to be the case. Grabbing her water and the leash for Levi, she made her way out to the pup in the backyard.
With a sharp whistle, Levi bolted to her and was ready to go. A car horn and alarm were blaring in the distance, "Geez, must be the day for noise, huh?"
Starting off, Lyrah made her way with Levi in tow up to the top of the driveway when something caught her eye. Stopping short to see, the bright red wagon sat in from of the gate. It was the only way they took walks with the kids, he wouldn't have taken them by hand. As her mind wandered of where the three where, the smell of smoke filled her. Glancing around the development, she searched for the source, only for her eyes to land on Mrs. Fitz beloved home.
"Oh my god," she said letting Levi off his leash, "Sousaku!"
Levi bolted to the house, given his order from her. Lyrah ran to the back of the house, seeing the smoke coming from the elderly woman's kitchen. Dialing 911 on her cell, she tried the doorknob for heat. A busy signal rang in her ear as she threw it aside.
"Screw it." she said as she opened the door.
Crawling in, she found the flames licking the curtains next to the open range, a small grease fire had begun. Grabbing the extinguisher, they had bribed the old woman to have, she doused the fire and quickly threw a pot lid over the pan. Opening the window and door for the smoke to ventilate the house, she sighed in relief that she was able to put the fire out.
"Holy hell." she mumbled, "Mrs. Fitz, where are you? Are you ok?"
Lyrah began to search the house for her, fear had sunk in her belly, praying to herself that Mrs. Fitz was just fine and forgot the stove, oddly it wasn't like her but Lyrah was hoping for. Small yips brought her attention upstairs to the second story, turning the corner she was met with Levi at the top of the stairs, awaiting her command after finding Princess in Mrs. Fitz bedroom.
"Iiko." she said patting his head.
Opening the double door bedroom, Princess flew out of the room and down the stairs, Levi whimpered by Lyrah's side, as if telling her his job was failed. In which it was, Mrs. Fitz wasn't in her bedroom, she wasn't downstairs either. Making her way to the French doors, she threw them open to the vast bathroom only to find it also empty.
"What on Earth?" she thought, "Where is she?"
A sinking feeling began to grow in the pit of her stomach. Mrs. Fitz was an elderly lady of eighty years, she could barely drive and hobbled around this vast home as it was, no children or grandchildren blessed her home, she was all alone except for Princess, her tiny Chihuahua. So where on this damn planet was she?
Lyrah slowly made her way back to her home, seeing Levi pace back and forth in front of the door. Something was truly off, opening the door, she gathered her wits and walked around the living, dining, family room and kitchen. Not a soul had been there but her and Levi. He, himself, was running around the house like a wild animal in search of something. Lyrah's mind froze, her heart practically stopped and her gut became twisted with fear, why's Levi frantically searching for them, only reason would be...
Lyrah dashed up the stairs, throwing open both guest rooms and closets to be sure no one was hiding. She frantically searched the main bathroom and the hall closet, reaching her bedroom. Throwing open every hiding place she could think of for the kids and her husband to play along. Never the less it was bare as well, as if Dylan was never there. She darted out the door and ran to the twin’s room, her hands shook as she opened the door, praying with every fiber of her being that they'd be there. She closed her eyes as she made her way in, deep in her heart, imagining her twins hiding under their Minion blankets. Slowly opening them, she saw what she feared, two empty beds. Full panic settled into her, she ripped open the closet to see nothing within, underneath the beds were clean, and the toy box untouched. Her babies were nowhere to be found.
Lyrah ran down stair to the only other place she could think of, she was hoping she was just over reacting and that they were all down in the basement with the big TV on playing SpongeBob and waiting for her to join them, but as she made it to the bottom of the steps, she was only greeted with darkness and silence.
"No." she whispered.
Stumbling up the stair, Lyrah searched the kitchen for the keys, hoping he took them for a drive instead but the keys laid in their respectful dish, unmoved. She went out the garage to find both cars still cold and bare, her fears slowly becoming a reality.
"No, no, no, no. This can't be." she said picking up the phone, dialing 911 once more only to be greeted with the busy signal once more.
She dialed Dylan's cell, his voicemail its hello. The fear within her was growing out of control as she made her way up to the other homes.
"Mr. and Mrs. Harvey, it's me, Lyrah, please let me in? I'm in dire need, please." she banged on the door, nothing but silence answered her.
Looking inside, it was as empty as Mrs. Fitz's and hers as well. Glancing around finally she noticed that all the houses looked abandoned, no sign of morning life and rituals played before her. The Harvey's discussing stocks with coffee in hand on the porch, Mrs. Fitz walking around her garden with Princess, the Renoll's dragging their teens to school and the moans from the groggy kids, her two asking a million questions to Dylan or to the neighbors. The once bubbly street was dead silent, except for her pants that filled the air.
"Larissa, Matthew, where are you? Mommy's done playing now, where are you two." she yelled. "If you two don't stop we won’t go to the park today, I mean it. You both are in big trouble so come out now, before I count to three."
Her shouts echoed the hilly area, no replies came back to her, "One...Two..." Lyrah's heart sank, the truth before her was inevitable as she looked over the hillside to see the once busy intersection full of empty cars with no souls within them.
"Three." she sobbed.
Lyrah dropped to her knees, fear, grief, and panic striking her all at once. She clutched her sides as she cried on the hill, her once perfect world was turned to instant hell and she had no reason of what or why it happened.
"Dylan! Larissa! Matthew! Where are you?! Come back!" she screamed to the world, "Please God no, why? NO!"