"Best statement to sum up our current situation? Well, now, I don't really know. I could say we're all in hell at the moment, but I'm a religious man (ahem, woman), y'see, and I don't really think hell couldn't be any worse than this. And besides, just saying everything's really horrible or painful or whatever, well, that I think is a bit anticlimactic. Something dramatic, something brooding, something that, at face value, doesn't seem related, but is in fact one real deep exploration of everything; that, I think, will be best to sum up everything. Hmm... Oh, wait, I remember this one line I got from this video-game (forgot the title, though), I think it was about something like our he- our situation, something about nukes... something about war... Now hey, Lydia, don't look at me like that. I'm not saying I played the videogame. I only know this because of a friend. Johnny, old Johnny? The man who handles the cafe down the road? Why do you look surprised? Ha! No, trust me, he was one of the best. Was... was... Anyway, here, I remember the line: 'War. War never changes.' ... You know, come to think of it, I don't think it's anything close to what we're currently experiencing. But relating to the videogame's context, it does kinda fit, right? Oh, good point. Speaking of points, I'm feeling something slightly pointy in my chest." "How pointy, ma?" "Needle-pointy. And my head hurts." "It's the heat. I'm pretty sure it's the heat... And lack of goddamn air! I think the air vent to this room's blocked by something." "Oh, that'll be bad. And a bit premature. We've still got six months' worth of food left! Hehe..." "Ma!" "What? Just because we're in this damned post-nuke-apocalyptic inferno, doesn't mean we can't have a bit of a laugh?: "Not that. It... wasn't right." "Right? What's right in this world anymore? No one to determine right or wrong now, no mean-spirited to society to control us! We could do pretty much anything we can now; we're free! From the ashes rise the phoenix, you know. No more restrictions, no more boundaries, no more... well, no more anything to, er..." "At a loss for words?" "I guess. Boy, this heat... this heat feels like hell! Too bad no o- oh, yeah, sorry." "Here, a cold pack. And maybe this cracker will help." "That feels good... How many of these do we have left? Sixty? Wow, hon's really one generous packer. And food? Oh yeah, six months' worth." "For the three of us, I guess. If he were still here, that'd be less. Maybe four? Three? He's a real fat eater, you know, healthy." "Would've been the- err..." "Yes. Yes." Then Lydia started shaking. A slap from Joni. "LYDIA! Now, I told you, just... just don't think about him, alright? Contrary to your father's beliefs, thinking doesn't always help. Now come on..." "It's just... I... I think I can hear him! From the rubble, ma, from th-" Another slap from Joni. "Stop! STOP! Lydia, LYDIA!" Lydia sobs. "He was my grandson, alright? My blood, maybe not as much my blood as yours, but my blood nevertheless! And do you see me mourning like that? No! No! Lydia, we-me, you, Alyss here-we might be the last ones left! On the whole, whole-" a tear "-who- planet! And we can't lose our heads, not for a moment. No we can't. For... For... For the sake of humanity... I guess. And it's been three, no, four goddamn months since we lost him!" (In truth, only two weeks. And it's been four months since they were trapped in the bomb shelter Joni's husband, Lydia's father, built) "Time to stop. STOP!" But Lydia kept on mourning. The sobbing intensified. From a meek mourning to a hysterical crying. "But- my son! my son! my son!" She threw herself onto the pile of rubble that lie next to the group's supply shelves, the one which blocked their exit, and the one (of the three) under which they chose to bury her son, then continued on with her panic. "Lydia! Lydia please!" But once again, Joni had not stopped her daughter. Lydia continued on crying, crying, crying... Then Alyss woke up.