It was a call that started everything.
Well, in technicality, if you looked back on it, there were a lot of things that 'started everything'. But it was that specific call that was the most clear cause.
You'd gone to a party that night. Got home around three in the morning, half-drunk and mind-numbingly tired (admittedly, the numbing part was probably just the alcohol). You actually had no idea how you had made it up to your apartment in that state, but somehow you had.
You can imagine exactly how it went down: you manage to get up to your apartment and throw open the door. You don't bother with the voicemails that you know are waiting for you on the machine, as stated by a glaring red light. You go to your room, stripping along the way and leaving a trail of clothes in your wake. After what feels like an eternity slogging through your apartment in a drunken haze, you collapse onto the bed.
Onto the part you do remember, it was somewhere around four thirty in the morning when your buddy Mack decided to call you, probably to tell you about the tail he got after the party with some drunken babe (you never did ask for the details on the call, and he never left you voicemails). You flailed your hand around in response to the unwelcome noise, probably aiming, stupidly, to knock the phone off the receiver. Whatever your aim, you managed to hit the 'snooze' button on your alarm clock.
So, you were late to work.
If it weren't for your buddy Mack calling about some pointless thing at an ungodly hour, you probably would have died, making it to work on time. And as anyone can guess, that would have sucked. (You didn't hold it against him).
With the worst hangover in existence and not enough sleep, you dragged yourself out of bed at ten in the morning, knowing you were really fucking lucky that your boss loved you, or he would fire your ass. You threw on a T-shirt ('FRANKIE SAYS RELAX'), too-faded, too-ripped jeans, a baseball cap over your tussled hair, and you're out the door, down the stairs and on the Houston sidewalk. You head towards 'Rosco's Records' with an irritated expression on your pierced face. You'd probably whack Mack around a little later for his stupidity in calling your drunken self that early when he knew for a fact you didn't give a shit.
Of course, you forget all of that when you see it.
It being a giant asteroid that is heading straight for Houston. You suddenly regretted not throwing on the TV that morning and seeing the news reports. Then again, you only ever watched the news if something big was happening in an industry you gave a shit about, which was virtually none. You froze there on the sidewalk across from Rosco's, staring wide-eyed at the fireball. It was so close now you could feel the heat. Some people ran to safety.
It suddenly hit you, though, that Rosco – your boss, and one man of very few who actually sort of gave a shit about you – was inside. "Rosco!" You yelled uselessly at the building.
It was way too late for that, though, as the meteor – asteroid, meteor, what the hell was the difference? – hit the building and started its destruction. People fled, now screaming, dragging others by the arm if they were feeling especially valiant. Time slowed down and you could see debris breaking off of the building, flying into the air, some flying toward you. Finally, you made a single smart choice and jumped behind a mailbox nearby, pressing your shoulder to the cold metal and closing your eyes as the cataclysm occurred.
In the future, you would convince yourself that you heard Mr. Rosco Farthing scream.
And that was how you got here. After all the destruction, the police and ambulances would be coming. You know that much. You're still crouched behind the mailbox, but you quickly get to your feet and run towards the site where Rosco's Records had stood. There's a crater, but it appears the hulking rock had been the precise size of the record store – the other stores beside it stand unharmed, aside from typical debris destruction. The monumental unlikelihood of that would be later noted by many newscasters on all of those news programs you didn't watch.
You stare into the rubble for a moment before you jump down into it, feeling a blast of heat like you'd just stepped into a furnace. You can hear sirens in the distance as you walk forward, kicking over rubble with your tennis shoes. You don't have hope to find Rosco or anything stupid like that (finding him would actually be the worst case scenario, since he'd pretty much just be a fried corpse). You're just sort of nostalgic, since it could've been you. You were saved by a hangover and a stupid phone call, and the meteor claimed a nice guy who didn't go to parties and do drugs and get piercings. If there was a God, He sure had a weird sense of humor.
But suddenly, above the cutting noise of sirens growing closer, you hear a sound that was completely unmistakeable to the human animal. A baby, wailing.
You run forward with new drive, looking around the rubble, thoughts buzzing around in your still-fuzzy brain. Okay, you thought, someone was in the store. A mom with a newborn or some shit. Parent's gotta be dead or the kid wouldn't be wailing. Maybe I'll be a hero on the news. Whoop-dee-freakin'-do. But the kid deserves to be found.
You jump around the brick piles like some kind of movie star's stunt double – if this weren't an actual emergency, you'd probably do some actual flips in case anyone was filming. Finally, right in the center of the destruction site, you see him. Sitting there like a doorstep baby, like he'd been placed there for you to find. You slow to a walk as you head up to the source of the wailing and grab the kid in your arms. You didn't really know how to hold him – he can't be older than like, six months.
He stops wailing after a minute, blinking tears out of eyes that are too big for his head, looking up at you. He's got the brightest red eyes you've ever seen in your life. Redder than if he'd been an anime vampire colored by a weeaboo who still had better art skills than you at fourteen.
"Holy shit," you whisper.
That was when the police (and the cameras) showed up.