Indulgence

The alarms had stopped, but the screams of a young girl followed right after. I jolted from my bed to the door. The screams came from Emily's room. Since I was closer to her I ran to her door and opened it and was greeted by jet black snakes. My eyes widened at the sight before me. I could hear everyone's footsteps approach behind me.

"What the hell is going on?! I thought everything was dead." Coco said, cowering behind me.

They must have gone underground after the blast. Ms. Mead pushed through everyone to get into the room. She went to pick up one of the snakes with her hands. I was concerned for the older woman, but I kept my mouth shut. Knowing she could take care of herself.

"Looks like we got some fresh protein!" Ms. Mead said, smiling lightly. I was disgusted by the thought of eating snakes. Coco seemed to agree with me. I stepped forward closer to Ms. Mead.

"Wouldn't they be contaminated?" I ask, looking into the snake's eyes, feeling bad for the creatures who were soon to be made into stew.

"We'll scan 'em if they are." Ms. Mead said, taking the creatures out of the room to be cooked.

After the incident in Emily's room dinner was soon after. All of us were in our seats, some looking more hungrier than others. I wasn't looking forward to eating these snakes. It just didn't feel right eating the animal when it was also trying to survive like we were. The trays were placed in front of us covered by tops. I looked down at the dish in front of me. I have to eat this or I'll die of starvation, and I don't feel like dying anytime soon.

"So, who's in your office?" asked Emily, looking at Ms. Venable.

"I beg your pardon?"

"Alarms went off before someone came inside."

Timothy then asks, "Who else is here?"

"All questions will be answered in due course. Eat," she responded, closing the conversation.

I grab the cover over the dish and pick it up, only to drop it on the table. In a flash, I was out of my seat and backing away from the dinner table. There were snakes coming out of our bowls. Something always had to happen during dinnertime. This was all too much for me to handle. I abandoned everyone in the dining room, running to my room for some sort of comfort. It felt like the only safe place I had. I laid in my bed trying to calm myself. Everything was going to be okay. I know it will be.

The door to my room is opened and I sit up to see it was Ms. Mead. I get up from my bed taking a few steps towards her.

"Ms. Mead. I'm sorry for leaving like that. Everything was just so overwhelming. Please forgive me," I say, putting my head down. Her hand reached out to touch my shoulder, patting me lightly.

"Come on. We have a guest here who would like to talk to all of us," she said, leaving the room.

I followed behind her, feeling more comfortable. I was led back to the music room to see everyone sitting down quietly not saying a word. There was nowhere to really sit down so I sat on the arm of the couch next to Dinah. Footsteps could be heard coming down the hall. Each step grew louder as the person got closer. I turn my head to look at the hallway where the Gray's were standing. There stood a tall handsome man with strawberry-blonde hair and eyes that were as blue as the sky. His attractiveness was almost angelic.

He moved across the room, making his way to Ms. Venable. He looked at her, waiting for her to move. She looked away and moved next to Ms. Mead. His eyes scanned over the group, observing us. However, his eyes lingered on me for quite a while before looking forward.

"My name is Langdon, and I represent The Cooperative. I won't sugarcoat the situation. Humanity is on the brink of failure. My arrival here was crucial to the survival of civilized life on Earth. The three other compounds In Syracuse, New York, Beckley, West Virginia, and San Angelo, Texas have been overrun and destroyed. We've had no contact from the six international outposts, but we are assuming that they, too, have been eliminated," Mr. Langdon said, in a calm, unwavering tone.

I looked at him in complete shock. This can't really be happening, we couldn't be the only ones alive. A tear slid down my cheek, but I quickly wiped it away before anyone could see.

"What about the people inside of the outpost?"

"Massacred. The same fate that will befall almost all of you"

"Almost all?" I ask, looking the man in the eyes.

His eyes peered into mine, looking deep into my soul. Though instead of making me uncomfortable, I felt the exact opposite. He broke eye contact with me continuing his speech. I was suddenly filled with anger and annoyance. He may be handsome and have a nice posture, but he sure is full of himself. I folded my arms, putting my resting bitch face on. He proceeded to answer the others' questions, but before he could continue I cut him off just to mess with him.

"So, what are you doing here?" I asked boldly.

He turned to face me with a small smirk, but I could feel he was getting annoyed. I had a moment of triumph, smiling to myself.

"However, I have been sent to determine if any of you are worthy and fit to join us. Yet, if you choose not to go or fail the Cooperative's questioning, then there is another option," he says, holding up a bottle of powder.

"One minute later, you're asleep and you just never wake up."

After hearing this I felt my chances of surviving decrease. He was going to question us, and by the looks of it, he wasn't going to be easy. My goal is to survive this hell, but if I don't make it at least the others will have a chance at survival.

"I want to go first!" Gallant said.

"And you shall. I look forward to seeing all of you," he said, his eyes stopping on me. I was the one to break eye contact with this time.

He left the music room, leaving all of us to our thoughts. All I wanted to do is go back to my room and sleep. This day has drained my energy completely. After saying my goodnights, I moved to the upper floor of the outpost to my room. I changed from my purple dress to my nightwear. I plopped on the bed, enjoying the soft feeling. Tomorrow would be a new day with new challenges.

That morning I got up from bed in a better mood than yesterday. Though my bed was telling me not to leave, I knew I had to move. In spite of my attempt to get out of bed, I fell right back to sleep.

"Wake Up! Wake Up!"

I awoke from my slumber by someone violently shaking me back and forth. I open my eyes to see Mallory.

"Mallory? What's wrong?" I sat up from my bed, rubbing my eyes.

"Mr. Langdon wants to interview you now. Hurry! I already have your stuff set out for you," she said, ushering me out of bed and helping me get ready.

Once Mallory helped me get done dressing, I bolted to the room Mr. Langdon was holding his interview. I opened the door to the room only to see he wasn't in there. I peeked my head in the room further not finding him anywhere.

"You're late."

I yelped and turned around quickly. There was a smile stretched across his face.

"Didn't think there was a set time, Mr. Langdon," I reply, trying to calm my nerves. Mr. Langdon walked past me into the room, towards his desk.

"Sit down and please call me Michael when we're alone," he ordered.

I obeyed and sat in the seat in front of his desk. He stared at me for a few moments not saying a word. I thought there may have been something on my face or my hair looked untamed.

"Who gave you the necklace?"

I looked down at the black onyx heart-shaped crystal around my neck. I glanced back at him, thinking.

"I don't know. It just appeared out of nowhere one day around my neck. I've had it ever since then," I answer honestly.

He swiftly moved out of the seat and kneeled in front of me. I was a little taken back by the sudden change but stayed calm.

"What are your true desires, Chenoa?"

"To find the one I hold most dear," I respond, not able to control the words coming from my mouth. What I said shocked me the most, because I was confused about whom I was talking about. Michael's face inched closer and closer to my face until I could feel his breath.

"Who?"

I stared deep into Michael's eyes. They were the bluest eyes I have ever seen. They, however, were so familiar it scared me.

"He...those blue eyes. All I can remember are those eyes that look deep into my soul. Every time I think I get closer to remembering, he disappears. All I'm left with is an empty hole in my heart, that only he can fill, yet, he's probably dead,"

The tears were already falling down my cheeks. The reason why I was crying didn't make any sense to me. I probably looked pathetic in his eyes. His fingers wiped the tears from my eyes.

"Your heart is pure, not yet tainted by the chaos," he softly said. What did he mean by the chaos?

"What is the worst sin you have commited?"

"Umm. When I was four I stole a few pieces of candy from the store," I say, smiling a little bit at how silly it sounded. He stared at me, questioningly. I laugh a little, trying to lighten the mood.

The whole interview was unsettling and awkward. He continued asking me various questions about my life before the apocalypse. Though for a split second I thought I saw the longing in his eyes after my little breakdown, I chose to ignore it coming to a conclusion he cared for no one but himself

"It was nice getting to know you, Ms. Cannari,"

"Call me Chenoa. You don't have to be formal."

He nodded turning back to his work. Leaving the room I took a big breath. What an emotional rollercoaster. I wasn't going to let this ruin my day, I have better things to do than worrying about him. Since dinner isn't until a few hours from now I must occupy myself. Meditation was something my mother taught me when I was a young girl. She said it helps us connect with the divine and to reflect on our lives. I smiled, remembering all of my mother's teachings and enjoying her company.

My mother raised me on her own after the death of my father. It was hard for an African American woman to raise a mixed child back then, but she did all she could for me. My mother would sing and read bedtime stories to me about heroes saving the day, stopping the evil and the good prevailing. Though she always told me that there must be a balance of both good and evil. She said that one day I would fight the greatest evil with a power given to me by the universe, that could overcome any obstacle. And I believed her. But now, I'm not so sure.

I sat on my bed, eyes closed trying to focus. I took deep breaths calming all of the muscles in my body. My mind trailed back to the interview with Michael, and then those blue eyes. I didn't understand whom I was talking about during the interview. I never was in a relationship, before all of this. To be honest, I can't remember much from the last few years, there were bits and pieces that I could recall. Deciding I needed to recover some of those memories or at least try to.

I drifted stirring up memories from childhood leading up to now, but then there was this lock in my mind. As if it were blocking something I wasn't supposed to see. I couldn't break it.

"Why is there a block here?"

"Go back, Chenoa."

A female's voice echoed through my head, causing me to leave my meditative state. I wasn't expecting that to happen. The female's voice sounded very familiar as well, but I couldn't put my finger on it. This was turning out to be the weirdest day of my life.