Continued from chapter 1.1, here.
Axiom 1: Remain calm.
I’d done it! That’s right, journal readers, whoever you may be – I managed to reach the Starbucks!
And even better? The place was unlocked!
As I walked in through the front doors, I almost felt normal, at least for a second or two. There was no Apocalypse, no end of the world happening outside these doors. No, I was just strolling into my favorite coffee shop chain, here to pick up a boost of caffeine and brewed beans before heading back to work.
And for a moment, as I closed my eyes, I even smelled that classic scent of just slightly too burned coffee beans, the scent reminiscent of Starbucks everywhere.
But then I opened my eyes, and reality came crashing back in.
Looking around the interior of the coffee shop, I was happy to note that the building remained intact. That, however, was about the only good thing that I could say about my newly chosen base of operations.
The tables were knocked over, with chairs lying everywhere – some of them broken. No other patrons stood in line in the shop to buy coffee; no one sat at any of the little tables, hunched over a computer or a magazine. I saw no hipsters with massively oversized headphones, no preppy college students pretending to study as they sipped their massively sugary concoctions, no groups of overweight mothers commiserating about why they couldn’t lose weight as they sipped their extra-large frappuccinos.
Behind the counter, I saw no bored barista, waiting to take my order and mess up my name. Instead, I just saw spilled coffee beans and untouched espresso machines. I stuck my head into the back room, still feeling a little like I was trespassing by going in a place intended for Employees Only, and saw that the back area was similarly deserted. Some of the stacks of boxes in the back store room had toppled over, spilling out bags of sealed coffee grounds.
Heading back out to the main room of the shop, I grabbed one of the fallen over chairs, set it upright, and sat down on it. Leaning on one of the tables, I gazed around and tried to figure out what I needed to do.
What do you do in an Apocalypse, anyway? I didn’t have any prior experience in doing this. I wondered if there were any books available on the topic. Where was the nearest Barnes & Noble?
I dug out my phone, hoping to search the internet for answers, but tossed it away when I saw that it had no signal. Somehow, I didn’t expect to suddenly find myself with any bars any time soon. Not in the Apocalypse.
With little else to do, I dug out my notebook, pulled out my pen, and started writing. Hence, this journal! Maybe someone will find this one day, and they’ll discover what became of me. Or maybe, if I somehow survive this, I can read from this journal to my children and grandchildren, telling them of the horrors that I endured.
Hah. Somehow, I doubt that will happen, but I can hope, right?
After getting most of my thoughts down on the journal, I began to realize that I actually had no idea what was going on outside. What exactly had happened? My experience so far had just consisted of loud noises, seeing widespread destruction, and watching a winged, Heavenly being destroy a children’s toy.
I didn’t see any television sets in the main area, but I found a radio in the back room, and hauled it out to the front area of the Starbucks. I propped it up on a table, murmured a brief prayer of thanks that it ran off of batteries, and began searching for a channel.
I prayed too early, it seemed. After ten minutes of carefully scrolling through the different frequencies, I hadn’t found any channels, nothing but static. I turned it off, hoping to conserve the batteries, and turned my attention back to the interior of the building – and my growling stomach.
Did you know that Starbucks has sandwiches and pastries? And that they keep extras in a fridge and freezer in the back room? I now know that fact.
The sandwiches actually aren’t too bad. If there’s a chance to leave post-Apocalyptic Yelp reviews, I’m giving these Starbucks sandwiches five stars. Well worth the addition to your underground bunker’s food stash.
After I’d put some food in my stomach, I turned my attention to my surroundings. Prowling around the inside of the Starbucks didn’t reveal any cracks, and a lap around the outside of the building showed that it actually looked to have weathered whatever assault hit the area fairly well. I headed back inside, feeling a bit more hopeful that the place wouldn’t collapse down on top of my head at any moment.
I found a broom in the back area and, feeling like a bit of a fool, tidied up. I didn’t make it look exactly like the typical Starbucks – I turned most of the tables on their sides as makeshift barricades against the big plate glass front windows, which now seemed far too open for my taste. But I swept the floor, pulled over one of the big couches to use as a makeshift bed, and even managed to produce a passable cold brew.
Cold coffee in hand, I settled into one of the stuffed armchairs, gazing out at the setting sun. I needed a plan, I repeated to myself for the umpteenth time. If I was going to survive this, I’d need a plan.
A plan. Journal, do you have any idea how hard it is to sit down and think of a plan? It’s bloody hard, I can tell you that.
But as the sun crept lower over the shattered mall across the highway from my hideout, I began to write down some ideas.
To be continued…