The long time it took to find the key placed everyone in a state of searing anxiety. With the sky already darkening from a mild gray to coal black we hurriedly put the rusty relic in the battered lock. A swirl was cutting a path above this house, was it possible this would be our last shelter; with no need to drift further. The door creaked open, exposing a dark, dank smelling room unoccupied probably for many years. Terrified that we'd lose another of our sojourners to a wild animal we threw a few of the rocks from a bag into the shack.
It was safe to enter; no charging white-toothed menace came flying out of the doorway. All three of us stepped in; gingerly walking on what we feared was the remains of a rotten, termite eaten floor. No assured outcomes were ours to embrace in this era. Just understanding that the worst was not only possible but entirely probable insured that we moved gingerly in this tumult that was our unfortunate reality.
Outside the howling of the wind began its nightly pounding ritual, tearing at any securely rooted plant, tree, or any other object that could become a projectile hurtled recklessly at our already weak shelter. Huddled together tightly we contemplated our demise. How often we'd felt death's hand gently placed upon our shoulder only for it to be pulled away at the very last moment.
Rattling in the grasp of a giant's power the poor derelict leftover started shaking violently. The earth had become this spasmodic creature struggling against a certain death, its environment tormented by noxious hot gases spurring unpredictable violence.
Moving around with our impotent light shining on this or that dirt covered memento of past stability we happened to rest the beam on a pearly white object in the far corner. Walking closer we could see that the white object was a skeleton lounging in a recliner positioned so that it was facing what was left of a window; now shattered. In the right hand was a book that was tightly held to the chest. Small cans of emergency government rations littered the floor under an inadequate side table. A white coffee cup painted with beautiful red, yellow, and pink flowers sat on the table.
When the worldwide economy collapsed at about the same time the climate went haywire, distribution of all goods gradually slowed to a trickle. After a few weeks not even this trickle of products remained to be shipped in our consumption-starved economy. When the climate began oscillating between extreme cold and hot; producing terrible storms or dangerous life threatening anomalies food production also ceased.
Drawing upon the surplus foodstuffs of the Department of Agriculture: small survival cans of high protein mush were transported by the regular Army to pick up points in cities, and towns. Unfortunately, for the infirmed or less than resourceful when the emergency rations ran out most just passed away in quiet solitude like this tormented soul gazing out of the window hoping for the return of a forgiving world.
Shifting direction the wind started picking up to such a force that pieces of what was left of the roof were ripped clean away from the exposed support beams. Looking up a well-defined dark black swirl could be seen moving counter clockwise in faster and faster twists releasing some pent up hatred directed at the occupants of this wood ruin. For hadn't the careless, soulless, egotistical, self-centered elite guardians of the world disregarded their responsibility to the environment. We who were the sole survivors of absolute destruction might not have been directly responsible but we were just as culpable given that we didn't even try to avert disaster by passionately voicing our concern. What resulted was a drift towards oblivion that continued without any complaint coming from the mass of people who were often trampled under by a small army of selfish citizens.
While looking up towards the disintegrating roof two more beams were torn off. A shaking that started in the ground and now merged with the remains of the house was aggressively rattling everything.
We were finally beaten down by forces beyond our control. There would be no more stops along a path of agony for in an instant the remains of the house and all its battered relics of a better time along with the last human survivors were wiped from the surface of this convulsing planet.