I stand on the hill in the purple predawn gloom, examining the bleak landscape before me. The wind gusts in strong, intermittent bursts, lifting dark waves from my tense shoulders and whipping them across my cold cheeks, where tears run freely.

Instead of finding comfort in this rare place of peace, the surrounding desolation only hammers the loneliness I’ve felt these last months further into my heart. It’s been some time now, weeks, since I’d last seen another Warm Blood at all – even longer since I’d come across one who hadn’t tried to kill me.

The towns and cities I’ve passed through were overrun with the Dead, and whilst they might not be great conversationalists, at least they make noise… horrifying, guttural noise though that may be. Still, it’s something.

In comparison the silence here feels deafening, and it makes me feel more alone than ever. When you’re fighting your way through crowds of the ambling Dead, you don’t really have time to dwell on the crushing loneliness; and when you’re trying to sneak from Warm Bloods who’ll happily kill you on sight it’s very easy to convince yourself that you’re better off on your own.

But out here with nobody in sight, alive or dead, no villages or any sign of civilisation… just the rolling hills and the sharp wind tearing in from the sea whistling in my ears… There’s no lying to myself. I am, completely, alone – and it’s suffocating.

I turn my head to look out over the sea as the new dawn crests over the horizon, casting a dazzling gleam across the rippling waves. It amazes me that there is still beauty in a world that has become so dire. I take deep breaths of the salty air, wiping away tears and regaining what’s left of my composure.

As the sun rises, it brings a soft light that illuminates the land, and something in the distance catches my eye – a solitary house, teetering on the edge of the hillside.

A nervous flutter swells beneath my ribcage, after all this time could it be… hope?

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    2 years ago

    In a hideous landscape, the dawn’s “dazzling gleam” whispers of hope, revealing the possible end to loneliness. A lovely image unveiled! 

    Katerina Bizirtsaki
    Katerina Bizirtsaki(@katerina-bizirtsaki)
    2 years ago

    This is exactly what the titles says: a hope dawn of a talented writer!

    Alan Kemister
    Alan Kemister(@alan-kemister)
    2 years ago

    I particularly liked the juxtaposition in the third to last paragraph of the beauty of the dawn versus the death and destruction of the civilization you’re imagining. I don’t think the sight of a house in the distance could give me the sense of hope your hero/heroine feels.

    Eric Radcliffe
    Eric Radcliffe(@eric-radcliffe)
    2 years ago

    I’m thinking such horror, and being alone must be absolutely horrendous, so I understand the feeling of hope that comes at the end. That just struck a thought with me. Isn’t that when hope finally comes – at the end?

    Linda Rock
    Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
    2 years ago

    The deep sense of loneliness your story portrays, Emily, exudes such sadness. What a terrible world to live in, if you can call it living. In such desperate times, I can understand how just the sight of a solitary house would elicit hope. Really well written.

    Carrie OLeary
    Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
    2 years ago

    A well written story that makes you really care about the protagonist in just a few short words. It often takes half a book to achieve that. I think any lonely person would search for something to pin their hopes on if they’d reached that degree of desperation; that comes across incredibly well. Very touching.

    Andrew Carter
    Andrew Carter(@andrew-carter)
    2 years ago

    Hi Emily, there’s a powerful sense of loneliness here that only a writer could know and depict so well. It evoked how outcast one can feel at times in a superficial society that seems just like those Warm Bloods. A solitary soul finding hope in the sight of a solitary house synchronises well and makes the reader wonder who, or what will be in that teetering house..

    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    2 years ago

    Hello, Emily. I feel his loneliness, living alone is miserable and that solitary house gives hope. I agree with Andrew Carter. I am wondering who or what will be in that teetering house. Very moving.

    Last edited 2 years ago by Lotchie Carmelo

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