It was the 7th of September. Matthew was sitting still in the grass. It was quiet around here and the weather was good today.
"It's getting a bit cold now. We were lucky with the sun today, it was supposed to rain." Matthew said as he grabbed the plastic bag he had carried ice cream in.
"Right, I should get going, the sun is starting to set. I'll see you next time, then." Matthew added, as he got up.
Just like every year on this day, Matthew had gone for a walk in the park in the afternoon. He leisurely sat on a bench for a while, observing the people going about their day, or the children running around and playing. He stood in line at the ice cream shop at the entrance of the park and got the same 6 ice creams as every year.
That was actually something he had always loved, getting everyone their favorite ice cream and enjoying it in the park together.
Although, like the year before, he felt lonely on his way home. He decided to stop at the same drugstore, which opened a bit over a year ago, and bought liquor.
He soon arrived home, grabbed a glass and generously poured himself the liquor he bought.
"It's been 4 years already." he murmured to himself after emptying his glass and pouring another one.
"Happy birthday to me!" he said, lifting his glass as if cheering with others, before emptying it again.
He turned 24 today. Just like the year prior, he planned to drink himself to sleep tonight.
The way back from seeing his family and friends was harder every year. He passed out drinking last year and thought it could become part of his tradition. The drugstore that opened between his place and the cemetery made it easier.
4 years ago, he had been celebrating his birthday with his family and close friends in the park. On that day, all over the world, mysterious portals appeared and monsters straight out of fantasy novels poured out and rampaged.
A portal must have appeared not too far from the park that day, as sounds of car horns, glass breaking, and walls being destroyed could be heard. Matthew, or anyone with him that day, did not have the time to think about how to react as the sound of destruction was rapidly approaching the park from the street.
Matthew was the first to see it and yelled at everyone to run. A gigantic centipede looking monster could be seen rushing straight at his group from the park entrance. The monster must have been as wide as a bus.
Matthew was hit by one of the monster's legs and was sent flying like those pedestrian crash test mannequins. As his body was flung in the air, he just had the time to see the monster pounce on his friends and family.
After that, Matthew woke up in a hospital bed. Several months had passed since that day but he had been put in a coma as he was heavily injured, the nurse explained. She handed him a smartphone with a web page titled 'What we learned from the Great Invasion' open and told him to read it after he asked what happened.
The text explained that on that day, all over the world, portals appeared and spewed monsters into the city streets immediately after. Those monsters seemed immune to damage from firearms as policemen and even the army, after it was mobilized, tried to shoot them with all sorts of weapons.
Soon after the portals appeared, some humans developed extraordinary powers that were effective to fight against the monsters. Dozens of people had developed powers near each zone affected by a portal.
The situation was only stabilized after a few weeks. The portals kept appearing every now and then, but the moment monsters would come out of them was delayed so people could prepare and evacuate. The number of people with powers also slowly increased over time.
The nurse must have gotten used to people waking up confused in the hospital after the so-called Great Invasion. It made sense that she would have a way to explain things readily like this web page.
Matthew stayed still in his bed for hours, alone with the smartphone the nurse left him, trying to process what he just read. The sky through the window was getting redder and redder when he pushed the call button again.
A few moments later, the nurse appeared through the door. Matthew handed the smartphone back, still confused about his situation.
Matthew asked what had happened to him and his family and friends only to be met with even harder news. Everyone passed but him.
The nurse mentioned how his survival was deemed miraculous and had the doctors wondering if he had not developed powers himself. He was expected to die anytime when one day all of his injuries disappeared without even leaving scars.
Matthew still remained in a coma for a few more months after that miraculous recovery. During that time, some people with special sensitivity to the new powers people developed even came by to check if he indeed developed powers, but nothing came out of it.
Matthew had been discharged the following morning. He had wandered aimlessly through the streets. Traces of the fights against the monsters were still visible here and there, but most of what must have been destroyed had been rebuilt already.
Matthew had been left completely alone, in a world turned over by forces beyond measure and that was still struggling to completely recover.
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