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Amazing Things Press
Time Lost: Teenage Survivalist II
Ben's 13th year was when his family fell apart, but his 14th year is when his whole world, or more precisely, the whole world, collapses. He had thought 13 was his unlucky number, the year that Time turned its back on him, but he was wrong; that year, it was he who had turned his back on Time. The following year, the fury of the sun turns back Time for everyone in the world. On PF (Power Failure) Day, a huge electromagnetic surge from the sun destroys the power grids and civilization as we know it. Living in the middle of downtown Kansas City makes survival nearly impossible. Starvation, dehydration, disease, freezing temperatures, and out-of-control fires imperil the desperate population. After facing unimaginable losses, Ben finds hope for the future when he meets Sara, who has endured her own share of agonizing loss. But when a murderous gang threatens to take away everything Ben has left, they flee to a wilderness area of a large city park where they learn to live off the land for survival.
Time had always played a minor role in my life, lurking in the shadows, only bursting out to assert its pompous self-importance in the excruciatingly slow last three minutes of history class or the gut-wrenching last thirty seconds of our football game, when the other team had the ball and the chance to eek out the win. On other occasions, it would sweep events in front of it, in a hurry to get them over with and out of the way, like during our all-too-brief lunch periods or gone-in-a-flash summer vacations. But mostly, Time was something I never thought about; it was just another ever-present force like the geomagnetic field surrounding the earth. Who could have known that both those constant, universal forces could be brought to their knees in a matter of seconds by a force greater than both of them?
I can barely remember back when Time worked to my advantage, when it embraced me in its comforting arms and held my hand during long stretches of happiness. I remember walking to the park every day with my mother, one hand held securely by her, the other holding onto the snack she always brought me when she picked me up from daycare after work. We’d walk slowly to the swings, while Mom would ask me about my day and laugh at the cute little things I’d say. Then we’d swing together, mom on the next swing over, her hand covering mine while I grasped the chain of my swing. She’d help me swing that way, unlike the other moms, who pushed their kids from behind. I remember thinking that she was the coolest and most beautiful mom in the world, and I the luckiest boy. I have one particular picture of her in my mind: she is leaning back in the swing, her golden hair flowing out behind her; her eyes are closed and her mouth is curved into a big smile. I’m not sure if this is a real memory of her or one I’ve created to cope with the loss of that happy time.