They say only the strong survive.
I aim to prove "them" wrong.
The world has been devastated by nuclear war.
My name is Toni Ayala. I'm a witch. And I'm going to save the world.
I've taken a job at the local hospital. It isn't pretty, but I've got my foot in the door.
One day, I'll lead the restoration efforts.
For now, they tell me I'm an on-call organ donor. I think they were joking.
Ugh. The conditions at the hospital are medieval at best. I've been promoted to cleaning out bedpans. The water we get to use is just as filthy as the messes we're supposed to be cleaning, but at least it's water, I suppose. That's more than most people have right now.
There's a family in the next bunker over. They seem so happy, despite everything. That's what I'm working for. Those children need people like me.
The mob stopped by for their weekly cut. I spent the whole day crying from hunger pains, and the bastards had the audacity to eat their protein rations in front of me. Then, they even made off with my new couch! Said it was too good for me. Sure, I can get another, but still, it's the principle of the thing. It disgusts me.
I've been working my ass off to become an intern, to really begin medical practice. I've been studying constantly, whenever I have a free moment. Today, it finally happened. I'll learn from the best doctors in the area, and then I'll be the best.
We're so understaffed. I don't think I've seen a normal human in the place, and the "best" doctor is a resident werewolf barely more competent than I am.
A man walked by my shelter today. Cyrus Sepulveda. He's ... interesting. Okay, he's hot. Plus, he actually is a normal human. You just don't see many of those these days.
I had to fight past some zombies to get to the hospital tonight, and when I got there, they tell me there's a patient with a blood type identical to mine, in desperate need of at least one working kidney. I've got two, would I please donate one? I had no choice but to let the werewolf operate on me. It was successful - barely - but .... gods, the facilities are barbaric. I half-expect to get an infection, even though my witch blood makes me resistant to disease.
I swear, aliens keep landing on top of my bunker. Aliens. What.
The trick to success is to always keep pushing forward. I'm so close I can taste it. We're working on getting clean watter arranged, we've begun trying experimental procedures at the hospital. Conditions are improving. I feel like I'm making a difference. I really do.
We've done it! It's still ongoing, of course, but the restoration efforts are underway. As a reward for all of my contributions, I got the first shower and laundry facilities in the area, not to mention a fertility treatment. Cyrus and I have been talking, and neither of us are getting any younger. We agreed to marry, just an informal ceremony, and he moved in with me.
Naturally, we consummated our relationship as quickly as possible. I'm positively glowing right now. Everything is going right in my world, besides the zombies and the nuclear winter, anyway.
Damn it, damn it, damn it!
They cut our rations. Cyrus, naturally, decided to be the gentleman, give me his share. I'm pregnant, he said, I needed it more. I spent the whole night puking up my guts, but I needed the food more than he did. It couldn't last for long. He - he starved to death, right in front of me. I kept trying to get him to eat, something, anything, but he refused, right until the end.
What do I do now?
Twins, and oh, they're beautiful. If only Cyrus had lived. It's a boy and a girl, Anthony and Maria. I can tell, just by looking at them, they have the gift.
Now I have to survive. They need me.
I need them.
It's been a long time since I last wrote - raising the twins took a lot out of me. But it's done. No more baby bottles, no more dirty diapers. If this were Before, they'd be starting school, making friends.
If only ....
I can feel my mind slipping away from me. I know the word for it, even if I can't stop it. No amount of medical knowledge could prepare me for the ill effects of advancing age - and it's more than just growing old. It's a kind of madness settling in, seeping into every corner of my mind. Senility, or worse.
At least I can rest easy, knowing there's a brighter future ahead. Even if my mind does fail, even if the world we used to know is gone, I know in my heart there's always hope.
My children will carry on my legacy. I've raised them to do great things.
One day, I'll show my daughter this diary. She'll continue the tale.
People need to know how the end of the world became a new beginning.