When I was 15 years old, I saw an explosion. I was shoulder to shoulder with my mother in the parking lot of the grocery store, watching a black cloud shooting into the sky.
And then another cloud.
At my feet, I’d dropped the bags I’d been holding. Groceries. Bag of oranges. People stopped, like in the movies, stopped moving, and looked up at the sky turning black. Maybe we were all in shock. Maybe I was just in shock, and everyone was still moving fine. Then all at once, we were moving again, a chorus of voices erupting around us and my mother’s tight voice, the voice she never used, telling me to grab the bags. To get in the car. We started driving, through a city turning dark, a city where a fireball would roll down a nearby creek bed next to a street, incinerating everything in its path.
Power was out everywhere.
We were driving away from the flood of people being evacuated, because we lived outside town, out beyond the miles of broken glass and pitch black clouds. No one knew what it was going on, and we drove past policemen directing traffic, past them, past the sounds of sirens and fear as the fire raged on behind us.
Today, the first episode of a game brought that all back to me, in fresh, startling hues. The heart pounding fear and the need to get far away very, very fast.
It’s an app game, called The Walk. The big view of what The Walk does is simple: it gets you outside, walking, getting exercise. But just walking can be bloody boring, and The Walk fills some of the silence. It sits in your ear, punctuating the silence filled by your breath with voices, pleas, and irresistible action.
The Walk is a thriller. In a case of mistaken identity, a woman takes a seat next to you in Iverness Station. She says things you don’t understand, confusing things about places you’ve never been, and then the world explodes. She guides you out of harms way during the evacuation, passing off a package to you before realizing too late that you are not the courier she was supposed to find.
But you’ll have to do.
You’re walking away—you have to walk because the men looking for you, for her, they’ll see you run—with the only working cell phone in Iverness after the EMP goes off. A woman you have never met before is going to give her life to buy you time to escape, with a package you haven’t opened and don’t understand and are not prepared to carry.
If you stop walking, you’ll die.
If you stop your 500 mile walk, to get the package to Edinburgh, the human race will die.
Enjoy The Walk.
The Walk is available for iOS and Android devices. It was created with the NHS and the UK’s Department of Health, and made by Six to Start and Naomi Alderman.