What the old man told me, gave me a lot of hindsight of what was I gonna face from here on, at least in the city.
I do remember the first days the Fires struck, though. There was no electricity, save in hospitals, government buildings and the odd home that had a diesel generator or two. Gas soon became a commodity, and food prices started to skyrocket. My dad got out of retirement, and started to work as a private doctor, just to get enough food. Classes were 'canceled until further notice', but some of my professors still gave them on the field. A few days later, the riots started.
It started, at least here, when medical supplies were given not to a government hospital, but a private one that was surrounded by armed goons, hired by the most affluent members of the city. They were overwhelmed, however, and that gave origin to a riot on a supermarket, then another on city hall, several angry mobs of people raided the rich district and the hotel district, a military outpost was taken over, the soldiers dead and their guns distributed amongst the rioters. Chaos everywhere.
That was when my story closes and the old man's begins. He told me that, right after that, several soldiers broke rank and joined the rioters, many of them were already on the payroll of the drug dealers. As the days went on, the started to carve a feudal system of sorts, with several people moving out of town, to work in the fields for the dealers, whether for food or for supplies, most of them did so willingly, but they started rounding up people for slave labor. The most rich people spared their lives helping the cartels attacking other families, or giving up their servants, sons and daughters, wives, husbands or siblings. This was his case, that in an act of fear, he gave his own grand-daughter to the cartels.
She was only twelve.
Out of self-loathing and pity, he tried to join his other family members into committing suicide, but again, fear got the best of him, and vomited most of the pills, but some did took effect. He told me he wanted to die, but he could not do it.
I got up, served myself another glass of water, and quietly drew my pistol. I asked him if he knew where they had taken his grand-daughter. He told me that somewhere in La Jolla, a wealthy neighborhood but, rumor had it, was a den of drug lords.
I gave him the beretta, and told him that, if he had the courage, he knew what needed to be done.
The storm had already passed when I got out. I saw my dogs walking alongside me, their little faces fixed on the house, I just told them to follow me, and I kept walking when I heard the gunshot, coming from inside the house.
If there is a God out there, and I hope there is, He will judge this old man with justice, and will have mercy on the child he so willingly gave away to the monster that can be the human being.