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Apocalyptis [SEC2014]

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posted on Nov, 16 2014 @ 09:55 PM

Groom Lake Facility – 2626 A.D.

The sirens blared and echoed through Apocalyptis. Sadie fought the urge to stop, huddle, and cover her ears as so many others were doing instinctively. Even the earplugs didn't help shield the shrieking blare of those sirens. They reverberated off the metal walls of the facility and amplified the sound to a deafening roar. Sadie would not be brought down to her knees. She kept moving through the corridors as quickly as she could manage. Everyone depended on her. She had to get to the control room and open the air vents to section D of the facility.

Section D. The thought of the injustice about to be perpetrated on those people by the Council of Elders was inexcusable. Section D was the area in which the “undesirables” were sent to segregate them from the more productive members of society. However, revolution was brewing in that cast off section of the facility three levels down, and Section D housed some of the more dangerous members of their underground society. With the drums of war beating on their underground bunker walls, those in charge were itching to end the threat.

“Sadie!”, someone said from behind her as she moved around people huddled in the corridors. “What are you doing? Get down and cover your ears, it may not be a drill!”

Sadie ignored the person and kept moving swiftly towards the control room. She'd knew that the control room would be evacuated, as she had set the sensors to indicate a fire in that section of Apocalyptis. With her security clearance, she could open the air vents and be gone from the area before anyone was wiser. Of course, when the section D inhabitants continued to survive, the Council may suspect foul play, but hopefully, their move to the surface would already be underway. They all wanted a chance to live, and if going to the surface was their only chance, every single man, woman, and child in section D was willing to take the risk. Sadie was willing to take the risk, but she had a different direction in mind. She wanted to go down further, into the forbidden sections of the facility. She had to know what happened to her parents, and if they were still alive.

Apocalyptis. For five centuries, the human race huddled and survived massive Earth changes on the surface, by moving to underground facilities. Those facilities, connected together by long underground tunnels, were humanities salvation. However, many of the connecting tunnels between the facilities collapsed during earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and a multitude of other calamities that can occur over five centuries of time.. This left, their section of the underground spider of tunnels, cut off from the rest of the different underground fallout facilities. In the beginning, their facility was named for the area in which it resided under. Groom Lake. However, Groom Lake Facility – soon became Apocalyptis for the underground survivors. When they were separated from the whole of the underground network of bunkers, their fated doom was sealed. This was when the younger generations took to calling their tomb – Apocalyptis. That was 71 years ago, and today, only the eldest of citizens still referred to the facility as Groom Lake.

When she neared the sealed doors that led to the corridor of the control room, she reached for her card to override the locks. “Sadie!”, Councilman Rick March exclaimed, when the doors slid open. “What in the world are you doing in this section?”

Sadie covered her shock at running into Rick March by feigning relief. “I'm head of security, Councilman March. I was coming to this section to be sure everyone is cleared from the area. You shouldn't be here.”

The councilman seemed to relax after studying her in concentration for several moments. “It's a false alarm. They were tripped expertly, and we have our top computer analysts in the control room now, trying to backtrack the source of the hack. Your not assigned to security in this section, Sadie. Your assigned to Section D.”

“Yes Sir”, Sadie agreed readily, an easy excuse issuing forward from her lips. “As you know, my sister Sarah works in the control room as one of those computer analysts. I couldn't sit back and not be sure she was okay.”

Rick March nodded, his several chins jiggling with the motion, seemingly satisfied with her explanations. He motioned for her to follow him down the corridor and into the control room. She followed the round, short, robust man, feeling a sense of defeat and dread for those poor souls in Section D she had failed to save. “She was the one who detected the hack. Your sister Sarah, I mean. You and your sister are invaluable assets to this facility. We are most lucky your grandparents were visiting this section of the underground facilities seventy years ago. I'm not sure we could get on as we do without your families genius here to help us through. Your parents have kept this facility running, when it should have died a slow death three decades ago.”

Sarah! Of course it was Sarah that foiled this carefully laid plan. Sadie fumed as she followed the councilman into the control room. The alarms ceased, as if on cue, at Sadie's arrival. Sarah was receiving congratulations from several people in the room, for a job well done.

“Well,” Sarah said, “I've only managed to turn off the alarm and reset the system. I still don't know who was behind it but I do know why.” Sarah and Sadie's eyes met at that moment, and Sadie knew – that Sarah knew.

“What were they trying to do?” the councilman asked, looking at the computer console for answers.

Sarah's answer was a shock to Sadie. “Well they did it. They opened up the air shaft to section D, and left it open. I cannot remotely access it to close it. Somebody will have to go to Section D and manually seal the shaft and reset the controls at that end.”

“How in the hell is that possible? To access those controls, you have to be in this room or in the forbidden sections of this facility. The only people who have been in this room, are those present.” Jack Mallory, head of security to this section of the facility, asked in anger. “Section D is filled with criminals and their ilk. They were scheduled for euthanasia, and now they are alive and potentially leaking radiation into the facility with that open air shaft.”

“Outside radiation has decreased to insignificant levels over the last two centuries, Mallory. The open air shaft poses little risk to us today. No, the real concern is why was the shaft left open. Are they trying to escape?” Councilman March asked.

Sadie knew that was her cue, and she was so taken aback by the events that had unfolded, she thought of little else but to tell the truth. “The talk of Section D has been revolution, for decades now. It brought them to the point where they were set to be exterminated. I think it's likely that is exactly why the shaft was left open. The shafts all have ladders that lead up the 1/2 mile to get to the surface. It's likely, some of the strongest, are already leaving the facility.”

“But that's madness!”, Mr. March exploded. His round, pudgy face several shades of mottled red. “The surface may not be radioactive anymore, but everything on the surface is destroyed. There is no life up there, nothing to survive on, nothing to eat.”

edit on 16-11-2014 by CirqueDeTruth because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 16 2014 @ 09:56 PM
Sarah cleared her throat. “Well then, it doesn't matter. They were destined to die, but now instead of by the Council's hands, they've ascended to topside to meet death. On their own terms.”

“That's very poetic, Miss Ellison, but it's not the point. Our way was simple. You go sleep and never wake up. The children and elderly taken atop will die slower, agonizing deaths from things like exposure, hunger, and unforeseen calamities topside.”, Mr. March uttered in a controlled, strained voice.

Sarah's blue eyes met Sadie”s sparkling green one's, and silently she conceded to her younger sister. She kept silent, even when Mr. March turned to her for her reply. When she issued no ready response, March turned to Section A's head of security, Jack Mallory.

“Mallory, Sadie – I want you to gear up and stop as many people as you can from reaching the air shaft and accessing it. Once your there, close it.”, Mr. March ordered. “I'll appraise the rest of the Council on what has happened here.” With that, Councilman March left the room as fast as his penguin like body could carry him.

Sarah stood, turning to Mallory. “I'd like to accompany you and my sister. You may need my expertise to close the shaft, and reset the system to restore control room access.”

“Fine.” Mallory said. “Let's all meet in 15 minutes. We will take the secondary lift down to Section D. It is closer to the air shaft than the main access point.”

Sadie and Sarah nodded in cadence and together they headed toward their quarters. Once out of earshot of anyone else, Sarah stopped and took Sadie by the shoulders, forcing Sadie to stop walking and face her her. Sarah shook Sadie hard, for several moments. “I cannot believe you did this! If I hadn't been there, and detected your hack first, you'd have been throw in the brig.” Sarah cried angrily.

“Sarah, please. They are going up, but I need to go down.” Sadie gently pushed Sarah back, as realization dawned in Sarah's face.

The tales about the lower levels that were forbidden to everyone, even supposedly, the councilman was legendary. Occasionally, a call would come up from the forbidden levels for certain people in their communities to be sent down into the lower levels. They were never heard from again. This was what happened to Sadie and Sarah's parents when they were only 12 and 14 years old. They were summoned to descend into the parts of the facility that made it all possible. The food supply, air supply, and structural integrity was all due to the lower levels and the people who resided there to maintain those systems. Supposedly, the upper crust of society took to the lowest levels of all the facilities, and left the upper levels to the “rest” of society. The lower levels are completely autonomous, but the upper levels depended upon the lower levels for survival. All of the bio-gardens that produced food, and animal farms, were on the lower levels. Food was sent up, not down, the tiered facility. So when the lower levels sent up a request for personnel, it was rarely denied.

“You mean to find our parents don't you? Oh Sadie, it's been almost two decades since we last saw or heard from either of them. They might not even be alive!”, Sarah protested.

Sadie began walking again at a brisk pace. “Well Sadie, that might be so, but I have to know! I need to know why, and if they are still alive.”

Sarah followed her younger sibling, saying nothing. She knew there was nothing she could say to Sadie to changer her mind. When their parents were selected to descend into the forbidden levels, Sadie had been devastated. Sadie had only been twelve, and she took the loss of their parents particularly hard. She'd fallen into a melancholy that she wouldn't shake until she was nearly and adult. What replaced that sorrow and depression was a determination. She'd enter into security, when her tests clearly demonstrated she was suited to more intellectual work like computers, engineering, or even medicine. But Sadie had wanted to work in security, and she had been adamant about it.

“How long have you been planning this Sadie?”, Sarah asked her sister when she emerged from her room in jeans, jacket, and boots.

“Let's go”, Sadie replied, ignoring her sisters question.

Mallory was waiting for them, and said very little, as the three of them took the lift down into Section D. The silence that met them, was even more deafening than the sirens had been. The air, usually stagnant and thick, had a crispness, none of them had ever experienced before. They all stood still and silent for a moment, taking in deep breaths.

“The air shaft is that way”, Sadie said, pointing the way and allowing Mallory to take the lead. “Turn right down the next corridor, it will lead to the common area. There should be people still there. Not everyone could make that climb to the surface.”

The common area, usually the busiest area of any section in the facility, was deserted. “Where is everyone?”, Sarah whispered. “How could ALL of them try and get to the surface. Some of them were wheelchair bound.”

Sadie stopped at door of the last corridor that led to the access area of the air shaft. It was sealed shut. Sadie tried her card several times, before Mallory shoved her out of the way to try and use his own. “We're locked out. They must have sabotaged the controls from the other side.”, Mallory said in disgust, kicking the door with his boot.

“That's not going to work.” Sarah said, she shrugged out of her backpack and searched inside of it for her computer. “It will take some time, but I should be able to override and get these doors to open. You two should look for anyone that was left behind. I still cannot believe that everyone is attempting to reach the surface.”

Mallory nodded, his tall imposing figure taunt with anxiety at all of the unknowns that faced them. Sadie watched Mallory leave the area, moving towards the quarters area of Section D. “You should do it now, Sadie. You brought the taser didn't you?”, Sarah asked.

“Of course I did. I also brought zip ties to bind him too. A taser will only immobilize him for a few minutes. He will know it was me, and you helped, if we decide to do this.” Sadie worried aloud.

“I thought you already decided upon this. There is no turning back now. Eventually, they will trace that alarm back to you, and know I covered for you, if not suspect we were both in on it from the beginning. There is no turning back now, little sister. You have sealed our fate. The only choice left to us - is do we go up, or down?” Sarah responded calmly.

posted on Nov, 16 2014 @ 09:56 PM
Sadie's resolve returned. Sarah was right. There was no turning back, at this point. The only course of action left to either of them was to move ahead. Into uncharted areas, not knowing what to expect. Sadie unloaded her backpack and retrieved her taser and checked her sidearm. She pulled her dark hair back into a ponytail and fastened it, and headed out to find Mallory and neutralize him. He was the last obstacle in their path.

She found Mallory going from bed quarter to bed quarter looking for anyone left behind. When he saw Sadie, he barely paused to take notice of her. “I haven't found anyone Ellison. I'm not sure how they could all have reached that access point to the outside and manage to get out of it.”

Sadie silently went up behind Mallory and put the taser to his neck. He dropped like a sack of potato's and shook convulsively as Sadie worked quickly to immobilize him with the zip ties. “It was you,” Mallory gritted between clenched teeth. His dark brown eyes looking up into her green ones in accusation.

“I'm sorry Mallory. But I couldn't let all those people die, and I certainly couldn't let an opportunity like this slip by me.” Sadie said softly, resting on her haunches and moving his dark hair away from his eyes. “If I thought you'd go with us, willingly, it would have never come to this.” Sadie moved to disarm the many different weapons from Jack Mallory's person and throw them in the hall. She then sealed the door and locked it with her card. She had no doubt, this wasn't the last she'd seen of Jack Mallory, and she dreaded the times ahead when he would be hunting her down. She took a deep breath, resting her forehead against the door that held her old beau. Even their past romance, she knew, would not keep her safe from his wrath.

“I've got it open!”, Sarah yelled from across Section D. Sadie pushed away from the door, and headed back to her sister, and the air shaft that would lead to the answers to all her question.

Sarah and Sadie packed their things and donned their backpacks. They could hear commotion and voices further down into the corridor now that the doors were open. “So are we still going down, to rescue parents we don't even know are still alive, and have no idea which section there in? This facility is more than few more levels down, you know Sadie. Rumors say that the facility is several sections deep!” Sarah said, her anxiety starting to creep into her voice.

“I am going down Sarah. Into the belly of Apocalyptis. I have to know the secret they are keeping down there, and I have to find out what happened to our parents.” Sadie told Sarah with a finality that brooked no argument.

Sarah watched her younger sister move down the corridor. She sighed, knowing, she had to follow her sister and try and watch her back. Sadie was impetuous, and always jumped, leaped really, before looking. As desirable as it was for her to turn back, get into her quarters and hide under the covers of her bed – she couldn't. She too wanted answers to what happened to her parents. So she squared her shoulders, and followed Sadie into the unknown.

In reaching the access tunnel, Sadie saw that about twenty people remained of the 126 that lived in this section. “Sadie! I can't believe you did it.” Wallace Browning said, emerging from the crowd to embrace Sadie in a huge bear hug. Wallace Browning was a giant of a man. He even made Mallory nervous, because Wallace was simply tank of muscle. Only those who knew him well, knew he had a heart of gold. “I didn't do it.” Sadie confided. “Sarah did. She found the hack first and covered for me, for us all. How are you getting everyone topside, Wallace? I thought that those who couldn't easily get up the shaft would be staying behind.”

“We rigged up a pulley system, to pull those who cannot make the climb to the top. The last who couldn't make it on their own, is being hoisted to the surface. Sadie, you won't believe it. Word being sent down from the top is that topside is beautiful. Grass, trees, clouds, insects. Why are they keeping us down here?” Wallace asked, looking up the shaft to the endless ladder that ascended upwards.

“I don't know Wallace. But the answers to those question are not in any sections we have access to. I'm going down, to find my parents and find out why all of this is happening.” Sadie said with determination.

Wallace sighed. “I was hoping your sister here could deter you from that course of action.” Sarah snorted, and rolled her eyes at that notion. “Well I can't let you two go down alone. I'm supposing I should go with you.”

Sadie nodded. She had already known that Wallace was planning on coming with her. It was the two of them, that spent hours contemplating what could possibly be happening in the forbidden sections of Apocalyptis. He may put on an air of indifference for Sarah, but Sadie knew Wallace's real desire for going down into the abyss. His wife, like her parents, was selected to go down into the forbidden section. Wallace had went mad with anger, and tried to stop the transfer, which was how he had landed himself in Section D. Once, he was head of Security to all the sections – and it infuriated him that even he knew next to nothing about the forbidden sections his wife had been sent to 7 years ago. He had always planned on going down, rather than up.

Once the last of Section D's inhabitants were on their way up to the surface, the trio set to descend the ladder into the lower levels. Wallace went first and set the pace, and Sadie and Sarah followed him into the air shaft. Small red lights, embedded into the side of the shaft helped to light there way as they made there way lower and lower. “I've reached an access point.” Wallace called up to Sarah and Sadie. Section E. Should we stop here, or go lower?”

“Let's keep going until we reach the lowest level. We will then know how many levels the facility is in whole”, Sadie called down. So they continued to descend, and descend, passing several access points. Section F, Section G, Section H, and then to the Numbered Sections with began with Section 9, then Section 8, Section 7. “I think the lowest point is going to be Section 1. It looks like we only have six more levels to go.” Sadie called down to Wallace and her sister.

Sure enough, Section 1 was the end of the line. When Sadie finally reached the bottom, Sarah was already working on opening the access point to the section. “Do you smell that?” Wallace whispered to Sadie. Sadie nodded, crinkling her nose at the putrid smell. She couldn't quite place it, but the smell was strangely familiar, but offensive. “What is that?”, she whispered.

“It smells like cinnamon. Rotten cinnamon.”, Sarah whispered to them both over their shoulder. The access point slid open and revealed an empty corridor. The smell they had detected before, hit them in a thick odorous wave that caused Sadie to gag. When she stepped into the corridor, the floor was covered with something slimy, and sticky. She lifted her boot, and inspected the goo that clung to her boot. “What is that?”, Sadie whispered. “What in the hell is going on down here?”

posted on Nov, 16 2014 @ 09:58 PM
“Sadie, lets go back up. Something isn't right here. We should go back up, to a different section.”, Wallace said, a little too loudly for Sarah or Sadie's comfort. However, both girls agreed readily, and hastened to reenter the air shaft. “It's the lowest section, perhaps, some underground dwelling type of animal invaded the section and took residence in it?” Sadie wondered out loud, as they began to climb back up the ladder.

They decided to stop at Section H. The last lettered section. Sarah had to work awkwardly from the ladder to open the doors, but after several minutes they were climbing into the level. “Well this is a bit more familiar, “ Wallace commented quietly. The section was clean, sterile and no offensive odors assaulted their noses. They moved though the corridor swiftly and cautiously looked through the door that led to the common area. They were startled when the door swung open, and several people turned to stare at them incredulously. Except – they weren't people. At least, not human. “Sadie, Sarah – run!”, Wallace told them. “Get back to the air shaft and head for the surface! Now.”

“They look like walking reptiles of some kind.”, Sadie breathed, turning with Sarah and fleeing down the corridor. She prayed that Wallace followed behind them, but she didn't dare look back out of fear. She had seen, what they were eating. She knew what they did now, with the people they sent down from Section C and D. Was that what had happened to her parents? Her parents were brilliant in their respective fields. They simply would not have been discarded to be some kind of monsters dinner! Would they? Wallace was right behind them, and pushed them into the air shaft. “Wait!”, Sarah called. Move down so I can seal the access point. I can make it difficult for them to follow us and buy us some more time!”

Once they were on their way back up the ladder, they all agreed to go the surface as fast as they could. “What are they?”, Wallace called up to sisters as they quickly climbed the ladder.

Sarah and Sadie had no answers. “I have no idea, Wallace.”, Sadie called down. “They weren't human. They were something else.”

“I can see the surface. They left the hatch open at the top for us.”, Sarah called down as she reached the top. Sadie followed right behind her, her eyes blinded by the sunlight that hit her eyes. It took several moments for her eyes to adjust to the brightness, and when they did her mind just couldn't comprehend what her mind was perceiving.

“Move!”, a gargled voice yelled at the trio. Wallace, Sarah, and Sadie slowly moved forward, raising their hands when a weapon was pointed in their face. It wasn't a weapon like they'd ever seen before, nor was the humanoid being that wielded the weapon. “That way”, the creature motioned, steering the trio toward a burning pile of bodies.

Sadie gasped. The Section D inhabitants. All of them. Dead. Several of the reptilian like beings were eating the raw flesh of the dead. “Why?”, Sadie demanded, turning towards the reptilian like being. He towered several feet above her 5 foot 8 frame, his skin a mottled scaly greenish brown color. His eyes had a vertical slit and were yellow, like pictures of snakes she had seen in schooling.

“Because it's our world now. It is your kind's turn to live in hell and darkness. For all eternity, until you are – no more. It is what you deserve – it is what your kind did to us. Forcing us underground, calling us demons. Creating entire religions around the justification for your attempted genocide. Your kind, pays for what they did to us, millennium ago. You humans, are the demons, and now it is your kind – trapped in hell.”

*The End*

posted on Nov, 17 2014 @ 12:36 AM
a reply to: CirqueDeTruth

More please.


posted on Nov, 17 2014 @ 01:30 AM
That was awesome i really enjoyed reading that!

posted on Nov, 17 2014 @ 07:32 AM

Horror at the end there. I had such hope!

Great writing! Now please tell me there is a Calvary.


posted on Nov, 17 2014 @ 07:49 AM
Thanks guys. This is fun. Usually, the only people to read my stories are my daughters. Cosmicspirit is excited I finally shared one.

Aboveboard there is always Jack Mallory - fuming and tied up down in SectionD. You never know, Part II of the story has hope yet. With enemies above and below, the only hope humanity has to save itself, is itself.

edit on 17-11-2014 by CirqueDeTruth because: eta

posted on Nov, 17 2014 @ 08:09 AM
a reply to: CirqueDeTruth

I hope that means there will be a part 2!!! so many unanswered questions lol.
You are a great writer, I used to write a lot before I had kids but I can't seem to get in that zone anymore.

posted on Nov, 17 2014 @ 09:09 AM
a reply to: CirqueDeTruth

Ah, yes. Jack Mallory! (Whew!)

One of my all-time favorite stories by CJ Cherryh has a character named Captain Mallory - can't help but think of her when I hear that name (Downbelow Station). If he is half as tough as she is, the ending won't be as horribly grim, though the burning pile is similar to the opening scene of Downbelow (unwashed refugee masses crammed into the bellies of transports full of the dead and dying). I think Jack is a hero, though, and Captain Mallory is not.

peace and thanks for the story!!

- AB

posted on Nov, 17 2014 @ 09:37 AM
a reply to: AboveBoard

Almost all of my stories have a Mallory in it. It's reminiscent of one of my all time favorite TV Series "Sliders". I don't know if I've ever used a Mallory character as an antagonist. They usually are the hero's in my stories.

edit on 17-11-2014 by CirqueDeTruth because: eta

posted on Nov, 17 2014 @ 09:44 AM
Sorry about all the grammar and typo mistakes. In rereading it today, I see several. Editing is the most distasteful part about writing for me.

I'll be more diligent in proof reading my next story I share on ATS.


posted on Nov, 17 2014 @ 09:46 AM
a reply to: CirqueDeTruth

Captain Mallory is both and neither - she is hard-boiled and makes the tough choices. I like to think she ultimately does the right thing though...

Can't wait to read part II!!

posted on Nov, 17 2014 @ 11:30 AM
a reply to: CirqueDeTruth

I read mine back and cringed at all my mistakes, too. It is so frustrating when I can no longer fix stuff!! Argh!!

I hope you'll stop by and give my story a read - would love your opinion on it.


posted on Nov, 17 2014 @ 12:40 PM
a reply to: Shana91aus

I'm still working on part II, but I'll add it here when I'm done.

The only drawback is - it may turn into a novella before I'm finished with the story. LOL.


posted on Nov, 17 2014 @ 02:37 PM
YAY!!! Awesome story mom! Continue more please

posted on Nov, 17 2014 @ 10:28 PM
S&F for female protagonist

posted on Nov, 17 2014 @ 10:56 PM
a reply to: CirqueDeTruth

Yay for part 2 ill be checking back for it!!!

The longer the better

posted on Nov, 18 2014 @ 03:37 PM
a reply to: CirqueDeTruth

Very Cool Story! Awesome addition to the Tales being presented for this contest!! S+F For You!!!

posted on Nov, 19 2014 @ 12:39 PM
Okay, so this story will have to be a three part story. LOL. But I will, I promise, keep it a short story with a word count below 20,000 words.

Apocalyptis - Part II

Sadie couldn't comprehend what this being was saying to them. Religion had been banned centuries ago, when humanity moved underground to survive. It was necessary to keep law and order among the many different adherents of several contrasting faiths. Religious extremism was a huge problem in those beginning decades when humans took to their underground shelters. The divisions it created between different groups of people caused much bloodshed and strife in those early days. Sadie knew nothing of religions, or what those myths might have told her, about these reptilian like beings standing before her.

The being, towering over them raised it's weapon. Wallace braced himself, while Sarah and Sadie hugged one another tightly and closed their eyes. They awaited the death blow, but instead, a shout yelled out from behind the creature. “Get down! Cover!”, Sadie heard Mallory's voice yell from the hatch to Apocalyptis. Wallace pulled both girls to the ground and shielded them as best he could with his enormous body, while Jack Mallory opened fire.

Sadie scrambled for her sidearm, watching as several other reptilian beings, that had been around the burning bodies, came towards them. They were a horrific sight, with human blood covering their bodies, and human flesh still in their sharp, jagged teeth. They had weapons and began to open fire, laser like blasts issuing from guns.“Shoot them in the head. It's the only thing that brings them down!”, Mallory yelled as he climbed the rest of the way out of the air shaft. Sadie wasted no time in following Mallory's orders. She jumped to her feet and took aim. She and Mallory brought several of the creatures down, until finally, it was silent.

“What in the hell of Apocalyptis are those things?”, Jack Mallory asked, kneeling down to get a better look at the reptilian like creature. He stood slowly, and looked around the plush, green earth around them. The sky was blue, with clouds partially obscuring the bright sun. They all watched in astonishment, as birds and butterflies frolicked through the air. Things she was told in primer school, no longer existed. “The earth isn't dead.”, Mallory said, stating the obvious.

“No. It isn't.”, Wallace agreed. “The creature said it was their world now. They mentioned something about being trapped below the surface, as we are now, at one point in their distant history.”

“They control the lower sections. Some of those creatures saw us down there in Section H.”, Sarah added, her face pale and her dark hair disheveled.

“We have to go back down. We have to tell everyone the truth!”, Sarah cried. “We are prisoners, not survivors down there. If they control the lower levels, they could kill everyone in Sections A through C.”

“For all we know, they already have. Going back in could be suicide!”, Wallace said, his voice trembling. He was alert, surveying the area for any sign of more of those creatures.

Sadie looked back at the all the bodies of Section D. No one was spared. Not even the youngest of the children, the infants. They all smoldered and burned in that pile. Some of the bodies had been pulled from the pile, only to be mutilated. They littered the outer perimeter of that pile of bodies with torn limbs and their entrails ripped from the abdomen. “Why keep us alive at all? Why not just destroy us?”, Sadie wondered aloud.

“Maybe they need us for some reason? The human races numbers have been dwindling for centuries now. Where we were once billions, we now only number into the tens of thousands. Maybe, we're dinner.”, Mallory suggested with a grimace.

The all stood quietly for a few minutes, staring at the carnage that laid strewn out across the field before them. A warm wind wafted the scents of blood, burning flesh and hair towards them. It diminished the beauty of seeing Earth for the first time, in all it's splendor and glory. Something none of them had ever seen with their own eyes, aside from pictures in books and magazines.

“Sarah is right. We can't stay here. We need to get back down to the facility and warn the Council and get everyone out of that tomb. It's a tomb.”, Mallory said. Sadie took Jack's hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze. She nodded her assent, part of her very glad that they were going back, into a world she understood and knew. Up here, she didn't understand or know anything about the truth of their situation. Now that the pieces were beginning to fall into place, she was frightened. It was a brave new world. They had been cut off from all of the other underground facilities that housed humans for seventy years. The transportation tunnels, communications had all went offline. She wondered how many other facilities had ventured into areas unknown, and discovered the shocks they had uncovered.

Wallace wasn't so sure he wanted to return to the underground facility. “Maybe someone should stay up here. Mallory, if you could loan me a few of those extra sidearms you carry, I can be sure to make sure the way is clear for everyone to return to the topside.”, he reasoned.

“I can stay with him.”, Sarah offered, holding out her hand for one of the side arms Mallory was retrieving for Wallace.

Sadie started to protest. She wanted to keep her sister close, safe. Never in her life had she seen her sister handle a weapon. But she knew, Wallace couldn't remain on Earth's surface alone. Besides, the pulley system was still intact, and they would need it to evacuate Apocalyptis. She went to her bag and retrieved her digital recorder, and began to take shots of the reptilian like humanoids. She then took pictures of the sky, grass, trees, and birds. She was quite certain their story would be met with skepticism. They had to bring back proof.

“Listen,” Mallory ordered, bending over one of the creatures and cutting away a utility belt the creature wore. He also grabbed one of the weapons and fastened it to his person. “I want you two to be ready for more of these things to arrive.” Wallace and Sarah both nodded. “If you are outnumbered, get back into the air shaft and close and seal the lid. They won't be able to easily get in once that hatch is sealed. Now if we aren't back in two hours, something has gone wrong down below. Find cover and shelter.”

Sadie swallowed hard, embracing her sister tightly. “I don't want you to go back in.”, Sarah whispered.

Sadie laughed. “And I don't want you to stay up here.”, she told Sarah. “But we are going to get through this. I had hoped to find our parents. I don't know how that is ever going to happen now.”

Sarah's blue eyes misted over, darkening the shade to a smokey gray. “Sadie, I no longer hold much hope for them still being alive.”, she told her younger sister softly.

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