(Bit of a long read but I put some breaks in there)
The world is a scary place..
Now that the enemy has woken the darkness, in this city. There are two predominant colors in this city, black and red, mostly black of course, and the
shades thereof such as gray. The red is from the fires that still smolder creating the black soot that covers this town. No one romes the streets
after 6 and even after 5 is a bit creepy. Most people are in by 4 just to be safe. After they took over this city changed. The bridges collapsed,
leaving only one flat way out. We were trapped. We had no idea what happened to the rest, we couldn't find out. Some people made it out and somehow
managed to bring back word. No ones know how. Some say the rest of the land is just like this smoldered and tired. Others say there are great wars
still raging. Food was scare, fire was not. A lot of people survived. Those who didn't, and had some luck, died. The rest turned into demented
blackened souls with no mind. Still thinking there is a way to live, they scavenge the lands for any body parts to try to piece themselves together.
And in this dark city, trying to spot one of them in the dark is like trying to find a needle in a hay stack.
So my friends and I sit in our shelter, we are probably one of the strongest groups around. A semblance of the gangs of old, there are groups who
band together for protection and find places to crash. All the groups are out for themselves and often resort to violence. The char-livers, as the
blackened souls are called, are not a major threat. However they make walking around at night impossible if you don't happen to have a nice weapon.
Plus there not very pleasant. This is why we all go in so early, its just more comfortable at home. Our shelter is more or less underground, with 3
windows, less than a half foot tall and maybe 1 and a half feet wide, show some light in during the day. We are lucky, or maybe fated, to have a nice
shelter. Since it is underground there is only one way in, and that is barred. So we're pretty safe and all feel that way. There is no, however,
electricity. We have a big fire pit in the middle, more or less, of our shelter, and candles everywhere. We make our own candles, out of old body
remains, melting and decaying the wax. Our fire pit is old rubble which you don't have to walk far to get. We all love the shelter. We have blankets
everywhere so it is always warm. We have carpets on the walls to keep the heat in.
We managed to make a wood burning stove to cook whatever we have. The oceans are still clean so we mostly eat fish. But one of these days we plan to
find seeds. And make a small plantation in our shelter. Fishing is always fun, we have a good stock of fish now. We dry them with salt because we have
no refrigeration. They taste wonderful.
I love our home, it is nicely decorated and has all you'll ever need to live. We have enough food stored away that we could live for maybe a year in
here, provided we don't go out fishing. There are 8 of us total. Call it fate but we have 4 guys, and 4 girls. We had more but they, passed on.
Yeah it may be a pitiful existence but it is a nice one. There is only one threat, and that is the enemy. We do not speak the enemy's name but we see
them once in a while. They do not have much business in this town seeing as it is a charred waste land. However they make trips around here to check
for old pieces or stranglers like us. They know we cannot be allowed to get to strong..
(good time for a break)
6 'o clock, time to start preparing dinner. We all pitch in for it. I'm in charge of the drinks. We don't have much variety as far as drinks go, we
just distill ocean water and if we're lucky we can add some flavoring. The way we distill the water is we put it in a bowl, and above that is plastic
formed in a tent formation. At each corner of the tent is a small bowl. The water evaporates up from the bowl and gathers on the plastic, then it
dribbles down to the smaller bowls. This leaves the salt be hind in the big bowl because it is not heavy enough to evaporate with the water. We speed
the process up by putting a fire underneath the big bowl. Without this we could not survive. It is an ever continuing process, as soon as the small
bowls fill up we pour them into a mug. 2 small bowls fill up roughly a mug of water. We made out mugs out of old silver we found in an abandoned shop,
we have 8 of them and each made them ourselves. We also have huge tanks that we found laying around making sure there clean we filled them up with the
surplus water. So in total we have 6 tents, 2 on one side of the room, and 2 on the other. The 2 others are near our tanks. Our complex actually has
two floors. The top floor is the one I speak of and the one below it we found while building out shelter. Their were some old concrete slates on a
hole. There was a staircase leading down to a basement type place, much to our dismay, there was nothing down there. However we used this bottom
section for storage. We put our dried fish down there as well as our tanks of water. We also have boxes of candles and old weapons, and other random
junk down there as well. It is one persons job each day to check the tents and bowls and replace them with seawater and put the distilled water in
mugs or bottles. Since there are 8 of us we take turns doing it everyday.
We tried to keep track of time, even tried to make a calendar to see who would do the tents each day. However we did not know where to start. People
also complained they did not want to remember how many years they have wasted in this wasteland. Others say the days are not important, only the time
of day is. So we ended up not keeping track of the days, but we did find some old wind up watches. However there were only 3 of them. We keep one up
on one of the walls. The rest are on a table if anyone is making a long trip. Whose ever job it is to do the tents, they also wind up the watches.
Time is an etchy subject..
(another good time for a break)
The water is more or less set; All 8 silver mugs are set on the table, each with a pinch of tea flavor. Just some old dried herbs we found in an
abandoned cellar. It doesn't do much but at least its better than plain water. Downstairs, I check the two extra tents and surely enough they are
full. So I empty the bowls into our tanks and replace them. Walking back up stairs I feel a chill and a banging on our door.
"It must be the char-livers" I say.
My friend, Joanne, replies,
"Are you gonna take him out or should I?"
"I?ll do it this time." I reply
The char-livers aren't that bad, but we can't have their corpses piling up on our door step, and its not very pleasant having them bang on our
doors all the time. So I go downstairs and check out what we have. We never use any of the fire power weapons, since gunpowder is scarce and we can't
waste it on these petty souls, if you can call them souls at all. I decide to go back upstairs and grab my trusty old sword. I found it one day when
we were looting an old abandoned store. It was chock full of them and we threw them into storage. This one however had caught my eye. I put it down
and sharpened it nicely and have been using it ever since. I only really used it against the char-livers, and one time against some other group who
tried to crash one of our raids. Someday it'll be used to slay the enemy, but that is a morbid desire.
Poised outside the door I light a torch in one hand and hold the sword in the other. Flinging open the door I throw the torch out and the stairs are
lit up. Two char-livers are flopping about. They don't really stand and they don't really crawl. They just.. are. Moaning and stumbling towards me
with outstretched hands, I do my bidding with my blade, gashing each of there heads off. Then with an old rag I pick up each of there bodys and toss
them away from our house. Killing them, is like doing them a favor. I go back inside carefully shutting the door. I go to the tank of soapy water on
the table. Its not real soap, its mostly a bunch of chemicals and anti-bacterials we use for sanitizing things. It kills germs and other bacteria. We
reuse the same salt-water because it?s just easier that way, and it works. I put my clean sword under the mat that is my bed. I walk over to our table
and sit down for a dinner of salty fish.
I look around the table and see my fellow survivors. Joanne is slowly sipping our lightly flavored water, me and her had been close even before this
tragic accident. She was one of the few people who I knew before the war started. Her and Klein. Both of them had been really good friends and I
cherished them, and still do. We had another, Klein's beloved, but she passed on soon after this place smoldered. Kristik, slowly cutting up her
fish, was one we found fending for survival on one of our raids. I think it was an old supermarket, we found her trying to put bandages on her wounds
in a corner. We didn't hesitate to lend her a helping hand. Sasha, quietly sitting on his bed, was dipping his dried fish in his water. He always
liked mixing things, I guess you do need a bit of variety, even if its just a little moisture. He was one who happened to stumble on our doorstep. Him
and Dharma, we thought they were char-livers, and almost sliced them. However we soon took them in, they had brought some good supplys with them.
Dharma, the blonde girl who was with him, had a very intellectual appearance and had done a lot of math for our little shelter. For example how long
our food would last us. Jezebel, who had a poisonous glare, met us on the first day we were attacked. Running as everything around us fell, we ran
into her, and she ran with us. Then there was Jake, good old jake. He was our handyman; he helped us build the tents. We just came across him
wandering outside; we took him in of course. And of course me, Z. The one and only. I had a name before but not anymore, everyone just calls me Z,
even Joanne and Klein who were so used to calling me by my real name, refer to me now as Z.
Relaxing back on my bed, I swallow my last piece of fish and gulp down my last sip of water..
(also good time for a break)
"Get up Z, your so lazy." Said a voice.
"But I don't want to go to school." I said.
"You stupid stop dreaming, school doesn't exist anymore." The voice prolonged.
"What..? Oh.. Oh!" I said with a start.
Getting out of bed I look at the small clock on the wall. 6:22, I overslept 22 minutes. After it wasn't safe to go out at night we adjusted our
sleeping patterns to conform with the daylight. We would rise with the sun and set with it, depending on the time of year. Small bits of sunlight are
filtering in through the small windows; a few candles are lit. I flip my feet off of the bed and get up. Wobbling over to the kitchen table, I can
smell dried fish being oiled up, almost like bacon. I hover above the dish of water and then sink my hands into it, bringing cool water to my face.
Then coming back to my bed I through my cloak over myself. We didn't really have proper clothes anymore, they're too hard to make and none of us
were really to handy with knitting. Pants and t-shirts were easy though, we just had to sow two sides together and then we were done. Of course we had
all the clothes of days past but a lot of that got burnt, ripped and worn out. Plus someday we would grow out of it. However I did have some pears of
old sweat pants and about 2 pairs of jeans. I also had a few T's. The cloak I had just thrown over myself was more or less what you would call patch
work. Basically we took whatever we had and wove it together into one big blanket and wrapped it around ourselves. I also cute a hole in mine to stick
my neck through as to have it on more snuggly. The cloak was one of the more important items I had.
Sitting down with the others at the table I look down on my oil-fried fish. Sometimes if you close your eyes and chew it tastes a bit like bacon,
just a bit. After a bit of chewing a conversation springs up.
"So what's on the agenda today, guys?" asks Jezebel with her glare of adventure.
"You know we've never had an agenda." Snapped Dharma.
"I heard some rumbling at night, maybe there are some new ruins we can check out?" I say, thinking back on the past night.
"Really? We can go outside and check for fresh smoke." Pondered Dharma.
Looking back down at my fish I wondered what could have collapsed that hadn't already collapsed. Perhaps some gas had built up and exploded, or
perhaps there was something we didn't know about, but that was wistful thinking.
"Well you guys can go scout for whatever, I'll stick around here and flip my sword around a bit. Maybe go fishing later." Klein said sipping his
water with a dreamy eyed look in his face.
"I'll stay with you," whispered Dharma.
"Yeah I might as well too," Joanne spoke up lazily.
"All right, who?s going with me then" Sasha?"
"Yeah sure, Z, I'll go."
"I'll tag along too." Kristik said.
"Well of course I'll go." Jezebel concluded.
"I'm gonna be working on some of the supplies.." Jake finally chimed in lazily.
It was settled then, like the many other days, we had sorted out what we would do that day. We had earlier found a stash of random screws, bolts and
wiring. Jake would be working on that, but that was the least of my worries. Still at the back of my mind, the thought of the crashing I heard the
previous night was looming around me like horses on a merry-go-round. But again the thing I should be thinking of is not what caused it or what
mysteries lie behind but how it can benefit us. I always liked to think something magnificent would happen, or something exciting. Storing stuff away
and rebuiling stuff in our shelter was getting a bit tedious. I know that one day we'll get to fight, to rebel against the enemy. But for now we must
lie in wait. But how long must we lie?
Outside the clouds of dust and ash loomed above us and the small bits of sunlight that could come through did so with reluctant strength. Sword under
cloak I led the group through the streets towards a clearing. There we would be able to see if there was any smoke drifting up into the sky. We
stepped over the cracks in the road, a road that we had walked upon many other times. Pebbles rolled away and old debris crunched under my feet.
Clearing ahead, I could see taller buildings in the background, black and gray, looming far ahead of us. Now in the clearing where a bomb shell had
landed a month or so ago we looked around.
(last chance for a break before the end)
"Well guys do you see anything?" Sasha inquired.
"I don't think so.."
We paced a bit across the charred ground trying to notice any changes in the space above buildings. A patch of dark black cloud shifted across the
sky, still showing no signs of fresh destruction. Then someone noticed something;
"Guys over there," Sasha gestured north "I think I see some smoke rising up."
"You think?" Jezebel replied.
"Well anyone see anything else?" I said.
"Nah, out of luck here." Kristik sighed.
"All right lead the way, Sash."
Trekking up the hill towards where Sasha saw, I could feel a small quiver of hope come over me. Perhaps this was the time, maybe it was finally time
to fight? But no, it was always like this. A little bit of bait would be placed, I would bite it with all my hopes only to be let down. I took another
step and more pebbles skittered down the hill.
The sky was now a dull gray, with patches of black. Obviously the sun had come up behind the scorched sky. It was no wonder the sky was scorched,
with all the soot and ash. But that wasn't the main reason it was so dark. The enemy's tanks had used a fuel that was rather dense; it formed
something similar to a shell. So after all the smoke and fire rose up to the sky it got trapped, that's why our city was so dark. Eventually the smog
in the sky would clear and we would see the light, but that was not for a while. What mattered now was what Sasha had seen.
(to be continued)
[Edited on 23-1-2004 by ZeratualKalashnikov]
[Edited on 23-1-2004 by ZeratualKalashnikov]