The soldiers marched on in the dead-zone, looking more formidable than any scavenger they came across. As well-trained as they were, however, they were filled with fear. Having grown used to this broken world, walking on shattered streets, looting collapsing homes and eating suspect food, nothing could prepare them for the people who have long since lost any sense of morals.
I followed them far behind, not willing to stay too close. Afterall, we were not approaching the wall. The wall hade cameras, it had security. It had everything that could put us all down before we had a chance to save ourselves. Still, the hope was that we would instead be saved by the government on the other side.
Call it desperation, because I still recall moustaches story on the government shooting their plane down. I doubt that anyone we would meet would be friendly. Still, that is why I was far off from them, watching close.
I wondered for a long time if I had a chance of joining the otherside, living a new life, one away from this hell. Perhaps these soldiers would give me that chance I’ve been looking for.
Watching close, I saw them come to a stop in the closest building to the wall. Although, it was more two pathetic brick walls, clinging to each other in order to stay up a little longer. Not exactly comforting as the best cover they had if things turned out badly.
Before I could even think of a response there was a blue light flickering to life on the wall. The cameras had recognised the soldiers immediately and now the first set of doors were opening. It was here I made my way closer, but not as fast or as foolish as the soldiers. I chose my path carefully, avoiding the sight of the red eyes that watched over the decrepit wasteland.
I heard voices, stern and clinical. I knew these voices all too well, their snobbish tone and condescending comments. Yet, I didn’t hear any guns go off on both sides just yet, so I listened closely.
“I have to say, I am pleasantly surprised to see you all alive,” a woman murmured. “Not many people can survive in this place, yet you have done just that.”
“It took its toll on us,” one soldier told the woman.
I knew that well enough, the big man who sat next to me all the time was the price we paid. The big guy died defending us, defending me, from mad-men who ambushed us.
“That’s awful,” the woman replied blankly. There didn’t seem to be any emotion in her voice. “You will have to file all your losses in our reports, of course, before you can be reinstated.”
“Ma’am, I think after all that we have been through,” one soldier began. “We have earned the right to see our family.”
“Of course, you won’t need to be pulled back into the army straight away. However, I have a feeling that your service will be needed once more.”
I neared the door, sticking close to the larger rocks, staying low. When I finally got a good sight line I saw the woman flanked by several, strange-looking soldiers. Each one wore a special mask, probably something to protect them from toxins.
However, my attention was not concerned with the doors. Wide open, unguarded, but the soldiers were separated from entering by the woman and her guard. I pushed myself up from the dirt and chose my steps carefully as I entered through the doors.
I don’t know why I thought it would be that easy as I heard an exclamation behind me. I started running, but then I heard gunshots. I paused and looked back, surprised I was still alive. I don’t know who opened fire first, but both sides were no shooting at each other.
The friends I had made didn’t stand a chance and I saw too many get cut down too quickly. As I watched in that moment, the scientist turned on her heels and began marching towards the doors. The surprise on her face when she saw me must have been similar to my own and once more I ran through the wall.
The many corridors that I ran through were filled with other scientists and soldiers, but their reactions weren’t enough to keep up with me. By the time hands were raised I was out of reach, by the time guns were raised, I turned a corner. Eventually these people thinned out and I followed green exit signs to their namesake.
Eventually, it happened. Alarms were blaring, people were yelling and I heard the stampede of steps as soldiers ran with their heavy boots. I was now hunted by people who held me captive not too long ago. What is more, I felt that the woman who spoke with the soldiers knew me.
I wasn’t just some scavenger who got in, I was their failed experiment and it was time to collect. However, I didn’t simply sit around and waste away in the dead-zone. When doors began to close I sideled through them. When they began to fall, I slid beneath them. When I was trapped, I tackled and fought like a wild-thing.
It worked for a time, but I was hitting more and more dead ends. Backtracking became an annoyance and the signs weren’t helping me as much as I thought. However, I soon found myself running through cold, dark rooms lit by strange machines. Not wasting time to examine everything, I averted my eyes when I saw something that would scare me.
Now I was not encountering anyone. More than that, the signs had been disabled. I no longer knew where to go, so I decided to hide. Hiding in this place wasn’t the best idea in the world, but what is worse is hitting a dead end I couldn’t backtrack from without being captured.
Returning back to the dark room, I climbed an edged wall and stowed myself away amongst pipes. I was out of sight, but certainly not out of mind. People ran through the room and I hid uncomfortably, fearing the moment somebody would find me.
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