I think so many of us got used to the idea that the world would find a way back from the chaos. It would find a way to deal with the crime, the fear, the corruption, hell, even the hole in the ozone layer. Of course, it never did and it came time to pay the price. For the first night we lost electricity, the second we lost water, the third we lost contact with the government. The fourth night was when it all began.
Chaos ruled the streets, people started killing without forethought. Crime leveled the world, so to speak. Those that survived by the sixth night were hardened veterans already or damn good at hiding. The seventh night...now that was when the world shifted. As if all plant-life and water decided it was time, things started dying. The plants decayed into dust, the ocean was receding a mile a day from there, then two.
The Seventh Day, as people have come to call it, was the beginning of the new world. A world of sand, a world of death. Me, I didn’t have family, but that didn’t stop me from feeling sad for the deaths of my friends in the orphanage. It didn’t stop me from feeling helpless as the scavengers on day five shot their way into my home, robbed me and beat me. It didn’t stop me from growing up and taking my revenge.
Today is 247th day and I am one of the few survivours left on Earth. I have grown used to the sand that slowly layers the old world. Skyscrapers have been half-buried in sand and I find it oddly fitting as I walk across building tops with ease. The world requires you to step over what is old, what is fallen. The only time you look to the past is when you’re trying to remember where you placed a stash of scrap.
I sat down on the building and stared across the desert. There was nothing. It felt so sad and desperate to see the world as it was. You knew in your heart there would come a day when there would be nothing left to scavenge, nothing left to eat or drink. You would collapse, dead, young or old. Still, everyone was desperate to stay alive, so why not die old rather than young?
I held the gun in my hand a little sternly, however, deciding if this should be it. Here, now, quick, painless, at the age of twenty one or two. As the thought ran through my mind and I began to deeply consider it, I heard shots further in the buried city. There was always something going wrong and I couldn’t help but think I would feel better if I wasn’t so alone.
I stood up and walked towards the gunshots, hoping that the victor of the battle would be someone friendly. As I entered what would have been a main road stared up at the skyscrapers. I didn’t hear in high caliber bullets, but you never know if a sniper has got you in their sights unless you see the muzzle flash and get out of the way.
As luck would have it, there weren’t any and the movement I did spot was of one individual who was dragging a body out through the window of a building. The figure laid the body in the sand and began searching the body. I must have made a sound or perhaps the figure saw me in the reflection of one of the windows because they turned on the spot and pointed a gun straight at me. I raised my arms in surrender, but I must have done it too fast because they tried to take a shot. The gun clicked, but no bullet.
“Uh oh,” I told them. “Doesn’t matter anyway, I come in peace.”
“A woman?” he replied.
“A man,” I replied equally as shocked in the most mocking voice. I knew what was going to happen next if I wasn’t careful. “Listen, I can do us both a favour and we can have a conversation, maybe do some trading. How does that sound?”
The scavenger seemed to be thinking about it, but seeing as he was unarmed, I reached towards my hip and plucked my gun from its holster. I pointed the barrel straight at him and he sat there, helpless.
“What’s your name?” I asked him.
“Fire-breather,” the scavenger replied proudly. Great, it was a lunatic.
“Real name, please.”
“Yeah, that will do. Well, Sam, what can you tell me about your tribe? Where it is and how many are you?”
“I can’t betray. Kill me.”
“I will kill you then,” I nodded taking better aim.
“No, wait, I can talk,” the scavenger replied hurriedly. I knew that tactic. Pretend like you don’t care what happens to your life, brings the enemy in close to kill you with some other weapon to save on bullets. “Towards setting sun, over three dunes.”
“And how many are you?”
“I don’t know...twenty?”
“How do you have so many?”
“Not all of us are trained yet.”
“Prisoners? What can you tell about them?”
“They’re not trained...they’re dogs. They’re our dogs.”
“I see, sorta, not really. Why don’t you lead the way and we can all have a chat, huh?”
“Happy to help.”
The scavenger stood up and began walking towards west. That was all I needed to confirm the direction. I dashed forwards and before he even turned around to retaliate I had buried a knife into the back of his head. The scavenger fell forward, his gasp deafened as his face hit the sand. I knelt there on his back, moving the knife carefully. Once I was sure he was dead I drew the blade and cleaned the blade with the rags that made up his clothing.
The tribe was a long way off, not a journey for the day. Still, one less tribe of maniacs in this world the better. Who knows, I might even find some resources when I am there? I took a deep breath and continued his scavenging before finding a place to wait till night. It was going to be a long week.
Be sure to follow!