I stepped into the dusty building and walked over to the counter. The bar itself seemed to have held up under the destruction, despite most of the room missing. It was something I had been searching for, so I took it as a bar with a great view of the broken city. The rubble and debris couldn’t hide the many bottles still intact on their shelves.
The world was thrown into chaos when the cataclysm began. The fighting, the bombs, the virus, the spread and all that death. Those with an immunity survived, but not for long. Most became scavengers that weren’t friend;y, but luckily the realisation that there were only a handful of us in the entire city seemed to dampen their violent spirits enough to realize there was enough in the broken city to keep them going.
For me, it was this bar. Three weeks of searching buildings for anything. Old bars were destroyed and you were lucky if you found a bottle of beer that wasn’t smashed long ago. However, I noticed a pamphlet not too long ago for a hotel in the city. The hotel had a bar and so it became my next destination.
Selecting a bottle from the shelf, I found a sturdy glass and wiped the dust away. It wasn’t the best circumstances for drinking, but in this new world it was the perfect time.
I soon realized I wasn’t the only one celebrating. As I sat down at the bar I heard music in the distance. Looking out at the city through the broken wall, I stared down at an intersection where someone was dancing to the music blaring from a car. I watched them for the longest time, then returned to pouring brandy into a glass. I was never a fan of brandy, but I wasn’t complaining now.
While I drank, I listened to the music cynically. It was the kind of song that would play in a noisy club, but more than that, it was even worse. The electro sounds were replaced with the clanging of metal, as if the artist behind it lacked any skill with instruments so they decided to use frying pans.
However, it seemed my darkest thoughts were shared with a more volatile individual. I heard gunshots after that. The sound echoed throughout the city and soon the music was cut off. I tried to not look back, but I couldn’t help it.
The shooter sat in the car seat while the dancer crawled in a pool of their own blood.
“Monster…” I murmured to myself.
I stared down at the maniac who continued to sit in the car. The dancer was still very much alive. A smart one too, deciding to stop moving and hold her wound.
“Time to even the odds,” I muttered and placed the brandy on the table.
Opening my duffel bag, I walked over to the opening in the building and focused my rifle scope on the shooter. I didn’t need to think about it long, the shot was fired and there was a splash of blood. Before going down, I fired another shot and the shooter took it without reaction. With that confirmation, I collected the bottle of brandy and made my way down the hotel.
“Help…” I heard the dancer call. “Help, please…”
I walked over to him, a young man, barely out of school.
“What’s your name, kid?” I asked, turning him onto his back. It was a bad shot, on the shooters part.
“Miles...” the kid replied.
“You ever drink, Miles?” I asked, placing the bottle in front of him.
He didn’t need convincing, he took the bottle and chugged a mouthful before spluttering. He held it out to me as I dressed the wound.
“Keep it, I think you are the only one who can drink that now,” I told him. “Haven’t you learned that the world isn’t safe? What’s with the music?”
“I missed the sound,” Miles replied. He was beginning to sweat, but that would pass in an hour.
I finished dressing the wound.
“You are lucky the bullet went all the way through,” I told him. “It was a small arms shot, not much resistance is needed for the bullet to lodge itself inside of you.”
I helped Miles to his feet.
“Know anyone still alive, Miles?” I asked, helping him stand.
“I thought I did,” Miles replied.
“Are you telling me you knew the shooter?”
“Yeah, he was my science teacher. Hell, a few weeks ago he was teaching me how to calculate the speed of a bullet. I don’t need a theorem to know it’s fast enough to dig through my body now.”
I grunted and pointed the hotel out to the kid.
“I’ve only ever seen four other survivors,” I told Miles. “None of them know about this place except you and I. Go to the fourth floor and head for the bar.”
Miles tried walked off towards the hotel, struggling, but staying on his feet. While he walked, I made my way to the shooter in the car. Sure enough, it was an elderly man, a mess of gore now. He looked like the teacher type, but more than that, he looked well armed. He wore body armour, but that didn’t save him from the shot to the head.
I emptied his pockets, taking his gun and ammunition. I hate to think that a few weeks ago he was a teacher and a few weeks later he tried killing one of his students. The world wasn’t the only thing broken by the cataclysm. At least there weren’t many people left in the world.
I left the teacher and made my way back to the hotel. I found the kid slumped in a low chair in the bar, holding the bottle in his lap, taking a sip now and then. I grabbed another bottle and filled a fresh glass.
“Take it easy, Miles,” I told him. “You’re safe for now, but you will only make through this if you stay out of trouble.”
He eyed the duffel bag with guns on the counter.
“Yeah…” Miles groaned. “I hope I do.”
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