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- If there are those who haven't joined, contact me or 900bv and give use your character info.
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- Posts can stray off from the storyline, but must relate to the main focus of the RP.
- The format for posts are as follows:
Andrew walked to the grocery store and bought a snack.
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In the year 2020, life on Earth nearly ended. The star, WR 104, became a hypernova, sending waves of gamma-rays across nearby systems. Without warning, one of these bursts hits and penetrates the Earth’s atmosphere. A mass extinction event occurs and most die from radiation poisoning, starvation, malnutrition, and other causes. As waves continue to hit the Earth, photo chemical smog pockets in the atmosphere, stopping all sunlight from reaching the surface. This causes the Earth to enter a second ice age.
The United States was the worst hit, taking the brunt of the initial wave. As millions died across the country, the government attempted to do what they could to save as many of them as possible. Despite their efforts, the United States was sent into chaos and much of the original government collapsed. Those that survived the bursts now have to learn to live in a new world where survival means everything.
- Scott Lester (Hk 4sixteen)
- Grace Harper (900bv)
- Brody Westbrook (Weejoh-_-)
- Brandon Luttrell (USMC Lance)
- Natalie Freeman + Pavel Verco (Bumblebeeprime09)
- Leah Renner (EternalBlaze)
- Frédéric Beauclerc-Finbarr (Gloryman3)
- Bill Fletcher (Pancake301)
- Michael Rivers (DeadRaiser)
- Alicia York (DeadRaiser)
- Alex Rayson (My Wunderwaffle iz missin)
- Auden Frasier (Of Mice & Men)
Brandon 'Lutty' Luttrell
The ruins of Fort Bragg stood right in front of Luttrell. He looked in astonishment.
Burning humvees and trucks, decomposing bodies scattered around the barracks, buildings burning from the gasoline ignited by the Gamma Ray Blast.
"Michelle, I love you and I miss you.", Brandon thought.
Michelle, his wife. They had met around Fort Bragg and had a strong relationship. Michelle wanted to have a baby with Brandon but he consistently said no until his deployment to Iraq.
After Iraq, Brandon began his abusive behavior deriving from his experiences in Iraq. He daily physically abused and verbally and emotionally abused Michelle, yet apologizing after every time and is just "trying to express his anger from the war."Michelle always pleaded with Brandon to reveal his experiences but at the cost of never getting anything out of him.
Unfortunately, she was raped and murdered by Brandon during a sleep-walk that Brandon had that night, also deriving from experiences in Iraq. Brandon serves six years in jail for first degree murder and rape but is released for treatment of his severe PTSD.
He gets a new girlfriend, Jennifer Burgess, who sympathizes with him and they have a three year old daughter named Judy Luttrell. Unfortunately after the Gamma Ray Blast, Burgess disappears and Judy dies of malnourishment, leading Brandon back into his state of depression which was lost after beginning the new relationship.
"Shit, someone's there!" Brandon screams. He runs with no supplies with his only weapon being a kitchen knife.
A man, dressed in full battle uniform with an armored vest and much supplies, is brutally killing a deer with a hunting rifle.
Brandon, desperate for food and supplies, decides to kill the man.
"God, I'll regret this. Please have mercy on my soul'," Brandon thought.
He pulls out the kitchen knife, sneaks behind the heavily armed man, and grabs his neck, covering his mouth with one hand and slicing his windpipe with the knife in the other hand. Blood begins to spew every where and the man looks at Brandon in shock, as he dies a quick death.
Brandon shakes his head and begans stripping the man of his supplies.
"It didn't have to be this way!" Brandon says to himself.
The man has a hunting rifle with ten magazines, an M4 military-grade carbine with five mags, two frag grenades, two smoke grenades, a bag of canned food and goods, MultiCam camouflauge shirt and trousers, tan boots, an assault vest, tan assault gloves, sunglasses, a balaclava, and a MICH military-grade combat helmet.
"Holy shit, where the hell did this guy get all this stuff?!" Brandon drags the man in a bush and puts on his attire.
Brandon looks at himself and awkwardly smiles.
He begins to skim the deer's skin and builds a fire using matches and wood from the man he killed. He cooks the deer and eats good for the rest of the night, establishing a little perimeter around the rest of Fort Bragg.
"Taste like Mom's good 'ol chicken, and I got a good 'ol fire to warm me up in this god-damn winter." Brandon says to himself, while also laughing.
He sleeps off through the night, resting his full belly from the deer stew.
Scott Lester and Pavel Verco
The ground under Scott's feet crunched as he walked silently towards the back door of the barracks. The area was different to many others across the state, remnants of grasslands still remained, preserved in the case of dead leaves. Wind blow deathly across his face, hard and sharp at the same time.
"Fuck do I hate winter" He muttered to himself, gripping his knife tightly.
It all began with the star, WR 104, going supernova and causing a gamma-ray burst. This lead to the US receiving radiation exposure. Photochemical smog was then created, blocking out the sun and delving Earth into an impact winter. Crops failed, animals were wiped out and starvation took the US. The fight for supplies began and tribes were created. The country faced civil war on multiple sides. But it wasn't war, it was survival.
The barracks was clad in snow after last week's storm. Scott had earlier obtained info that Red Day, a rogue tribe, had stored supplies in these barracks. The info came via Scott's cousin, Brandon Luttrell. They had hunted down a Red Day survivor and brutally interrogated him to find the info. The body was dumped crudely, mutilated inside a body bag, flowing silently down a river. Scott shivered at the thought of. As he reached it, Scott raised his knife to the edges of the door and carefully placed the point into the gap between the wall, digging it in deeper as he carved down the gap. He was sent to down the group as part of a military task force, but the group was split up over Californian airspace. He took the knife out and inhaled a deep breath. His hand was placed over his M1911's holster. Instantly, he stepped back and kicked the door hard. It felt slowly as he took out his pistol. He walked inside into an abandoned kitchen. A pot was simmering over on a counter. He stopped and listened for signs of activity; None came. Scott continued forward to a door at the end of the kitchen. He could hear faint voices, chattering away silently. Reaching inside his vest, he produced a silencer and attached it to the notch on the end of his pistol.
Scott limped slowly through the dead forest, often leaning on trees as to support himself. Sun was finally coming up, peircing the branches of the trees. For miles he had walked blindly from the barracks, hoping to find his way back to safety. Scott stopped and crouched down by a tree.
His raid on the Red Day barracks was partly successful; He had managed to obtain 7 kilos worth of ammunition, and a pistol round in the leg. Suddenly he reached a clearing, set in between 3 sides of forest. It stretched far up to what looked like a valley. Sounds erupted and he held his pistol at bay. A vehicle seemed to be coming close from the end of the clearing. He limped fast behind a tree and waited. He could see faintly the silhouette of a jeep. It was coming closer to the dead end. Diving away from cover, Scott unleashed 5 bullets into the windshield, cracking it and causing the driver to stop. The driver came out with his hands up and walked slowly forward. Scott too proceeded towards his opponent, placing the front post of his sights on the targets head, finger on trigger. Scott lowered his pistol.
“Who are you?” He said audibly. The man stumbled forward towards him with quickening pace. His face was covered in a red handkerchief. Scott instantly knew what this meant: The man was a member of Red Day.
"M-My name's...Davidson, Jack--" The man began, but was cut off by Scott raising his pistol back up. The man's hair was glued together in what looked like congealed blood.
"What's Red Day up to, eh?" He said, pressing the pistol to "Davidson"'s head.
"R-Red...Day?" Davidson muttered in a fake tone of questioning. "What's Red D-Day." Scott laughed.
"He could be useful..." He thought. "I know you're in Red Day bitch." Scott said aloud, lowering the pistol to the man's stomach.
The man cried in pain as blood splattered from his stomach to Scott's jacket. He fell to the ground wimpering, clutching his wound.
"Hey!" Scott shouted, almost laughing. "THAT'S A NEW FUCKING JACKET ASSHOLE!" Davidson hid his face. Scott lifted him up by the cuff of his hoodie. "Time to show Red Day a message." He said to himself.
Scott warmed his hands in the blaze that was Davidson's burning body, hung up from a tree by piano wire. He knew that Red Day were operating around this area and decided to leave the body there as a message to any other passing survivors.
"They'll think twice before crossing my path again." He thought to himself as Davidson's flesh burned away, leaving horrific glimpses of bone. This was what Scott was trained to do, and showed no hesitation in committing the murder, but was still rather disgusted by the sights. He had, of course, killed the man with his pistol, but had let him burn for a few seconds. He had witnessed Red Day killing his fellow operatives, this was revenge. He had searched through Davidson's backpack first, and found a large stretched of cardboard and two cans of red spray paint, along with a H&K MP7A1. The cardboard was now hung up on the trees above the body, the words 'This is what happens to Red Day' sprayed across it in red paint. Overall Scott was happy with the days work, but his leg was still painful from the gunshot wound and he had still not found shelter. Deciding it was best to get going, he picked up his pistol and knife and swung his backpack over his shoulder. After half an hour walking through the clearing, he reached a valley where grass still grew and snow had barely fallen. The clearing was far uphill, and he decided it best to more forward. Abandoned huts paved the way through the valley. Scott was wary not to enter one in temptation: He feared he was not the only survivor around. Finally, after at least an hour walking, he reached an uphill. He looked around himself, the area seemed empty. Adjusting his backpack's straps, he set off uphill. Houses could be seen in the distance.
"Time to move." Scott thought to himself.
Scott spent the night sleeping in a log cabin in the village. He woke early and searched through all the other houses in search for supplies, but only finding a small box of .45 ACP rounds and a can of beer. He was running low on food and none could be be found throughout the village. After staying two nights in the abandoned village, he set off again across a wide stretch of frozen fields. Scott counted his MP7's rounds on his way out of the cabin.
"50 rounds." He sighed.
If he were to meet a group of Red Day members on his trek, it would not be enough. Taking one last glance at the area, he flung his backpack over his shoulders and set off. The weather was harsh, with stinging winds and storms of snow. He doubted he would find better shelter then the cabin for a long time. Lying down by a snow clad tree, Scott opened his backpack. From it he extracted the can of beer and cranked it open. He gulped it down greedily, leaving half left. Gasping with relief, he dropped the can carefully into a plastic bag and sealed it tight. As he looked up, he saw a shadow in the fog, four legged, and stumbling in what appeared to be pain. Scott grabbed his MP7 and cocked the bolt. Leaving his backpack where it was, he got up and advanced on the figure. He adjusted the weapon's sights carefully. He could now tell that the figure was that of a dear, most likely wounded. The animal raised it's head and sniffed the air. Scott stopped, standing still. He raised his weapon. The sights were aligned carefully above the animals right eye. He tapped the trigger, it was frozen. Scott took a final deep breath before pulling the trigger back. His shots hit the deer straight in the head. Blood sprayed over the frozen grass. The animal swayed, then fell to the ground with a THUMP. Taking out his M1911, Scott advanced to finish the deer off. The animal was moaning. Scott finished it off with a shot to the left eye. Under the panning cold, Scott extracted as much meat he could, which he stuffed in the remaining bags. As he continued on, the snow began to stop falling as rapidly. The wind stopped, just as he came up to a large farm house. Vehicles were parked outside of the building and a large group of armed men were walking around the perimeter.
"Shit!" Scott muttered as he dived to the ground. Taking out his binoculars, he examined what was going on. The armed men were watching guard as another truck pulled up. Two men jumped from it and began talking hurriedly to the guards. An explosion blew apart the top story of the building as gun fire ripped apart the guards. The men were struck by confused horror as their fellow companions fell to the ground. Scott heard a scream from the left wall of the house and turned to see a guard being beaten to death by a 6ft blond man. The man took the guards pistol, before crouching down by the wall surrounding the courtyard and opening fire on more men. The man then took out his own rifle and vaulted the wall. Scott stood up. He raised his MP7 and began firing repeatedly at one of the trucks.
The truck exploded in a haze of fire. He reloaded his weapon and ran forward to join the fight.
Pavel ran up and kicked the door in. Two gunmen quickly kicked a table over and started using it as cover. Pavel simply opened fire on the table, wounding the men on the other end. He released the rifle, letting it hang from its sling, and he quickly drew his Glock, shooting each man in the head.
He moved on to the next room, downing three more men. One man came out of a closet behind him and tried to attack Pavel with a pair of knives. Pavel quickly blocked the knife attack, kicked the man away with all his strength and shot him with the Glock. He quickly drew his rifle again and walked into a walk-in closet. Inside was a large safe. Pavel beat the lock of the safe with the stock of his AR-18, breaking it. Inside, he lots of 7.62 rounds, food, fuel, and parts for an M2 Browning machine gun. He stuffed it all into his rucksack, and got up and started to exit the building.
Scott vaulted over the wall of the compound, taking out remaining resistance as he did so. The area was clear by the looks of it, but he could see armed vehicles converging in the distance. Scott jumped up unto the bonnet of the jeep and slid down to the machine gun. He lifted the M240 up from it's tripod, pulled back the bolt, and began firing at the wheels of the vehicles. The first vehicle, an armored Land Rover, flipped over unto it's bonnet and crashed into a recon jeep. Scott threw the machine gun away and grabbed an RPG-7 from the ground. He loaded a rocket and aimed; There was 4 vehicles left, each one armed. The one rocket wouldn't be enough to destroy all the vehicles, so Scott looked around for a way to improvise. His eyes landed on a group of towering trees. He lifted the launcher back up, aimed for the bottom of the trees, and shot. As the rocket hit the roots of the trees, the trunk began to sway and finally, as the vehicles opened fire, fell down on them. The vehicles were still intact enough for Scott to collect supplies. Scott dropped the launcher beside the machine gun, then cocked his pistol.
Pavel walked out of the building. In front of him was a man in winter gear, searching a dead body. He reached for his Glock 17 and raised it at the man. As he stepped towards him, the man pulled out an M1911 with extreme speed. Pavel could tell he was trained.
"Put your weapon down. Now." the man said.
"You put your gun down first." Pavel yelled back, in a cocky and arrogant tone.
"Listen to me. I am a United States Special Forces Operative. You fuck well better-"
"And I'm Pavel motherfucking Verco. You first."
"You keep talking. One more step is all it will take for me to-"
"I will shoot this gun here and it will hit you right in your kisser. Then I will pop another one into your balls. And then I will nail you in your lung and you'll be gasping like," Pavel began making gasping and wheezing noises for effect.
"Very fucking amusing. Red Day could do with a bitch like you. Go back the road and-"
"Red Day?" Pavel cut in. He gave a short laugh, still aiming his Glock.
"What about the motherfuckers?" Scott asked.
"You know who your fighting then." Pavel contined in a non-questioning tone.
"This bitch doesn't know what he's messing with." Scott thought, "Just a drunken foreigner, better kill him." Pavel raised his eyebrows.
"Okay then. You ignore me. Red Day will catch up you, and then-" Scott cut across him.
"No they fucking won't! You see the way I operate. Stay in the shadows, move alone." He nodded at Pavel, "Only fight under the cover of a distraction. And two Red Day bases later I'm still intact." Pavel gave another short laugh.
"'Stay in the shadows' eh?" He said mockingly, "'Move alone'.You know, that's exactly the way I work." Scott looked deep into his eyes.
"Maybe...he's not as stupid as I thought." One side of him thought. "Stay in the shadows, move alone." He reminded himself. Then, suddenly, the latter part faded away. He threw his pistol over the many trucks and turned back to Pavel.
Michael Rivers, Alicia York, and Grace Harper
Michael was slowly moving along an old forest path. He had been staying in an cottage at the end of the path where its inhabitants died during the initial burst. About half way down to path, he sniffed and looked up at the sky.
"I hope this ends soon," he told himself as he continued moving along the path. As he walked, he readied the M1903 that he had slung on his back and looked all around him. His winter coat made it hard for him to sneak up on animals, so firing from long range was all that he could do.
Soon, he came across a buck and aimed at its head. Before he could fire off a shot, something scared off the buck and ruined Michael's chances of having a meal for the day.
"Who's here? Show yourself!" he called.
19:59, July 23, 2013 (UTC)
Grace walked out to Michael, keeping her crossbow ready.
She started speaking to Michael. "You know, you aren't exactly discreet yourself. Also, what do you expect to do with that rifle, kill the buck or alert pretty much everyone in and around this forest? If it's any consolation, I'm not eating today either."
Grace sighed, slinging her crossbow across her back. She continued.
"Listen, my name's Grace, thanks for asking. I'm not looking for any favours, but I have been wandering around alone for a while now, and you seem to be in a similar situation. Whether you trust me or not is irrelevant, but if we travel together, both of our survival chances are doubled. Oh, and I wouldn't mind you introducing yourself either."
Michael gained a suspicious look, but soon lost it.
"You're probably right. Name's Michael by the way," he told Grace, "I've been living in a cottage down the road for the past couple of days. I'm planning on leaving tomorrow, so if you want to stay the night, you can."
00:11, July 24, 2013 (UTC)
Grace smiled to herself, before replying. "Y'know, in any other context, I'd need to know you for more than a minute before I took you up on that offer, but thanks. I've got a small campsite set up a small walk away from here. I'll need to travel back there before the day ends. If you wanna come and help with my stuff, that'd be great."
Grace adjusted her crossbow sling, before equipping her Kimber Royal II.
Michael nodded his head.
"Sounds fair enough. Let's get going before it gets too late. I don't want to get caught out here when everything freezes."
Michael took off his pack and assembled an Mk14 Mod 2. He put his pack back on and stood up.
00:32, July 24, 2013 (UTC)
"Not exactly limiting the amount of weapons you carry, are you? Anyway, the camp is that way. I haven't seen any others around, but you should probably stay alert anyway."
Grace starts walking, wary of her surroundings.
"So Mike, what's your status. Searching for any kidnapped princesses?"
Michael looked at Grace with a little surprise.
"If you mean a lost girlfriend then yes," he replied as he followed Grace, "Now my question is, how did you guess that?"
00:48, July 24, 2013 (UTC)
Grace smiled to herself.
"A lucky guess, if anything. Most guys don't prefer going it alone, and most people I know wouldn't have found that much stuff on their own. Listen, I'm not bothered what goals you have, and if there is more you are gonna withhold from me, that's your choice. Just... don't expect me to open up to you, because I'm not going to, at least not now."
Michael sighed and looked around him.
"Well, I wouldn't be caught in that situation if..." Michael began then stopped. He shook his head and tried to push the thought out of his head.
Grace sighed, and turned to Michael. "However you got seperated, and wherever she is now, I can see you aren't exactly over that. I haven't got a goal, or something to go out for, so I will do my best to help you find her. It's obvious you aren't gonna be your actual self until you've seen her again. Come on, it isn't far to my camp."
Michael just nodded and surveyed the area. Behind him, he heard constant murmuring and looked back. He noticed the silhouette of a man hiding behind a snow-covered hill.
"We're being followed," he whispered and turned the safety off his gun.
Grace flicked the safety of her handgun off, and turned around. "Shit, they've probably found my camp too. I don't think there are a lot of people, probably only one. What do you think is the best call? If they have got some of my stuff, we better get them now."
Michael looked at Grace.
"It's best if we go and get your stuff. If this guy follows us, he'll end up dead," Michael told Grace as he checked the ammunition left in his magazine, "I've got a full mag, let's get there fast."
02:00, July 24, 2013 (UTC)
Grace looked around, worrying.
"Right, the camp is only a few hundred metres away. Move fast, and keep down as much as possible. If he is armed, and someone gets hit, I have medical supplies at the camp."
Grace pointed towards the camp.
Michael began sprinting down the rode with his Mk14 in hand. He saw a small encampment up ahead that was full of bandits. He knew that he had to clear them out in order to get Grace's supplies.
"Here goes nothing," Michael thought to himself and began firing at the bandits.
Grace continued sprinting towards the now raided camp, slaloming around trees to avoid the bandits. She stopped and took cover behind a tree near the camp, while the bandits continued to shoot. After blindfiring, Grace grabbed her crossbow, and signalled to Michael to get behind them.
When Michael got to the intended place, Grace quickly developed a plan in her head. "Immobilise one with a crossbow bolt, shout to Michael to take one guy with a shot to the head, run up after the last guys turn around to Michael, shoot one of them, stab the last one."
After one more breath, Grace exited cover and shot one of the bandits in the leg, before shouting to Michael to take another out. "Shoot one of them Michael!"
Michael popped up from behind cover and put three bullets in one of the raider's back and head. He quickly took cover and checked his ammunition again.
"Almost empty," he thought to himself. He began to switch out his Mk14 for his Desert Eagle.
As Grace had expected the last bandits turned to where Michael was shooting from, which allowed Grace to get close of them. Holding both her switchblade and her handgun, she shot one of the remaining bandits, before stabbing the final one in the neck.
Grace walked over to the immobile bandit, while putting away her handgun and switchblade, before crouching by him. After twisting the bolt fired into him, and ripping it out, Grace put the still bloody bolt back into her quiver. "I want you to tell your group through that transceiver that they do not come fucking near me again, and if they do, I will kill all of them."
The last bandit struggled, and grabbed his transceiver. "We failed, boss. Do not try attack this girl again."
Grace smiled and equipped her handgun. "You did a wise thing today."
With one last shot, the camp raiders were all dead.
Michael got up and holstered his Desert Eagle. He walked over to Grace and looked around the camp.
"We can't stay here for long. I know that we may have killed everyone that was here, but we don't know if anyone else heard the fighting. We've got to get your stuff and get to my cabin before anyone else starts poking around here," Michael told Grace.
"Get in the shelter Alicia!" Michael told Alicia."
"No, I can't, not without you!" Alicia replied.
"Just go, I'll find another shelter. We'll both make it out of this alive!"
"I can't Michael."
Alicia and Michael were standing in front of the doorway to a fallout shelter. Alicia looked at Michael and shook her head.
"Alicia you've got to go. I'll find my way back to you, I promise."
One of the people inside the shelter walked over to Michael.
"We're out of time, you've got to get in here."
The man and two others grabbed Michael and pulled him into the shelter.
"Let go of me!" Michael said as he tried to break free.
"No!" Alicia exclaimed as Michael was pulled in and the door slammed shut. She began banging on the door.
"No! No! No!" she screamed as she began to cry. She shook her head, then started running up the stairs to the surface. She looked around and saw another building across the street. She dashed over to the door, opened it and entered the building. As she made her way down the stairs, a huge blast of air knocked her onto the ground and everything went black.
Alicia's eyes shot open and sat straight up. She was in her temporary home at the moment, a makeshift tent located near the Klamath Mountains.
"Not again," she said to herself as she gripped her head. She's been having the same dream every night since the day of the Gamma-Ray bursts. She put on her winter gear and crawled out of her tent. She collapsed and folded the tent before attaching it to her pack.
"Time to go exploring again," she thought and began marching down the slope of the mountain.
Grace sighed, and took out the magazine of her Royal II, checking the ammo count. She started speaking to Michael. "A little while ago, somebody told me that you need to make a choice. You either stay a human and die, or you become a monster and live. I still don't know what my decision is, because I don't want to keep having to do this."
Grace wiped away her incoming tears, and put the magazine back into the gun.
"We'll get all this stuff to your safehouse, cottage, whatever, and rest up for the night. If you were around here when you got seperated from your girlfriend, then she shouldn't really be far away, unless she went south immediately after the burst."
Grace holstered her gun and equipped her crossbow, loading in another bolt.
Michael looked at Grace, then down at the raider. He bent down and checked the raider's belongings. As he looked, he noticed something odd about the way the raider was dressed. After a while, he realized that this isn't just a bunch of random raiders. He stood up and took a step back.
"This wasn't just a bunch of random raiders," Michael finally announced.
Grace was taken aback by Michael's comment. "Wait, what do you mean 'these aren't just any random raiders'. Are they from an official board of raiders? Who have we just killed Michael?"
Grace hurridly grabbed the bloody bolt from her quiver and wiped off the blood.
Michael looked at Grace.
"These are members of the Morning Glory. I've encountered them before and they're just savages. They pretty much kill any person they see, take anything from anywhere, and assault any woman or child they can," Michael explained to Grace, "The last time I saw them was a month ago attacking a group of teenagers as they tried to make it back to their camp."
Michael shook his head and clenched his fists.
Alicia was half-way down the slope when she noticed a group of people walking up towards her. She equipped her FAR-15 Legacy Carbine and aimed at the figures.
"Who are you? What do you want?" she asked. The men didn't respond and just kept getting closer.
Grace put the now clean bolt back into her quiver, and replied to Michael. "Well, then they better take that message seriously, because they aren't gonna do a damn thing to me, to you, or to Ali-... your girlfriend."
Grace turned away from Michael and looked down.
"We should head to that cottage of yours."
Michael gave Grace a suspicious look, picked up some of supplies, then started walking back towards the cottage.
"The sooner we get there, the safer we'll be," Michael said as he continued moving.
Alicia clicked the safety off of her gun and prepared to fire at the oncoming men.
"Stay back," she warned.
"It's Alicia, get her!" one of the men and started firing. Alicia began firing her gun and picking off the men one by one. As she kept firing, a bullet hit her left arm. Pain shot all along her arm and blood was flowing out of the wound.
"Shit!" she exclaimed as she attempted to recuperate. She managed to bring up the gun and fire at the last enemy. She quickly wrapped a bandage around the wound and walked down to one of the dead men.
"Morning Glory," she said to herself, "Why are they still going after me!?"
A man ran through the halls of an abandoned hospital. He swerved around hallway intersections and made his way into a meeting room.
"Sir," the man wheezed as he was out of breath. A tall man stood up from the center chair.
"Yes, Rourke?" he asked.
"We received a message from Lark sir," Rourke began, "The mission was a failure, no members returned from the encampment."
"What? How can one little traitor manage to kill ten of my men?" the man demanded.
"She wasn't alone sir, there was someone else with her," Rourke replied. The man walked out of the shadows and below the light in the center of the room. He had a scar on his neck and torn, bloody clothes.
"You find Grace and anyone who is with her. When you do, make sure that they're dead and that their corpses are brought back here!" the man ordered.
"Yes, sir!" Rourke responded and rushed out of the room.
Grace picked up the supplies that were left, and started walking with Michael. After a brief silence, Grace decided to speak again. "I just wanted you to know that I probably wouldn't have taken those guys out if you hadn't been there. With that, and letting me stay someplace nicer than the forest, I really appreciate it. I'll do my best to help you when I can."
Grace looked down at her bloody coat, and was instantly reminded of what she did. She knew she'd have to open up sooner, rather than later.
Michael looked back at Grace for a second.
"You're welcome," he replied and looked back at the road. After a while, they came up to Michael's cottage and entered it.
"Well here we are," he said, putting Grace's stuff down, "I found this place about two weeks back. The original owners didn't make it through the initial bursts, so I decided it was best to give them a proper burial." Michael pointed out the window where two graves were with a cross above each.
Alicia knew that it wasn't safe to stay in the same spot anymore. She began to move along the mountain to find a safer location not to far away from where she was.
"I hope Grace finds Michael soon," she thought.
Grace looked outside towards the graves. She spoke quietly. "Wow, she was right about you."
After removing her now blood covered pea coat, she looked through her supplies, finding a tan jacket. After putting it on, Grace spoke slightly louder.
"Well, at least I don't feel like a psychopath anymore."
"I, uhm, heard you about to say a name back your camp. I also happened to over hear what you said over at the window. I'm going to be blunt here, so, how do you know Alicia?" Michael asked calmly, there's no need to hold anything back."
Grace sighed, and pulled a folded up picture from her pocket. "A while ago, I was forced to ally with a group. In fact, we've just met them, and I knew exactly who they were. They shot and captured a girl who had been looking around the base, and threw her into a darkened room. They wanted me to find out who she was, and you should understand how that happens."
Grace started tearing up, still clearly affected by the events.
"I was with her for so long, in silence, not doing anything. When the people I was with started hammering the door, questioning the quiet, I had to do it, and Iit has stayed with me since. They kept her captive for a few days before that, and it was then when I split away from the group. I spoke to her privately, and she gave me this."
Grace unfolded the picture, showing it to be a picture of Michael.
"Alicia wanted me to find you, and I did. I helped her escape, and I had to run away from the group. I couldn't stay with her. I know the basic location of her, she's very close to the Klamath Mountains. Morning Glory are still looking for both of us, and if she is still alone, she's going to struggle if they find her."
Michael looked at Grace with relief.
"It's good to know that Alicia's still alive. However, to get to her, we will probably have to sleep briefly tonight. You can have the room over there," Michael pointed past Grace to a room, "There's a bed in there so make yourself at home."
Michael got up and walked over to his room opposite of Grace's. He closed the door, opened his backpack, and took out his father's M1911. He put it down on his dresser, closed his backpack and fell into his bed.
Alicia set up her tent under a ridge not to far from her original spot. It gave her the necessary cover she needed for the night. She set up her sleeping back inside the tent and fell asleep.
"What are we going to do with her?" a man asked.
"Find out what she knows then get rid of her. Grace!" another man called. A woman ran over to them.
"Yes?" she asked.
"Go over there and get every bit of information out of her. I want to know where she has been and who she knows," the man told Grace.
"Yes, sir," she replied with a bit of fear. The two men left the room and left Grace with Alicia.
"What are you going to do to me?" Alicia asked her, "Why am I so important?"
"I don't know. I only came here for food and shelter, I didn't come here to torture," Grace replied. Grace paced around the room for a bit before sitting down.
"I'm sure I would have done the same," Alicia reassured Grace, "Too bad I'm locked up here, but at least I have someone to talk too."
"Grace, what are you doing!?" shouted Rourke, through the door.
Grace stuttered, clearly hesistant. "I, er, I'm just thinking about the best way to do it."
Rourke sighed. "Hurry the hell up, or somebody else is gonna be sent in". Rourke walked away from the door.
Grace looked at Alicia and opened her S30V. "I don't ever want to hurt someone when they aren't a threat, but if I don't, we'll probably both end up dead. What's your name?"
The girl replied, in a worrying tone. "Alicia."
"Well, uh, as you've probably heard, I'm Grace. In a couple of days I'm gonna get out of here, and I will be helping you too. Now, though, I'm going to have to hurt you, but please consider that I don't want to. I'll be as painless as I can". Grace looked at the ground. "I'm sorry. I'll be back in two days."
Grace stood up, and cut Alicia's shoulder.
It was the next day, and Grace had slept comfortably for the first night in a while. She thought to herself. "Fuck,k i already remember doing it, I don't need to relive it."
Grace got off of her bed, and put on her holster, quiver and backpack, before slinging her crossbow over her shoulder and heading into the cottage's lounge.
Michael was already up and standing in front of a table. His Desert Eagle and Mk.14 Mod 2 were disassembled on the table, ready for cleaning. He turned around to see Grace walking out of her room.
"Morning," he greeted her and began cleaning his weapons.
Brody Westbrook and Natalie Freeman
Snow and ash felt on the ground. The woods were covered in a black and white blanket. The treetops were leafless and only a few strong plants had survived the bitter cold of the last days. Only the sound of footsteps in the snow was heard in the whole area. Brody lifted his rifle up again on his back. He had walked for over an hour now, but he hadn’t seen anything.
“Everything is gone.” He whispered to himself. He stopped and looked around in the dead forest. Wind blew right in his face. Even though the sheer cold of second winter is deadly, Brody didn’t mind it anymore. He had been looking for wildlife the whole day. He was hungry. Suddenly a deer started growling in the distance. Brody’s head searched the area. Downhill stood a lone deer, searching for plants. It was hungry and weak, an easy prey. Brody grabbed a bullet from his backpack and loaded his rifle.
“One shot...” He muttered. His rifle wasn’t in a good shape and he was almost out of bullets. He pulled the barrel up after he had inserted the bullet. He stood up and slowly walked downhill. The snow made it difficult to make no noise at all, but the deer wasn’t as sharp as he used to be. Brody crawled towards a tree. He sat down against the bark. The deer was only a few meters away from him.
“Okay... easy now...” He whispered to himself, regretting it immediatly when the deer put his head up. He didn’t have the courage to turn around and shoot the deer, so he waited. Suddenly, the deer starts running.
“You got to be kidding me!” Brody shouted in the air. He moved away from his cover at the bark and aimed his rifle. His right eye, focused on the deer. He wanted to pull the trigger, but he didn’t. He waited. His sight became hazy and it felt like he was going to sleep. He then realized that the deer is getting away and got himself together. He stood up and chased the deer. The agility of the deer was far for improved than Brody’s, but he managed to keep up with the deer. When the deer began walking uphill, Brody saw his chance. He aimed again and pulled the trigger. He looked to the deer, waiting until he was going to collapse. The deer ran a meter, and another meter, he kept running. Brody missed him.
“Fucking great...” He said. He kicked into the air. The deer had escaped and no way he could find him again in the next hours. He sighed a few times. He looked up at the treetops. In the treetops hang a flag. Suddenly, Brody realized something. He hang the flag in the tree, years ago. It was during the time he used to hunt with his father.
The shot rang out through the valley. Shit, Natalie thought. Someone's not happy, time to get out of here. Natalie crawled out of the bushes she was hiding under and began treading downhill, keeping as quiet as possible. Unfortunately, the shortage of wildlife since the event made it much harder to tell when someone was around. A silent forest often meant there was an intruder, someone or something that wasn't supposed to be there, that was scaring the animals into silence. Not now. The forest was almost always silent.
She spotted a deer. So that's what that was about. Natalie, unfortunately, didn't have a high-powered rifle. This will have to do, she thought, as she brought up her FAR-15 and threaded a suppressor on it. Her rifle was stolen from a group of survivors who had been previously holding her captive for their various pleasures, before she managed to free herself and kill most of them. The rifle had been previously modified to be able to fire in two-round and three-round bursts, as well as the original semi-automatic setting. She took aim at the deer and set it to a two-round burst setting.
Due to the suppressor, she could fire off multiple rounds without the deer, or any survivors in the area, knowing. Natalie fired the rifle. Two rounds, one after the other, slammed into her target, wounding it. The deer tried to walk away, so Natalie fired off four more bursts, most of them hitting the deer. The deer collapsed, but was still alive. Natalie set the rifle to semi-automatic and fired another three rounds into the deer's eye, killing it. Dinner, Natalie thought, as she pulled out her springblade and set to work getting the meat from the deer.
Brody climbed in the tree. He had risen above all treetops. The panorama of the woodtops, covered with a white cloak which was illuminated by the orange light of the sun. He forgot everything for a second and thought back of the fall day. He went hunting with his dad.
"Dad, I'm tired, wait..." Brody shouted to his dad. No response. Brody stopped walking. He looked around. Leafs were falling from the rooftops. Same old hunting with his dad.
"Nothing's the same since mom died..." He muttered. His mother died due cancer and after that his dad stopped working fulltime. He always said he wanted to prepare Brody, but he was just a kid. For what was he going to be prepared? He sat down and looked around, no sign of his dad.
"I hate him..." He whispered to himself. Suddenly, a boar ascended from the bushes. Brody stood up and slowly walked backwards, but the boar came closer. It growled and was ready to attack. Brody searched for a weapon, but the boar suddenly jumped right at him. Brody dodged the attack half and started running. The boar stood up and chased him. He came closer.
"Shit shit shit..." He looked around. With no doubt he started climbing in a tree. The bark was sharp and he cutted his hand, but he couldn't fall down. The boar growled and stayed right at the bottom of the tree. Brody went higher and higher until he reached the top. He looked around, searching for his dad.
"DAD!..." But no response. Brody then took of his jacket and hang it in the tree, making it look like a flag. For minutes, he waited. Suddenly a gunshot. Brody looked tpdown and the oar was hit by a bullet. It was dead. Brody started climbing down. His dad was the one who shot. When Brody stepped on the ground. His dad walked away.
"Thanks..." But his dead kept walking, he didn't reply. Brody followed. Tey walked right through their house. For a second, Brody stood in front of the house, while his dad walked inside.
"Home..." Brody woke up from his daydream. He stood in front of his old house. He walked to the door, gemtly opening it. The house was messy and dusty. He walked to the living room. The windows were open and sunlight lighted the room. He walked to the desk, picking up a picture of his old family, him, Luke, his dad and his mother. He still could hear them talking, when they were a nice family. Now he's the only one left. Angrily, he threw the picture on the ground.
"Not fair..." He angrily said. He looked to the closet. His dad's old hunting rifle was in it. He opened the door and grabbed the rifle gently. His dad signature was engraved on it. He stared at it for seconds and aimed the rifle to the roof. He then grabbed the bullets from the closet. One bullet, which was covered in blood, was laying in a tiny box. Brody looked at it and put it in another pocket.
"Thanks dad..." He said. He finally understood it.
Natalie stuffed the last of the deer meat into a separate pocket of her pack. Gotta move now. She began running downhill, trying to put as much distance between herself from the deer's carcass as possible.
She saw a house. Her first thought was to run inside and hide, but then she realized that someone might be in there. Someone might be watching the house. Oh well. She decided to first sweep the area around the house.
Guess it's clear. Time to check the inside, she thought. Natalie let the rifle hang from its sling as she drew her SIG Pro, holding it at the ready as she moved inside. Living room clear.
She moved into the kitchen, where a compact handgun and a knife lay on the counter. The knife was stained with blood and there was a magazine next to the gun. Oh shit. Someone's been here. Natalie suddenly heard a thump from inside the house. Her heart rate skyrocketed. She raised her pistol and began to walk into the master bedroom.
Natalie was abruptly grabbed around the neck from behind and her SIG was knocked to the floor, out of her reach. She felt the strong arm begin to choke and strangle her, and she clawed at the arm desperately, trying to make it let go. As her vision darkened, she reached for her knife, unhooked and opened it, and cut the hand, making her assailant scream in pain and let go. Natalie whipped around and tried to thrust the knife into the man's neck, but he blocked it and tried to first reverse it, by curving her arm so that she would stab herself in the stomach. However, natalie saw this coming and turned to the side, making the knife miss. She kicked the man in the leg and tried to stab him again, but this time, the man grabbed her arm and pushed it to the side, getting the knife stuck in the wall.
The man then resorted to punching. Natalie managed to block a few of them, but soon, her attacker landed a blow right on her nose, stunning her momentarily. The man backed off and grabbed his shotgun, preparing to shoot her at point blank range. At the last second, Natalie cam to her senses and grabbed the shotgun by the barrel just as he fired, causing him to miss. She swung the shotgun, hitting the man in the face with the stock, and then brought it back around, getting the sling caught on the man's neck in the process. Natalie took advantage of this, kicking the man in first the groin, and then the chest, making him fall to the ground. She then pressed her foot down on his lungs while pulling the shotgun towards herself, strangling the man with the sling. He tried to grab at the sling and free himself but there was no use. Then he raised his arm, seemingly begging for mercy, but then pointed behind her.
A wild cougar had come into the house and was snarling at her. She dropped the shotgun on the man's stomach, further weakening him. Then, she grabbed her pistol and dove out the window, breaking the glass and cutting herself in the process. She looked back, wondering if she should've helped him, but decided against it and ran away from the house.
"Aw fuck!" Brody shouted while breathing heavily. His shotgun lay right next to him, but it didn't come up to grab it because the pain on his chest was so bad. The cougar slowly came closer and was ready to attack. He jumped to Brody, who realized the shotgun was next to him. He grabbed it and held the face of the cougar awayfeom him with it. He pulled the trigger, but no shot.
That bitch must have fired all bullets, he thought. With his last power, he throw over the cougar and run towards the room. He reached the table and grabbed his dad's rifle. He loaded it while the cougar got up and attacked him again. In a split second without doubt, Brody aimed an fires the bullet. The sound of the shot interrupted the growling of the cat and it collapsed. The bullet had pierced the cougar's skull.
"...Close call..." He sighed and breathed heavily, while leaning on the table. He stood up and walked to the kitchen. He grabbed his knife and the pistol with it's magazines. He walked back and skinned the cougar, putting the skin inbhis backpack.
Never know when this is good for something., he thought while the animal's blood dripped of his finger. He cleaned his hands with his shirt, while he walke to the cracked window. He climbed onthe edge an looked outside.
"Now I feel sorry for calling her a bitch." He said while he looked to trail of blood drops of the girl. The trail leaded right into the forest. Brody jumped out of the window while slinging his rifle on his back. He put his shotgun in his holster and loaded his pistol. He cocked it, which was an enormous loud sound compared to the silence of the forest.
Natalie finally stopped running. She felt she had gone far enough, and decided to assess herself. I'm mostly intact. Some cuts on my hands and face. She felt her face some more. Fuck, my nose is broken. Better patch that up. Natalie got out some alcohol and binding and applied it to her nose. It stang, but not anymore than the cold did.
Natalie then decided to check her ammo. Two magazines for her SIG Pro, two and a half for her FAR. Considering the condtions of most survivors, that was pretty good. She then decided to make sure her knife still worked okay. She reached for her belt and felt for it. It wasn't there. Oh no, I must've left it at the house, she thought. "Damn it!" she said out loud. She checked the rest of her bag. Her PMK mask, deer meat, flashlight, bottles of whiskey, everything. She zipped the bag baack up and continued downhill.
Before she knew it, Natalie had reached a frozen river. Nearby was an abandoned settlement. She headed for it. Near the entrance, she heard a faint beep. It was that of a biochemical detector, designed to test the air for traces or buildups of biological or chemical hazards. She was familiar with the model, having been shown how to use it by her captors. As she reflected, she thought of what they had taught her, whether directly or indirectly. She found it almost ironic. The people she hated the most had ended up preparing her the most for survival.
Natalie shook the thought out of her mind. "Their bad far outweighed their good." she said to herself as she picked up the biochemical detector. She activated the scan. The screen read; 'NON-HARMFUL CHEMICAL LEVELS DETECTED'. She put the detector in her bag and put her gas mask on. A reading like that meant that they were in the outskirts of a contaminated area. Those levels wouldn't kill her, but if venturing further without protective gear would spell her doom.
Once inside the complex, Natalie searched the inside of the buildings, performing another scan while she was at it. 'HARMFUL LEVELS DETECTED'. She was right. She continued to search the building, encountering a small stash inside one office drawer that held a few 7.62mm rounds. She put that in the main pocket with the bottles of whiskey. Those were her 'trading goods'; the items she wouldn't need for herself but could trade with more benevolent survivors for items that she found more practical. She also found a small can of black powder. She stashed that into another pocket.
Natalie climbed out onto the fire escape. She looked out across the courtyard and further. She thought she saw something moving. She got cautious for a second, but decided that it was nothing. She climbed down the fire escape back to the ground.
Once in the courtyard, she began searching through the flower pots and flower beds. She knew that people liked to hide stuff in such places; her captors had done the same thing.
Suddenly, she heard the distinctive 'click' of a shotgun. She froze.
"Stay right where you are if you value your life."
"If you turn around, you're a dead woman. Now move out of this hell's bunker." Brody said to the strange woman he struggled with earlier. He pointed his shotgun with one hand at her. They walked outside the compound. Pretty put off his gas mask and so did the woman. Brody's face looked steadfastly towards her, but that meant he could pull the trigger any second. "Where did you look?" He pointed at her bag. The woman stayed where she was, she didn't move a muscle.
"Leave me the fuck alone!" She shouted to Brody. It sounded like she could cry any second, but she didn't. She waited for the shotgun shell to hit her back, but it wasn't coming.
"Looks like we want the same." Brody stopped pointing the shotgun to her. "I'm Brody." He said to the back of her. "You may turn around now." He said with a bit of sarcasm. The woman slowly turned around, facing Brody.
Natalie was now facing Brody. For a second, the thought occurred to Natalie to grab her SIG and just shoot the man then and there, but she decided against it.
"What do you want with me? Why the hell are you following me?" she asked sternly.
"What are you...?" Brody waved his arms while he said it. "I mean...." He held his hand against his head. Fucking great, he thought. "Just why are you alone?"
Natalie was about to explode. Brody's question infuriated her. She was about to scream at him. Once again, the thought of just killing him came to mind. But she couldn't blame him; it wasn't his fault. Besides, he still had that shotgun.
"Listen. Everyone I knew and loved has been killed. I watched my parents die right before my eyes. Then they took me, and-" A tear fell from her eye. "I have no one left. No one. Does that answer your question for you?"
Brody looked irritated at her. "So you think that you can cry about that?" He meant is less hurting than it sounded, but he hesitated. "Do you think you're the only one? The only person whiteout parents?!" He pointed to the wall. "People who have nobody left have died! You're lucky you live!"
His face changed to an angry expression. He held his hands against his face. "Why don't you team up with people?" He asked while all his expressions changed to a sad/questioning mood.
"Considering what they put me through, I'd rather have been killed."
The reply stunned Brody and left him speechless.
"And I don't team up with people because I'm a girl. All anyone wants anymore is to take advantage of someone like me. You should fully understand what I am talking about."
"You have a clear opinion about men." Brody laughed sarcastically. "But who are they?" He looked at the woman. Suddenly, an explosion is heard. What the fuck!, he thought. He looked at the woman.
"You're not alone..." He pointed the shotgun at her, looking like he could pull the trigger any second.
"We're not alone. I suggest we move if we want to live." Natalie said in a suprisingly calm voice. "Follow me. Gas Masks on."
Brody nodded, lowered the shotgun, and pulled his gas mask down over his face while Natalie picked hers up off the ground and put it on. "Hurry!" she said, and they both ran into the compound.
Natalie and Brody ran into the first building, a small shop. Natalie unslung her FAR-15 and put a round in the chamber. Down below, they could hear the voices of the various men. "Gas masks on! Spread out and search the compound, they must've gone inside here. And cover the exits!" one deep voice shouted. Natalie wondered how they would fight back against so many men at once as she watched men take up positions at each entrance while more flooded in to search the buildings.
"Alright. Here's the plan," Brody began.
"We need to split them up." Brody started talking while they took cover behind the wall. "One of us needs to drag one to the other and then take hem out silently." He looked around the corner. Flashlights lighted the room.
Fuck, they're close, he thought. He grabbed his pistol and loaded it. "Cover my ass." He said to the woman. He slowly walked in crouch position next to the walls. A patrol of 4 men stood there with flashlights.
"All right, eyes open lads." One said to the others. Brody looked around while the woman peaked around the corner to watch him. Brody found an empty bottle. He picked it up and threw it right behind the patrol
"What was that?!" One said. "Go after it!" Another replied. One of the men walked around the corner, looking for Brody.
Easy now..., Brody thought. He pulled out his knife and waited until the guy was out of sight of the others. He pulled up his knife and stabbed the guy in his neck from behind. He pushed hm on the ground while breathing his last breath. He released grip on him and pulled out the knife.
"Your turn." He whispered to the woman.
Natalie crept out of cover and behind the second man and waited for the right moment to strike. Once the others turned around, she grabbed the man around the throat, removed his gas mask, and began to strangle him, while dragging him back behind the counter where she was hiding. Once there, she continued to choke him out. She could feel the weakening resistance in the man, so she momentarily released pressure, but still kept her hand over his mouth to keep him from making a noise.
"What are you doing?! Choke him out!" Brody whispered.
"I have a better idea." Natalie said, as she wrapped her arms around the man's neck and began to pull. The man was trying to scream but couldn't get any sound out. Finally, Natalie relaxed for a second, then pulled extremely hard, breaking the man's neck and killing him. She then gently lowered the head and body (which were now connected only by soft tissue) to the floor.
"Was that necessary? You could've just strangled him." Brody asked, disgusted.
"It didn't satisfy me enough." Natalie replied coldly.
What is her problem?, Brody thought. It was weird how she waited a second before killing her opponent cold-blooded. While she was walking away. Brody looked to the body for a second. The neck was turned around, disgusting to see. When he looked up, the woman had disappeared from his sight.
"Fuckin' hell." Brody said. He went into the right room. The room was filled with a foggy substance. He went to a window covered with wooden barriers. He looked outside onto a group of many armed men.
Shit!, he thought when he heard gunshot from another side of the building. What is she doing!, was the only thought that came to him. He ran through the hallway, but suddenly a molotov cocktail was thrown right In front of him.
"Surprise, motherfucker!" One of the armed men shouted. The room was set on fire. Brody doubted no second and ran for his life. "Get me his head!" The guy shouted while Brody tried to find an exit in the burning building.
BANG! The sound of Natalie's SIG echoed through the room and then the gas mask as she shot one of the men in the stomach. She watched the man crumpled onto the floor as blood spilled and began to pool next to him. She heard more footsteps, so she rolled over the office desk into cover. Just as she peered over, a man with a PDW rushed in. Natalie leaned out from the right side of the desk and shot hom twice.
A third man rushed in. Natalie imediately recognized the flame in his hand- a lit Molotov Cocktail. She aimed and fired at the bottle, shattering it and setting the man and surrounding ground on fire.
"Damn." Natalie thought, realizing that she had temporarily blocked her only way out of that room.
Brody looked around. The whole surrounding was on fire. He grabbed his pistol and fired at his pursuers. Where is the goddamn exit, he wandered. He saw a ladder and ran to it. He took point and fired at the incoming soldiers. He turned around and went on the ladder. He reached a room with an table full of notes.
"What the hell is this?" He asked to himself. Slowly, the fire entered his room. Brody looked around and walked towards the cabinet. He throw it on the hole of the ladder so he blocked the escape road of his pursuers.
Burn motherfuckers, he thought while putting the notes in his backpack. He walked on the scorching floor, while looking for any opponents. He saw a window, enlighted by sun. He looked out of it to the ground, seeing multiple soldiers.
I can take 'em out from here, he thought while slinging his rifle in his hands. He load a bullet and aimed at the group. The man he aimed at turned around, revealing his face. Brody looked at him without looking through the sights. He hesitated and looked back through the sights, slowly taking grip on the trigger.
Glass shattered as Natalie dove out the second-story window, lancing on one of the courtyard's flowerbeds. She laid there for a second, then heard nearby shouting. She looked in the direction of the yelling and rolled off the opposite side of the flowerbed. As she fumbled to remove the suppressor from her rifle, she heard them shout threats and warnings to her. "Get out here, bitch! You can't hide behind there forever!"
A gunshot rang out in the compound, far louder than any of the ones before it. Natalie peered over and saw the group running to various pieces of cover, away from one of their fallen comrades, whose brain matter now covered the pavement behind his body.
Natalie fully removed the suppressor and began firing the enemies. She first caught one trying to hide inside a guardhouse by the entrance. Next, she caught a guy who accidentally exposed his elbow while trying to peer out of cover.
She began opening fire on a third man as he tried to dash over to the second guy, but she managed to hear something behind her. A footstep.
Natalie whipped around just in time to see the rifle stock slam into the side of her head. The last thing she remembered was falling backwards into a sea of darkness.
"Wake up, little princess." Brody hung over the woman. The woman tried to say something, but she was too unconscious of the situation.
"Wha-wha..." She started mumbling. "What are you doing?" Brody looked around. The woman looked behind him, 2 dead gunmen were laying on the ground. Brody looked at them too and then to the roof of the building.
"You're lucky they can't shut their mouth." he smiled while saying it. He untied her from the chair she was sitting on. "The real problem was this shithole." He struggled with the tight knot in the rope around her wrists.
"How did you get here?" She asked. Brody finished getting the rope off. He threw it on the ground and helped her up.
"Long story..." He muttered. "You know what happened at the compound." He walked to the door. "Come on, I'll tell you on the way out... Misses?" He stopped walking through the entrence while the woman waited. He didn't knew her name.
"Freeman. Natalie Freeman." She said, as she searched the body of one of the gunmen, taking two magazines' woth of .223 rounds, as well as a spring knife. walked outside of the compound and took her mask off. Brody took his off as well. Natalie breathed in the fresh, non-contaminated air. "So. What now?"
"We're the only people in a few miles now." Brody spreaded his arms. "Maybe find some shelter, food, supplies..." He waited a second. "...Other survivors?" He looked at Natalie, who looked questioned back. Brody didn't for a reply.
"How did you find me?" Natalie asked again, more directly now. Brody turned around and grabbed something from his pocket. He threw it in front of Natalie.
"Here you go." Brody said. In front of Natalie lay her knife which she had left behind in Brody's house.
Natalie sighed. What the hell have I gotten myself into? she thought. She squatted, picked up, and opened, gently running her fingers over the side of the blade to get the residue from the wall off of it. It was, for the most part, in the same good condition that it was when she last used it.
She thought for a moment. "Are you coming?" Brody asked. She ignored him. How do I trust him?
Is this really supposed to happen?
Brody grew a bit impatient. "Come on, hurry up, let's go!"
Natalie sighed. Maybe this is means to be. "Alright." Natalie said, taking a long pause. "Lead the way."
Brody began walking. Natalie followed behind.
"They got you pretty pinned down in that building." Brody said. Natalie looked at Brody. "These men are profesionnals." Brody thought back of the moment at the compound.
Taking that motherfucker out, Brody thought. He aimed his winchester at the leader. He pulled the trigger. A bullet hit a man who walked in front of the leader. Shit, Brody thought after the gunmen started running. He quickly reloaded his rifle and fired another shot, hitting another gunman.
Brody aimed his rifle again, seeing Natalie in his view. What is she doing there?, he thought while seeing her struggling. He decided to change position. He grabbed his pistol. He walked of the stairs and opened the door, firing his magazine on the gunman. They didn't expect Brody there, so they were easy targets. The field was empty. Brody looked for the leader and Natalie, but neither one of them was there.
"Where could they go?" He questioned himself. Suddenly he heard a noise from one of the rooms. He went into it, seein the leader trying to escape. "Gotcha." He said. The leader ran for the door and left the room. He ran into the courtyard. Brody followed him.
"Stay the fuck away!" The man shouted. Brody grabbed his pistol and fired into the shoulder of the man. The man was dropped on the ground. The shock made him faint.
"Let's find out what you know." Brody said while grabbing his backpack.
Hours later, as nightfall approached, Natalie and Brody stumbled upon a cabin near a river. It was made of a dark wood, had a tin roof, and was missing windows but had blankets covering the window openings.
"I'll go in first." Brody said, putting his rifle away and deawing his shotgun. Natalie pulled her handgun out of her holster and raised it.
Brody walked up to the door and tried the doorknob: unlocked. He turned the doorknob and pushed the door open slowly, with one finger on the shotgun trigger and the barrel resting on the other. The cabin was empty. "Clear!"
Natalie walked in. The first thing she noticed was how bad it smelled. Inside the cabin was a bed, stripped of all its sheets and blankets, a pile of firewood, and empty cardboard boxes. Natalie turned around. Next to the door, on the wall, was a large blood stain, with a small hole in the wall in the middle of it, and a few others lower down. Someone had most likely been executed there, and the rotting pieces of their inner organs was causing the smell.
"Well. I guess we'll be staying the night here?" Natalie said, in a half-questioning tone.
"Guess so." Brody replied.
"Most important things first. Who gets the mattress?" Natalie asked.
"You take it." Brody replied. "I'm not tired anyway." He walked around in the tiny cabin. What the fuck do I smell? He wandered while looking for the source of it. There was nothin to hide a body or something, so someone must have moves the body.
"Night's falling..." Natalie said. The sun slowly went down. Brody didn't reply as he was looking around. "Uh, shouldn't one of us guard the cabin?" She sounded a bit tempered. Brody looked like a doof, walking in circles in the room on the same spot. "What are you doing?" Natalie asked.
"This floor..." Brody softly kicked on the floor. "What if..." He muttered. Suddenly, Brody kicked very hard on the floor, making a hole in it. Flies ascended from the hole. "There it is." Brody said. He looked in the hole, Natalie looke in disgust at it.
"What the hell!" She said. She went towards Brody, trying to see a glimpse of what's in it. Before she saw anything, Brody reached his hand in the hole and returned with a note in his hand.
"He..." He looked at Natalie. "...or she..." He continued sarcasticly. "...left a note for us." He gave the note to Natalie. "What's on it?"
Natalie took the note and read it aloud.
To whoever finds this:
This man here desserted us, the Morning Glory, and killed five of our men. Let this serve as a warning to anyone else who tries to screw with us. We'll fuck you up. We'll fuck you up bad.
Natalie then walked over and looked into the hole. She grabbed the boards and started pulling them up, enlarging the hole. "My god." she said. The man- the lack of breasts mostly confirmed his gender- had evidently been tortured a lot before his execution. There were deep cuts in his fingers, the white of his bones showing in each of them. Bullet holes riddled his chest, and his eye socket was pure red. His kneecaps had been blown off and his Achilles' Tendons cut. One of his ears was missing and the other was half cut off. His scalp was red and al his hair was gone. Scorch marks could be found in various places on his body.
"Who the fuck are the Morning Glory?" Brody asked.
"Brody," Natalie began. Brody was initialy surprised; Natalie had called him by name for the first time. "You don't suppose these 'Morning Glory' are the ones we clashed with at the compound earlier, do you?"
Brody stopped dead in his tracks. He looked at the man and suddenly imagined himself in that man's place.
"...what if we're in their territory?" Brody questioned the use of the cabin. "We can't stay here." He walked to the door. Natalie watched him walkig as she denied Brody's statement.
"We're fine." Natalie told him. "They won't find us, we are safe here. Just spend one night here." She said. Brody doubted. At night, they are an easy target for any crazy bastard with a gun. If the Morning Glory left a dead body of their victim, they knew the cabin. But to spend a night in the woods is absolutly not an option. Since the animals broke out the San Diego zoo, elephants, monkeys, girafs are the new additions to the wildlife. Including the dead cougar who attacked them in Brody's house.
"One night, one night only." He said while sighing. "You take the mattress, I'll join this buddy on the floor." Brody threw his backpack on the ground. "If you hear anything tonight, wake me up." He told her while grabbing a thin cloth and he lay down on the ground, turning his back to Natalie.
"Goodnight..." He said, questioning if it was going to be a good night.
Natalie awoke to the sound of a twig snapping. She immediately scanned the room, first noticing the small amount of daylight entering the room through the blankets that covered the windows. The smell wasn't as bad, either. Throwing the body out of the cabin helped. It was as she had remembered it going to sleep last night. Brody was laying on his back on his small sheet, having rolled over sometime in the night. It wasn't him that made the sound.
Natalie immediately woke him by shaking his arm. "Someone's near the cabin." she whispered into his ear. He immediately snapped to, got up, and tiptoed over to his shotgun, which was propped up against the wall near his sheet. Natalie crept over to her rifle and grabbed it.
The two of them stealthily exited the cabin. They rounded a corner when they heard, "Don't shoot! Please!"
A middle-aged, average-height, fairly-built African-American man stood up from behind a bush. He was bald but had a short beard.He appeared to be unarmed. Brody lowered his shotgun, but still kept it ready. Natalie aimed her rifle at him, setting the fire mode to semi-automatic.
"Who are you?" Brody asked.
"I'm a loner. My name is Randy." the man said.
"And what brings you here?" Natalie questioned in a stern, aggressive tone.
"Nothing. I've just been roaming these hills, looking for supplies, maybe other survivors to trade with."
"Alright." Brody said. "What do you have?"
"I have a matchbox, some alcohol, a broken silver watch, a compass, a map of Sacramento, about a dozen .223 rounds." Natalie's eyes widened at that. "I also have some parts for an FAL. I'm still missing a handguard, sights, and gas tube, though. And a part of the, uhh, upper receiver."
"How about this," Natalie began, "I have a dozen 7.62 rounds that you can use once you complete your rifle. Trade ammunition?" she asked.
"Yeah, that sounds good." Randy replied.
"You be careful." Brody whispered into Natalie's ear. "Alright, here's how this trade can work. Randy, you can put your stuff right there," Brody pulled out his knife and pointed to a spot, "and return to where you're standing right now. Natalie can do the same, she'll put her stuff there. Once you guys both get back to your spots, you can go and get the good you're receiving and we can be on our way."
They began the trade. Natalie got out the 7.62 rounds and set them down in the spot. She looked over at Randy and saw him doing the same with his .223s. Natalie walked over to Brody, and Randy walked back to the bush. Then they both walked to the other spot. Natalie started picking up the rounds when suddenly, she heard Randy shout.
"Die, you fucks!" Randy shouted. Brody immediately fired his shotgun at Randy and hit him in his knee, causing him to collapse at Natalie's feet. Natalie grabbed her rifle and bludgeoned Randy, breaking his nose.
"What the hell was that for?!" Brody asked.
"I think I know." Natalie asked. As Randy laid there, gasping for breath, she grabbed his arm and pointed to the Morning Glory patch on his sleeve. Under the patch was sewn, 'Jonah Marks,' the man's real name.
"You think you've beaten us," Jonah wheezed, "There's no stopping us. You've fucked with the Morning Glory and you will soon regret it."
"No." Natalie said. "You fucked with us. And you won't live to regret it." She pulled her SIG from her holster and shot Jonah in the head.
"Nice work." Brody said while laughing at Natalie. They both didn't really care to see a dead body on the ground.
"What should we do now?" Natalie asked.
"Follow me, it should be a few miles from here." Brody told her. He walked in front with Natalie following her. The walk was pretty long and there was nothing of interrest on the way to Brody's designation. Natalie slowly began to feel inpatient and stopped walking.
"Are we there yet!?" She asked annoyed. Brody look around and pointed in the distance ahead.
"There it is" he said while smiling. Natalie walked next to him. Her faced changed to something that says: What the hell, and that was probaly what she thought. In the distamce was the San Diego Zoo.
"Why the zoo?" Natalie asked.
"It's vacant, lots of shelter, enough places to hide and you can defend it easier than attacking it." Brody replied proud. He walked towards the gate, which was half open. All animals were escaped and there hadn't been a person in days.
"Are you coming?" Brody asked Natalie who was standing on the same spot, staring at the zoo.
"Yeah, I'm coming." said Natalie.
An hour later
"We're almost there." Brody said.
"Good. I'm getting tired of-" Natalie stopped talking. In the distance, she could hear a motor. It sounded as if it were approaching. "Do you hear that?"
Natalie looked down the road and saw a truck coming. The driver looked towards her.
"Shit, hide!" Natalie said, in a hushed voice. They both immediately dove into the bushes. The truck stopped just in front of them.
"They're gone." the driver said.
"Hmm." the passenger replied. They stepped out, brandishing SGL33s. "Call it in to the boss." Natalie noted the Morning Glory patches on their sleeves. She began threading her suppressor on her FAR.
The men finished their call. Seconds after they finished, both men received a bullet to the head.
"Got those two." said Natalie, as she reloaded her rifle.
"They're going to notice something is up when they don't hear from their guys. Hide the bodies and take the radios. Then we hide." Brody said. Natalie nodded.
"Okay..." Brody looked at the two bodies covered by the bushes. "Should be undetectable." It was hard to see the bodies, if you're not looking for them. "They'll patrol here again, so I would say we go into the zoo and hide there." He asked it, but it was more a suggestion. Natalie nodded. The went on via the bushes, looking out for the patrol.
"There they are." Natalie whispered while pointing at a group of four people. "It's our lucky day.' She said. She held her knife in her left hand at the hilt of her pistol. Her tone sounded like the one of a psychopath. She slowly crouched to the 2 on the right, while the left ones walked back to the truck.
"Damnit." Brody muttered. They should let them pass instead of killing everyone, otherwise they'll get very suspicious. How can I stop her, he thought while looking around. He saw a rock and grabbed it. He threw it against Natalie. She maked a sound and looked around, annoyed in Brody's eyes.
"Motherfucker!" Natalie whispered to Brody. She swung the pistol at Brody's face. Brody grabbed the pistol and narrowly avoided being knocked out.
"Do you want to die?!" he whispered. "Because you will die if we get spotted. Alright?"
Natalie lowered her head. "Alright."
"Now. We're going to sneak past these guys. Ready? Follow my lead."
Suddenly, the two gunmen looked over. "Oh, shit!" Natalie said. She immediately aimed and fired at one of the men. Brody grabbed Natalie's rifle and shot at the other man. Hearing the first two go down, the other two men turned around, and each received a pair of bullets to the stomach.
"Thank God for suppressors." Brody said. "No time to hide the bodies. Run, go!"
After a few minutes jog, they arrive at the gates of the zoo. "Okay, we'll be safe here." Brody said to Natalie while walking through the security gates.
"How do you know?" Natalie asked, clearly doubting wether it's the good hideout.
"Trust me." Brody stiffed her. "I know this place like the back of my hand." Natalie slowly began to walk to him while looking back if anyone was following them.
"How?" Natalie asked. Brody looked around, with a questioning face. "How do you know this place?"
"You know..." Brody slowly began. "I... bought... a ticket sometimes." Brody laughed a bit. "Quite often actually." He looked to the empty residences of the animals. "It's a shame that they aren't here anymore." They walked on. Natalie looked around every corner she sees, a bit nervously, but Brody walks on.
"Where are you heading to lost forest, the monkey residence." Brody reacted.
"Why?" Natalie asked, questioning Brody's motives another time.
"Because I think you're a monkey, okay." Brody answer annoyed. "Come on." He walked ahead of her and he walked slightly faster than before.
The duo's stolen radios suddenly activated. "Yeah, I've got four dead bodies here!"
"We found another two to your southeast." Another man replied.
"Goddamn. Could be mercs or some shit. Hell, maybe Red Day's declaring war on us. Again."
"Whoever it is, we need to find them and kill them. Lock down the zoo. No one gets in or out."
"Got it." Multiple other people came on the radio and acknowledged the man's order.
"Hold on." The radio went silent for a few seconds. "Shit! They took the radios!"
"Fucking trace those bastards!" Brody snatched the radio out of Natalie's hand and threw both of their radios on the ground. He then took his shotgun and slammed the stock into the radios, crushing them.
"What now?" Natalie asked.
"We hide out in a much more obscure area. Maybe one of the bear caves or even in the sewer."
"Well, if that's what it comes to, then we're going that route. Alright?"
Leah Renner and Alex Rayson
Damn this cold weather, Leah thought to herself. She was not accustomed to colder climates, as she had been living in a rather warm San Diego most of her life. Since the recent gamma-ray burst, the climate had significantly dropped, enough to make snow fall. The days were a constant struggle for Leah, with the harsh conditions, hostile mercenaries and scavengers lurking around, and her battle with depression.
After the catastrophe, Leah rushed to her parents' house, only a neighborhood away, where she found survival equipment, a small bit of good food, and some weapons her father kept in their house, including an SR22 rifle, FNP 40 pistol, and a SOA V-42 knife. She decided to take refuge in her parents house, while occasionally scavenging for food and other materials.
Leah was currently in town, searching local abandoned shops for any materials she might need in the future. There wasn't a lot of stuff that actually survived the mass destruction or whatever happened. Most of it was turned to rubble by now. Leah finished her scavenging and left the abandoned store, looking both ways before entering the open.
She suddenly heard various gunshots going off around her, although most seemed like they were rather far from her. Deciding to take cover, she dove back into the rubble of the abandoned shop. She started to hear voices come closer, three men and one woman. They seemed like they were scavenging for supplies. Leah hoped that they would just pass by the store she was hiding in and maybe checked out the other stores around.
Slowly peering out from the crater-like spot she was hiding in, Leah found she was right about the number of people here. They looked ragged, but well-protected. Each one had a rifle of some sort, as well as one or two holstered pistols. Leah had difficulty deciding if she should kill them for their resources or hope that they pass. She never killed anyone before and didn't want to know what it felt like. Still, there's always a first time for everything, right?
As the four people passed Leah and her hiding spot, she peered out more, this time with her SR22. She aimed at the tallest one, who was the closest to her. Her finger was on the trigger and she was ready to fire. Right before she could fire, something in her store fell down, causing a giant noise to erupt. She immediately went back down into her crater and the four scavengers looked over.
"Who's there?!" One of them asked.
Leah couldn't do anything but sit there panting. She wanted to pop up and shoot them, but figured she'd get shot before anything would happen. After a quick breath, she decided to stay calm and not give away her position.
"I said, who's there?!" The same guy said again.
"Shut up, John. What are you trying to do, get people to know we're here?" The female said.
Leah took another silent breath as she gripped her SR22 and looked around. She tried not to make any sudden movements or sounds to avoid being caught. It all seemed too intense by now.
"Come on, let's get going." The girl said again.
Leah heard their footsteps get farther away from her position. She slowly looked up and saw the four scavengers looking around and walking the other way. It was now or never. She had to decide if she wanted their supplies. Leah got up quietly and aimed her rifle at them, firing at each scavenger from right to left. Each one of them fell down like bags of sand.
"Shit." Leah said. She didn't know if it was for her killing people or how loud her shot was.
Peering all ways before exiting the shop, she rushed out and checked the bodies for any ammo and supplies. Moments later, she heard a gun fire and felt a sharp pain in her left and right legs. Leah screamed in agony as she was just shot in both her legs, crippling her and making her fall to her knees.
Leah began to lose consciousness and blank out as she noticed a few scavengers grabbed her. Everything turned black afterwards.
Through the shop, the beams of multiple flashlights cut through the dark aisles. The group all dressed in cold weather gear were performing pristine sweeps of every corner, ready at a moment's notice to shoot any threat. They all wore masks to cover their faces, making them seem like winter warriors. Each one was armed with various weaponry, from civilian grade pistols to an H&K MP5K.
Several of them rushed over to the source when a pair of gunshots resonated throughout the store, followed by a scream of pain. the majority of the group froze, save for their eyes and ears, scanning for threats.
Finally, they heard one of them "Over here! We got a live one!"
By the time they had arrived, one of them crept forward, the rest of the masked men standing aside for him to examine their quarry.
It was a woman who was limp on the ground, uncounscious from the gunshot wounds caused to her long legs.
"What are we going to do?" One of them asked.
Wordlessly, the man who was in front, waved to the others. All of them except for three nodded, moving out to secure the rest of the shop.
Alex Rayson, meanwhile, stood over the fallen girl. He had a phone in his hand, sending messages to his boss. The clicking of buttons seemed to fire off like a machine gun as his fingers danced over the keys.
Boss: Just got word of supplies being stored in the warehouse about half a block away. As you know, my intention was merely to get anyone who was trying to nail us. I hope there hasn't been any losses.
Rayson looked over at the four fallen bodies. They had been his partners, although he commanded quite a large group of trigger happy gunmen, the survival of everyone lingered heavily on him. His face remained unchanged behind the Oakley sunglasses and one could never find out what he was thinking about thanks to the dark blue lenses.
Six feet tall, he was adorned in the latest arctic gear and freezing his ass off. Unlike most larger people, he had the stealthy lithe build of an assassin like fighter. Most of the time, he would have his Oakleys on his face and it was rare for someone to catch his steel gray eyes. His auburn hair was cut short, contrasting the white coats that he had on. A holster with an onyx metal plated pistol hung on his right side and two wicked throwing knives were in their sheathes at his hips. Most of the time, he wasn't armed to the teeth.
Me: Unfortunately, there has. This woman nailed all in John's group.
Boss: Damn, has she been taken care of?
Me: Incapacitated for the moment. I wish I got your message sooner, we've been trudging in the wrong place for hours. The others will be looking in the warehouse that you forwarded to me. I have the woman with me at this moment. Orders?
It took a couple of minutes to send and get a reply back.
Boss: Excellent work. Return back here before nightfall. I'll leave some food hot for you.
Me: What should I do with the woman?
Boss: Is she attractive?
Rayson looked at the uncounscious form the way a butcher would at a cut of meat.
Boss: Bring her in then, get info on how she could know where we were. If it causes you trouble, then dispose at will. See you soon my friend.
He shut off the phone, standing up and letting a few others grab the woman. After checking with every leader of each small unit, they set off back to their encampment.
Leah awoke some time later, but was confused as to where she was and what time it was. Her hands were bound together and she was sitting in the cage. She noticed her gunshot wounds were tended to and she was alright, besides being bound and the dark, murky apartment.
Her cage was in a small room, with a dirty old couch, a window with folded blinds, and a destroyed TV. Leah wished she could do something, but her hands were tightly bound with rope and it was hard to get up, as she was sore for some reason.
The door to her right opened slowly and a mysterious man came in. He seemed about six feet tall, had short auburn colored hair, and dark blue Oakleys glasses. Even though he seemed well-armed and dangerous, Leah didn't fear him. Besides, she wasn't afraid to die.
"Although I'm not happy about what happened to my partners and I am really tempted to just shooting you right now, I admit that you did well for yourself back there. Now tell me, how did you know where we were? The area we scavenge is deserted." The man asked Leah.
"I didn't know. It just happened that we were at the same place at the same time, okay? I had to defend myself or else your partners would have killed me." She said in a rather quiet tone.
"What happened exactly?"
"Well, I was out scavenging for more supplies and food before returning home. I quickly rushed inside of an abandoned shop while your partners were walking down the street, also scavenging. Something in my general area startled them and they were getting all worked up until the girl had them move on. I looked up at them and shot them then and there. As I went outside to loot their bodies, I was shot and here we are." Leah replied.
"What if you're lying and you killed them out of cold blood?" The man said.
"Look, I want to get out of here as fast as I can, even if it means killing you in any possible way I can, but I can't do that if I bullshit my answers."
There was an awkward silence for a few moments before the man decided to speak again.
"Look, we both know that you don't want to be here. Listen to me, I don't want to be here either. Perhaps we can work something out. Y'know, work something out and get each other out of this place." The man said in a hush voice.
"How do I know I can trust you? You had me shot." She said.
"Truth be told, I was the one who shot you, but we'll talk about that later. Right now, we should work together and find a way out of here. If you agree, I'll untie you, open the cage, and we can work out a plan." He replied.
"Alright, you free me and we'll hatch a plan..." She said.
"So what did you ask your new prisoner?"
Alex wasn't fazed by the boss' shady style of intimidation. In fact, he'd seen it too often in others.
The boss had four inches on him, using his size to often bode others into doing something without a verbal aid. He pulled his glasses up and holstered his weapon. Truth be told, he wasn't particularly happy about joining the group of cronies anyway. However same could be told that they had at least provided him with the necessities to go somewhere, even if it wasn't moral.
"Just a few questions if she knew why we were there. Most of the time though, people piss their pants at my appearance. She didn't bat an eye."
"That's why I keep telling you to have a more fearsome attitude." The boss sounded irritated, he had always criticized Alex's abstinence of sadism when interrogating. At least it partially wasn't fale, he often questioned his captives with a civil and sometimes friendly tone, but display the slightest sign of resistance and all of that politeness vanished without hesitation to torture. One of his favorite traits was to have people believe that he trusted them, when in reality he didn't one bit.
"Has she been sighted near here before?"
"I don't know, but I can send a group out to check. In the meantime, find out if she's interfered with our interests in the past. Don't hesitate to resort to drastic measures if you have to. Remember that our survival may depend on it."
Alex nodded, slipping his shades on, "I understand." The phrase the boss had used was said liberally and it annoyed him to no end. He reported to his quarters, a cold room that sported an arms locker where he stored his weapons and a dresser stuffed with simple fatigues.
He fell asleep quickly, but it was the most fitful in months.
Leah awoke to hear the door opening up. Her mysterious captor stepped inside with a man dressed in a ski mask topped with goggles. Without a word, he stepped forward, wielding a wicked looking knife, unlocking her cage and cutting the ropes holding her. She groaned and rubbed her hands from the soreness.
Leah complied, but when she tried to stand, pain shot through her leg. The gunshot wounds had taken their toll and if she had any hopes of escaping, with or without the captor's help it wouldn't be that easy.
"I was just ordered to keep you alive, but as my boss knows, I can disobey that whenever." He waved his pistol, "If you want to stay alive and get out then I suggest you eat."
As she approached, Rayson and his silent partner stepped back. She led the way, under gunpoint from his sergeant. He was close enough to gun her down if she tried anything to escape, but Alex was still several paces away, ready to react if his partner failed.
They reached a two door entrance where he produced a key and inserted it into the lock. His partner suddenly grabbed the back of her head and put his hand over her eyes. In response, she jerked away.
The man with the Oakleys sighed, Leah now realized that he was roughly in his twenties as well. "Alright gorgeous. Turn the other way." She complied, stealing a glance at his knives and aware that the other man had a grip on his holstered pistol. As he twisted the key, he smiled slightly, since he didn't know her real name, the new one adopted would fit in the meantime.
Ushered inside, she was sat at a table where Alex placed a plate of chicken stew and rice. He sat across from her and ate in silence. Other than a half dozen people inside that minded their own business, the makeshift mess hall was not busy at all.
The food was good, it certainly didn't come out of a five star restaurant, but she had to give them credit for cooking good. The warmth from the stew and rice seemed to help her recover more.
As soon as she finished, Alex stood and escorted her back to her room. Part of her hoped that he would agree to help her escape, but then again, he seemed pretty close to the leader.
Without a word, he bound her hands to the chair once more with new rope and left. He headed towards his own quarters, ready to retire when he stopped and stared down at his knife sheath. One of his two blades were missing.
Another man spotted Alex who was disbelievingly searching for his second knife. "What's going on?"
"I should've known, damn it." Alex looked up, "Our prisoner took my knife when I wasn't looking."
Alex rolled his eyes as he automatically jogged back to the room where he kept Leah. The second man trailed him, pistol in hand. He halted at the door, opening it as quietly as he could.
I'm so screwed, Leah thought to herself as she tried to find a way out of the small room she retreated to after stealing her interrogator's knife. She couldn't manage to open the window and breaking it would only catch everyone's attention. As she heard footsteps come to the door, she froze and raised her arm, ready to throw the knife at whoever came through the door first.
The door opened slowly, only making Leah tense up more than she would have wanted to. When she saw the slightest image of someone coming in the room, she threw the knife, but the object slipped from her hands. As a result, the knife landed in the wall right next to the person's face, who happened to be her interrogator. In an instant, he opened the door all the way and lunged toward Leah, who desperately failed at defending herself. This man appeared to be skilled in some form of martial arts and got Leah in a position where she couldn't move.
"Gotcha, gorgeous." He said with a smirk on his face.
"Stop calling me that."
Before letting her go, the interrogator's partner, the same person from before, opened the cage and held the door open. Leah's interrogator pushed her in, while his partner quickly closed the gate door and locked it. Leah attempted to fight it, but quickly realized it was useless, to which she responded by sitting there motionlessly.
"There you go. You be a good girl now and don't steal from people. That's not very nice." The interrogator said in a mocking tone.
Leah gave him and his partner a dirty look as they left the room (with the interrogator getting his second knife stuck in the wall. The room eventually became quiet as Leah was getting deeper in her own thoughts.
The boss approached Alex in a rather angry and rapid motion. He didn't seem happy, but then again, it was hard to tell if he was happy at all. Alex sighed as he quickly adjusted his blue Oakleys and braced for some yelling at.
"What did I tell you? I told you to find out if she's interfered with any of our operations in the past, not take her out to lunch and give her some of our food! She almost got you, Alex. If you weren't so good in combat, you would've lost." He said, as he started to pace in front of Alex.
"Relax, boss. I've got it all under control now. It won't happen again." He reassured the boss.
"Good, it better stay that way. Now do as I told you!" He said, storming off.
Alex took a deep breath and turned back and entered the room once more, where Leah was in the position that she was a few minutes ago. It was as if the scene was frozen for the last few minutes.
Leah noticed her interrogator entered the room again after her train of thought was broken when the door creaked. She didn't make any movement and sat still. Her interrogator crouched down to her height.
"So tell me, gorgeous, what exactly are you doing now these days? Y'know, before we captured you and all." He inquired.
"Why do you care? You probably just want me for resources... and you know what else." She replied bitterly.
"I'm curious. I always like to know my captives better. It creates this bond between us, y'know?" He said.
"No. Help me escape and I'll tell you after. If you don't, we can sit here for the next eternity and I won't tell you." She said.
"You sure are a tough nut to crack."
"I wish you wouldn't refer to me as a nut, please. Now seriously, what is your plan? I can help you get out of here too if you help me." She reiterated.
Alex was taken aback by her statement. She could get him out too? Why would he want that?
"In what continent would I help you?"
"This one?" For one, she was rebuffing his sarcasm.
"My ass." He grumbled, Leah noticed that now he had an additional button strap on his knives. Although not practical if he needed them in a quick scenario, there was no way she'd be able to silently remove it.
"So once you escape, what are you planning to do?"
She was a bit hesitant to tell him, ever since he had quite the capability in close quarters to easily overpower, plus he could just tell his own people. When she didn't respond, he leaned closer, his face inches from hers, but his expression remained hidden by his shades. "Depends on where you go afterward. Maybe you know somewhere safe, but there can be some truly bad things out there. Predators, people, the cold of all. I had lost nearly four within the last month just because the chilling winds if you go further north."
"Fine." She glared at him, "I plan to head back to my house where I have enough supplies to survive. You all just happened to be in the area when I had to scavenge for food and other things."
The interrogator laughed slightly, leaning backwards, "See gorgeous? I knew soft talk could let us get along better."
"She knows nothing of our scope?" The boss asked, leaning back in his chair.
"That's correct. Even if I used more drastic measures, she wouldn't have coughed anything up anyway. If she's hiding something, it's being hidden damn good."
"After what happened last night, I'm surprised that you managed to get that out." He tapped his chin, "Well I guess she's clean, but I want to give her a demonstration of what will happen if she truly holds a secret against us. You'll be onstage in thirty minutes. Get her and any other cowards ready."
Leah opened her eyes to see her interrogator enter the room again. Without a word, he unlocked the cage and quiickly untied the ropes. However, this time he cuffed her wrists behind her back with handcuffs. She didn't resist as he led her through several passageways until they came to a large room. They stood at the back as they brought a restrained man, who by his uniform was one of them. The two others bent him on his knees.
Alex was speaking to another man, this one having quite a higher authority than he did. Leah noticed closer that by his posture, her interrogator was a bit intimidated and full of disdain. This had to be the group's boss.
"What do you mean that I have to shoot him. You're always the one who does it. Plus, Jack's never done anything bad. He had just left so that he could get more ammo from a gun store!"
"Jack is a deserter and a traitor. How do you know if he conspired with our enemies?"
The boss shook his head, "Then I guess we can take no chances. Dispose of him now."
Alex slowly made his way, accepting a pistol from the other man standing there. He stood in front of the deserter Jack, putting the muzzle to his skull. Leah looked in horror as he turned to face her. Although his face behind the glasses was unreadable, she sensed that he had a pang of regret for snuffing this man's life. He turned back, staring at Jack for what seemed forever and then averted his eyes, pulling the trigger.
Without a word, he handed it back to his partner and headed straight for Leah. It was almost a forceful grab when he escorted her back to her cell. The boss man followed behind closely.
"A word?" He looked at her interrogator.
"Gorgeous, I wouldn't try anything if I were you." Alex stepped inside the doorway, leaving a bound Leah at the entrance. At first, she thought about escaping again, but the two others standing at the hallway's end were armed, more than enough to shoot her dead.
Finding a window of oppurtunity when the sentries weren't looking, she came up to the door's side, eavesdropping on the conversation.
Alex stood opposite the boss, who was now much more delighted at his lieutenant.
"Although I have an issue of your killing in cold-blood, that was quite spectacular."
"I'm not forgetting it though, Jack was one of my best men and a good friend."
"As long as our men and women are well trained and equipped, it makes hardly a difference. Did it do anything to the girl?"
"Who, gorgeous?" When the boss nodded, he hesitated slightly. "I have no clue if she was shaken by the execution I conducted. Myself on the other hand, I would just like to bury this memory at the back of my mind."
"Hmm. Okay, then in a couple of days, we'll take her out too, but just say that she'll be released in due time." When Alex opened his mouth, the boss caught word, "What?"
"So she's not my problem anymore? You're talking about me killing another helpless person...a woman for fuck's sake!"
"Are you kidding? It's all you! You captured her and now you get to dispose of your own problems! I for one certainly enjoy watching others have hope before we end their pitiful lives. It's the least we can do for them, captivity and torture or death. I'll leave the method of execution up to you." He waved him out.
Leah stood back in the center hallway when Alex returned. His face was a bit clouded, especially since the ultimatum he was given.
"If nothing crops up involving you in a couple days, I'll deem it satisfactory and let you go. From now on, I hope that you won't set foot near us again."
As he escorted her back to her cell, he thought heavily on her proposal to escape together. It all had its ups and downs. Rapidly, the cons were rapidly outweighing the opposite.
It was dark, almost pitch black, when Leah awoke. It had become drastically cold and she was at the point of shivering right now. She couldn't tell whether it was before or after midnight, but it didn't matter. All she knew was that she was getting freed in a few days, or killed in the worst case scenario.
She tried to fall back asleep, but was suddenly startled as the door opened. Whoever opened it clearly never heard of privacy nor did they care about waking other people up. Leah pretended to be fast asleep and prayed the person wasn't here to kill her.
"Hey! You awake?" The person whispered.
Leah realized it was her interrogator, who quietly closed the door behind him. She opened her eyes and slightly moved her head to face the door. As it was dark, she couldn't see much and thought she was hallucinating for a few seconds. It turned out that she wasn't. Leah slowly sat up, looking in the general vicinity of where her interrogator was.
"Yeah." She groggily replied.
"Good. I thought about what you said and it turns out that I will help you get out of here, as long as you help me. Maybe we can even work together in the future or something, I don't know, but either way, we need to leave now." He said.
"Okay. Let's do it."
Leah rubbed her eyes as the man unlocked the cage slowly and unbound her hands. After slowly rubbing them, they idled as the man was working out his plan.
"What now?" Leah asked him.
"We're going out this window. I know, it's locked, but I'll find a way to unlock it." He replied, taking out various tools that were unfamiliar to Leah.
"You mean you didn't figure this out beforehand? Great..."
He went to the window and opened the blinds, revealing an open street. The building that the mercenaries took over wasn't exactly well protected, so escaping would be easy if they weren't caught by a patrol. The man fumbled with the lock on the window and Leah trusted he knew what he was doing. In a time like this, doing things wrong wasn't really what she looked forward to.
"Alright, I got it!" He whispered after three minutes.
He quietly opened he window and kicked the screen out. It didn't make too much noise, which was good. Besides, even if it did, it was completely dark and you could only see others if they were right next to you. Before exiting, the man poked his head and looked both ways. After checking to see if it was safe, he sat on the window sill, turned around and put his legs out the window, and slid himself through. Leah followed his actions and was soon outside. She instantly felt a rush of outdoor air.
"Okay, we're out, now do we just run off?" Leah asked him.
"No, I know there are going to be a few patrols walking around the perimeter and guards on top of the building. They'll be able to see anything if they suspect something is wrong because they're trained well," He replied. "We're gonna have to be cautious about where we step. When we're about a mile from here, we'll be good. I'm also against fighting them, as they're my men and we're like brothers... and because we're terribly outnumbered."
Leah nodded and followed his lead. He quickly looked both ways again, checking to see if any patrols were coming their way. They seemed far away, as Leah could hear their voices in the distance. The man walked to the left, hugging the wall as he went.
"Don't you have a flashlight?" She whispered over to him.
Part of her just wanted to lash out at him, but she was more focused on the cold. Already having a coat on, the chill was suddenly a wakeup factor about the neverending frost that covered most of California. Her interrogator didn't seem to be fazed, he was only dressed in a light long sleeved athletic shirt and pants, with a utility belt hanging. She noticed both his knives in their sheaths.
"However, I know just the place where to go." They crept around the buildings using the shadows for cover. Every now and then, he would stop suddenly and strain to hear the voices. He finally halted his stealth walk when he reached a dimly lit pathway. Alex and Leah peered around the corner. Sure enough, there were a pair of armed guards casually sitting at the entrance. There was a small metal locker that she could see a pair of automatic rifles inside. The two men were sitting at the table, playing cards.
With confidence, he quietly signaled her to wait there and strode out in the open. As soon as the shadow was cast over the table, both men yelped and immediately put away their cards. One of them heightened his hand, "My man Alex! How we doing tonight?"
Back at her hiding place, Leah smiled to herself. Now she knew his name!
"I'm great. How's the watch going?"
"You know, boring as usual. Sorry we're playing cards, there really isn't much else to do. Any bandit or scavenger doesn't even come a mile within this place."
"I'm sorry boys, but just remain alert."
Alex sighed, "Guys, happen to have a flashlight on you?"
"Uh yeah." The second guard pulled one out along with a spare battery. "Why?"
"I dropped a few rounds back in my cabin. Don't have a flashlight."
The men nodded, "Alright Alex. See you tomorrow and save your prisoner for us."
"She's not for you." He called back as he walked into the pathway again. Leah was waiting for him and instantly went alert when he rounded the corner. She had a fist raised up when her senses recognized him. Alex on the other hand was taken slightly off guard, his hand hovering over one of the knives in his sheath.
"C'mon, we'll be okay once we're quite far."
The trekking took an hour, going through inclines and declines of abandoned city. Leah was beginning to wear out and Alex didn't even look tired. By now, most of the city was behind them, in front were suburban style homes for the richer residents of California. Nevertheless, they were likely the first targets when the anarchy swept America out of control when the winter struck. However, sleep was starting to creep on them both, so they agreed to spend the night in one of the homes.
The interior wasn't the best, but Leah sure liked it way better than her cage. One of the beds had been stripped of any sheets and the only other soft thing inside was a worn couch.
"So gorgeous, what do you have planned now that you've escaped?" He asked, as he lay down on the couch.
Leah was beginning to get a little annoyed at his nickname, it was like he let her go because he was just hitting on her. "Will you stop calling me that?"
"Well I don't know your name for one."
She sighed, "I don't know."
"Well I am likely headed to my old house. It's not too far from here and sometimes when I need a little time away from the others, I go there for some respite. You're welcome to come if you want."
"That's okay, I know my way around this area. My house isn't too far from here either." Leah lied, even though she knew her house was back in the direction they came.
"Well okay. I'm gonna grab some shut eye and probably head off early in the morning before anyone notices we're gone. I'd advise you to do the same, but it's your call." Alex said before heading off into another bedroom.
Leah sighed and rubbed her eyes, sitting down on the bed. It had been a long hike and she was exhausted, so sleep was the only thing on her mind. It didn't take long for her to drift off into a deep sleep after laying down in the bed.
The next morning...
It was light the next time Leah opened her eyes. She slowly got out of bed and woke herself up. Leah checked each room for Alex, but didn't find him at all. Perhaps he left while she was still sleeping. She went downstairs to the kitchen and found a large black duffel bag on the counter. Next to the bag was a note with one of Alex's knives stabbed into it.
The note read, "I managed to sneak back before morning and get your equipment for you, along with an extra jacket I also stole if you want it. Also, take my knife, just in case and because I'll be wanting it, should we meet again. If you need me, I'll be at my house at 17 Riverside Drive (it's only a 30-45 minute walk from your current position). Good luck and stay safe."
Leah was relieved, happy, and grateful for what Alex had done. She put the knife on the table and opened the duffel bag, finding a grey jacket on top of all her weapons, her SR22 and FNP 40. Her knife, however, was missing. It didn't matter, as she had Alex's second knife and that would suffice as well.
It was still early when Leah left the house, heading in the direction she and Alex came in earlier this morning. It was going to be a long walk back to her part of town.
The hour that she walked was painfully quiet and long. Leah felt as if she had been walking for miles the whole day. On the way there, she met some traders and got a bite to eat before heading off again. By the time Leah arrived at her house, which looked exactly like it did a few days ago, it was almost noon, judging by the daylight.
Leah checked around the perimeter for any potential dangers or bandits. She entered the house and checked every room and every crevice she could find. It was empty and that was good. After checking everything, she put her equipment down on the kitchen table and took a minute to rest.
There was a loud knock at the door. This alarmed Leah and she slowly approached the door, with her pistol in hand.
"Who is it?" She yelled.
"You know who it is."
Leah recognized this voice and opened the door. It was, in fact, Alex. She was surprised to see him here.
"So your house was close by, huh? I don't know about you, but an hour-long hike doesn't seem like 'very close by.'" Alex joked.
"What are you doing here? How did you find me?" Leah asked.
"Well, after I left you your stuff and headed out, I went back home to get some stuff, rest, and eat. After about a few hours, I decided to head back and that's when I found you heading down the street. So then I guess I followed you throughout the whole trip..." He said.
"What is it you want with me exactly?" Leah asked.
"Well, I don't know... I just had to make sure you were safe, y'know?"
Leah rolled her eyes and let Alex into her house. He looked around before they headed into the kitchen and he set his stuff down.
"So, what's your game plan now?" He asked Leah.
Leah hadn't known what she was planning to do. She leaned against the side of the house's pantry deep in thought.
Alex disconnected his backpack, dropping it on the floor. He then unzipped the light jacket he wore and stretched out his arms in relief. Thankfully, Leah's house still had electricity and heating while his own only had limited power.
"Nice place you got here."
It wasn't really much of a house, more of an apartment complex. She had been living with her sister, whose disappearance had caused much of her depression, but he didn't need to know that.
"Thanks, I guess." Her stomach suddenly growled. Alex heard it and removed his shades. He did feel comfortable with them off now, which gave her a look at his eyes for the first time.
They were dark grey, a cold edge with a hint of humor. It seemed to reflect much of him.
"Are you hungry?" She asked. He gave a nod. She moved to open the pantry, but felt his hand on her shoulder.
"Relax, let me cook something." He maintained a serious expression, but she saw a hint of a smile. "It's the least I can do for you letting me inside."
She relented, allowing him to take control of the kitchen. It only took him a minute to gather a few things and he got to work. She had left to check her front for any intruders with her pistol in hand. By the time she returned, he was bustling with a skillet frying bacon and eggs in poaching water. In his hand, he had a cup creamy sauce.
Alex was no professional chef, but having to survive on his own, he'd need to cook for himself.
"You never told me you cook."
"You've never asked. You also didn't tell me what your game plan was."
"Well why do you want to know?" Leah felt a spike of anger.
"I hate to tell you gorgeous, but you're running out of options. I am too." He turned back to the food, assembling it. first came a toasted english muffin where he spread a little bit of butter. He then topped the bacon, followed by the poached eggs and then put the cream sauce over it all. He put two of them on separate places after being guided to the dishes.
"Eggs Benedict." He smiled, reaching into the drawer and handing her a metal fork and knife. "One of my favorite breakfasts." He took a bite, savoring the flavors. "Of course, I haven't had once since the winter, but I certainly know how to cook them."
Leah cut a piece off and took a bite. It certainly was a new thing to try, with savory flavors. "It's good. You certainly know a lot about cooking."
"You know what they say, if you want to impress a girl, you gotta cook for her."
Leah ignored that. "You still haven't answered my question, Alex."
If he was surprised that she knew his name, he didn't show it. Then again, she was listening to his conversation with one of the guards at the mercenary checkpoint. "Honestly, I hope that you're not going to be staying here."
"Well for one, the boss is going to believe that I deserted them and have me executed. So there is going to be more patrols that go out further. I know I'm safe because of the frozen lake by my house, they won't go near there."
"Now you've dragged me into all of this. I had nothing to want to do with you!"
Alex gave a sigh, finishing his food, he placed on his sunglasses. The action seemed to chill the heated room a little bit, "You're absolutely right. However, they come across you again, they'll not hesitate for a swift recapture and believe me when I say some of the others, especially the boss make me look like a total softie. I know your capture was a hard thing and believe me when I say that I'm sorry I had done all of that to you. It's not like I wanted to."
Leah kept silent as she finished her food.
The remainder of the day was uneventful. Leah spent the time honing her accuracy using pieces of wood over by her residence. Much of her mind was hovering over her family, especially her sister. The shots were unsilenced, but most of the snow kept them to a much quieter volume.
When the sun began to set, she headed back inside, her cheeks pink from having spent the majority of her day outside. She opened the door to find Alex gathered in his winter gear, ready to go.
"Where are you going?"
"Back to my place." He had his sunglasses off and now wore a mask to protect his eyes from the falling snow, "It's not exactly safe here."
"But you can handle yourself."
"True, but it's not just bandits and my own looking for my ass out there. At least my house is at a secluded area, but it's only a matter of time before it gets dangerous too."
A little chill of fear crept into her spine, "What about me?"
"What about you? You don't look ecstatic to see me and I understand, I don't always expect a warm welcome, especially to someone whom I've shot and tortured for days. However, this is just my insight, I think something's gnawing at you from the inside. I don't know what, but it's clouding your judgment and making it seem like I'm more of a bother than a helpful gesture of a survivor helping another survivor. I don't want to be a roadblock."
He stepped through the threshold, unmoved by the icy breeze that chilled what bare parts of his skin lay exposed. "I'd keep your guard up. The boss is likely sending out patrols at an increased rate and I've been through this neighborhood on several raids." Stepping through, he looked back. "My place is west of here. Follow down the street until you see the park. I'll drop this," He held up a long green metal pin that used to be part of a hiking pole. "Once you see that, you'll find a smeared trail. Follow the hidden path and then cross the frozen lake. My house will be the center one in the row of five. Gorgeous, it's totally up to you if you want to come. If so, that's great. Someone to keep me company and care about. If not, that's alright. I will think no less of you."
He turned and walked into the night. Leah watched as his flashlight's beam grew smaller as he headed back.
Before she went to bed, her weapons were double checked to make sure they were loaded. She put his knife down next to her pistol before retiring for the night.
It was the next day when Alex heard a knock at his door. He smiled as he strode to the door. Opening it in a rather careless manner, his smile was quickly smacked off his face when he saw a familiar face.
"Hello, Alex. Surprising to find you here..." His boss said.
Alex could only stare in horror as he was quickly punched hard in the gut and taken by the guards his boss brought. To prevent him from trying to escape, they hit him again in the back of the head, which made him unconscious.
As they brought him back to what he assumed as their hideout, Alex went in and out of consciousness until they finally arrived, where he was fully conscious. He was thrown into a cage, presumably the same one Leah was in. Now he knew what it was like on the other side of the bars.
After about fifteen minutes, one mercenary, who Alex knew, came up to his cage.
"How did you find me?" Alex asked.
"That's not for you to know. Now come on, the boss wants to see you." He said, opening the cage.
Alex didn't resist and even went without having to be watched. He knew what his boss was going to say, what he was probably going to do. It somehow didn't even faze him that he was probably going to be executed.
He was brought to a small room, where he saw Leah already there, on her knees, bound, gagged, and blindfolded. She sat there, silent and motionless as one of the mercenaries had a rifle pointed at her. Alex looked at her a few seconds before he noticed the boss was walking slowly toward him.
"Alex, Alex, Alex... I should have known better. I should have known that you were going to be the one to betray me. Why didn't I find this earlier? Tell me." He said.
Alex only remained quiet.
"Listen, traitor, if you and little miss sunshine over here hadn't escaped, I wouldn't have had to do this at all. But you're forcing me to." He said.
The boss handed Alex an M1911 and said,
"You're gonna have to shoot her. If you do this, I will for give you for what has happened for the past few days and we can forget this ever happened. If you don't, I'll have my men kill you on the spot, while your precious lady watches... We'll leave you a few minutes to say your final goodbyes..." He said with a smirk on his face.
With that said, the boss and the two mercenaries left the room, quietly closing the door behind them. As soon as he heard them leave, he instantly went to Leah and crouched next to her. He touched her cheek lightly and removed her gag; she still sat motionlessly.
"They didn't do anything to you, did they?" He asked.
"No." Leah uttered in a hush tone.
"Look, I'm sorry about all this. It's all my fault your tangled up in this mess." He said.
"It's okay. I'm not afraid to die..." She whispered.
"Well, you're not. We're gonna hatch another plan to get out of here. They didn't take any of my weapons and I also have this M1911 that the boss gave me. We're gonna have to be smart about this. The only way out without being spotted is to fight our way out." Alex said.
"But don't you care for your men?" Leah asked.
"Let's just say I was forced into this. No matter how much I care for them, I will always care more about getting away from all this, no matter what it takes. It may also haunt me for the rest of my days, but it's worth doing for my survival." He said.
Leah looked up and around, but as she was still blindfolded, she couldn't see anything. Alex took off her blindfold to see her bloodshot eyes, presumably from crying. He gave her the M1911 and took out a spare pistol from a holster. After Leah was unbound, they went to the door. Alex slowly opened the door to see the commons area, where everyone would hang out, eat, and do anything else. There were two guards at each side. Alex quickly stepped outside and shot them both in the head, instantly killing them both.
Looking over to see what happened, the mercenaries finally caught up with what was going on and went to shoot Alex. He quickly ran behind the bar and avoided the fire. By that time, Leah came out of the room and killed the rest of the mercenaries in the room with swift shots.
Leah and Alex both heard people from the other adjacent rooms scramble, probably to get weapons and see what was going on. As mercenaries from another room came over, Leah and Alex shot them, killing them before they could do anything. Alex jumped over the bar and Leah advanced with caution.
They burst into the room to the right, which was empty. Alex knew that he couldn't leave before killing the boss.
Leah kept her sights trained on the door entrances, her aim stayed no longer on two seconds for each entrance. Alex, on the other hand was inside the bar, rifling through various bottles of liquor.
"I don't think this is a good time for a drink." She called out, just as another gunman burst in. He fired two shots, hitting two containers and showering the duo with whiskey and glass shards. Aiming out, she double tapped him in the chest before he could do anything else.
"It's not only for that." He tossed in a bottle of whiskey into his backpack, along with two beer bottles and two other half-filled liquor with a bluish fluid inside.
He vaulted over the side again, "Alright let's get going."
As he guided them around more corridors, they encountered surprisingly little resistance. While his boss must have thought he was making a beeline for the main exit, he was actually stalling them into believing that he had already left, when he was very much still at their hideout.
There was a large room fille with varying sizes of stainless steel boxes. He shut the door behind them and moved a particularly large container in front of the entrance. Since he was straining from the effort, Leah helped him as best she could.
Alex strode to three containers packed together, twisting the dials rapidly. The doors latched open and inside, Leah saw the shiny reflection of gunmetal.
"Help yourself." He was already checking out an H&K UMP, slapping in a magazine.
They were both significantly armed and more dangerous than before. As they crossed another corridor, two guards opened fire with simi-auto rifles. Leah aimed her 1911 and dropped the first one. Alex suddenly recoiled, quickly examining his arm. He had been grazed.
His gun clicked empty and he brought the rifle up to swing. Alex ducked just in time, but the move allowed him to hit him in the gut with the stock. Alex drew a knife, missing his first slash and ended up getting it punched out of his hand. Quickly doubling back, he went for a counter-attack. Leah tried her best to aim and kill without hitting him, but they moved quickly. At one moment, Alex seemed to be winning the fight, the next moment had him in a wrestler's hold.
He finally managed to twist his opponent's hand, which gave him the oppurtunity to knock him out with the rifle's butt.
"One more thing I need to do." He quipped, guiding them through a familiar hallway. It was close to the boss' office.
He wasn't inside when he swept and cleared the room. Grateful for that, Alex had obtained a few matches from the guard he had just fought. He poured a little bit of liquor into the second bottle before lighting the match and dropping it inside, making sure the flame was above the line.
"What are you doing?" Leah asked, searching frantically for any other gunmen, "The longer we stay here, the worse it'll be if we get recaptured."
"I know." Alex's tone wavered slightly, something Leah was surprised about, "I'm just giving my boss my resignation." He was efficient at making a duplicate and suddenly stopped short, upon seeing the boss' cellphone lying on his desk side.
"Fuck, I should've known." The boss had found him by his own cell phone's transmitting signal. He had usually turned it off when he wanted to be out of the hair of the mercs temporarily, but he had somehow neglected to shut it off when he escaped it with Leah. That cost him the respect of possibly dozens of others as well as them after both him and her. He took out the flat black electronic and shut it off, making sure that there were no auxilary transmitters that could track his location.
Before closing the door, he moved another heavy desk in front. Any attempts to open it would result in forceful breaching.
Leah led the way this time when suddenly a blur of motion came from her right. She was suddenly thrown back with the barrel of a pistol jammed in her forehead. Just as quickly, he was peeled off and Alex moved in the same takedown maneuver he had used on her when she had escaped.
He stopped short, the razor edge of his knife up to his opponent's throat. Leah recognized him as the partner when he first released her out of the cage.
"Why are you doing this?" He asked through gritted teeth. Struggling, he attempted to break free, but Alex kept the pressure and his face remained unchanging like stone. However, something flickered behind his eyes. Leah inferred that they had been good friends during their time in the merc group.
"You wouldn't understand."
"Please don't kill me."
"Relax." The other man did as told, "I won't kill you. Listen, I'm feeling that doing what you think is right is better than following orders. If you look back on all the shit we've done. Much of it has ended innocent lives and destroyed hopes. Even though it's a tough world out there, the boss isn't making it any easier by being another drone in his workforce."
Alex released him, eyeing warily as he holstered his pistol. He looked over at Leah, "You getting her out?"
"Yep. Don't go into the boss' office." He extended his hand out, "So you know, even though I worked with a lot of people during our time together, I've always considered you a friend."
The merc nodded, shaking his hand, for a second he was speechless. "I won't be able to stop them from looking for you. Are you doing this for yourself or your lady friend?"
Alex looked at Leah and then back to him. "Both. If you manage to get your own revalation, I hope we can meet again under more pleasant terms."
He nodded, slouching down at the side. Alex gave Leah a nod and they took off, now at a side entrance where they could hear other mercs fortifying the front.
"Where are we going now?" She whispered.
"My place. They'll never think we'll stay in the same area twice." He held up a silver cylinder, "This motion sensor should be able to see anyone coming if it comes to that."
The boss stood by as two other mercs used a ram to shove open his office area. When the device broke, he resorted to kicking. The door broke in chunks of splintered wood, venting his fury at his best man's betrayal. The act had both shocked him and didn't come as a surprise.
He waved over another group, "Go and find Alex and his lady friend."
Finally, the door opened and he shoved the desk backwards. A small piece of paper caught the three men's attention and they leaned forward.
The note read, "Gotcha!"
The desk crushed the bottles of flammable liquor beneath them and the contained volatile material inside the office violently exploded in a fiery orange blast.
A few hours passed by since Leah and Alex escaped from the mercenaries. They traveled back to Alex's house and rested. It was now one or two hours after noon. By that time, Leah and Alex got better acquainted (with Leah first saying her name, so he wouldn't keep on calling her 'gorgeous').
"So what are we gonna do now? Hide out for the rest of our days? I bet those mercenaries already have a new leader. They are gonna come cracking down on us I bet." Alex said.
Leah was busy cleaning her weapons, which they picked up from her house on their way to Alex's house. She focused her energy in cleaning and preparing her weapons.
"What is it with this 'we' stuff?" She asked, not turning around to face Alex.
He was taken aback. After all they had been through together, he expected that she would at least be a bit friendlier. Regardless, he talked on as if it didn't surprise him.
"Well, y'know, since we've been together, I've noticed that we make a great team. We can look out for and protect each other from whatever is out there." Alex said.
Leah still didn't turn around and finished her pistol, moving on to her rifle, which would take more time and focus. Alex took another sip of his water and looked out the window, waiting for Leah to reply.
"Look, Alex, as much as I like you and as much as we're a good team, I don't think it would be a good idea to have you tag along with me..." Leah replied, hesitating every often.
Alex observed an uneasy tension in Leah's voice, as if there was something on her mind. He had never seen her like this and wanted to know what was wrong. Alex drank the last of his water and put his cup down.
"I apologize if I come off as nosy, but why not?" He asked.
"It's just something I have to do... on my own." She said, finally finishing her rifle.
Leah put her rifle down and standing up, turning around to Alex. She had a puzzled and hurt look on her face, like a lost child.
"What's wrong? Is it about the mercenaries? Is it about me?" Alex asked her.
Leah shook her head and became extremely quiet. She looked down at the floor for a little bit and back up at Alex, who was still expecting an answer. Alex was still like a stranger to her and she didn't feel comfortable saying what was on her mind. Still, there was a possibility he could help... and there was something about him that Leah couldn't stop thinking about.
"It's my sister, my twin sister. Her name is Elise. She went missing some time before all this happened and I don't know what's happened to her, where she is, I don't know anything. I have to find her." Leah said.
"What about your parents? Were they around when all this happened?" Alex asked.
"No, they went on vacation out of the country. Elise is all I have left. I know she's out there somewhere."
"How do you know that?"
"I... I just have that feeling. If you didn't know, twins share a special bond. Some pretty heavy stuff can happen if that bond is complicated, severed, or even broken, okay? Maybe we can't telepathically communicate, but we just have those feelings." Leah replied.
"Look, even though I can't help you mentally, I can help you find your sister. Do you two look alike?" Alex questioned.
Leah sighed and only knew Alex wanted to know that for his gain. She didn't answer him until he said please.
"Yes. The only differences in our appearances besides hairstyles are that she has lime green eyes and more freckles. Everything else is the same from the human eye. You'd have to get a professional to tell all of our differences apart." She reluctantly said.
"Okay, thanks. I have a feeling I've seen her before, but I can't recall exactly. It's possibly the mercenaries I worked with maybe took her in, but I'm not sure. Also, we're not gonna want to go back there to look for files and information anyways," Alex said, "Why don't you tell me about yourself? We have plenty of time..."
"Alright fine... let's go for a walk." She said.
Leah and Alex returned to Leah's neighborhood, where she began to tell him more of her life, how she was always into firearms and always a crack shot ever since she could shoot. Leah tried to stay brief with the details, however, as it was still hard for her to trust Alex. Part of her wanted to trust him, but the other part wanted nothing to do with him.
The whole building was engulfed in flames. The remnants of the mercenary group stood outside, watching it burn down. With their leader gone, everyone was clueless about what they would do next and were sure their group would just subside and die.
They were wrong. One mercenary, who was young and ambitious, stepped up to the plate. He called himself "The Reaper" and was unknown to most people until now. Although most of them didn't approve of their new The Reaper being their leader and often poked fun at him, they knew it was the only they could survive.
At Alex's House
"So there you have it, my life story... Did that ring any bells?" Leah asked Alex.
"Possibly... Remember that picture you showed me of you and Elise? It made me remember that we did capture her... I was in charge of where to send her. I remember telling my men to send her to another place, up in the north part of town. I don't remember where it exactly is, but I know someone who does."
"Who is it?"
"She was my second-in-command for many years until she deserted. We both hated it there and I told the boss she was killed in action, that her body was crushed under a falling building. She told me that if I ever needed her, she would be at her place, which I think is near where we captured you. I'll take you there. However, I am warning you that she and your sister did not like each other at all. She might attack in the event that she sees you, as you and Elise don't have any major differences in appearance." Alex said.
"It's okay, I'll manage. But anyways, let's go. And while we're on our way, why don't you tell me a bit about yourself?" Leah said.
They exited the house and turned to walk down the street as Alex started talking.
"Where do you want me to start?" He asked.
"Doesn't matter." Leah replied, "Just wherever."
Alex gestured to a spot where they could stop for a while. He removed a bag of food and the two of them took a short lunch break.
"I was born in Long Beach. Just your average happy kid as long as I was away from my parents. I never really knew them since they had been foreign diplomats in Thailand. Much of my childhood was done with martial arts, scouting and this girl named Ashley."
"Ashley?" Leah looked a little curious.
"Yep. She was my childhood friend and one of the reasons I continued to enjoy my time at the house. Every day after school we'd go to her house or mine and finish our homework together." His eyes seemed a little distant. "Then my parents were taken from me in the Los Angeles hotel gas outbreak."
Leah was silent, allowing him to continue.
"So when this catastrophe was upon us, I was on my own for a long time until I came across my ex-boss. After a brief scuffle against his right hand man, I had killed him and took his place. From then on, I had reported directly to him, although my relations had quite soured as I had not been as ruthless as he had expected."
"Do you think this Ashley is still alive?"
"I think about her everyday." His eyes seemed to cloud with a trace of tears. This had been the closest she had ever seen him vulnerable. "Now the memories get less and less vivid." He turned to her, "I know, we both have troubling stories. What I try to do is forget the painful ones and make the most of those that I enjoy."
She found herself nodding at that prospect.
"C'mon." He stood up, "It's best if we get there by nightfall."
After trading for supplies for an hour in town, Leah and Alex trudged north where the buildings started to look worse for the wear. They hadn't seen anyone other than each other for two hours now, yet Alex seemed to know exactly where he was going.
"You do know where we are going right?" Leah, on the other hand was not sure at all.
"Of course I do." He turned down another block where several warehouses were side to side. Stopping at the second one, he stood at the door and rapped the side. There was a clink a few seconds later and one half of the enormous door slid open.
The interior was pitch black and Leah shifted nervously, having her pistol out. Alex on the other hand, remained calm, gesturing her to put her sidearm away.
Then suddenly, a burst of bullets caused Leah to scream out loud. Alex too found himself yelping with fright as he ducked to avoid the volley, which clearly missed by several feet.
"You've got ten seconds to explain your presence here!" A sharp feminine voice seemed to emit from the dark.
"Alpha Romeo gives the all clear." Alex spoke the code-word, a secret shared by him and his previous lieutenant. It took a minute for Leah to decipher what he said, his own initials in the phonetic alphabet. Even though many had the AR initials, there wouldn't be many smart enough to say that.
A glimmer of movement was to their left and Alex shifted again, walking towards them. A figure leapt out of the shadows and Alex half-caught/lunged at it. There was a bit of giggling and Alex found himself adding his laughter to the mix.
"Alex! It's so good to see you!" The girl was roughly in her twenties as well. She wore a black long sleeved undershirt and a pair of gray sweatpants. She jumped into his arms, hugging him tightly and he laughed even harder. Unnoticeable to him off to the side, Leah found herself fighting a pang of envy. She tried her best to push it aside.
"Likewise Katelyn. I trust you have been well."
"Yep, no more merc problems for me."
"Good. I'm relieved." Alex said and meant it, "I torched the boss twenty four hours ago."
Katelyn looked at him in disbelief, "No way. That fucker had it coming."
"He sure did. I don't know what the remnants are going to do, but I probably head the list of people they want dead."
"Most likely." Katelyn now noticed Leah, snapping up the Skorpion EVO machine pistol that was on the ground. She thumbed the safety off and aimed squarely at her chest. "What the hell is she doing here?"
"Katelyn, relax. This is Leah, the sister of the one we captured."
She refused to back down, her finger tightening on the trigger. Leah remained defiant, staring at the weapon as if asking it to claim her life already.
Much to her relief, Alex placed a hand on the sights and lowered it for her. "Look, I've already got enough if you want to try and kill each other. Leah here is looking for her sister and I need clues from you."
"Why in the world would you do this for her?" It wasn't hard to know that Katelyn's last word was laden with venom.
"I captured her as my last task before torching the boss. The least I can do to repay is help her find her sister. Also according to her, she's not been herself lately and Elise's vanishing has weighed heavily on her conscience."
"Fine. She can stay, but only because you're here." Katelyn shot Leah a glare before flicking on the Skorpion's safety. "You better not try anything dirty sister, otherwise I'll have to show your sister your slit throat if I see her again."
She turned away and walked back into the darkness. Alex watched the drama unfold and although he wasn't one to judge quickly, he wondered if the tension wasn't just about Elise Renner.
Katelyn showed them to a separate room where a pair of beds had been laid out for their temporary stay. Alex's presence was enough to calm Leah down after the ordeal and he had to explain again why Katelyn held such animosity to her, although he himself was unsure about the full story.
It was later that night when Alex's eyes snapped open. It wasn't a sound that disturbed him, but something in his mind wouldn't stop nagging. It had started when he told Leah his life story until when he had found her in the store. Ever since, his sleep had been plagued with dreams reminiscent of his times as a young boy, from spending afternoons with Ashley, to the adversity of executing deserters in the merc group.
He stood from his bed, not knowing that he had awoken Leah as well.
"Fucking memories." He cursed through gritted teeth. It would be best to get some air right now. Knowing it was always safe to be prepared in case the worst happened, he grabbed one of his knives before heading out.
Leah opened her eyes as she heard some rumbling in the room, most likely coming from Alex. She heard him get up and walk out of the room, taking something with him. She decided not to worry about it too much and went back asleep.
Leah awoke sometime later that following morning, or what she assumed was morning, as there was no sun to judge what time it was. As she sat up, she groggily rubbed her eyes and stretched, slowly coming out of her makeshift bed. Leah walked out of the room and to the kitchen, where Katelyn was already at the table, sipping a glass of water. She was staring out the window as if something caught her gaze.
"You're finally up, huh?" Katelyn said to Leah, not taking her gaze from the window.
"Uh, yeah... I guess so." Leah replied.
Katelyn didn't reply back, as she didn't need to. There was no use trying to revive a dying conversation. It was just that this girl reminded Katelyn of her sister, who apparently was her twin. Not only did Katelyn and Elise hated each other, they were competitive. For a while, Elise was in the ranks of their mercenary organization before she was acting suspicious and they decided to crack down on her. Katelyn and Elise were the best female fighters of their group and were always competing for the best title, which only fueled the fire to their mutual hatred.
"Where's Alex?" Katelyn inquired after a few minutes of silence.
"I don't know. I did hear him leave early this morning, though. He seemed angry... or agitated. I'm not sure where he went or if he's returning, but I do know he left." Leah said.
"Hmm. That's strange. Do you think anything's happened to him?"
"If anything has, he knows how to take care of himself. He'll be fine." Leah replied.
A few minutes later, Alex came through the door in a quiet manner. It still caught the attention of Leah and Katelyn, who appeared to be having a stare down of some sort. Either way, Alex sensed there was tension between the two.
"Welcome back, Alex. We were just talking about you." Katelyn said, not taking her eyes off Leah.
"Yeah... So anyways, I just went out for a little bit to clear my head. Now can we talk about how to find Leah's sister?" Alex said, gently putting his knife on the table before sitting.
"Sure... I guess..." Katelyn said.
"I guess that's a first place to look." Leah concluded.
The three of them now stood at the warehouse's door now newly motivated by Katelyn's intel of Elise's possible location.
"Are you coming with us?" Alex asked, checking that his stolen UMP was full of ammo.
Katelyn scoffed, "With her? Hell no. I'm just happy to help her out so that she doesn't come bother me. You on the other hand are welcome anytime."
If Leah was disheatened at her icy lashing, she didn't show it. "Okay. Thanks."
"Whatever." She said before turning away.
From his spot, Alex gave a thin smile, wishing he could have been there to witness both their rivalries.
"Alright." He slung the machine pistol on his back, "Let's go find your sister."
Two hours later, they had finally came to the edge of the city. Here it was completely devoid of any people, leaving it for the wildlife to rule this part.
"Alex." Leah suddenly said after a couple hours of silence. "Last night, I heard you leaving. What was that all about?"
"It's nothing." His tone evidently displayed that it was something he did not want to discuss. Despite that, she pressed on. For all she knew, he was hiding his own piece of info on her sister's whereabouts.
"You sure? You were gone for a long time before we began to discuss about my sister's location."
He knew he wasn't going to get out of this one, "Where are you getting at this?"
"It's just like what you had told me. I too think something's gnawing at you from the inside."
A flare of anger went through his steel eyes, "What's it to you?"
"What's it to me?!" She had no memory of holding out her pistol and pointing it at his stomach.
Alex coldly eyed the weapon before taking out his much larger gun, "Are you threatening me?" He gave a sigh, "Put down the gun and I'll tell you." When she didn't move, he laid a hand on the muzzle and slowly lowered it down.
"You okay?" She nodded.
"Alright, I'm having these really vivid dreams about various parts of my childhood and days in the mercenaries' employment. No clue what they mean or why I'm having them."
"Are you okay?" She asked.
"I'm fine, but it lingers afterward."
They continued a little more when suddenly a sharp crumbling sound came from below.
"I don't like the sound of that."
Alex suddenly lost his balance as the soft snow underneath his feet gave way from his weight. Leah screamed in shock as he was caught in the worst of it. The snow was falling down in a high drop rapidly and his chances of escape were dwindling. Sure he could survive the drop, but it was suffocation and being buried that were his real problems.
After mere seconds, Leah realized that she too was caught in the collapsing snow. Alex disappeared in the snow by now, after falling before her. She knew she couldn't escape and attempted to resist, but it was useless by now.
Within the next minute or two, Leah found herself under snow. She didn't panic, but feared suffocating. It didn't look like there was a thick layer of snow above her, so she dug up. Digging didn't seem to work and only made things worse.
A hand came in through the snow above Leah, hitting her hard in the head first before reaching for her. It was gesturing for Leah to take it, which she did, and she was pulled out of the snow, although it took some muscle and struggling.
Leah got up, realizing that Alex saved her. He seemed breathless as they worked together to haul Leah out of the snow.
"Thanks for saving me." She said.
"Don't mention it." He replied.
They proceeded down the road where Katelyn thought where they were supposed to go. It was barren and ridden of all plant and human life. Only wildlife existed around these parts of the city. Down the road, they found a big warehouse that appeared to be abandoned. Leah and Alex looked at each other and back at the warehouse.
"Let's check it out. I believe this is where Katelyn was talking about. Maybe the mercenaries have left already, but hopefully they left clues." Alex said.
They entered cautiously, watching every corner and crevice they came across. It was dark, cold, barren, and musty inside the warehouse, much to Leah and Alex's dismay. The darkness made it harder for them to search and the cold and musty conditions only made searching worse. After a few minutes of searching the main area of the warehouse, Alex came across a small recorder, which was slightly cracked but appeared in working condition.
He picked up the hand-sized device and clicked the play button. It seemed choppy at first, but began to clear up. Alex does not recognize the voice. He calls Leah over to listen with him.
"Alright, so we're gonna need to record everything we do because the boss apparently wants to create some history and whatnot. I personally think it's stupid, but orders are orders, right? Anyways, we have some new captives, most of them fine looking girls. We're gonna take them up town, probably to another town away or so. It shouldn't take too long by foot. [pause] Hey, knock it off! [to someone in the background with a female voice] Well, I have to go. I'll keep this for recording our travels."
It was apparent that the holder of the recorder didn't hold on to it well enough, seeing as how it was dropped and lost. Leah and Alex looked at each other again.
"Do you think one of their captives could be Elise?" Leah asked Alex.
"Most likely, but I'm not sure. I'm remembering that my group and I were stationed here with some captives. This was probably back when we were here." He said.
Leah had spent an hour going through other recorders. Nothing turned up other than when the audio had said that several girls had been taken up town. It had been just another fruitless search that both angered and saddened her. She was still no closer to finding her sister, whom she was certain had survived.
Alex had gone off somewhere so she was stuck on her own. Part of her was nervous, as anyone could jump out at her. She had found her arms shaking slightly. It didn't help that she had no flashlight.
Tears welled at her eyes as she rifled through the weapon safes. The lock on the last one had been unbroken while the others seemed to have been shot through with a bullet, destroying the locking mechanism.
Taking aim with her pistol, she fired one round, the sound of the gunshot resonating off the walls. The safe was smoking, but it did the trick. Combined with the decay of the cold, the lock had stood no chance.
Leah swung open the safe, suddenly excited. Now she had a chance to find her sister...or at least a clue.
Elise also was raised just like Leah, her father had operated a firing range and trained both of them as soon as they could. Elise carried a PX4 Storm pistol, but instead it had a greenish tinge to it. She found a couple of magazines filled with ammo and took the weapon, just in case her own failed for some reason.
The sound of near-silent footsteps alerted her, sending adrenaline through her veins. She brought her pistol to the entrance just as the other person walked through.
"Woah there." Alex's hand was on his own weapon, ready to draw and fire, "I don't want to die cause of friendly fire."
"You scared me to death Alex," Leah took a deep breath as she put her pistol away.
"I found Elise's weapon."
"That's a start." He smiled again.
Leah looked past him into the rest of the warehouse. "Anything else back there?"
"It smells like the plumbing's out and other than that plus rotting food..." He shook his head.
"Elise served under your command." It was more of a statement than a question.
"Yes she did."
Suddenly Alex coruched lower down, unholstering his UMP and flicking off the safety. Leah went on alert too, but she had no clue why he was acting this wierd.
"What are you doing?" She barely got the question out when he made a slitting gesture across his throat. He moved over so that their faces were inches apart.
"You hear that?"
Leah strained to hear anything and finally heard what sounded like distant footfalls. It was difficult to tell with snow suppressing sound.
"We're not alone are we?"
Alex shook his head.
The footsteps Alex heard before came closer and sounded as if the people were right next to them.
"Hide!" He mouthed to Leah.
She nodded and the two ran in opposite directions. Leah hid behind various brown crates, all of which were dusty, dirty, and pretty much destroyed. She took out her SR22 and held it tightly, ready to fire at anyone who came through. Leah slowly peeked over one of the crates, but it was still barren. She figured whoever was here was going to be searching the whole place, not just their specific warehouse.
Leah then heard footsteps come closer. She looked around for Alex, but he was nowhere to be seen. Perhaps he found a better hiding spot than she did.
"This is where Katelyn said she told those two to go..." One male voice mentioned.
"She could have pointed us in the wrong direction, you know." The other male voice said.
Leah looked down after peeking up for a while, with her temper slowly starting to rise. She knew Katelyn would find some way to stab them in back, whether it was personally or giving their position away to looters.
"Well, I'm sure she would have given us the right directions, given that the boss pretty much beat the shit out of her." The first voice said again.
So that's why Katelyn gave the looters their location. Leah slowly peeked over the crates again, where the two guys were looking around the place. They looked like typical looters, with multiple layers of clothing, gas masks, and rifles. They looked to be the same height and had similar builds, although the taller one on the left was less bulky than the other one.
Leah wanted to pop up and eliminate them, but stayed quiet. She noticed Alex coming behind one of them. He had his knife in hand. Leah watched as he quickly thrust the knife into the taller one first, pulled it back out, and threw it at the shorter one, killing them both in a matter of seconds. Leah never saw such a feat done by a person before. She slowly got up as Alex approached her.
"Did you hear what they said? They managed to find Katelyn and beat the information out of her." Leah said to Alex.
"I know... and they're gonna pay for what they've done. For now, though, let's just figure out what's going on outside." He said, with Leah nodding.
They went to the warehouse's entrance, where they peeked outside the large doors. There were teams of looters searching every building. It seemed like they were being directed by someone, but neither Alex nor Leah knew who he was. Alex noticed something.
"Hey, do you see that guy over there, with the M4?" He asked Leah, pointing.
"He was my partner, y'know, when I captured you and he helped me and whatnot? Well, I wonder what he's doing here..." Alex whispered.
"What if this is the mercenary group? Keep in mind that we didn't kill all of them and they may have gotten a new leader." Leah replied.
"That can't be. Even I knew we wouldn't survive without the boss, that's for sure."
Alex and Leah saw another group of mercenaries coming towards their warehouse. They quickly ran and hid indifferent places, with Alex hiding the dead bodies before going to hide with Leah. He was almost caught.
"Are you crazy?! You could have been caught!" Leah whispered to Alex when he got back.
"Relax." He reassured her.
The mercenaries were instructed to find Alex and Leah. They complied to the boss, whoever he was, and slowly walked into the warehouse.
"There's no way out of this. If we reveal ourselves, they're probably going to shoot us. If we shoot them, the people outside will hear us and shoot us." Alex whispered.
"Well, it's one way or the other." She replied.
"I think I'd rather live longer." He said.
They nodded at each other and stood up, pointing their guns at the two mercenaries who came into the warehouse.
"Boss! We found them!" One of them said.
Both groups of people were pointing their guns at each other when the boss came in. He looked rather young, with dark brown hair, bright hazel eyes, and dark grey clothing. He didn't have any weapons with him.
"Alright, that's enough, put the guns down. Well look who we have here... Alex Rayson, the defector who also killed his former boss, and who might this be?" He said in a mocking tone.
"She's a friend. Now tell me, who are you?" Alex inquired.
"Why, I'm the new boss of the mercenaries you left! Isn't it obvious? Don't you notice any old faces?"
Alex moved his eyes to the left of the 'new boss' to see some of his old friends looking in his general direction, shifting them back after a quick glance. The boss chuckled.
Before Alex and Leah could do anything, they were hit in the back of the head with the butts of guns, from mercenaries who came up from behind. With that, they were knocked out. The boss ordered that they be blindfolded and tied up.
Some time later...
Leah woke up, only to find out that she was once again blindfolded and tied up. This really had to stop. She struggled to move, or at least sit up, to know that she wasn't in some confined space.
"Don't even try." A female voice came from in front of her. Leah knew it wasn't Katelyn.
"Where are we?" Leah asked the other person.
"In a truck, probably. We're moving, so that kind of gives it all away."
"Do you know where they're taking us?" She asked.
Great, Leah though to herself. Just when she and Alex thought they were going somewhere, they were captured by the same mercenaries from a few days ago. Speaking of Alex, Leah wondered if he was in the truck as well. If he was, he was still probably out.
Leah tried to sleep and wait for whatever was coming to them later.
Some time later, later...
The truck eventually stopped. The doors of the trailer were opened and Leah felt herself being grabbed, but was too tired to resist. She was being brought somewhere, but didn't know where.
They eventually brought her to a small room, by the echo (or non-existent echo) in their voices. She was forced to sit in a chair, where they tied her to the chair and untied her hands. Leah's blindfold was removed and she was facing another chair (which was facing her) and she was correct about being in a small room. In the other chair was another person, assuming it was a female based on the shape, but they had a bag over their head. They too were tied to the chair.
One of the mercenaries pulled the bag from the other person's head. Leah was surprised, overjoyed, angry, and confused at the same time.
"I'll leave you two alone for now... to catch up on things before what's going to happen..." The boss said, leaving the room with the mercenaries.
"Elise?!?" Leah said once the mercenaries left. Tears swelled up in her eyes.
Bill Fletcher and Auden Frasier
Bill stood, he had just been shot, although it had only been a flesh wound. The looters that had killed his wife and young child thought they had killed him too, instead of fighting back he had thought it best to wait for them to leave when he would have the element of surprise.
The five men had left and were about a block away. Bill climbed the stairs and found the gun cabinet where he kept his GOL Sniper Magnum. Quickly, he rushed to a window and tried to find a shot on the men, but they had turned a street corner. He rushed down the stairs and out the house, finding himself in the middle of a small town. He felt the cold hit him like a wall, "fuck i hate the cold," he said to himself. Slowly he made his way down the street toward where the men had gone. The house at street corner had an excellent line of sight down the street that the looters had gone down. Slowly, he opened the door and climbed the stairs.
He settled his rifle on the window ledge and watched the men walk further down the street. He looked next to him, a decomposing body sat in a rocking chair directly to his left. He ignored it and continued watching. The five men all were out of cover at the same time, Bill slowly squeezed the trigger, sending a bullet sailing into the man in the middles head. He dropped to the ground and the rest of the men all froze. Bill chambered another round and readied the shot for another man, the man was struck in the brainstem, dropping him to the ground. One man finally realized what was happening and ran inside a nearby house. Bill cursed and loaded another round, the remaining two men raised their AK-47 rifles and began firing wildly, still not knowing where the shots were coming from. Bill quickly finished off the other two and left the building, heading for the one the remaining looter was in.
quickly Bill made his way toward the house, rifle raised and ready to fire. he got to the door and put a round into the lock, then kicked the door in and drew a knife, ready for an attack. He found the man sitting in a corner, looking at him. Bill raised his rifle and aimed it at the mans head. The looter was wearing a heavy winter jacket and a ski mask. "Take off the mask!" commanded Bill, tightening his grip on the rifle. The man obeyed and slowly took off the ski mask, revealing that he was just a boy, no older than 16 or 17. "Listen, si-" the looter began to say before he was cut off by Bill, who put a bullet in his head.
Bill walked out of the house, and began to walk down the street, passing the dead looters. He searched them for anything valuable, all he found was some food and a few 7.62mm bullets. He continued down the street, hoping he could find anyone else that did not want to kill him.
The next morning Bill walked through the woods outside of town. A fresh layer of snow had fallen and it crunched beneath his feet. He cradled the GOL Sniper Magnum and the little ammunition he had for it. He had counted the remaining bullets over and over, only four left. He had almost used them earlier when he witnessed several armed men execute a man they had tied to a tree. Perhaps he should have helped him, instead all Bill had done was bury himself under sticks and snow and waited for several hours. Now he was approaching the man, still alert for any signs of the people that had brutally executed him.
The mans arms had been bound to the tree, and he was on his knees. Blood coated the man and the surrounding ground from having the mans throat cut. Bill smiled, his executioners had left the dead mans weapon next to his lifeless body. Bill picked it up, the M4A1 SOPMOD was in excellent condition, and it had a full magazine. There were another four full mags next to the rifle. Bill picked up the magazines and weapon and continued walking through the woods.
Auden was crouched on a large hill overlooking the town. With his bow and an arrow in hand, he surveyed the town as well as the skies for any potential animals to hunt for food. Many animals perished after the WR 104 gamma ray burst, as did humans and other organisms, and it was rather hard finding them throughout the city.
As he was searching the area, he found a man crouched down beside a tree, which had a person who was hung from it. There was blood coated around the man tied to the tree and the living person looked like he was scavenging from the corpse.
Auden decided he didn't want to interrupt the guy and potentially cause trouble, so he went the other way down the hill, walking slowly in the snow. He didn't particularly like the snow, but it was certainly something he'd never seen in his life, as he's been in California all his life and never really went abroad.
When he reached the bottom of the hill, he noticed a deer that was eating from the ground. The deer still hadn't noticed Auden yet and minded his own business. Auden, who was almost caught, quickly crouched on the ground. He primed his arrow, almost ready to fire at the deer. As Auden was slowly walking, the deer raised its head to look at it s surroundings. It noticed Auden with his bow and arrow and quickly dashed into the town.
Auden swore under his breath, lowered his bow, and decided to chase after it. He figured the deer would get lost and confused in the town and eventually stop.
A shot rang out. The deer fell to its side, a bullet it its head. At the top of the hill Bill chambered another round into his GOL Sniper Magnum and aimed it at Auden. "Okay, ten seconds to tell me who you are buddy," he said, still aiming the weapon, ready to fire at any moment. Pancake301
"My name is Auden Frasier!" Auden quickly yelled out.
Auden froze as the stranger was still aiming the magnum at him. Death didn't seem too bad... After all, he had no one left. What was the point of it all?
The man sighed and lowered his weapon after a brief pause. Auden silently sighed of relief and loosened up.
"You scared me there for a second, Auden," The man said. "I'm Bill. Bill Fletcher."
Auden nodded to show he understood.
"What are you doing out here all alone? You don't look like you'd last out here by yourself. Do you have friends? Parents?" Bill asked.
"They're dead. All of them."
Bill slung the rifle on his back and made his way down the hill toward Auden. He continued past him toward the deer, using a pair of plyers, he removed the bullet from the deers skull. "Bon Appeteite," he said with a smile. He suddenly snapped his head up and looked toward the top of the hill. "Those men that killed the poor fellow up on the hill, the're back." He immediately grabbed his M4A1 and aimed at the top of the hill. --Pancake301 04:26, August 28, 2013 (UTC)
"I see about six or seven guys, but there may be more. I suggest you stay back." He said, starting to fire at the people on the hill.
They returned fire. Auden dove behind the tree, standing up so the tree would cover his whole body.
Bill seemed to do well for himself, killing most of them. When he had to reload, there was one more man running towards him. The man had a machete and appeared to be going after Bill's head. Bill wasn't facing the person about to kill him, so Auden quickly aimed and fired an arrow into the person's head, instantly killing them. Bill turned around and noticed Auden saved his life.
"Thanks, Auden." He said.
They walked toward each other, stopping where they previously were before the looters came.
"Y'know, we could make a great team. How about you and I go together, keep each other safe?" Bill asked.
Auden wasn't sure, having only met Bill a few minutes ago. But he had no one else and it would be best to have at least one friend having his back.
"Sure." Auden said.
Closed until all survivors meet up with one another.