View Full Version : The Nuclear Winter- Chapter Three

June 1st, 2015, 05:03 PM
Chapter Three: The Beginning of the Journey
It was quiet as we journeyed through the ruins of the once vast city, half destroyed by the hurricane, half destroyed by the gigantic ball of fire. Dominique kept glancing at me nervously as though I was going to pull out my tomahawk at any second and chop her head off. “Could you stop doing that?” I said, “Stop doing what?” she replied, slightly offended. “Stop looking at me like that, I saved you from drowning didn’t I?”
“It’s just, when I was 12 last year, I...” she paused. “A man had my trust, but he betrayed me.” She left it at that; I decided not to push her but instead tried to comfort her. I said, “I am not that man; we have to learn to trust each other no matter what happens. That’s what friends are for.” Dominique hugged me, and said, “Thank you, but we can’t talk, we have to start looking for shelter, the sun is going down.”
She glanced around at the ruins, trying to find a formidable shelter. “You know what? We could wait ‘till we get out of the city, because after all, it might be nice to sleep under the stars. You know, by a campfire. I have been sleeping in a bunker the whole time and enjoying what's left of nature might be nice.” Dominique gave me a desperate look, but then she seemed to set aside whatever was troubling her. She shrugged and said, “It might be a good thing to sleep under the stars tonight… In most places all you would see in the sky is ash.”
We walked out of the town, and found a suitable place to spend the night; we had found an old log cabin with carpeted floors that were still wet from the murky floodwater, and a linen camouflage bed. We walked outside, and Dominique crouched down to the ground where a sapling was growing, and uprooted it, she looked at me, and said, “Could you find me more of these, because if we are going to be travelling we need portable beds, and we will need to get off the ground.” I didn't get what she was trying to say, and replied, “And what do you plan to do with a handful of saplings?” She then snidely replied, “Well genius, have you ever heard of a hammock, because that is what I’m trying to make.” “Sorry,” I said apologetically.
I then sat about to find saplings, in the barren wasteland of Florida. When I thought I had found a good amount of saplings, I turned around to head back to camp.
But that’s when I saw a spine chilling sight, there was a terrifying beast staring right at me. I froze completely, and instinctively, inched my hand towards my tomahawk. But I had left it with Dominique, and I was at the mercy of this horrifying creature. It had cold, dark eyes that at the same time seemed to be intelligent to some level. The beast was gigantic, and had four, furry, enormous legs with claws that were grey and looked if they were made of steel.
Right when I thought the beast was going to attack, it turned and left. I sat there staring into the dying trees of the once great Floridian wilderness trying to think of what this creature was, and why it let me live.
It was well after dark when I returned to the rotting log cabin, and Dominique, who was sitting on the bed, took one look at me and said, “What took you so long? I was beginning to think something got you.” I told her about the beast. “It’s probably some mutant, besides, it was stupid of me to have us separated, haven’t you seen those old horror movies?” I chuckled a bit at that.
I remembered my parents and the happy days when I was safe and people were civilized. Damned politics, how could they let this happen? I remember the day the U.S. began the invasion of Varuscha, a country named after the man that overthrew the Russian government and declared martial law. He had made it a country of minimal rights, allowing people the three basic necessities, food, shelter, and security, (and too much security at that). But the fact is that no-one really knows what truly persuaded the U.S. government officials to engage in warfare in the first place, clearly not weighing the consequences of such actions.
Varuscha had made it very clear that if we would not back down there would be dire consequences. Thus initiating another anti-warfare movement on a far larger scale than what happened in the late 1960s, millions of people refused to work. Yet still congress denied demands to stop the war. Even the soldiers laid down their arms. The American propaganda system was failing; which had initiated the Second Civil War. The president then called upon the European leaders for help.
Europe joined in the warfare via NATO with a grand invasion. Most Asian and African countries demanded an end to the war, but couldn’t act upon it. Nobody approved of what Varuscha was doing to his people but nobody wanted a full scale nuclear war either. Those who approved of the war were called, “Doomsday Bringers,” and were often spat at as they walked through the streets.
After seeing the war that was destined to happen, my parents, (who were important government officials), then sent me to the bunker I was forced to call home, a day ago I wouldn’t have said this, but, I would give nearly anything to be back there now. My parents never supported the war but only stayed with their jobs to try to change what was destined to happen, World War Three… The final World War.
I had only now realized that Dominique was looking at me funny, “What?” I asked. She giggled. “Well I asked you about how we are going to get to Hawaii, if we decide to, but, you seemed a little zoned out.” “Uh yeah; yeah I was just thinking about my parents,” I said in a nonchalant tone.
We decided that we were indeed going to Hawaii, it was a good a shot as any. We discussed how we planned to get there; and decided to stick to the southernmost route along the coast of what used to be the U.S. and Mexican border. We would reach the Californian islands, and look for some sort of watercraft/aircraft for transportation, and try to find a map to reach the Big Island of Hawaii.
Afterwards Dominique and I sat there chatting about what happened earlier that day; chatting about why Tampa was hit by that ball of fire, and how it sucked in all matter surrounding it. We talked also about my confrontation with that bear-like creature in the woods. “I would like to chat more but we need sleep, and travelling at night is worse than dangerous... And hey, thanks for saving me earlier, I could’ve drowned, but you rescued me… Now I know that I can trust you, I was thinking you could’ve ran off earlier, but you didn’t, so are we friends now?” “I already told you we are, and will be for a long time.” Dominique smiled and hopped in the bed.
With that decision made, Dominique fell asleep in the musky, camouflaged bed. I sat down on my backpack on the wet floor that leaked in from ashy floodwater with just myself as company, I sat and thought about the creature I encountered, and felt scared to be alone with that monster patrolling the woods. I was thankful to have Dominique with me and decided to forget the fact that when I first met her I tried to kill her.
This couldn’t have happened by coincidence, there was a reason we met, there had to be. I went up to the oak door of the cabin and slid the bolt lock, even if it wouldn’t keep us safe, it would make me feel safe. I quietly crawled into bed next to her and drifted off to sleep.
When I woke up the next morning I sat upright and saw Dominique tying together the ends of the saplings, “I’ve got to use the flexible branches on certain parts for folding and stuff, it's boring work but I don’t suppose you are doing it?” She looked at me. Still tired, I responded nonchalantly, “It seems not.” “Figured so,” she muttered. The rest of the morning we talked all about what happened yesterday and I told her about how I fought a Australian dude who turned out to be a cannibal. She told me something unexpected; she told me how she was stealing my stash of food to pay off a clan called “The Great King Eiders.” She thought it was ironic that they named their clan after a duck. But it sounded more menacing, she added, than “The Migrating Ducks.”
I took out the diary I found in the hotel and read the cover, it was one of those common store-bought diaries. I opened it to the first page and read,
“EdwardLeonApril 15th,
So I’m sitting here in this abandoned hotel room, a maniac downstairs keeps muttering on and on saying “It’s not wrong! I gotta do this to survive, screw what they think!” I don’t know what is up with him but I do know what is bothering me, I miss my daughter more than ever now, but it was either me, or her, I regret deeply the decision I made but how was she to survive in this chaotic world? I wanted to put her out of her misery, but now wherever she may be, be it Heaven, Hell, or even worse, Earth. I want to tell her how sorry I am. But I am living in eternal regret now, I hope God will forgive me for what I’ve done.”
I flipped through pages and pages of rubbish with him complaining about the man downstairs, who I figured was the cannibal I met earlier. I closed the diary. I felt a strange feeling, trying to think of a cause to that feeling. I shrugged and put it back into my backpack, which was now wet from sitting on the floor.
“Well, we better get going,” I said. She folded up her hammock, which was a rough work in progress and put it in her backpack without saying a word. By the time we gathered our things, the sun had climbed up in to the sky, and set off on our journey. The sub-tropical climate of most of Florida was now a bitter cold, caused by extreme climate changes after ash rose into the sky blocking the sun, from the Nuclear Winter. I saw a faint grey wall in the distance ahead and realized this must be one of those small city-states that formed after the war started.
Once we got to a hill overlooking the city-state, there was a grouping of one story shanty buildings, an array of solar panels (half of them broken) and a tall, brick watchtower, with a small wall of stone surrounding the city-state.
There was a small creek that flowed through the middle of the place, I placed my ear to the wall, it sounded like the city-state was deserted. I looked at Dominique and said, “Should we risk going in there to scavenge?” She calmly replied, “I don’t know, but we will need to get food some time, and who knows if we'll ever come across another drinkable water source.” “Well here goes nothing,” I said.
The wooden door to get inside was locked, and the stonewall was about 10 feet tall; which tasked us with getting over it. Dominique tossed her bag into my arms and kicked the wall, I looked at her curiously. At once she scaled up the wall and grabbed onto the top, she put her leg up over her head and pulled herself over the wall.
I looked up in astonishment. “Toss it over!” she yelled. I grabbed her bag and tossed it over. She opened the wooden door from the inside and pulled me inside. “How did you do that?!” I asked in amazement. “I learned a bit of parkour from my brother.” We decided to go in to one of the buildings to look for food, and any other item that could possibly help us. We went inside the first building, and just like I had thought, it was abandoned. The building was made of cheap, rotting wood, and had trash of all sorts laying everywhere.
We began to search cabinets, and I found a supply of honey (you know, the ones with the bear design). I put it into my backpack and we went through the abandoned houses, someone obviously scavenged it thoroughly; considering all we found was a can of lima beans, an old mandarin orange snack cup, and a package with around 10 ounces of homemade beef jerky in it (like, three times more jerky than those $6 packs). The sky was already getting dark by the time we had searched all the other buildings, we had not found much more than what was in the first house other than a particularly moldy box of cigars. I couldn’t believe cigars could even get moldy, even with all the poison they put in them.
Although we had just then noticed, we hadn’t searched the watchtower. We went up to it to find that it had a opened wooden door. With a cramped interior that had a ladder which consisted of cold iron rungs that were loosely bolted into the brick walls. It led to the top of the tower. “What do you think, should we climb it?” I asked her. “Considering we have not found nearly a trace of life in this entire village why not?” Dominique replied. “Okay,” I said as I began to climb.
Once I got climbed into the room I was startled to find a old man stained in blood with a big bushy white beard sitting on the floor in the corner. “Wha-what do y-you want? C-come to finish me off, eh?” the old man said weakly, sounding rather scared. I pulled out my tomahawk, just for safety measures. “Ha ha-aha! I knew it… Ye kidnapped me whole clan and now they sent ya to kill me,” he said with a look of disgust.
“Look you old fool, we don’t know who you are or what you are talking about, we came here to scavenge for food so we can survive,” She said as a-matter-of-factly. The old man started laughing sounding pained, “Well he-he, y-you wouldn’t find anything here missy, the Mad Malayan Tiger Clan swept the w-whole lot clean, go on then! I won’t hurt-cha, can’t ya see I have been stabbed in me—e stomach? It’s right about time before I-I start on the descent to Heaven.” He looked to me and whispered, “There’s this chest over here,” he weakly moved his arm to the left, “It’s got a fancy map in it. A-and, behind you is a railgun, just incase it comes b-b-back.” he said, sounding weaker each word. “G-g–good l-luck,” the old man said, falling right, onto the floor. I sat there looking at the old man, why, why would he help us? And what was ‘it’. Dominique however, did not seem to show one ounce of pity. “Way to make a dramatic ending there grandpa,” she said bitterly.
I walked over to the chest and tried to pull it open, not budging. I noticed a lock, duh, how could I have not seen that before? I walked over to the dead old man and reluctantly searched his pockets, he smelled like too much cologne that makes people want to stay away from you. As I was searching I noticed it was in his socks, so I stretched his socks out and hastily took out the key.
I went to the chest and put it in only to find out it didn’t fit! So I pulled out my tomahawk and broke the lock, “I guess that works,” Dominique said, amused. I opened the wooden chest to find a small, circular device with a single button on it that said Push™. I pressed it and a holographic blue wall of text came up. ‘Loading, please wait… … … … Calculating latitude and longitude, please wait (this first time operation may take up to 3 minutes) … … … … Scanning geographical features, please wait … … … … Welcome.’ A big holograph of a map in full color appeared. We were near the town of Perry approximately. Dominique studied the map and said nothing. I pressed the button and the holographic map disappeared. I also noticed three walkie-talkies in the chest also. I tossed one to Dominique and stuffed one in my backpack, and one in my pocket. I looked at her and noticed that she was admiring the railgun, which had a glass-like box with a door on it surrounding a leather seat, with a futuristic looking gun in front of the box, “Magnificent.” She murmured, “Absolutely magnificent.”
I had heard of railguns before, my Dad always went on and on about how much firepower they packed, “Let’s just say if it was a cruise ship vs a railgun, the cruise ship would be sunk in a matter of seconds, they are small for their firepower but deal a helluva punch, a true masterpiece,” he always said. “My dad always talked about those y’know, as if they were some kind of super weapon.” I said uncaringly, “Well, it's because they are! They can penetrate force fields, and can penetrate most of the materials known to man, the firepower is unfathomable!” She said excitedly.
“So they are not as powerful as nukes right?” I said with an air of curiosity. Dominique looked at me as if I were stupid, and said, “nukes are explosive, and this punches holes in things, it could tear anything apart.” “Oh,” I replied. “Well, I guess that it could be useful.” I said trying to sound smart. Dominique gave me the same look, and said, “they require a extremely large supply of electricity to operate.”
“And those solar panels we found earlier should suffice to power it?” I said questionably, “Maybe, but not as much firepower as it would be if all the solar panels were still intact,” she said.
“It wouldn’t matter anyways, it's not like we would use it,” she stated as she crawled out of the firing seat and closed the glass-like door. I looked back at the old, dead man, just a few moments ago I was looking into the face of a dying man, and now hes dead. “You think we should probably bury him?” I asked Dominique. She looked me dead in the eye and said, “Every man, whether good or not, deserves a peaceful death, along with a proper burial.”
She remained in the watchtower while I found a good spot to bury the man. Just then I realized I didn’t have a clue on how I was going to bury him, for I had nothing to bury him with.
I looked back up at the watchtower to see Dominique screaming at me to get up. I ran to the watchtower and climbed hastily up the ladder. Dominique picked up the dead man and asked for a hand. Together we tossed him with all our strength out of the tower. “He,” she said trembling, “There’s, a drone out there that that stupid old man attracted, it picked up his heat signature!” she said shaking madly. “What? But don’t we have heat signatures also?” “NO! The suits mask that!” I looked out and saw a massive black drone travelling faster than my eyes could comprehend. It looked like a slick torpedo, complete with a force field and thermal cameras.
“I have seen one of these things before, they detect life forms and have advanced x ray and thermal technology, and that disgusting old man is still showing faint heat signatures! And if you have seen anything of these type of drones you would know that they can and will destroy everything in their path!” She said as he failed to hide her panic.
Without saying another word she hopped into the glass-like box and pressed the power switch to turn the railgun on. A holographic array of buttons and symbols appeared in front of her in the box, which was distorted by glass. The drone quickly appeared at the walls. It stopped to scan, and then without any hesitation, it shot a barrage of lasers and missiles out. This levelled the entire wall, and blew up an entire array of buildings. The drone flew over to the windows, and fired a missile at the old man which disintegrated him instantly. It flew around destroying the rest of the buildings. It turned suddenly on the watchtower. Before it could even scan us, Dominique screamed, “Take this!!!” No later than that did she fire the railgun.
A big, electrified rod of metal emerged at a terrifying speed from this machine, and hit the drone. The air filled with ozone, there was a loud popping noise, and a huge flash of light came from the middle of the drone. When the light faded, the drone started to spin out of control as a monstrous, gaping hole in the drone started to emit fire, and smoke. The drone started to spin quite rapidly, but was still getting closer to us. It hit the tower, and exploded. The surface beneath me started to tilt sideways, the tower collapsed, the last thing I heard was Dominique cursing the drone in a shrill voice...