Where the World Ends

/ By linkthehero [+Watch]

Replies: 7 / 5 years 283 days 39 minutes 37 seconds



You know, it's funny. You learn all 'bout how the world changed as a kid. Go plop your butt down in social studies and you learn the hows and whys you can plop your butt down there. But you never think that you could be the victim of one of those historical changes. One of those changes that would have been written in textbooks for eternity or somthin'.

'Cept there ain't no new text books gon' be printed anytime soon. And there ain't no schools neither. All that's left is a dead world full'a dead people and a lot of monsters... Not all of 'em physical. Like the thoughts of my once happy life. I was a newlywed then. Married a woman that was probably too good for the likes of me. Abigale. I was wrapped around her finger the moment I saw her.

She was one of the first to go. Lost her when the power went out. They got her, then grabbed me. I almost let 'em take me too. Sometimes I still wish I'd let 'em.

But the real monsters, the ones I can butcher? They came down in waves. At first everything seemed distant. They only hit a few major areas. Broadcasting systems were still airing, telling people not to panic, like that ever worked. Then slowly the power went out all over. Most of the attacks came after that, wiping out the majority of us.

Hard to believe that was, what, fifteen or so years ago? I've long forgotten the date. No need for calendars anymore. No appointments to keep. But I felt older than I knew I was. I tried counting the summers, but time gets strange when you're fighting for survival. Last I remember I was thirty-two. Probably around thirty five now...

I met someone though. A girl named ________. She's in her early twenties. All I know is she was too young to remember the world before all this hell broke loose. Sometimes I think she might be tougher than me because of it. She almost took my head off with a butcher's knife when we first ran into each other. But we got past our differences and we teamed up. You see, it's not just the aliens we have to fear. It's other people, too. They'll kill you in a blink to get what you got on your back. First few nights I was actually afraid ________ might murder me in my sleep. But after about a week, my trust has grown. It's nice to have someone on watch while you get some shut eye. We can get places we wouldn't have been able to get alone, too. Thing is light as a feather, I can lift her up anywhere.

And... It's nice to be able to talk to someone again. I feel more sane than I have in years.



I don't really have too much of a plot for this like I do with most of my stories. I just want us to go with the flow and do what feels right. All you really need to know is that there was an alien invasion . My character is kind of this tired and withered man who was born and knew the world before the invasion. Your character is a young woman that has only ever really known the the invaded world. She was born before the invasion but she was just a toddler and doesn't remember much. Despite their age difference, I want them to be in a romantic relationship at some point, which seems only natural if you feel like the only two people left in the world. I want your character to be strong willed, kind of the opposite of my own. She knows how to survive. She's not some Bella Swan or any other cookie-cutter woman. I want my character to save yours, but not in a damsel in distress kind of way. Because heaven knows your character will be saving mine as well.



Rules

+ Understand that I will not be able to post everyday. I'm a busy person and my real life always comes before roleplays. If you want to post every single day, this probably isn't for you.
+ I'm not going to say, "No quitting or I'll hate you forever, wahhh!" I do not mind if you want to quit after we start. We never know exactly how a roleplay will go until we start it. One of us just might not be feeling it and that's perfectly okay. Seriously, I won't bite your head off if you find out this isn't for you.
+ Literacy, please. To me, this means simply: grammar, capitalization, punctuation, multiple paragraphs. I'm asking for at least 3,000 characters per post. My personal average in a busy roleplay is anywhere between 4,000- 10,000+ characters. I've been known to go below this or over this depending on the scene.
+ Mature writers please. Gore, alien gore, bad language, adult romance, apocalyptic themes, etc, will occur.
+ I can be quite picky when it comes to pictures, but don't let that scare you. I'm always willing to help you choose as well! :]
+ Please supply me with an example post of your writing. :] [You don't have to write anything new.]
+ Tell me what your favorite movie is in your request to join.



Last but not least, this rp was greatly inspired by the new game coming out next year called 'The Last of Us'. If you like video games, check it out, I am so eager!

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I watched as she made an effort to open one of the barn doors. Her shoes stuck in the mud and though the running still left me winded, I came up beside her to help push. The door gave way and opened just enough to let us pass through. When I pulled away my hand slipped on the wet wood and I felt a splinter embed itself into my finger.

“Should still have some dry places, might be able to find some lighter fluid," she said and turned to me. "Are you alright?"
I was staring at my hand, trying to find the splinter, but I was still half bent over, still trying to catch my breath. "Yeah, I'm alright," I answered.
“It’s better to hold your arms behind your head and stand up straight. Makes your lungs wider – easier to breathe," she advised, laying a hand on my shoulder.
I nodded. "Yeah, yeah." I knew she was right. But then again I had never had to keep up with someone so quick before. "I ain't used to all this runnin'. Better at climbin' and beatin' things to a pulp," I confessed.

I watched her slide into the barn then and I straightened and followed. The sights and smells were all familiar to me and I suddenly became nostalgic of home. I heard my companion mention horses and I nodded.
"Prob'ly taken by others. Or eaten," I pointed out. I ran my hand over a couple of saddles beside me. I could still tell poor quality from great, and these saddles were well made. As were the forgotten bridles. Whoever used to own this barn sure cared for their horses. I was caught in my own mind for a moment, remembering my own barn, my own horses. One horse in particular I had loved. The mare was probably long gone by now.

I looked over to the girl who was ringing the water out of her hair. I didn't know how she did it. If I were a woman, I'd probably just cut it all off out of practicality. But there was something about seeing her do that that just felt so... normal. I remember my own wife doing the same thing when she got out of shower. I looked away and chewed the inside of my lip.

“I know I needed a bath," she mumbled to herself. Then she looked toward me. “How is your head feeling?”
I reached up to touch my hand to the pain once more. "Little better. Now that we've stopped the runnin'," I said, taking a dry spot beside one of the posts that held the upper floor in place. I pulled off my backpack and unzipped it. The rush had left me starving.

"The name's Dustin," I told her. "Dustin Hayes." I reached into the bad and pulled out the bag of chips and tossed it to her. "They'll be pretty hard, but those things hardly go stale." I pulled out a can of beans and my pocket knife and cut into the lid. "Hope you like canned food, 'cause that's just about all else I got." I pulled out my old, beat up spoon that desperately needed a wash and dug in.

I couldn't decide if making small talk with this woman would be a good idea or not. But I figured worse case scenario, she just tells me to shut up. I hadn't given her any reason to kill me so far. Hell, I gave her my whole bag of chips.

"Where you from originally?" I asked. I decided against the age question for now, still unsure if that that considered an insult to ask these days. I almost laughed at myself. Worrying about manners in a place like this. It was comical.
  Dustin Hayes / linkthehero / 5y 181d 7h 52m 10s
Mud soon caked my boots as I trudged ahead of South. Seemed his head injury was worse than I had thought – mentally I racked up a list of curse's that I was slightly sure would make South blush or scowl, he seemed more of a scowl man. As of now, he was a very slow ass man, having looked over my shoulder enough times to check for his silhouette and make sure he was in fact still moving. It wouldn’t have affected me if South kicked the bucket in a mad attempt to keep up with me, though I wouldn’t wish death on him; or any human for that matter. There was enough fuckwits out there that didn’t give a flying fuck if they harmed, dismembered, or murdered another human. Those always held a strange look in their eyes. Mentally, I reminded myself to check and see if South held interesting gilts in his eyes.
Eye’s told a lot about a person’s character.
Character was all one really had anymore. Unless one happened to have chips – then fuck character.
Rain still poured heavily as I came across the old barn. There were still patches of dull red paint sloshed, but the sloshes were rare as most the barn was now a light grey color. Ignoring South’s gasps, I pushed against one of the barn’s large doors. A less-then-lady-like grunt left me while my boots suck down further into the mud to the point my lower half slid away from the door, leaving me at a weird angle. With another grunt and one final heave the old door gave way with a loud creak, letting a musky smell of old hay and rotting wood drifted out and filled my nostrils. “Should still have some dry places, might be able to find some lighter fluid.” I rambled, grabbing my left leg by the calf and giving it a good pull, my boot became unstuck with a sickening sucking sound; the same action was repeated with my right boot. “Are you alright?” I asked with a raised brow, eyeing South before I gave the barn door a small kick with the tip of my steel toe boot, opening it enough that we would be able to slip inside.

Striding over to South, I gingerly reached out and laid my hand upon his shoulder. It was strange, this human contact. If I had any previous knowledge of this action from before then I did not remember it. Thought I might have blocked it out, considering that it felt so wrong. Raising a weapon against another felt more right then this action. “It’s better to hold your arms behind your head and stand up straight. Makes your lungs wider – easier to breathe.” I explained, awkwardly patting South’s shoulder. The thought of just slinging him across my back and hauling him inside did arise in the back of my head. The chill from the rain was beginning to seep into my bones.
I would be damned if what took me out was a mere cold.
The more comment cold could do more damage than a baseball bat to the head if one couldn’t treat it.
Giving his arm one final pat, I moved away and slid into the barn. The second floor had already begun to crump as large patches of wood were missing, littering the ground around me. Most of the old hay that could be smelt was piled high in the back corner of the room, stretching up to touch the second floor. There were four stalls, two across from another two as the back of the barn was left most for the hay. There was open space to my left that held large dark green barrels, rusted over on the top. Above that was the tackle which held plenty of lead ropes and bridles. “Horses.” I guessed out loud at the animals that were only kept there. I had never actually seen one, but I had heard stories from passerby’s about them, of what they looked like and what they were used for. Letting out a sigh of relief, I twisted all of my hair to my left side and began to dreadfully long process of ringing out all of the water it had soaked up.

“I know I needed a bath.” I grumbled, ringing the last of the water I could get out before giving up and pushing my tangled messy of wet hair away from my face. “How is your head feeling?” I asked towards my new companion as my attack on water venture towards my shirt. The easiest thing to do would be to take it off and ring it dry, the same with my jean, but given that I had company, wet clothes would have to do. Dying naked wasn’t something I looked forward too either.
  Evelyn R. Monroe / Darcy / 5y 206d 17h 28m 16s
“Everyone chops down everyone – that’s how this world is,” she said. And she was damn right. But despite that, she put her knife away. I relaxed and let out a sigh, probably more audible than I should have allowed it to be. Then the silence started. And it stretched on as we looked at one another. I opened my mouth, having no plan of what was to come from it, just as he spoke up once again. “Your head is it cracked?”

I lifted my arm, my muscles aching and tired, as I touched my head. My hand came away dry, and I took that as a good sign. "Nah. I mean, maybe. I'unno." I stood there for a second and shook my head at myself. "I was asleep," I confessed. "Stupid idea if I had a concussion... Stupid idea." As I finished my sentence a rumble of thunder echoed through the sky.
"Crumb. Rain," she muttered. "Move," she instructed. “We should move and find cover; they’ll be out as soon as it stops."
I guess this meant we were on the same side for now. She was right of course, about the rain. Running wasn't exactly on the top of my to-do list, but she was right. I touched my head again and muttered a curse. As if to urge me into action, she reached over, but hesitantly, then drew back. Like someone who had no idea how human interaction worked. And perhaps she didn't... But her face changed, her eyes almost determined, and she touched my shoulder saying, "A mile or so there’s a place I past, we could stop there."
"It's safe?" I asked.
After she nodded, she added, “Unlikely friends until after the rain and your head trauma is bearable.” She stretched out a hand. "Agreed?"
I looked from her to her hand and back again. I guess I didn't have much of a choice. I put my hand in hers and shook it gently, wondering if she'd ever even had a true handshake before or if that was even what she was offering with her outstretched hand. The age difference between us was evident in this gesture.
"Agreed," I said. "Lead the way. We better move fast. Dunno how long this storm is gonna last."

I adjusted the pack and rifle on my shoulder, made sure my pistol was at my side, and then we were off, sprinting across the field. The lighting lit up the sky and I felt unsafe being the only thing in a wide open field, but it was either this, or them. And I'd rather chance lightening any day. It had never stopped raining since earlier that day, but now it fell hard and unrelenting. The dirt beneath our feet had turned to mud and every step was a struggle to pull my boots from its wet grip. The dead crops lashed out at me and my head pounded with every clap of thunder. But I just kept telling myself it would be worth it. But the longer we ran, the more frustrated I became. If this place wasn't everything I thought it would be I'd... I'd honestly just deal with it. But that didn't stop me from fantasizing.

One thing I did notice about this girl was how fast she was. Even with the mud trying to devour our shoes, she's was quick and by the time we actually got to where we were going, she was just a dot on the horizon. Of course she wouldn't wait for me. If the rain stopped and I died, she would just come get my supplies later. Just one more thing off her back. But fortunately the rain kept pouring. And by the time I got to her I was out of breath. I was fit, that was for sure. You couldn't exist in this world without being able to run several miles or lift your own weight, but I didn't doubt if this woman could just run all day if it pleased her. I rested my hands on my knees as I breathed hard, shaking my head. I hadn't even registered where we were. The lack of oxygen and my pounding head were all I seemed to be focused on.
  Dustin Hayes / linkthehero / 5y 231d 3h 54m 57s
To kill or not to kill him; that was the question and I was no fucking Shakespeare.
As ironclad as my will to kill this man was, my stomach was ten times as weak. Letting out a loud growl as South’s promise of food had resurfaced on my thoughts; right next to the thought of killing him and just taking the food, I shook my head. I was no better than the pack salvagers that preyed on the lonely. A snort left me at his little outburst which was quickly followed by the raising of the brows at his not-so-quick catch on his world play. I clicked my tongue on the roof of my mouth.

Decisions, decisions.
This was one of the reasons I disliked being around people. They always made a muck of things.
“Everyone chops down everyone – that’s how this world is.” I shrugged; putting my knife away, though not out of reach should South try to pull anything on me. Just because he was playing the gentleman’s card wasn’t grounds for me to play the Southern bell. I nodded at his pack, curiosity of what kinds of food that South had managed to hide away for him, my stomach growling in appreciation.
Damned thing; it would get me killed one of these days.

I rolled back on my heels, switching weight off of my left foot to my right – just to be on the safe side. With my knife back within its sheath a knot of anticipation began to grow within my stomach like a snake, waiting to strike. “Your head is it cracked?” I asked, trying to piece together what little manners I held to my name. Taking a bat to the head was bound to take some toll. Perhaps that was the reason this talk of friendship had arose. What skills I had managed to gain in this world, nursing someone that was injured wasn’t one of them – at least, I think it’s not one; hadn’t spent enough time with people to actually hone in on that particular skill. Taking in a long inhale, my head snapped up, hazel eyes scanned the darkening sky as a rumble from above caused my hands to twitch. “Crumb. Rain.” I mumbled, eyes still scanning for any possible danger, though none would be found, not in rain.

They never appeared in the rain, something about it they didn’t seemed to like much, but that didn’t stop me from taking extra caution. “Move,” I warned cold eyes back on South, “We should move and find cover; they’ll be out as soon as it stops.” Just as the words finally left my mouth a loud crackle from overheard sounded as if to signal the start of a race. Well, at least I would be faster than South if worse came to shove. Clicking my tongue on the roof of my mouth I reached out and hesitantly touched South’s elbow, taking my hand back instantly as if the action had left me burnt.
Touching, something about it just felt wrong.
Like the action should be forbidden.
Perhaps in the old world it was. I pushed the thought away. Wondering what was and what wasn’t, now wasn’t the time for it.

Clearing my throat I touched his shoulder once more before letting my feet move. “A mile or so there’s a place I past, we could stop there.” I gave him a pointed glare. “Unlikely friends until after the rain and your head trauma is bearable.” I stretched out a hand, the contract between us stated firmly. After the rain was gone and they were back to prowling, we’d split ways. I had enough trouble looking after myself, looking after South was the last thing I needed. “Agreed?”
  Evelyn R. Monroe / darcy / 5y 238d 7h 41m 51s
She snorted and rolled her eyes. "I ain't got no need for friends mister." It was obvious that she was mocking me, but I wasn't a child. So instead of getting offended, I just backed up another step. “There’s no such thing as a friend in this world anymore,” she said, her voice what I assumed to be her normal one. She matched me step-for-step, knife still at my throat.

I could see her better now that she was closer. My vision was still blurry as all hell, but I could make out the natural colors in her hair. Her face was smooth with youth, but she held herself like a woman grown. I decided her eyes were blue and they pierced through me, sharper than the blade in her hand.

I had to wonder who she would have been if she had truly known the world before the invasion. If she had really known and lived in there. She would be an average girl, just getting on her feet. She might have even been in an early year of college if she were to choose that path. I wondered what she would have wanted to do with her life. Graphic artist? Doctor? She looked like the type that would daydream of having her own rock band, but who am I to say? Just an old man in a dead world. Not like it matters who she would have been anyway. But every time I see someone, every time I look at some human's face, I have to wonder... Even the men I had killed. I looked at them and knew who they were, though I had never seen them before in my life. I could have passed them in the grocery store and not even notice them, but they had their own stories... What was hers?

She was saying something. Her mouth was moving, but my ears had started to ring. “-you’re not with one of those human packs and that some child isn’t going to come out of the woodworks and cut my heel as soon as I let my guard down?” she asked.

My ears quit their ringing as quickly as they had started and I almost laughed. "I ain't one of them. You head back up the road a ways and you'll find some of them scattered about the road. Hardly got away with my life. And now there's you. All I really want is a moment's peace and if that means letting you eat somethin’ a' mine, then so be it.” I breathed out heavily and stepped back once more. She stepped forward and I winced as the knife cut skin. I could feel a drop of blood running down from under my chin. Felt like a cat scratch more than anything. But her blade was sharp and could take my head clean off if she really wanted it to.

“Unlikely friends,” she said softly. Slowly, she pulled the knife away, but not enough to be completely harmless. “What would stop you from just killing me once I put my knife away?”

"Look," I said, sighing, keeping my hands up, "even if I wanted to attack you, I wouldn't know which one of you to hit. Being hit in the head with a bat sure makes things fuzzy, and it doesn't help that my head's pounding like a fucking-" I caught myself. Bit my tongue. Anger wasn’t going to get me anywhere. "Just, please. I'm not gonna hurt you. I ain't like that. I mean look at me! What kind of ol' fool would justify chopping down some young woman? Even in the midst of all this?" I gestured with a hand around us, not that it was needed to know what the hell I was talking about.
  Dustin Hayes / linkthehero / 5y 253d 6h 43m 30s
There was a decaying atmosphere that hung above the city's skies. Everything was eerily quiet, except for the occasional scuffles of the occasional human and animals across the ruined pavements. Rain only intensified the darkness that clung to the once civilized ruins – or so I have been told. Remembrance of the humanity before my time was lost of me, the woeful tales of how life used to be seemed like mere made up stories to make the younger generation sleep easier at night, the older ones watching with pity in their eyes. To give them hope that something else, something better was waiting for them if they made it through this. ‘Do not pity the dead. Pity the living.’ was the motto I lived by. The dead had it easier than those of us meatbag’s had it. At least they got to sleep peacefully for a change.
There was something about rain that I always love. Not the fact that you get soaked within seconds, like it was cleansing you or that it was like a mini-shower when one desperately needed one, but how calming it is. It was just simple water falling out of the sky. It was weather that I enjoyed to venture in. Unlike most, I traveled alone. There had been a time when there were others, a small pack – not like the demented kind, merely all of us had been traveling in the same direction and decided to stick together until it was time to part. Blinking, I pushed thoughts of the past behind me and continued my hike through the backcountry.
In the corner of my eye, I noticed a decrepit wall, crumping around it was the rest of a building. Turning a blind eye to it, I almost pasted it by until something caused me to pause and roll back on my heels. A ‘human’ sound was what brought my attention back to the ruin. Quietly I crept closer, a smell wafted towards me, something that my stomach could easily place - food.
Pain waved through me as my stomach cried out, urging me towards whatever held onto the substance.
Fuck, how long had it been since I had eaten?
More than a few days, but less than a week, I think.
A knife to the throat was a thoughtless reaction on my part. When there was one, there was always another. The man I held at knife point seemed more dazed and out of it for the first few moments, that I thought he might just save me the trouble of finishing him and walk right into my knife. However, life rarely brought humor for me and it seemed that this man refuse to grant me with it as well since his trace was broke with the usage of the word shit. I took in this man’s full image, from his hair to his southern clothing that I assumed he was from the south. He looked older then I, by at least a handful of years – a true survivor. My brows netted together. Lovely, this was the punishment I get for listening to my black hole of a stomach.
“Look, I don’t want no trouble.” Yup, South.
“I got food.” South continued while trying to put some ground between us. “We can share a meal an’ leave as unlikely friends.” South’s final word caused me to snort and almost roll my eyes.
“I ain’t got no need for friends mister.” I mocked his accent, letting my voice over flow with sarcasm. “There’s no such thing as a friend in this world anymore.” I let my real voice return, my feet taking the same measured steps as South, making sure that distance was the last thing he got. “How do I know you’re not with one of those human packs and that some child isn’t going to come out of the woodworks and cut my heel as soon as I let my guard down?” My eyes finally took in the strap on South’s shoulder and a small grimace rolled through me. Straps normally meant packs, packs had weapons, meaning more than one. This was far more than what I had on my person. My stomach gave out a meek growl, having already used up most of its energy in the first assault.
Food should have been the last thing on my mind.
I pushed my knife closer to the skin on South’s neck, letting my eyes flicker down at the swell of blood that sprang in my haste. “Unlikely friends,” I repeated the word, letting the knife away by a few inches; enough that I wouldn’t pierce skin any. “what would stop you from just killing me once I put my knife away?” My brows frowned even further as I mentally prepared a plan of retreat as I took a few steps back away from him, testing. If he pulled enough another knife, I could zig-zag away, but a gun…well, I could only cross my fingers that he was a piss poor shot.
  Evelyn R. Monroe / Darcy / 5y 269d 22h 47m 19s
Sometimes I visit home in my dreams when I’m brave enough to sleep. I see the farm house, the bales of hay, the hills beyond. Everyone told me that country boys grew up strong with a slap on the back. That must be true. It might be the only reason I’m alive today. In my dreams I see my parents and my brother. My wife shows up from time to time, but when she does, things turn dark and she’s taken from me all over again and I’m forced to wake to the even darker world.

You get used to it. The ash. The smell of death. The crunch of who-knows-what under your feet. Part of me was glad to be used to it. The other part wished I wasn’t. I was losing my touch. Losing my grip on reality. Nothing seemed to matter anymore except my survival. Fortunately, when you grow up on a farm you learn to use a gun or two. Finding guns in this wasteland was easy. It was the bullets that you had to hunt for. My rifle was fine, but my revolver ammo was running low. Every shot had to count…

The rain was falling hard and fast as I made my way through some suburban street in what I assumed to be Arkansas or Missouri or some place. I preferred to stay south. Not only is it where I grew up, but it was warmer. The houses were caved in whether to age or destruction, I couldn’t tell. It didn’t matter. I took the few steps it took to get to a gutter of one of the houses and leaned my head back. The rain water splashed across my face and I felt the grime of weeks slowly disappear. The water caught in my beard and my hair, dripping onto my flannel shirt I had stolen from some poor corpse. I shivered. Fall was coming. I reached for the canteen at belt and dumped out the old water before holding it up to be filled once more.

Crack.

I dropped my hands quickly, turning as fast as I could. The sound echoed through the empty houses. My hand rested on the handle of my revolver. There was someone here. Or something. There was another crack and this time I had a better sense of where the noise came from. It sounded like unsteady feet on tree limbs. A small face poked itself from behind the house where I was filling my canteen. I wiped my face of water and looked at the child.

“You have water?” the child asked. I was unsure whether it was a boy or a girl.
“It’s rainin’ from the sky,” I said, pointing up with my free hand. My right palm still rested on my gun.
“You have food?” the child asked, coming around the house.
“Maybe, maybe not,” I answered. I knew this trick. And it had given me trouble many times over before I learned better.
“Can I have some?”
“No, now get.”
“But I’m so hungry!”
“Like hell you are,” I barked. I heard another tree branch break and I started to pull my gun, but I was too late. A baseball bat met with the side of my head and I fell back onto the cracked concrete.
“Take his pack!” I heard one of the men yell. They were all around me then. I held onto the straps of the backpack as they tried to pull it off. I could feel myself being dragged backward by it, my jeans scraping against the road, my boots kicking at the ground. When I could finally see straight, I reached up to find the hand that held me and twisted until I could stand again. My revolver had fallen out of my hand, and I didn’t have enough time to take the rifle from my back, nor did I want to waste the ammo, so I punched with everything I had. The man went down easy enough. I turned to the other two. One swung out at my with his bat again. I grabbed it and pulled him to me with the end of it, landing my elbow in his temple at least three swift times before he fell. The third was almost on me. I had the bat now, the wrong end of a bat, but a weapon nonetheless. I swung hard. Then I kept swinging. I beat every one of them until they were unrecognizable before putting the bat in my pack and looking up to find the child watching me, his face almost sad. I picked up my revolver once more, tucking it safely away in its holster.

“Get,” I hissed and the child took off. Then I turned back to my victims. I took the best coat they had, then compared shoes. The boots I had seemed better held together than any they had to offer. Not worth checking sizes. I bundled up the coat and shoved it into my pack. And after I finished filling my canteen, I was on my way once more.

On my way to nowhere.

I reached what used to be a major street. There was a gas station across the way and I jogged my way to it. As I suspected, the windows were broken, and most everything inside was taken. I stepped inside anyway. I searched the shelves, then under them, and my hand hit a pack of Lays potato chips just waiting for me. I smirked. It had been years since I had eaten a potato chip. I pulled my bag from my shoulders, took the coat out, and put the chips in the bottom with the rest of my food. Most of it was canned, and most of it was sickening. But it was food. I also had a flashlight, a few extra batteries, a stick of carmex I refused to use no matter how cracked my lips got. I kept only the most valuable of things. Funny how valuable now wasn’t the same as valuable back before the invasion. I had long lost my wedding ring. I wouldn’t be able to sell it or trade it with anyone anyway. Currency was bullets and knives these days. I put everything in my bag back in place and stepped behind the register. Bills blew in the wind as I searched for anything else to eat. Several old packs of gun lie in wait and I took those two. No doubt it was hard as a rock, but they’d be something to trick my stomach into thinking I was actually eating.

I exited the gas station and looked both ways down the street. Cars were everywhere, crashed and abandoned. Occasionally you could get one to work, but the risk of being seen with a working vehicle was more than I often wanted to take. My legs were strong and I was a smaller target than a car. And easier to hide. I chose to go southwest as usual.

It was evening by now. I would have to find a place to camp. Most nights I would continue walking. But I could feel my head pounding where the bat had hit it and I started to sway slightly as I walked. The dizziness would only keep getting worse if I didn’t rest. About five more miles down the road, after a long stretch of nothingness, I found myself an old shack, falling to pieces. It looked older than the invasion. Older than me, even. But it held strong. I grunted as I stepped through the threshold and sat down near a wall. I decided now would be the perfect time to reward myself with a chip or two.

I didn’t remember falling asleep. That’s the scariest part. When you go so long without rest that you just can’t control yourself. It’s those times when you’re the most vulnerable, unable to stay alert even in sleep. For once though, it was a dreamless sleep. But several hours later I lurched awake, releasing a sharp breath. I looked down at my hand clutching the chip bag. I had popped it in my sleep. The smell of them wafted into the air as I forced myself to let go. It was still dark outside, though closer to early morning. I shoved my chips back into my bag before slinging it over my shoulder and standing.

“Shit,” I muttered and gripped the leaning wall. My head was still spinning. I stumbled for the old doorway, gripping the wooden frame. I could have sworn I was going throw up, but nothing came. I tried to get my feet through the door, stepping slowly, trying my hardest not to make noise only to be greeted by the cool night air and a knife at my throat. I put my hands up and stepped backward into the old barn once more. Things were becoming clearer, the dizziness ebbing away. A young woman stood in front of me, her knife pointed at my face. I tried to determine what she wanted. The barn? My things? My life? Probably all of the above. “Look, I don’t want no trouble,” I offered, my voice heavy and gruff and my southern accent shined through. She looked to be about ten or so years younger than myself, not counting my actual physical appearance. Her long hair fell in greasy waves from her shoulders and her eyebrows were furrowed. She had a fierce look to her. “I got food.,” I said, stepping back several more paces, trying not to trip on the uneven ground. “We can share a meal an’ leave as unlikely friends.”

I had a feeling she would want more than food when she saw the guns in my possession or the other various items in my bag. But I had to take what I could get. And with a knife aimed at my gullet, I was in no place to negotiate, unlike my little run in earlier with the child. Two meetings with other humans in twenty-four hours… It was a lot to take in. Not to mention my head was still pounding like a son of a bitch.
  Dustin Hayes / linkthehero / 5y 281d 22h 12s
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