***It is the 23rd of August in the year 2016. The earth as we used to remember it has been thrown into chaos with no technology to support it and natural disasters to destroy it. A short three months ago was the start of it all when the sun released a larger than normal solar flare. As always there were the crazies that screamed that it was the end of days, and many doomsday preppers ran off into the woods. Scientists and the media alike alerted the world that this was nothing to be worried about, we had weathered many solar flares before and this one would cause minimal damage if any. They were right, at least partially right. The first solar flare caused little damage to the world. But then another one came, and this one was stronger than the first. It caused a few satellites to fall from orbit and caused dropped calls across the globe. The next one after that was even worse, and with each following flare the damage was worse and worse. But that wasn’t the worst of the damage. The constant onslaught of solar flare upon the earth seemed to disrupt the energy within. Soon earthquakes and tsunamis were being reported across the globe. At first they too were minimal and expected to cause no damage out of the ordinary. That is until an earthquake ripped through the middle of the United States tearing open the earth from the west coast to the east coast. An earthquake of this magnitude had never been recorded before and it exceeded the measurements of the Richter scale. There was no counting the amount of casualties as almost half of America sank into the earth. But the U.S. was not the only affected country. Japan had been entirely demolished by the largest Tsunami leaving little to nothing to be recovered; Europe was also suffering from earthquakes just as devastating as the States. In Asia volcanos thought to have gone extinct were coming to life throwing hundreds of metric tons of ash and poisonous gas into the atmosphere. It was truly an end of day’s scenario, but all hope was not yet lost. The human race still had their precious technology, something that had never failed them in the past and they hoped would allow them to persevere against their extinction. This final and desperate hope was shattered when a solar flare so powerful exploded from the sun. When it reached earth it destroyed every single piece of electronic equipment that was not perfectly shielded by the most extensive faraday cage. It was the true test of survival to some. Others waited patiently for their god to save them. Some people just gave up and ended it on their own terms. We begin in New York City, it had been lucky enough to avoid being hit by any major earthquakes. But still it was not a pretty sight. The city was torn apart by minor quakes, and looting had begun, the government was failing and the police had gone to tend to their own families. Gangs were fighting in the streets and innocent people had turned to violence. For three long months the struggle only got worse, and the end results more gruesome as food supplies ran low. This new world was not one for women or children. You either hid and hoped to die slowly, or you fought and hoped to die quickly. No matter what you chose the result would be the same if you stayed in the city. *** *** I remember what it was like to see children in the street, to see pristine blue skies, to live in an apartment that wasn't shrouded in gray misery. I remember when Central Park used to be green. Now, it is just a reminder of death, makeshifts graves stones reaching from the ground, almost as if they were the hands of the dead. I remember when these building used to be glorious, but that time feels so long ago. Three months. It had only been three months since the world ended in the eyes of the living and some those living wished they had ended. That was the position Lacey Bowman had found herself. At the age of twenty-three, the young woman had moved to New York, along with her best friend, to try and shove her foot into the door of fame. Has it worked? Not really. She had gone about things in a rather naive, passive way, allowing many directors and professional photographers to step all over her, push her back to square one. Really, all that means nothing at this moment, probably won't ever mean anything. With a soft sigh, she sat Indian style on the ground, placing herself in front of one of those headstones in Central Park. The name Crystal Price scrawled across the wooden plank. Pursing her lips into a thin line, she ran her finger tips softly across that beautiful name. Her only constant in life was now under the ground, rotting, pests making holes in her soft skin. Gasping, she clasped a hand over her mouth, sobs shaking her thin frame as she hunched her shoulders, leaned over and placed her head against the grave marker. What she wouldn't give for her friend to be back, to hear her laughter, the richness of life that once inhabited her voice, to see how the sun glinted off her mermaid red hair. Mermaid red. A slight smile lifted the corner of Lacey's lips. There was no better way to describe Crystal's hair other than mermaid red. That name came about from Crystal's obsession with Ariel. The girl lllooovvveeeddd that Disney princess, wanted to be just like her. And she almost was! Lacey was convinced that her friend was part of the ocean. All someone had to do was look at Crystal walk, note her grace, the fluidity of her movements, and they wouldn't have a doubt that she was a daughter of the sea. “My Little Mermaid,” Lacey murmured before putting fingertips to her lips and pressing it to Crystal's name. BANG!BANG! Screams sounded in the distance, accompanied by the breaking of glass. It was time to go. Fear rose up in Lacey's heart as she forced herself to leave her friend's grave and head home; she just hoped that gun fire wasn't towards her apartment. Really, it didn't matter where it was.Whenever there were guns it was safer to be inside. Well, as safe as anything can be now-a-days. One, two. One, two, One, two, three. She counted how many steps per cement square to keep herself calm. Just around the corner. My apartment is just around the corner. After a little more counting and some more gunshots, Lacey was finally a building away from her apartment. She was almost safe! But that thought quickly disappeared when she heard running behind her only to turn and see two men running right towards her. The girl didn't think quick enough! Soon, arms wrapped around her waist, pulling her into a dark alley between building. She screamed and clawed the man's arms but soon she was silenced by being slammed against a wall and having a mouth pressed roughly against hers. After realizing her hands were free, she quickly slapped the man, dragging her nails across his face. “Littlebitch!” He screamed before grabbing her shoulders and slamming her back against the wall again. “Do something to keep her still. Damn!” The man snapped at his counterpart who promptly put the gunto her temple. Then, her nightmare started. Without any hesitation the man bit at her neck, causing her to yelp in pain. His hands were already exploring under shirt then being shoved in her pants. Rather roughly, he rubbed her, making her squirm in discomfort. “Stop! Please!” She tried to keep her voice from shaking but didn't succeed. “Shut up,” the other man said harshly, shoving the gun against her head. The feeling of fingers being shoved in rather her made her cry out again in pain. Squeezing her eyes shut, she started praying this would be over, but it wasn't. His fingers had been moved but now he had his hands at the collar of her shirt and without any struggle, ripped it. Hungrily, he attacked her breasts, biting harder than he should have, leaving marks that would definitely last a few days. “Don't please,” Lacey whimpered, only to be answered with a harder, more painful bite. “This is going to feel good...... for me.” The man chuckled darkly against her skin as he undid his pants before moving to hers.