What Once Was

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    Chapter 1: Homefront

    1 hour after EMP burst
    Miles was hyperventilating. His eyes staring out vacantly as his lungs drew in gasping breaths. He sat in his homestead, surrounded by his loved ones. It would have normally been a familial time for him. Except, they were all dead. A single gunshot wound to the back of the head. Close range, execution style.
    They had all been arranged in the living room. The walls, the furniture was speckled in bits of bone, brain and blood. This didn't stop him from slowly taking several steps into the room, his body trembling wildly as he did so. It took much too much courage, too much strength the bear it. In shock, he shuffled around, and sit down slowly on the blood sprayed sofa.
    It mattered little, that it had the remains of his mother's and father's and little's sisters last thoughts sprayed across the plush landscape of white stained red. It actually...took him a minute to react to the scene of murder, of a massacre. Not all families were killed, some were taken to internment camps. But some...some were killed. Like the bodies laying sprawled out before Miles now.
    "Ah.." He whimpered, his chest growing heavier and heavier.
    "Ahh.." His fingers started curling, furling into tightly. He began sobbing, gasping and sniveling all at once.
    Slinking don onto his knees he crawled to his baby sister of only 14. At first, he reached for her. Then he paused and wearily went on to touch her hair. When she didn't reciprocate, when she failed to move his instincts told him...shake her. When he felt the blood, and his fingers crossed over the divide in her skull where the bullet had perforated her tiny young head...he lost it.
    "Ahhh!" He screamed so loud...it was like a gunshot going off in his head. His hands were curling and uncurling above his head. Saliva was dripping down, along with mucous and tears.
    Miles broke down, pulling her tiny body into his arms. He stroked her dark hair away from her pale face. She looked so foreign even though he knew it was her. There, in her forehead, was he exit wound with a blood trail leading down across her pretty young face. He held her there, just stroking her cheek. His mind slipping away slowly, one thought at a time. Like granules of sand in a timer.
    When the last one fell through that tiny gap inside himself, he laid his sister down slowly and folded one hand over the other. He did the same for his parents. They were arranged in a row, from biggest to smallest. Oldest to youngest, except...one was missing. He then shakily stood up, and in a trance like state, wandered towards his father's room. He wandered into the front room, rounded the corner and stepped heavily up each step.
    Each step seeming to weigh his legs down more. When he got to the the top, he meandered onward and pushed the creaky door open. He shuffled forwards towards his parents bed and sat down, opening the night stand. Inside was an M11 Sig Sauer. It had a fifteen round magazine, a stainless steel slide and a short reset trigger. This meant it could simply be pulled more times than normal resulting in faster shooting.
    He'd only had a modest amount of practice with the gun. That said, he was no expert. But did one have to be when pulling a slide back, putting the barrel one's mouth and pulling the trigger? No. However, as long as he sat there with a gun cocked and loaded and in his mouth--he couldn't do it. He wanted to. He desperately wanted to. But his grievances forbade him to.His anger had him retrieve the firearm and slow--stand on his feet an march towards the door.
    It had him stomping down each step. His suicidal thoughts blurring with his thirst for vengeance. He pulled his from door open, leaving the brass handle blood stained. Stained with his sister's blood. Walking out onto the side walk he looked around at the empty streets. He turned his head to the left and then to the right, when he spotted one of the soldiers, like those that had invaded his school just an hour ago and began to shoot his friends and teachers. Like those that had shot his baby sister.
    He lifted the handgun marching towards the unsuspecting soldier, opening fire with out hesitation. The gunshot rang out, the bullet striking the car's window nearer the trooper shattering it with the .45 caliber and sending the man running to take cover. Miles fired again. Again he missed. Though he was mentally numb, his hand couldn't stop shaking. The trooper tried to hide behind the silver Kia that Miles had struck before, the second bullet having whizzed by his head, but a third bullet struck him in the back of the leg and tore out the front.
    The .45 did its job. It's hollow points shredding the muscle away from the bone and severing several tendons in his leg including his hamstring. Yet, Miles kept firing. Holding up the gun with a a vacant cold stare, he continued towards the soldier who was now attempting to crawl himself to safety. He even grabbed his radio and yelled something in his foreign dialect. But it was no use, because now Miles was upon him. Miles stomped on the bullet wound causing the man to scream and holler.
    Miles didn't seem to hear his pain. Maybe it was just the fact...he was choosing to ignore it. Kneeling, he tore the helmet off the man. The soldier reached back as Miles yanked him up by scalp pulling his head backwards. Gloved hands tried prying adrenaline infused fingers from his dark hair. A cold steel barrel pressed up against the back of the man's head, his eyes dilating before Miles let loose with several shots firing as he screamed.
    The man's face quickly became one of clear mutilation. One that showed how savage a human could be when pushed over the edge of things. When the soldiers body was only jerking from the additional bullets and not of it's own power--he let go allowing the carcass now before him to slump forwards. Brains and its of skull now clung to his hands and face, even in his mouth. Blood was splattered over his countenance like war paint and as he sat there on his knees heaving he could only look around in his disillusioned view heaving.
    There would be more on the way. More like the man he just slaughtered. But he could not fight them all. his logical mind overpowering his insanity in that department. He withdrew the man's sidearm as he stood up. He then walked a few feet back, tucked both guns in the brim of his pants in the back, and picked up the assault weapon. He looked at it. Though a simple tool, he'd have to figure out how it operated to make use of it. This wasn't a handgun.
    He then looked back towards the city of San Fransico's epicenter where the skyscrapers ruled. Smoke was rising from buildings. Who knew how many had lived through this, but he would find them. He had to find them. He had nothing here now.
  2. There were a few coughs and gasps here and there, though none lasted more than a few minutes. Sophia pulled herself across the rubble-covered floor to what was left of a wall that had separated her classroom from the hallway. Hoping her legs were just in shock and not gone, she started to pull them near her chest as she sat with her back against the wall, surveying the damage. Her classmates were in pieces, except for a few. There were a few arms moving around, writhing in pain, then would still. In too much pain to move to their aid, Sophia coughed as she held back sobs. Her throat felt like it was on fire, shredded. Just like her left leg seemed to be. It was hard to tell between the burned fabric in her skin and the several cuts and bruises all ready forming.

    Just as she began to pass back out, she heard voices. At first, she thought about yelling for help. As she went to raise her voice to the talking men, she realized they weren't speaking English. It wasn't just her ringing ears causing the gibberish. She sunk down low against the wall and pretended to be knocked out, or dead. Her eyes squinted, she could see their boots. Guns dangled to their sides as they began shifting through the hallway. They didn't seem to be looking for anything in particular, but they definitely had a purpose.

    They remained there, pacing back and forth, occasionally checking on a body. It wasn't until Chloe Lasitter awoke and began to beg for help - a wooden beam impaled her left leg - when one of the foreign soldiers walked over to her, yelling. He leaned toward her face and spat in it. Crying more, yet still begging, Chloe pleaded with him to get help. The large gun to his side swung up and slammed its way into her pale cheek. As she cried out, he flipped the gun around and pulled the trigger.

    Thankfully, the blast covered Sophia's own gasp of shock. Quickly, she pretended to be out again. A few minutes passed before the two had seemingly left. Quietly as possible, she crawled to a stand. Her legs ached and shook as she stood. After three sets of fallen stairs and climbing out a broken window on the bottom floor, she grabbed for a long and thin wooden stick to use as a weapon. For now, it would be the best she could do.
    #2 sincere_and_silent, Sep 19, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 1, 2013
  3. “Ambri. Hey, Ambri! Stay awake…please, for me…”

    “My head hurts…where are my sandals?” Ambriel tried to sit up, her grungy hand scurrying across the dusty heap of floor searching for her two hundred dollar sandals which had already fallen somewhere between the hills of rubble strewed around her. Clase softly pushed her back to the wall, trying to keep her from passing out with too much excitement.

    “I’ll find them later. Right now I need you to stay in place. Don’t move.” He looked around, stunned and disoriented. The school’s cafeteria looked like a war-zone, chairs and tables were thrown asunder, people were tossed about in various forms, moaning and crying about their suffering as they all tried to understand what was going on. One minute, him and his sister were sitting about with their friends, chatting about the cross-country event that afternoon and the football game that night; and then…there was a huge explosion and tons of people in dark uniforms yelling and screaming; gunshots…

    Clase held onto his sister for dear life, covered her mouth to keep her cries down as they hid underneath a few tables and some cement blocks with their friends. When the shooting and shouting had passed, they emerged to try to piece together the clues.

    Nobody ever really thinks about what they would do if their world suddenly held a war party in their backyard. And if they do, it's usually just an absurd fantasy. Most people dream of taking shelter, riding out whatever came their way, then stepping out into a destroyed world, rising to the occasion, and taking on the challenge of rebuilding civilization. But Clase recalled stories from his grandparents back in South Korea – they lived through things like this before, when another country decides to take over your world by booming everything in sight – regardless of the innocent lives being slaughtered. He recalled their horror stories of survival…

    He’s never taken them into account, because he believed America would never see the likes of such travesty. He was wrong….

    Clase handed off the emergency light to his injured sister while he searched the first aid kit he snagged from the kitchen for some more tape and gauze. The ones secured on the right side of Ambriel’s delicate face were already soaked with her blood, a nasty cut on the head after something sharp and heavy slammed her there during the explosions. His friend Lewis had to pull out a large chard of glass from Clase's shoulder a moment ago, but that was nothing compared to the deep gash lost in her hairline, mating her midnight back hair. If he could get her head to stop gushing he would feel way better about their situation. Her broken ribs will have to wait, just like his shoulder, and Lewis’s leg. But Ambriel and Jacobe, with his guts practically oozing out of his mid-section…they were in bad shape. Right now, blood loss during a scenario such as this, means instant death.

    “I’m going to have to use some of your skirt, okay. Please don’t get mad.”

    Ambri drunkenly shook her head. “Nah, that’s alright. There are plenty of layers…there for any emergency needs. Just don’t leave me naked…”

    Clase smiled. She tried to lighten up the mood, but it was no use. She was still shaking from fright – not the cold. Ambri was on edge, jumping at any foreign sounds or flicker of light, crying silently when another victim screamed in pain from somewhere across the way. Clase was so worried about her. He has never seen her react the way she was, but this was the first time they had lived through something like this and had to concentrate on surviving…

    Once he took care of her dressings, he then moved over to Jacobe where Lewis was tending to him. Together, they did what they could for him before redressing their own battle scars. When they were done, Clase slipped himself behind Ambri, leaning her against his chest as he propped himself against the wall they were near. He looked up through the hole in the ceiling above them, finding the clear blue sky turning grey and dead from all the black smoke billowing from the high school campus. He was at a loss – who would do such a thing? What was going on in their world right now? A tear fell from his dark gray eyes as he tried to package this toy and wrap it up in a nice pretty bow, but his mind could not comprehend this act of terrorism, or act of war, that has hit home.

    Who is attacking us?

    “Ambri, stay awake…talk to me…”

    Are our parent’s okay? Is there anyone coming to help us here?

    “Come on sis! You can’t sleep right now…please.”

    It’s just me and Ambri and a few friends, and a handful of crazy psychopaths with guns determined to what? Kill us all? Can we survive this?

    Clase was losing the battle against his sister. He feared Ambri will end up falling asleep only to awaken a coma. “Hey Lewis, is there any smelling salts in that thing? I think I need to keep Ambri awake.”

    “Yea, one sec…” Lewis finished tying off his leg, seeing how his shin was beginning to swell. Then he grabbed the first aid kit and rumbled through it before tossing the small breakable tube to Clase. He activated it and fanned it under her nose. “Hey, sleepy head. Time to wake up.” Instant Ambriel.

    She jerked her head abruptly, her face winced at the fetid scent, and eyes finally opening wider than before. “What …smells good? Are they serving…pizza?” Compared to the putrid aroma of burning flesh, the salts must smell like daises.

    “So, what should we do now?” Lewis asked, looking to the upperclassman for guidance. Clase looked over at his friend, his perfect blond hair was not covered in grey and white plaster, his face smeared and charcoal from the soot now forming from all the smoke. His blue eyes were draining, constricted – fear, shock…that wasn’t good, according to their health classes. They needed to get out of there, just in case something exploded and all, but where can they go? They had no idea what was out there or what they were up against. But, they couldn't stay there.

    “Get Jacobe. We’re getting out of here… Um, wait…” Clase laid Ambri down as carefully as he could, then grabbed his grubby backpack and tossed his books out of it. He did the same with Ambri’s hoping she wouldn’t be upset about losing all of her make-up. At a time like this, he didn’t think she would mind. Lewis followed suit with his backpack, and then grabbed Jacobe’s duffle bag and did the same with it. He handed them over to Clase.

    “I’m going to go and snag some food and whatever else is out there we might be able to use. And I’ll see if anyone else is looking for survivors or needs help. Keep your eyes on them and don’t move. Hey, check your cell phone…”

    They both grabbed their phones and turned them on… They didn’t have reception. It was a stupid thing to try, but ya never know. Clase pocketed it out of habit and carefully stood up, peeking out of their makeshift hut to find chaos. There were other students alive, barely, and bodies… Lots of bodies lying around – some in pieces. He almost lost his lunch, but held the sickness back. There’s no time for that now. Clase slipped out from behind the rubble when he thought it was safe and headed over to where the food line use to be to scrounge for any food items that were wrapped, and water bottles, juice packs…anything salvageable that they can use. There were a few kitchen items that were still in tack – knives, large kitchen forks that were embedded in the cement wall he was able to pull out. He tried to avoid the bodies of the kitchen staff, closing his eyes to the methods of their deaths as he continued to move about the area. He smelled gas – he had to move fast. They were definitely not safe there anymore.

    He began to move towards the hallway, peeking out to see the extent of the damage there. Just then, he heard voices and the sounds of footsteps. Quickly, Clase tucked himself away behind some fallen ceiling and the large refrigerators, trying his best to look dead. The harder he listened, he could of sworn he heard Korean. That confused him even more, especially the dialect – it wasn’t South Korean, that’s for sure. He picked up a few words, but not everything made sense to him. He was far more Americanized than Ambri, who was still a wiz at their native language. Their grandparents taught them well of their motherland, but Clase was never good at languages. He knew Ambri would understand what they were saying. But what he heard was enough to put fear into his heart once again – they were searching for survivors…and gunshots began to rattle when they found some. He bit his tongue and held his breath, hoping his sister and friends weren’t found. There was nothing he could do for them, just wait it out and hope for the best.
    #3 Phi Chisym, Oct 1, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2013
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  4. All she could see was smoke. The darkness in the halls was too thick to be natural, like a dense fog of noxious gas thick enough to cut through. The house was most definitely on fire. Jinx crawled, practically glued to the floor in a rare display of the fire skills she had once learned in an old demonstration sometime back in grade school. She still couldn't figure out the use for it. It was supposed to help her breathe enough to get out, but her "breath" were a fit of hacking coughs and desperate wheezing from her dying lungs. The only reason she kept going and didn't succumb to asphyxia was Charo. She was in the house... somewhere.

    "Ahu, ahu...Charo...Ch-charo...cry out...so big sister can find you, baby..!" As loud as her voice would allow, she called for the little girl. It was her job to look after her. She knew the fire couldn't have been either of their faults. There was nothing to make one. Charo could not cook and would not try. Jinx hadn't been making anything either. All the plugs were secured on surge protectors, not really for the sake of preventing fires, but truly for maximizing the amount of gadgets a plug could support. Her family used a lot of tech. In any case, a stray spark was pretty unlikely. No, this had been on purpose by some loony arsonist.

    Why had she decided to sleep upstairs again? It had seemed like she had been crawling forever; there was no way she had missed the stairs had she? Or maybe she had...how would she have known where the hell she was moving if the smoke was so high? "Come on, Charo...where are you? We gotta go..." maybe she had missed the gateway to downstairs, but it was just as well. Her baby sister was never far from her. It was possible she was upstairs too. If the house was right in her head, she was heading for their parents room, who were not home... but it was her sister's favorite place to hide.

    Imagine her relief when she felt the carpet transition from the older to the newer, plush fibers of her mother and father's recently redone floor. "Char--..." Her voice stopped when she heard rustling. She knew that sound and smiled in triumph. Charo was under the bed. In a surge of renewed vigor she moved fast. Left elbow, right thigh, right elbow, left thigh... First was the dust ruffle and eventually, tiny flesh and a scream of surprise, "Aie!"

    Jinx had never felt so relieved as when she gathered the little girl in her arms, unharmed. Gently shushing the trembling thing, she began to back off from under the big bed, making sure she always held Charo's hand, "Come on, baby, we go now... I don't know when this place comes down.." A soft cough and a whimper later, "Jinx... I don't like this..." Wasn't that the understatement of the year? Everything they knew and loved was going up in flames, and if they didn't hurry, they would going up too.

    "It'll be okay, we will go to the stairs and then climb out the doggy door? Okay? I'll be with you the whole way... It'll be okay.. I prom--" CRACCK! That didn't sound good at all... In fact, that sounded like the stairs. It seems like the plan needed a little re-evaluation. They could not go down. They had to stay up, but... how would they get out without a door? She didn't have time to make a rope later out of sheets. Or any sheets for that matter. But there was a window...and a tree. Tree it was.

    She felt her sister moving though and quickly stopped her, "Change of plans, doll. We go out the window." "What do you mean out the window, we'll fall..ahu, ahu!" Jinx had expected the fear, but not the coughing fit. It didn't sound good at all, and she knew she would get the girl out. "It's okay, you know the old tree? It's gonna help us get down. Everything, ahu, will be fine.." And she took Charo's hand and began to crawl for that window, that dimly outlined itself with afternoon light through the smoke.

    Crawling there was not the hard part. It was choosing to stand up. She would have to go way above the smokeline to unlatch the window and open it. The heat would be exponential and the cloud would be thick like tar in her lungs, but she would rather die and save her sister, than not try and kill them both. "Alright, Char... I'm gonna open the window for us and when I do you climb out...don't worry about me. I'll be right behind you." She knew her sister wasn't stupid, so she stood up before she got any protests about it.

    It was like hell, all she could sent was acrid, burning and it seeped into her pores like poison. She didn't know it was possible for one's entire body to suffocate, but that was exactly what was happening to her. She couldn't bare to move for the smothering heat trying to keep her in place and leech out her life, but she did. She went right for that window, ignoring the scalding heat of the metal and glass on her fingers, and moving quickly to keep from getting burned to badly. What took a few seconds felt like a few hours as she got light-headed, but eventually she lifted the port wide, slumping to the floor soon afterward, and wheezing out a weak, "GO.." knowing her sister would do as she was told.

    The movement in front of her made her smile. She could see the small silhouette outlined by the light through the smoke. Charo would stay in the tree and wait for her. But she had to get out. It was a big tree, and Charo wouldn't be able to get down without her. God, but did her body hurt. She didn't want to move. So much smoke inhalation. She couldn't think straight, but she would leave the baby of her family alone to fend for herself. It wasn't right.

    So, she lifted her weak body and went for that window. It was an ordeal that Jinx never suspected to endure in her lifetime. This was like a marine going through bootcamp, or a diver trying to beat his depth record. Everything inside her screamed for her to stop moving, but she couldn't. She had something she had to do before she died. She had to get Charo somewhere safe. And her head popped through into the fresh air like coming up from water on your last breath. Hazy eyed and hurting, she smiled to see the little figure hidden in the leaves of the tree that had grown near their house for as long as she could remember. With the fresh air, her mind cleared slowly.

    Charo was small. She had gotten into the tree fairly easily, but Jinx was bigger. The first branch might hold her and it might not. She didn't have the time or patience to be careful about it either. The house was creaking more and more every second. She would have to go out on faith. It was about a good of a chance as she had had going above the "death" line for as long as she had. This was easy compared to that. Hauling herself over the sill she pressed her feet firmly against it and pushed off with what force she still had, clamoring to grab a higher branch and sighing when the hard bark bit into her scorched hands. Sure it hurt, but soon enough she was next to her sister, cradling the softly crying babe and resting against the trunk of their tree, "Shhhh...it's okay... we're okay.." Her voice was scratchy and raw. It hurt to breathe let alone talk, "Hey...I'm gonna take a nap okay... just a short one...okay...? She probably shouldn't have gone to sleep, but she was more tire than she had ever been in her life. And now that they were "relatively" safe. She would just hold Charo close and go to sleep, which she did with ease. Not noticing, or choosing to ignore the fact that virtually every house in their neighborhood was also up in flames, and there was not one fire engine in sight.

  5. "Miles! Miles! Are you listening?!" An annoying nine year old was screaming from across the room. Miles was comfortably propped up in the large bay window seat, too distracted by the book he was reading to notice the rain falling and pitter-pattering before drawing long squiggly lines down the glass like tears. He could feel them somehow.

    "Nope, not a bit." Miles retorted flippantly, simply flipping the next page as his eyes scanned over the words of the Times Roman font. He knew his sister would never give up. In fact she might have been 9 but had the tenaciousness of a 45 year old woman who done had three kids. She was stubborn, that's for certain.

    And so, with his provocation, she took several steps towards Miles who continued to seemingly ignore the tenacious young girl of fourteen. She wasn't aware of it herself, but she was being lured like a fish on a line. Her lips pursed and pushed to one side of her face as her nose scrunched itself in agitation. She hated when he became oblivious to anything and everything around him. He was usually like this when he was drawn in seclusion inside himself. It was trying to crack an oyster with the wrong tools.

    "Miles!" She whined. She ushered over to him, grabbing his sleeve and shook him vehemently. Rather than resist and fight it, he simply let his body relax and swayed with each urging tug of his sister's grasp. "Come on! Please?" She begged.

    "Eh, you know how I feel about being in open spaces with a lot of people. Gets me...nervous." I told her somberly. I could see the hope fleeting from her eyes and I didn't even need to look into them directly.

    "Okay...I understand..." She sighed and started to turn around.

    "Who is he Angelica?" I inquired glancing up at her sternly.

    "Huh? Who is...who..?" She tried to play it off in ignorance as she held one arm self-consciously behind her. She was acting like a prisoner being demanded by the warden to hand over the key to his cell.

    "This boy you are meeting at the mall…" I responded, still eyeing her. I knew it was making her nervous.

    "B-Boy?! I'm not meeting a boy!" She yelped, turning pink.

    "Oh? You mean to tell me you aren't meeting...what's his name? David? The one with the curly brown hair and glasses? Has freckles all over his face? Plays football at your school?" He questioned the look of shock and embarrassment overcoming her expression.

    "Wha-What?! Have you been following me or something?" She questioned, her voice becoming rather...forceful. She had taken the bait that I was invasive of her privacy.

    "No." Miles replied. "He's right there." He lifted a finger to point out behind her. Angelica fell for the ruse. She spun on her heels squeaking, quite frankly like a mouse. Miles snapped the book closed, while she balled her fists and shook angrily.

    Miles stood up, now a full foot and a half taller than she was. Though he was the researcher-type. He did not give off that vibe with his build which was broad and corded. Angelica growled then turned around and started whaling on his chest. Each impact a solid, resounding thud like she where attempting to pump water out of him or something.

    "I hate you!" She shouted angrily.

    "Oh. Well, then I suppose there is no sense in going to the mall then. Can't imagine my hater sitting next to the hated long enough for a thirty minute drive into the city where the mall is." I turned around quickly enough that it threw her off balance and she fell back into the padded window seat.

    "W-Wait a minute now!" I heard her call out, I paused. "I suppose...maybe...hate IS a strong word to throw around." She muttered stubbornly.

    "And this means...? Please, speak you're mind little sister. You know you can with me." I garnered her sense of guilt.

    "I'm sorry! Okay? I'm sorry! But I just sometimes feel like a lab rat to you..." Angelica said to him.

    "Is that so? Well, that's because you are a lab rat. You've been my lab rat since you were five and tried to read Moby Dick all on your own then give me a premise of the story--which I have to say, I didn't understand nearly half of what you were saying--it was like you were speaking a different language or gibberish. It’s kind of like how you get around David." Miles answered, but he looked forwards, he didn't turn around just yet.

    "Well, I can feel the love there!" She wittily retorted. Sarcasm heavily laced upon her tongue.

    That's when he turned and smirked lightly back at her. "Would I offer you the truth if I didn't love you?" He asked her. It caught her off guard, my words and even most of all--my smile. Even I realized it was a rarity. Like some fabled creature thought to have gone extinct but somehow keeps surfacing if only for the briefest of moments just to disappear again.

    "You're the kind that tries too hard to make it out situations. And that's okay. Angelica, sometimes going above and beyond what's called for can be a tremendously good thing. But never forget to ground yourself sometimes too. A bird that flies high up in the sky, is always going to want to be free. But a man wants a bird that he can cage and feel like he can keep it all to himself. Regardless, that bird will feel stifled for it hasn't learned to WANT to live within the bounds of reason. Do you understand what I am saying to you?" Miles inquired his younger sister.

    "I...think so." She responded hesitantly. Did he just offer her...dating advice? "You're saying it’s okay to go out of my way sometimes, but I shouldn't overdo it cause if I get to use to something, if we get really close there won't be much room for much else?"

    Miles nodded. "Don't get so side tracked by one boy, that you lose focus of your goals or your dreams that you would think of exchanging the the two. It won't be worth it in the long run. It's always good to find happiness, but you also need to be practical. Don't grow up too fast. I want a few more years with my sister." I told her.

    "Are we seriously having that pep talk?" Angelica blushed a deep carmine. Miles simply stared.

    "Since mother or father has taken it upon themselves to do so, I felt it was only right that I do so." He said

    "Wow. Just...wow. Miles, sweetie. I know you can't pick up on subtlety that well cause you're autistic and all...but I really don't plan on having sex with the a guy a on my first date." She scrunched her face.

    "Good, it would end very poorly for him if he made such an advance on my little sister." I warned, my face returning to its stoic expression. " Dress warm, it’s pretty chilly out." Miles set his book down on the book shelf in entry way. It was flush with the side of the stair case to the upstairs. Angelica ran by him like a hummingbird; fleet footed and rushed up to her room. He heard her door slam and our mother bent her head out into the hall from her improvised office.

    "Is...everything okay out here?" She questioned, folding her arms over her chest. She was an older but still attractive woman of 45 but looked more near her early thirties. She had shoulder length black hair with short bangs. Her eyes were brown. She was adorned with a gold chain and bracelet, but her wedding ring was white gold.

    Miles didn't answer. He just...stared. Something...didn't seem...right to him. Everything seemed off. Like this had all happened before. He closed his eyes, he suddenly felt very sleepy...




    He heard a voice calling out to him, but when opened his eyes he looked around. He was in a deserted classroom. He rose from his desk, and turned this way and that. For sure he was just in his house ready to take Angelica on her first date. But a glimmer caught his notice out of the corner of his eye. It was so blinding, but, it invoked that human sense of curiosity in him. He turned to the window and peered out. The streets were all quiet. Cars just sat with no people in them. But rising in the distance, a brilliant sparkle, like the shimmering of some extraordinary bright star. When it flashed his pupils retracted, trying to block out the light but it was so blinding. It was like a thousand sun wrapped into one explosion.

    The detonation formed a perfect sphere of massive concussive force that spread out instantly from the site of the explosion. The force came like a tsunami. There was no where he could run. If he could run. What he had just witnessed was a high altitude detonation of an EMP blast. It had knocked out the nerve center of the city. The electricity was no more. No lights. No cars. Nothing but silence, at first. He could see the shock wave hitting each building, and the windows of each shattering one after another on all levels. He started to step back, his animal instincts starting to kick in. That fight or flight was stuck in the middle and it made him a little too indecisive.

    Before it hit, he crouched down and cover his face. But it did no good. He could feel the pressure as it shot through the windows shattering them and sent him and the nine rows of desks hurdling backwards and slamming into the wall. As my back was pancaked, my head jarred back and slammed into the stone edifice. I along with three or four desks then just dropped like swatted flies to the floor. When he landed, he did so on my side but soon found himself on my stomach. His eyes were so blurry, a mixture of extreme light changes, the concussion he now had and his disturbed equilibrium. All of which, he then blamed for what he saw next.

    As he looked up, his head barely was lifting off the tiled floor; blood running from multiple lacerations. What he saw was indescribable. Ghost figures. At least, that's the only thing he could think to call them at the moment. They were really just human shaped blurs; running frantically like bats all fluttering out at once so you couldn't tell what was what. What was really happening was his brain was now filling in all the empty spaces it had originally left out of this particular memory. As it did, he could hear muffled voices; they were screaming but rather than high pitched shrieks of panic they were slowed down and it was indistinguishable. Those shapes became clearer over time, becoming all too human as everything in him settled back down like dust kicked up on the oceans bottom.

    His visuals were going haywire, overwriting his perception of color and making things seem blue or magenta then that too gradually reduced. He coughed, it was hard to breathe and he curled up before he tried to push up but found pain writhing in the form of a large shard of glass embedded in his palm. He slowly pulled and tugged, breathing heavy and fast as it hurt like hell. He then pushed up off the floor and looked around at a destroyed room. It truly looked no different than if a bomb had gone off right here. Several of his classmates were laying in crumpled heaps, one nailed to a cabinet by a random piece of flying debris. He was eager to back away and became frantic.

    His insides hurt, his wanted to throw up but that's when I heard it. Shouting, and it wasn't in English. He had heard from somewhere, he thought. But he couldn't bring himself to remember who the hell spoke like that. He could remember...A Korean girl he had a chemistry class with. What the hell was her name? Miles limped to the stairs, he must've landed pretty hard cause his leg was locking up. But as he did he started hear gun fire and screams and immediately backed away. He saw uniformed soldier grab a girls arm and start to drag her away. I was about to go and help the girl, but I had my own problem. The back of a gun split the back of his head open.

    He was now bowed over with a North Korean pointing his sub-machine gun at him. He spoke in a tongue that Miles didn't understand but the volume of his voice and the sound of it, told him that he was highly aggressive. Mile's eyes were tearing up and becoming red and puffy. The hell was going on? But before he could get adjusted, his instinct to survive kicked in overriding his logical side. The soldier kicked at Miles, and immediately Miles latched on to his leg, coiling his arm around behind the guy's knee. I grabbed the first thing I could which was a shard of glass that had broken from the window overlooking the stairs. I jammed it in to the soft tissue behind the knee cap and snapped the glass off inside.

    The wrenching motion sent the guy to the floor with ease. Not only because Miles may have just severed his hamstring, but the simple fact he knew how much a big chunk of glass felt jammed into somewhere. Fortunately, Miles could pull his out. While the man screamed an thrashed, I pushed myself up hurriedly and ran towards the stair case the other soldier had gone. There, on the first landing, he had the girl on the ground and was trying to rip the girls clothes off. Mostly of which he had succeeded. Something deep in Miles lit up like a match and he slowly pulled out a fire extinguisher. He climbed the stairs silently, hearing the young girls whimpers and the disgusting leers of the soldier.

    All Miles could think about was Angelica. He could feel his blood pressure rise; pulsations flooding him with adrenaline. It was everything he could do to keep a hold of the fire extinguisher. His hands were shaking and it wasn't because he was scared. It was because with every whimper and cry, Miles could almost see his little sister laying there and it was dancing on that sensitive nerve that held him between a psychotic fit and sanity. The girl saw him first, her eyes pleadingly looking to him for help. He was no soldier, he was a student like her. The soldier then realized his shadow was rather large, and when he looked back the side of his face was met with the solidness of the exterior of the extinguisher. He didn't strike the man's temple however, but he did break the man's cheek and contort his body to spin from the sheer torque.

    Mile's face was completely void of emotion now. Perhaps the worst state a person could be in, because it usually meant that the person they were hurting he had no apathy. No longing to prolong nor make it particularly quick. It was going to be vicious, and it was going to be mind-numbingly awful. As the soldier attempted to climb the steps, obviously injured from the blow delivered to him, Miles' vacant eyes stared out before he lifted one leg and stomped on the back of the man's head. His oppcipital bone being forcefully compressed by Miles biker boot, size 14. The contact made between the enamel, the hard edge of the steps themselves and the force, shattered most of the. Pieces of dentin and chunks of bone as his jaw was forced to open well beyond its capacity.

    He did this not just once, but twice. The second sent fleeting nerve impulses that caused the man’s legs to spasm before he backed up and delivered one last blow to the man's cranium by way of the fire extinguisher. The metal casing proved much too hard and caved his skull in. The spasms stopped signalling the man's final death. Miles released the canister and stumbled back against the wall, he was panting heavily. His body was uncontrollably shaking. He felt so cold, why did he feel so cold? It was as though he were left standing the rain in December at night.

    "Are you...okay..?" Miles asked finally, he didn't look over at her. Just continued to breathe like his lungs were filling with water. He was swerving and swaying. What’s going on. A new pain, one he hadn't recognized before because of the shock of what was going on around him. He knelt down by her, and again a sharp searing pain erupted against the front of his pelvis. Again he ignored it, he simply pulled of his shirt. He had been peppered by glass and it shown. He had abrasions from head to waist as he bore the brunt of the glass and the pressure wave that it made it explode like a shotgun in his face.

    "Here...You need to change into this." He told the girl and then, without waiting peeled the torn undergarment that once straddled her chest and the blouse she was wearing away. The girl was understandably in shock. Class gets bombed, school mates get shot and you nearly get raped by the guy who might just kill you even if you do give him what he wants. He pulled one of her arms through the sleeve of his shirt then the other and finally pulled it down over her. He remembered her looking over at him, then down at the shirt that was nearly three sizes too big then back at him.

    "Thank you...” She stammered, Miles nodded but the pain was growing worse. Over time, he laid back and rolled onto his right side. "But you have to wake up now...”

    Why am I getting so cold? He wondered. It didn't look cold outside. But it wasn't a matter of weather, his body was going into shock. When he fell to the floor in the classroom a chunk of glass had embedded itself in his pelvis. It was the source of his leg locking up. Miles eyes slowly closed as he stared over at the girl. Looking at her now...she took one the resemblance of his sister. He didn't have the strength to be surprised. He just watched, feeling and hearing heart beat in his eyes before they finally closed...and he awoke to the reality that he knew. Miles had wandered back into his home after his retribution. In fact he had collapsed from his head injury, the concussion he had as well as his continued bleeding.

    His eyes stared up to a dark ceiling; he then let his head roll to the side. In his dream. He'd saved her. In truth, he had failed. He'd gotten so overstimulated he had hid. He had killed two soldiers and wounded a third. But the girl he saved in truth was Chermi, Chermi Leigh. A junior. She had dark hair much the same as his ice cold sister who now lay next to him. He had been holding her hand and now it seemed to not want to let him go. He pried her fingers as gently as he could before he leaned over, forehead to forehead closed his eyes.

    "I will do the hardest thing I know how to do for you right now...I'm gonna keep living. I may get dismayed because you won't be there to make me smile. But I'll do that much for you at least..." He kissed near the pale flesh yet sundered and rolled to his left and struggled to his feel. His tears of pain, of agony just from his admitted defeat but he had to find a way to keep from bleeding to death first. That's when his genius intellect kicked in shortly thereafter, his dread. He came to the conclusion that'd he have to cauterize the damn thing to seal it.

    "That's wonderful news...The doctor of the family is dead next to her daughter...Well, she has taught me a thing or two. I just hate what I'm thinking right now." Miles muttered to himself. "First things first though..." He hobbled over to the book shelf, catching himself on it as he stumbled to his knees. He crawled to the other side where a cupboard was.

    Please tell me you are in here and you still work..." Miles tried to fumble in the dark, grabbing a hold of something surprisingly heavy. Pulling it out, it looked like a duffle bag so he just pushed it aside. What he was looking for was the battery operated lamp. He found it at last. Now, he could actually see, hopefully. “Moment of truth time." He turned the dial and the LED, his eyes dilated quickly enough that he fell backwards and rolled rubbing his eyes. "Ah damn it! It works too well! I'm blind!" He fumbled with it. "Is there a dimmer switch?" His thumb then clicked something or another because the lanterns light became a focused spotlight. It was a flashlight too? What was it? A decepticon or something? Next it would probably make him an omelet.

    Still rubbing his eyes as they tried to adjust he shone the light on the duffle bag. It was red. And white. But as his vision cleared, he could swear he had just hit the jack pot. His mother’s own First aid kit. It was cram pack full of essentials. From bandages to syringes. It even had his mother’s own Lidacaine, Bupivacaine and even Morphine?!

    "Did you expect me to get impaled to day? Geeze." Miles sighed. Slung the strap of the tote bag over one shoulder. Although to be honest, it was more like a camping backpack. The thing was huge and heavy. It was going to be an obvious target. But it was going to a crucial part of his agenda. Not just for himself but for those he rescued along the way. But he had to get the glass out of him. He could feel effects of blood loss starting to get to him. He had to hurry. He grabbed the tote and the lamp and headed to the bathroom, he shielded the window so prying eyes couldn't see the LED lamp he was using. Setting the bag down, he opened it again and this time dug into the various assortments. He couldn't find it fast it enough and he was running out of time. He took the lamp to his mother's room. Strangely, she had requested the ground floor.

    It was Spartan, like always. The woman could not leave dust bunny alone. Made him feel bad for here patients. I found them--tweezers. He'd have to go and raid his father's whiskey cabinet for that. Now having the things he needed he stepped back into the bathroom and began his audacious plan to remove a bit of glass embedded in him. He laid the lantern on the side and angled the light. Removing his pants, his shirt he had gone without. Carefully now, after dabbing the ends of the tweezers in disinfectant gel hand sanitizer he peeled back is own skin. Who ever heard of this as emergency surgery in the middle of San Francisco at home, needs to get better eyes. This was downright medieval.

    Miles could feel the metal inside him and it was not pleasant. He gripped the sink at first, clutching the porcelain edifice. His body was vehemently trembling. The pain was just so unreal. Every bit of him wanted to grab the morphine. But there was something inside fighting it. Something keeping him from expending even a drop of a vital resource—at least, on his self. The perforation was a three inch gash that he approximated had drove a sliver of glass about two inches deep. It was located on his waist line near his right hip. He hissed, and gritted his teeth when the tweezers touched the lodged piece of glass. It had gone even deeper than he thought.

    Miles groaned in pain, wincing as he felt the tweezers pry the severed tissues apart inside his body. His eyes roamed the room as unfathomable pain racked his body. The glass was slippery; he couldn’t quite get a grasp on the glass. It had become so painful; he was pounding on the sink with his hand as if begging himself to stop. He wanted to throw up, but he wouldn’t give up. How could he? With veins producing themselves along his forehead from stress and effort he threw the tweezers into the sink before worming his thumb and forefinger into the deep gash.

    Instantly his body seized, and his face contorted painfully. His breath hitched, only sputtering as spit flung from his lips when he forced them deeper into the muscle tissue. There, he felt the object of his agony. A three inch long, three inch wide shard of razor sharp glass. He was lucky. Had it gone any deeper it would have embedded in his bowels. It had, however, severed an artery. He grabbed the outside edges gently, pinching it between them. He now had the daunting task of retrieval.

    He had no choice; he had to pull it out slowly. Which was very painful. Otherwise he’d risk severing another artery or snapping the glass and risk further punctures. As he slowly began to pull at the shard, the intense pain became all too evident and it wound up his groan until it was an all-out scream. His hand jerked back pulling the blood stained piece of glass out entirely and letting it drop into the sink. He was now kneeling with his head against the edge of the sink, panting unsurprisingly. That last effort made him hold his breath for nearly four minutes. He felt like he was drowning.

    He collapsed, falling over as the blood started oozing out of the wound. Without the suction the glass had created to fill the void now torn into his body, he began to bleed more freely now. By now, Miles was quite pale and even though he struggled to drag himself to the towel closet, his vision was blurring and his thoughts were getting hazier. But something in him urged him on, inch by painful inch. He dragged himself across the floor and then reached up with a bloody hand and locked onto the door as tight as he could. His arm strained as he began lifting himself, trying to pull himself to his feet. He quickly latched his other hand onto the handle; it too was a bloody mess.

    Pressing his head into the door, he urged himself to stand on one foot, then to rising slowly upright before stumbling back. He slammed into the bathroom door catching himself on the frame. He was damned if he was going to break one more promise to Angelica. He forced himself back forward, opening the closet and grabbed a towel quickly tying it around his waist an improvised means of keeping pressure on the wound. The towel would also absorb the blood.

    “I have to stop the bleeding.” He told himself pressing his hand over the tight knot. The wound was in such an odd place it was hard to localize it with pressure. “It looks like I’ll have to cauterize it. I don’t have time to look for a needle and thread.” He grabbed the bag of medical supplies. Groaning as he struggled to lift it up but he had and grabbed the lantern and hobbled into the kitchen set the bag down.

    Limping over to the gas stove, he then looked down at the many pull out drawers around the sink. He’d need a match. The stoves igniter was still reliant on electricity. He drew out one drawer after another until he found a small box of matches. Setting the lamp down on the counter top, he opened the box pulling out a single match then struck it setting it ablaze he lowered it before turning the knob slowly dispensing the gas. The stove pilot lit up revealing an open flame.

    “Next I need a knife...” He thought quickly, and then decided on the long bread knife. It had no real edges to speak of. Nor was it serrated. He carefully removed the grate and slid the blade over the flame Now he had to wait…
    #5 Apollyon, Oct 15, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 16, 2013
  6. Everything had calmed back down again. The boots trudging through the hallways looking for survivors. the bullets ringing out joyfully when they were found. Everything was now - still. That scared him worse than the gunshots. Clase inched his way out of the kitchen, dragging the few supplies he'd found and stuffed in his bag. He made back to where his sister and friends were, fearing the worse. Instead, two out of three were alive.

    "He...didn't make it."

    Lewis had covered Jacobe's face with his year jacket. He was to graduate this year with the rest of them. Looks like no one's going to walk the stage this year. Clase bowed his head for a moment, listening to his sister's light sobs. He turned his head to face her. She stayed awake, but looked like the walking dead - eyes bloodshot and constricted, pale like chalk, with dirt, blood, and sweat smearing down her skin. It all make it difficult to see the international fashion icon beneath, the one known as the face of U. Funny how everything we've ever worked for in our lives can be totally wiped out with just one, ignorant bomb.

    Clase took a deep breath, "I've got what I could, but we've got to get out of here. There's a gas leak in the kitchen. This place is going to blow again."

    Lewis understood and quickly began to distribute some of the items Clase found into the other bags, slinging a backpack over his shoulders and tucking his letterman jacket across the back of the straps. He slowly stood up to look around, seeing for himself the damage around them for the first time. He saw Angela Beckens, his date to prom that year, dead. He saw Mr. Larson, his favorite History teacher that year - dead, lying over a few students as if he was trying to save them from the falling debris. He wasn't going to let all of this get to him, but to see his friends and mentors, people that you've grown up with, massively gone in a split second...and you're still standing... He felt sick to his stomach, guilty for being alive; yet, angry and vengeful. He wanted to know why...who!

    Clase patted his friend's shoulder as he stood up to strap a backpack carefully over his injured shoulder. "We've got to find help...the National Guard, or someone who knows what's going on. These people who did this are from another country. I think they're...Asian, not sure. But, whoever they are, they'll get what's coming to them, alright? But, right now, we've got to find help."

    Lewis nodded, digging his nails into his balled up hands he finally relaxed and turned away from the carnage. Together, the two helped Ambri stand. She wanted to fight them, as if she was capable of walking on her own, but there was too much trash around for her to trip over. And she was already wobbly enough on her own. Eventually, she gave in and just let the two manage her steps.

    The three of them slowly made their way out of the cafeteria and cautiously headed down the broken hallway. Along the way, the guys picked up things they felt will come in handy. Lewis grabbed the ax out of the old fire cabinet that had broken loose during the bombing. Clase found Mrs. Curtis's Civil War sword in her classroom when they passed by. It wasn't as torn up as the rest of the school. It was clear that they bomb targeted the cafeteria, the old gymnasium, and the outdoor pavilion area - all the places where a large population of students were located during noon - lunch break. That told the boys that they were definitely dealing with some high-tech soldiers. This wasn't some small, home-made school bombing.

    As they moved along, they had to hide away in a classroom or in the hollow of a doorway. Other soldiers were still moving about the building, but most were heading outside. Clase was able to clearly understand the last group. They were talking Korean, but it was like a northern dialect. Still, what the man said was easy to figure out - they were leaving the school now, seeing no threats present and all students and faculty were eliminated. Him and Lewis tucked them away in the janitor's closet, trying to figure out more of what was going on with the clue Clase was able to pick up.

    "So, our country is under attack?" Lewis was stunned more so than before.

    "They've got to be North Koreans, right Ambri?" She nodded. What little words Clase was able to relay to her confirmed the dialect. "It just makes sense then... And since we're living in a large city, a target for any major military attacks, we were hit. That means, our whole city's been bombed!"

    "Fine, then what should we do? They'll be everywhere."

    "They're leaving the school. So, obviously they've killed off everyone. So, we wait for a while and head back out. We might be able to hide in the woods, or a neighborhood that has been cleared out... I don't know, I've never done this before..."

    Eventually, after an hour or so waiting, the three left their hiding place again, this time with some sort of strategy about leaving the school. They began to head further down the hallway, now getting dark for the sun wasn't sitting high in the sky anymore. Clase continued to walk, holding his sister the best he could as she continued to slow down considerably. Ambri was getting tired. Her head was pounding again, which made it difficult to concentrate of her footsteps, or her brother's words. She blacked out a few times, only to wake up when Clase and Lewis jerked her awake again. Carrying dead weight when you're already holding your weight in bottled water and can goods and you're injured yourself, is not very easy.

    Clase was about to mention heading to the gym so they could go to the basement, to make that their base of operations until everything falls to order, but he froze when he heard a noise heading their way from the opposite side of the hallway.

    "Go hide - hurry," he whispered. Lewis helped Ambri move to a bathroom door and pushed his way inside. Clase hid himself behind a set of lockers and raised the old, dull sword. He knew it wasn't a soldier walking the hall, cause there was an absence of heavy boot steps. So, it had to be a survivor, but who knows if it is a student, or some guy from off the streets who was rioting and looting and decided to check out what he can find at the school to steal. It was a far fetched idea, of course, but he remembers other incidents of mass destruction where people began to riot and fight with others. He hoped this wasn't one of those times.

    ((Tag sincere_and_silent))
  7. Chapter 1: Homefront

    7 hours after EMP burst
    Seconds turned into minutes, minutes and minutes sure took their time to evolve into hours. A pale faced Miles sat on the floor with his back much against the cabinets beneath the sink. The way one leg was extended out and the fact his arms had fallen smearing the blood on the linoleum floor made him appear as dead as the rest of his family was. The last nail in the coffin was his head was slumped forwards blood drip, drip, dripping from between his lips. The house was deathly silent. Only the sound of burning gas and the fire crackling was heard. There was about to be a rebirth, a resurgence of life.

    Miles' heart had slowed dramatically. At times his consciousness barely felt the palpitations. The throbs that pushed blood through him and carried just enough oxygen to keep him sustained. His chest didn't even appear like it were flexing to allow the airflow into his lungs. But it was there. He lifted his left arm weakly and pushed back against the fake wooden mold as he turned slowly and with the other hand, grabbed onto the counter. On his knees, he clutched the sink as he forced his tired body to move. His legs trembled, reluctant to bear his weight. If it weren't for the fact his brain still had majority control over the muscles and tendons--he'd have surely fallen over by now.

    Faded eyes set their gaze upon the knife now glowing dimly like a piece of charcoal. The metal was ready. He then tore off his shirt exposing a somewhat muscled physique. He wasn't athlete nor was he built like the guys in the gym were. All ever did was cardio and swimming. It made him more limber than anything. His stomach was flat, unmuscled but bore the deep gash as clear as day. He then reached, not for the knife yet, but for the bottle of bourbon whiskey. He cracked it open and took a large swig. He was beginning to feel the terrible excitement of what he was about to do.

    Every alarm in his brain was telling him, warning him how hot the knife was going to be. However, he had to ignore that danger in the face of another. Exsanguination. He took another large gulp, coughing loudly as his eyes started to tear form how 'hard' the liquor was to his system. Setting the bottle down, he grabbed the wooden handle of the knife implemented and lifted away from the stove. He watched ow it glowed and reminded him of the tip of a cigarette. Breathing uneasily, and trying not to look but a morbid sense of curiosity mixed with instinctual fear of it causing him great pain kept his eyes on the knife the entire way as it descended. When he finally had pressed the blade to his skin it hissed as though his body were a sirloin steak on the grill.

    Miles howled in pain, but he had no choice but to keep in there for thirty seconds, possibly a minute. One incredibly long minute. He instantly stumbled backwards, slamming first into the fridge then the wall. Yet no matter what his body tried to do to get the blazing hot steel away from him, his brain had commanded his hand to keep it pressed against him through the thrashing. Finally, he dropped the knife and looked down at the charred skin. It would stop the blood flow but undoubtedly cause a nasty scar. He could hear it sizzling still, he could smell the burnt flesh. He quickly made his way back over to the bottle of bourbon and took a few more chugs before he poured some onto the wound itself to sterilize it. It burnt bad enough that he swore and chucked the bottle across the room smashing it against the wall as he collapsed to his hands and knees holding himself while enduring the great pain.
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