Dust and dirt clung to Ren's eyes the very second she opened them, it was like trying to see through a gauzy ribbon. She blinked rapidly, forcing her eyes to water, washing out the gritty film covering her blue-green eyes. Her whole body ached from a night of laying on the bare ground as she tried to sit up against the makeshift plywood walls. Instantly, the cloth she'd hung over the wood toppled on top of her, causing a new round of dust to cover her eyeballs. She crawled out, coughing as though her lungs were filled with dirt. She embraced the shambles that were once known as her hometown, Bushire, with a small, accepting sigh. She sat down on a large rock near her 'tent' and grabbed the knapsack of supplies she salvaged the previous day. She blindly groped inside for a thermos filled with clean water. After a few sparing sips, Ren capped the thermos and tossed it back into the sack. It clanged against the pistol, beef jerkey and box of bullets she'd found in an old gun store and butcher shop yesterday. Ren rested her chin in her hands, pondering her chances of survival until a peaceful, natural death. Highly unlikely, considering the single bottle of water. She gazed around at the scattered dead bodies, people she used to know, and even care about. Everyone on Earth, eighteen and older had fought fiercely against the attacking Xelopian aliens. They'd come with weapons and powers decades more advanced than the humans, leaving Ren's race looking like mere rodents to the Xelo planet. A tear slid down Ren's cheek as she remembered her father racing out onto the streets, taking electrified bullet after bullet for his wife, friends, and even people he didn't know. He'd finally fallen, jumping in front of Ren's mom to save her from an arrow sailing through the sky in a simple arc. Ren immediately wiped the tear away. At age seventeen, she hadn't cried in 12 years, and she wasn't about to turn to pitying herself. "Surely there are other seventeen and unders that weren't found by the Xelopians on their final sweep of the planet." Ren reassured herself by speaking out loud. She winced as the memory of a Xelopian swallowing Mr. Stillings', her neighbor, body whole, as they did to many others. "I should have been there, by my fathers side." Ren picked up a stone and chucked it across the remnants of her city. "I'm skilled with a gun, and a knife. I should have fought despite his orders. I-I should be dead too.."