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 Aftermath: Prologue

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RonetheSlayer
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Join date : 2011-05-15
Location : Cloud 9

PostSubject: Aftermath: Prologue   Sun May 15, 2011 3:38 am

Desolation

January 13, 2046
El Centro, California


Once a busy and loud city, El Centro lays crumbling and broken. Sand blows

across the empty streets, grinding away any remains of color. Nothing moves.

Nothing breathes. Only tumble weeds and the occasional lizard break the

monotony, the former just a passerby on it's journey, the latter dashing from cover to

cover, wary of the hunters that wait. At night, other creatures will come out, prey

and predators alike. During the day though, El Centro is dead.

Movement stirs from the confines of a gas station, a corner of which had long

since crumbled off. A man steps out, all rags and dirt and fear, a shotgun in hand.

Behind him, a woman steps out as well, an infant in one arm and a toddler holding

the other. Behind them, a boy follows, perhaps in his teens, holding a pistol in hand.

The father leads the family along the side of the building, hugging the wall, eyes

turning every direction. The mother and two children stay close on his tail.

The boy follows, watching behind them and to the sides, as wary and

guarded as his father. He has experienced fear. It dominates his existance, keeps

him and his family alive. Still, he hates it. He hates the fear.

Though he is only thirteen, the boy has seen much. A lifetime of running and

fighting has left his body strong and his reflexes fast. He clutches a pistol holstered

on his waist. He found it when he was younger, scavenging an abandoned airbase.

They stop behind a crashed 18-wheeler, avoiding the windows of buildings

and cars, not knowing what nightmares wait just inside the shadows, only that they

do. The man leads the group to a crashed van, the top torn off by something. He

checks inside, then moves past the wrecked vehicle and dashes across the street

and stops against the wall of a restaurant. He checks the street and signals to

the woman. She scurries across as well, toddler running as fast as possible to

keep up. They stop next to the man. He signals to the son.

The son starts across the street, eyes searching everywhere. He is halfway

across when he sees movement atop the restaurant. He freezes, pistol raising,

safety off. Instantly, the father grabs the woman and two children and moves them

to a car nearby. He opens the door, lowers the shotgun, and fires. Something

shrieks. The woman and children climb in and he closes the door. He turns and

sees the boy, still in the street, pistol raised eyes searching everywhere. He calls

to the boy to come, but he remains.

Something calls from atop the restaurant, a familiar shriek of hunting beasts.

Ferals of some sort. The man cocks the shotgun. The boy moves over to stand

next to him. Tweaks and growls eminate from the inside of the restaurant, then

silence. The man lowers his shotgun, the boy following suit. They both look west.

A dim outline of the sun is visible through the dusty sky, just barely over the horizon.

They look to the east, and they both reach the same conclusion. We won't reach

the shelter by nightfall.

"Only a few hours of daylight remain. We must find somewhere to hide

tonight." The man whispers. He is sweating and his eyes are wild. He looks at

the boy, but the boy doesn't look back.

He takes them and follows the street north. He knows the shelter is nearly

three hours away and with less than two hours of daylight remaining, he knows he

will have to find some other place for them to stay the night. He sees a familiar

building in the distance; a bank. He remembers it from long ago. Stopping outside

the building, he tells the boy to stay with the woman and children. He goes to the

front entrance which is locked. He knows the code, he used to work in this place.

After a few tries, the door unlocks. He goes in and clears the building. When he

comes back out, the sun is nearly down.

He rushes his family inside and locks the entrance. He takes them to a

back office, one with a metal-bound doorway, leaves briefly and returns with some

salvaged food. He and the boy barricade the front entrance; it is the only one in the

building. An hour or so later, the sounds of the night and it's denizens seep through

from the outside. Constant shrieks and barks and snarls. A few screams. But these

are normal things to be heard, and the boy loses no sleep over it.

The man sits in front of the door to the office, shotgun gripped tightly in both

hands. He stares at the entrance, waiting for anything to happen. He is a veteran

of nights like this.

An hour or so later, scratches are heard from the front entrance.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

The boy eyes his mother in the corner, rocking back and forth, singing to

the infant. Her voice is soft and gentle. It's the only thing the boy can remember

that he thought was beautiful. She sings of things called angels, of someone called

Messiah. Gates of pearl and men called Saints. The boy never asks what these things

are. He never asks anything, just listens. Her songs ease away his tension

some.

He sees his mother's eyes droop, then slowly close. She stops rocking.

Seconds later she jerks back awake and starts rocking again. The boy can

see her exhaustion. He get up and walks over to her.

She looks up at him.

"Can I hold him for a while so you can sleep?" the boy asks. She smiles,

then passes the infant, wrapped in an orange wool blanket, to him. He takes

the babe in his arms, and holds it close. He sits down next to the mother, who lies

against the floor and falls asleep almost instantly.

The boy looks down at the infant. Clutched in it's tiny fist is a medallion-like

ornament. It's made of different colored string, tied together by the woman to make

a strange symbol. The boy doesn't understand what the symbol is, but recognizes

it from the cover of a small book his mother reads from.

The baby stirs and wakes up. The boy's fierce green eyes meet the babe's

gentle blue ones. It continues to watch the boy. Then starts touching his face,

playing with the boy's straggly brown hair and pulling on his ears. Then it stares

at the medallion, eyeing the bright colors with interest. The baby extends the

ornament to the boy and blows spit bubbles. The boy meets the infant's eyes

again, then accepts the gift.

An few hours later, the mother wakes up and takes the baby to feed it. As the

boy stands up to walk back to his corner and go to sleep, he looks at the baby. It

smiles at him and give a small, joyful laugh.

The boy smiles back at the baby. It is the first time he has smiled in years.

It is also the last time.
__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Something nudges the boy's shoulder. He instantly reaches for his pistol,

but stops when he sees it's his father, who steps away and moves toward the

woman and sleeping children. He is about to relax when suddenly every instinct

in his body flares alive, like a light switched on.

Blood pulsing, he quietly moves into a crouch and peers around the room,

absorbing his surroundings.

An array of smells about him. The musty furniture stacked against the

door. The dead plants, long since decayed by the darkness and absence of

moisture.

He notices the tensness in his father's movements, the effort he is putting

forth into making no sound. He notices the safety is off on the shotgun gripped

tightly by the man. The way he gently shakes his wife awake, putting a finger to

her lips before she can speak. He points to the blanketed form a few feet away,

and the woman moves to wake the toddler. The man moves away and, propping

his weapon against a filing cabinet, slowly begins to stuff blankets and lanterns

and water packs and rations into a green military backpack.

Still unsure of the source of his sudden sense of danger, the boy catches

his father's stare. The man's eyes are scared and uncertain. He places a finger to

his ear, then points to the air. Understanding strikes the boy like a revelation.

It is completely silent outside.

The ceiling above them creaks.

The boy's blood freezes in his veins. The father slowly turns away from the

supplies and, staring upward, reaches out and grabs the shotgun. The mother

holds the sleeping infant to her chest, and pulls the toddler towards her.

Seconds pass by in agonizing silence.

Another creak, this time closer, above them and to the right. The man

creeps over to the woman and children and leads them to the back corner of

the cramped office, behind the filing cabinet. Another creak, this time almost

above their room. The boy begins to move in the direction of the door, when

dust falls from the ceiling directly above him.

Once again, the boy's blood turns to ice. His eyes slowly look up at

the tiles above him. Dust falls a few more feet away, in the direction of his

parents. Then further on.

Silence again.

Something crashes in the room behind his parents. A moment of silence,

then the sound of glass cracking. The father and mother rise, former holding the

young boy's hand, the latter clutching the infant to her chest.

A second later, another crack from the other room. Something prowling

across shattered glass.

Crunch.

The father reaches down and picks up the toddler, then starts slowly

walking across the room.

Crunch.

The boy holds his breath, listening for the steps.

Crunch.

Halfway across, the infant lets out a short cry.

Silence.

The family freezes. The mother holds the baby close, silently calming it. The

father presses his eyes closed, sweat beads running along the sides of his face.

The toddler clings to his father's arm, tears dripping onto the dusty floor. The boy,

pistol still raised, swallows his fear and listens. Nearly a minute passes.

Crunch. Crunch.

As one, the family exhales. The father's eyes meet those of the boy's, and

he nods to his son. He takes a step, and the floor creaks loudly.

Silence, and then . . .

Crunch Crunch Crunch Crunch Crunch

The father shoves his family aside as the wall behind them bursts apart. He

spins, shotgun out, but a dark, lethe form tackles him with a roar. He rolls backward,

throwing the figure over him. It smashes into the wall. He stands, levels his barrel,

then fires. The shot lights up the room, showing a monstrousity of hair and teeth and claws.

Blood splashes against the wall, and the beast falls.

Seconds later, the father turns, face streaked with blood. He opens his

mouth to speak . . .

A procession of snarls and howls erupt outside the bank. An enourmous

ruckus comes from far above.

"Cumon. Grab the bag son!" the father whispers to the boy before grabbing

his wife's arm and running towards the hole in the wall. The boy grabs the green

backpack, slings it over his shoulder, then follows.

As he steps through, his father lights a flare, illuminating the room in a

crimson. A hole is in the ceiling. Rafters and wires hang down. Shattered glass

covers the floor.

Above them, a sound like thunder eminates. Growls and shrieks echo

through the open ventilation.

To the right, a door stands open, hanging from it's hinges. His father leads

his wife and children into it. A long hallway lined with doors, at the end of which sits

a large safe door. The father pulls his wife's arm and they start running, the toddler

gripping the hem of his mother's dress and desperatly trying to keep up, the boy

following close behind.

Roars and snarls echo from behind them. The boy glances back,

seeing movement from within the room. He picks up the toddler and runs faster.

The boy passes the man, sprinting extremely fast. He passes out of the

flare's light. He runs out of fear and frantic adrenaline. He senses the wall open

up on either side of him, and slows. Moments later he reaches the door. He

places the toddler down, then turns.

His father and mother are still twenty feet away, running fast as their

age would allow. The boy sees dust fall from the ceiling several feet ahead

of them. He dashes foward, yelling a warning.

The ceiling comes crashing down directly above the three, and dust

billows up the corridor. The boy runs directly into dust cloud. A pile of debris

blocks the hallway. He slams into the blockage, and peers through a gap

to the otherside. By the light of the flare lying on the ground, the boy sees his

mother pull herself out of the wreckage, infant still in her arms, crying loudly.

A mob of monsters comes rampaging down the hall towards the

woman, who sits back against the pile of debris and gently rocks her baby

and whispers prayers. The boy calls out to his mother. She looks up and

quickly scrambles toward him. She gently hands the baby through the hole

and into the boy's arms. Clawed hands reach around her neck and face

and pull her back. She is still praying when they rend her apart.

The boy screams and points his pistol into the hole, unleashing a

hail of rounds. Screeches of pain meet his ears. The sound pleases him,

and he keeps firing, screaming madly. His clip runs dry.

Claws start to rip away the debris.

The boy turns and runs down the hall. When he gets there, the

toddler is gone. A smear of red runs from the door, up the wall and

into a hole in the ceiling. A few more feet along, directly above the boy

a pool of blood is slowly spreading outward. A single red drop falls and

lands on the boy's face.

A large crash behind him. He turns, pistol ready. His father staggers

out of the dust cloud toward him, covered in blood, shotgun hanging limply

from his left hand. He and the boy open the vault door together, and rush inside

as the monsters burst through the wreckage.

They slam the heavy door shut, shutting out the sounds of the monsters.

Locks click into place. Silence and darkness engulf them.


Last edited by RonetheSlayer on Sun May 15, 2011 3:45 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Forgot to indent . . . and I like to indent.)
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