Depression sets in right away. It usually is like that with disasters, especially those on such a grand scale as this one. This one, though, isnt like anything anyones ever seen before. No, this one is much larger. This one
this is the one that will determine the fate of what this tiny, once blue and peaceful planet will be. Green pastures have long given way to brown decay that envelopes this world. Death looms everywhere. Its not just the things that are dead that are bothersome. Its the ones that are dead, but continue on. Its the ones that are banging profusely against the tatters of the house in which a certain group of people have holed themselves in.
Aryk sat on a wooden crate, listening to the consistent pounding of bodies being slammed against the doors and windows of the heavily fortified house he had been living in for the last couple of weeks now. He had stumbled upon it after narrowly escaping his last place of refuge. There were only maybe three other survivors from that last building. At least, there were three that he saw attempting to escape. Whether they had or not, he didnt know for sure. He had scaled the rooftop, and clambered along from the top of the roof of one building to the next. Now, he found himself in some sort of residential area. He had managed to outrun them, and out of the corner of his eye, saw a house with a dim light inside. Adjusting his side pack, he had sprinted as fast as he could towards the house. It was nearly impossible to get into the house from the front, but after scaling a brick chimney that was on the side of the house, he figured out that the entrance point was a skylight on the roof of the two story house in which someone had placed a long extension ladder. He found some empty shell casings in groups along the roof. This showed him that the shooting wasnt done in a hurried or frightened way, or else the casings would be completely scattered across the roof and elsewhere.
After descending down the ladder, he found himself in a dark room, unsure of what kind of room it was. Reaching into his side pack, he pulled out a badly damaged flashlight. Clicking the button, he found it wasnt working right. After smacking it with his hand a few times, it finally shot out a dim beam of light. The room was a somewhat small bathroom. He turned himself around to see the layout of the room, and stopped at the sandbagged door. It wasnt the sandbags jammed in the doorway that made him stop, but more so the man who was pointing the rifle at him, watching his every move. For a few moments, the two men just looked each other over, waiting to see if the other was going to make a move. Turn off the light the shadowy man spoke to Aryk. His voice was gruff, more then likely from lack of an adequate water supply. The man looked large enough in size to Aryk, but food and water was still very hard to come by, and even when it was found, it was rationed to the very last drop. Aryk of course complied with the mans order, and quickly switched off the light. It took awhile for his eyes to readjust in the darkness of the room. The man never moved his gaze, or his aim, from Aryk. What do you have in that pack there? the man asked of Aryk.
Just my own personal things Ive managed to salvage. Ive got a flashlight, some pictures of my family, a small jug of water, and a granola bar, and some other odds and ends. Aryk didnt want to tell the man everything that he had in his pack, hoping that maybe hed be able to barter with the man in case he got hostile. He also had a hunting knife that was his dads from when he served in the military, but he didnt want to let the man know this.
Whats that other strap you have on? Aryk had carried around his dads rifle for a long time now, strapped across his back. He especially liked how both the straps from his gun and his side pack crossed in the middle of his chest against his light tan leather jacket he had been given for his birthday before everything happened. A lot of times, he switched out whatever clothes he had on when he would stop at a house for a set of fresh clothes when he could, so he was constantly wearing something new. Looking down at himself, he noticed he had on some dark blue jeans that he had scrounged from the last house he stayed at, and a dark green shirt with a hole on the side of it. The shirt had a lot of dark blotches and stains on it that almost looked like oil or grease, but could have easily just been dried blood. The black sneakers he had on were so worn, he didnt know the company, nor did he care, but these he had also salvaged from the last house he took residence in.
I have a rifle. Its strapped to my back. I dont have anymore bullets though. I ran out long ago, and havent found any since then to reload it. This part was true. He never carried bullets for the gun, and he had only been given a couple of bullets for it once, which he had to use in a getaway at one point. He wished he could find more, so that he could have a backup in a given situation. So far, however, he had not found any.
Take it off and put in on the ground. Your pack, too. Its for my protection, you know that. I have people in this house that need me, and I dont need someone coming in here and taking me out, right? Aryk complied with this also, laying his rifle and pack on either side of himself. From downstairs, Aryk could hear soft whispers, and slight movement. He wondered if this man in front of him was just stalling him so that his cronies could come up and kill him and take his things. Unfortunately for Aryk, he couldnt really tell what was going on, and was at the mercy of the man in front of him. I dont mean you any harm. None of us here do. We just need to be careful. You can probably figure that youre not the only one who has found this house out. You havent done anything stupid, so Im getting the feeling that you probably arent someone who is going to come in here and ransack us and take our stuff, not by yourself anyway, and my people would have alerted me if they saw any other living humans coming up to this house. The man paused here to listen to the people downstairs, but the muffled movements down on the bottom floor showed no signs of excitement, and therefore a lack of need for worry. The man gave a heavy sigh, and then raised his rifle. Aryks tense body relaxed finally. Bring your stuff over here, into this room with me. We can talk better in there.
Aryk grabbed his bag and gun, and walked over to the sandbags. Hopping over the sandbag barricade, he followed the man into the adjoining room, where a small wooden table and a lantern had been set up. Using a match, the man lit the lantern, making sure it only gave off a dim light, just enough for the men to see each other while they talked, and then he used the match to light himself an already half-way burned through cigarette. I would offer you a chair, the man smoked, exhaling a stream of smoke, but theyve all been used to barricade the bottom floor you see. Windows and doors and the like. Oh, my names Harold, by the way. What would yours happen to be, if you dont mind me asking?
Well, my name is Aryk. Its A-R-Y-K, not your typical E-R-I-C. Harold looked at Aryk a little perplexed, and stared off, as though concentrating really deeply. Yeah, I know, my names a little weird. It was made up of
No no, thats not it. You see, I wasnt the best at school. Well, to tell you the truth, I grew up more in the countryside, and I didnt really get much education in. Sure, I know how to speak right, but, when you ask me how to spell things, or like you just did, spell something out for me, I dont quite get it. I know how to say your name, and thats about all I need to know. Aryk nodded his head in consent of that conclusion, not wanting to pursue the issue further. How about you, Mr. A-R, etcetera, did you ever go to school?
Well, I was going to school when all this happened. I was looking forward to my senior year, too. Final year before you graduate. Last year to really enjoy what you had been doing for so long. Its the last year in a place that you spent so many years to get to know people, and learn from them, you know? Too bad I missed out on all that. Dang, I havent thought about all that in awhile.
So what must that make you, 17, 18? Harold asked.
Oh no, Im sorry. My senior year in college. Yeah, Ive always been told I look younger then what my age is. So, what kind of establishment do you have going on here? I hear people downstairs, thats for sure. Aryk looked to the left of where Harold was sitting on the floor, and saw a door leading into a hallway, and a small spatter of light glowing slightly against the wall in an upward direction, indicating that the light was from downstairs. How many rooms do you have? How many do you have barricaded, thats most important, and what is it that you have barricading it?
Well, you sure are quick to start up about the situation at hand, arent you? Well, if you wish to skip the niceties and what not, Ill give you the scoop. This here is a two story house. Three bedrooms upstairs, and
umm, 6 downstairs. There was an office, a living room, a dining room, the kitchen, a bathroom, and probably a bedroom, guest or someones, but all we know is that there was nothing but boxes in it, as though they hadnt moved in completely yet. Most of the people Aryk had run into hiding out in a home usually didnt own the home, and didnt know who did, but found the refuge they needed in it, after a little improvising and ingenuity. The office, that bedroom place, and the bathroom didnt need too much fixing up. Weve boarded up all the windows, in all the rooms, with whatever wood we could find, except for this table right here. Harold knocked on the wooden table they were sitting at, with the lantern on top. We used couches and such to block doors, too. Of course we didnt use none of the cushions, though. Weve been using those to sleep on in the office room. Its right next to the stairs, so we can scramble up here if there was a break in. This table isnt much, but if we need to resort to it, well be able to board up this door to help us get out of here with it. Otherwise, its just an old, sturdy table that Ive actually taken a liking to.
So, you know I have to ask you this, Aryk. Its the way things are now. What is your purpose for being here? Are you some sort of raider coming in to try and take whatever you can find, or are you a good person, trying to find a place to rest for a night, or are you trying to find yourself a location to attempt to live in?
Well, Aryk began, I dont really know yet what Im going to do. I mean, usually I only find houses where Ill be by myself. A lot easier that way, in case I have to make a speedy escape, but I have holed up plenty of times with nice people who were just trying to make it. Ive helped out with families who needed food and supplies, and Ive sat through plenty of hellacious attacks. How Ive survived is beyond me, but Ive been doing all that I can to live on. So if youre trying to ask me if Im willing to stay with you and yours, Id have to say that were in this together, as a whole race. Its this knowledge, and a respect for one another, that separates us from them out there.
Well then Aryk, Harold said, welcome to the team, for as long you may stick around, or for as long as you may stay alive!