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Path from Chaos (part one)
It was almost nightfall, but nowadays night wasn’t much different then day. After the Great War, or as some called it World War Three, the sky was full of ash and dust from the massive explosions. Because of this it was always dark, day and night. After a few months, people became used to it.
Jacob Henderson stood among the rubble of a fallen building. Everywhere he looked there were the hollowed out skeletons of once grand buildings, ruined by the bombs. Jacob's jeans were torn and covered in stains and dirt. His plaid, button up shirt was in no better state. Dust and scratches covered Jacob's dark, brown skin. His short, black hair was graying due to age. On his shoulder sat a Remington 243 rifle.
When he had been younger he had been a boxer. Not professionally but as a hobbie. That was before the war. Before the war he had a good life. Before the war he had a daughter Anne.
He walked over to a small cave created by a collapsed building. It was small, just big enough to hold six people. More than what they needed. Inside the cave his wife, Margaret, stroked the hair of his young, three year old daughter, Betty. His two sons, Eric and Jonathan were asleep. Eric would be turning fourteen soon and Jonathan was twelve. They all wore dirt covered clothing and looked as if they haven't taken a bath in years, mostly because they haven't.
After the war running water had ceased to be. If you wanted food you had to find it yourself. No electricity, no cars, no medicine, nothing. This was a hard life. Not only did they have to find their own necessities but also they had to defend themselves from the gangs. After the bombs destroyed all civilization the gangs had taken over. Battling each other for territory, killing anyone for their food, weapons, or drugs, and causing mass destruction just for entertainment.
A small fire sat in the center of the small room. A hole in the roof let out the smoke. Margaret looked at him with pleading eyes, hoping. Jacob shook his head, he had found no food. They would go hungry tonight.
Betty lay down on the hard ground. Her eyes only slits as she shut them, "Did you find any food, daddy?" she asked.
"I tried." He answered solemnly. Her eyes closed completely as she mumbled something and then slowly fell asleep.
"What are we going to do, Jacob? We're starving!" Margaret whispered.
"We may have to…move. Go somewhere with food. I just don't know what…" he stopped. It was hopeless. They would end up just like the other people he'd seen. Withered, crumpled, starving, dying. Everyone ended up that way sooner or later. He curled up beside his wife and tried to think of a way out of this mess. But, against his will, he slowly drifted off to sleep.
He was awoken by the clatter of guns and shouts of pain. Eric was sitting up straight with wide, frightened eyes. Jonathan was slowly getting up when Margaret leapt up.
"What's going on?" she hissed, frantically.
"Most likely the gangs have found some new victims," Jacob gravely replied, "I'll go check it out."
"I'll go with you!" said Eric.
"No, you won't." Jacob grabbed the Remington 243 rifle and stepped out of the cave. It was chaos outside. Fire burned on a flipped dirt bike and a few bodies were laying in there own pools of blood. Dead, or dying. Three men wearing all black and army like helmets kneeled behind a pile of rocks and bricks. One suddenly leapt up and fired off a round of bullets. The bullets completely missed their targets, which were five or six rough looking men staying behind what was left of a wall.
One of those men let out a short burst from his gun and all the bullets hit the pile of rubble in front of the black clothed men with small explosions of dust and dirt. All at once the three black clothed men started firing their weapons at the other group. The wall was crisscrossed with bullet holes and Jacob was certain he heard a gasp of pain and saw blood splatter out from the wall as one was hit.
The black clothed men, still firing, took off running towards the other group. The other men began to fire back but it was no use. Another man was struck and he fell backwards with a shriek of pain. Another, with a fountain of blood pouring down his neck, fell writhing to the ground. The last two opposing men took off running, right towards Jacob!
Instinctively Jacob lifted the rifle and aimed it at them. He hesitated, then the men saw him and prepared to shoot. Jacob fired off two shots yet only one struck true. It hit the man square in the chest and he fell backwards with a look of surprise on his face. Before Jacob could fire again one of the black clothed men tackled the other man. Then he punched him as hard as he could in the face. Knocking him unconscious.
"Thanks," said one of the black clothed men when he reached Jacob, "I'm Kevin. This here," He gestured to his right at another man, "is Hank, and he is Brandon." He said pointing at the man who had tackled the other guy. "We were just stopping these gang members from stealing from an old man."
"Why? No one helps each other anymore." Asked Jacob.
"Because," said Kevin, "We're with the underground railroad."