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WASTELAND

I had searched for what seemed like hours around this building, but I never found Ashley. She was in there next to me when it happened. How…. Why? I always thought the wastes could never get worse, but I guess anything is possible here. I should’ve known this was bad,
IT’S ALL MY FAULT! I yelled to no one. No, no I cant blame myself that’s how people die ‘round here, I knew that for sure.
That was about 6 months ago, back then, with Ashley the wastes seemed manageable and almost fun, but on that day, that terrible day, I lost one of my only things. Course I still had barky, my German Sheppard. Dang near the only thing holdin’ me together. I lost Ashley in an explosion I have seen a lot believe me, but that one took the only person I had. Hurts to tell it, but I can manage one… more…. Time.

FLASHBACK

Ash and me knew each other a few years before the war; after the bombs fell I could only find her in the endless rubble. We had grown closer over the next two years, and eventually decided to stop hiding in our hometown and scavenge the world for survivors and supplies. Boy how little did we know.
Yo, Ash c’mere for a sec. She quickly walked over to where I was standing next to the ruins of an old shack.
What’d ya find? She asked curiously. I dunno, I see something shinnin down there, see? I pointed to the object.
Yeah, I see it, what the heck is that? She asked even more curious.
Like I said I don’t know, I need help lifting some of this rubble off. I told her.
Ha ha, big strong Cole needs help liftin’ some rocks, she teased. Just
Help me lift these, I sighed annoyingly. All right, I’ll hold here you get the other side. Ready? I Asked.
Yup, lets do it. 1…. 2… 3 humph! Oh god, this is heavy, her legs shaking under the weight.
Told ya it was heavy, I said.
Ugh, fine lets.. just- She was cut off by a strong rumble. I held onto a broken wall to keep my balance. Ash almost fell over.
What was that?! She said worridly.
I have an idea, but I really hope I’m wrong. Just then another quake struck, much stronger, and this time I didn’t stop.
EARTHQUAKE, I yelled. Ashley fell over and the large piece of debri slip out of my grip onto her.
AH, she yelled out in pain. The already weakened structures started crumbling.
Ashley get outtalk there! I yelled.
I can’t, I’m stuck ! Help Cole it hurts!!! Ashley yelled over to me, tears coming to her eyes. I ran over to her. I tried lifting the rock up to let her out, but I couldn’t lift it high enough.
Ashley, how you holding up? I looked down when she did not respond. Her teeth were clenched together, and there was a stream of blood coming out of her mouth. Now fearing for both our lives, I felt a surge of adrenaline, and hefted the rock up with all my strength. I managed to get it up just enough for her to lift her arms and try to crawl out.
Hurry! I yelled to her. She tried to move her arm, but screamed in pain. I noticed her arm was bent at an awkward angle.
It wasn’t broken but it definitely wasn’t looking good. . You could clearly see tears coming from her eyes. I took a glance behind me and saw buildings starting to fall and rocks landing near us. I put one of them underneath the large rock Ashley was stuck under to keep it up.

All right, this is going to hurt, but if you want to live, don’t be a baby. I grabbed her arms and started slowly pulling her out. She was wailing now from all the pain.

Cole, look out! I looked up and saw a large piece of rubble falling above us. I quickly pulled Ashley out and dived, midair I threw Ashley away from the falling debri, and hoped we would both be ok. The large pieces of rubble landed all around me producing large bangs, and dust was flying everywhere. Finally the barrage of debri stopped, and as quickly as the quake began it was gone. I froze for a second. Expecting another random danger to pop up, but surprisingly nothing happened, a short cry from Ashley snapped me out of it.
Stop being a baby ash, I said. Before she could respond I looked down to the pile of debri I had seen that shinny thing. I walked over to the pile, and started digging through the trash and debri. Aha!, there yaw are, yaw little bugger. I pulled it out, but I noticed something about it. In fact it looked like the necklace my father got for my mom. It… was the necklace. I stared at it in disbelief. B-but how? I asked myself out loud.

What? Asked Ashley, finally starting to recover. I picked it up and turned towards her.

This is my mom’s necklace, which means there still alive! There is still hope!! One of the reasons we went nomad was to find my parents, but I had given up hope months ago.

I-I knows that it seems to be so Cole, but we have been looking for ages. She said still recovering.

No this is she, I know it is, it HAS to be. This means we are back on the trail Ash, we can finally find them! I said with excitement.

Well have any clue where they went after this? She asked.

I have an idea, this town is keeper vale, about 6 miles down that road, I pointed to a road-leading north, is our winter cabin. Its secluded and stocked with food. Not to mention the boats still work, and there are no winters anymore so it’s all open water!


Well what are we waiting for?, Ashley started to get up, lets go- AHH she screamed in pain and fell down, she looked at her ankle, and it looked to be sprained. I ran over to her and helped her back up.

Here, I took her hand and slung it around my neck, and help her waist. Use me as a support. We moved on slowly, I support her so she wouldn’t have to use here left ankle. Once we get to the cabin, we can get that all fixed up, I smiled.
1 YEAR LATER

After the incident at Keeper vale, we made it to the cabin, and found my parents there, but sadly they were dead, attacked by raiders or bandits. It actually seemed they had been there for a long time looked in my mom’s diary and found out they had been there for 2 years. After me mourning over them for hours, Ashley limped over to me and convinced me we needed to keep going. Again I let her use me as a support and we set out. After about 5 months of traveling ash leys ankle was getting better, but was actually broken not sprained so she still had to use me as a support sometimes. We set up camp next to a small city and lived there for three months, before finally venturing into the city. Ash and me had grown together since the cabin, and we would be boyfriend and girlfriend if the world weren’t like this. Right now it was more of a brother sister thing. This is the hardest part of the story to tell.


C’mon Ash, we need to hurry up, I don’t much like being in the open. I complained impatiently.

Uh, hello? Broken ankle here? Ashley responded. I jogged over to a tall building, this place looks like a nice next target, I said over to her. After limping over to the stairs of the building.

she turned to me, Cole? Little help? Oh yeah, sure. I wrapped her arm around the back of my neck and supported her as she walked up the stairs. Ugh, this is taking to long, I complained.

Well I’m sorry for- eek! She squealed as I picked her up and ran up the stairs. I set her down gently at the top and she giggled, all right now lets be serious. I opened to door to the tall building, and walked in.

All right lets go up, I told her.

Aw whhhy, she complained and looked down to her swollen ankle.

If ya didn’t know this is a hotel, all the nice rooms are at the top, told her oh matter of factly.

Ok mister smarty pants, but you forgot one thing, she said.

Oh, what would that be?

You gotta carry me up, she laughed.

I sighed, I shouldA left you under that pile of rubble, I joked, she punched me in the arm playfully, and we both laughed lie little kids, although we were both 18. I picked her up and started the long way up to the top of the tower to find something to keep us going. On the 5th floor I decided to look around.

Hey, I thought we were going to the top. Ashley said with a sarcastic troll face on.

We are going to take a little break and look around this floor first. I stated. I opened the first door, now don’t expect too much these rooms are probably wrecked so do- me and Ashley both stared into the room with blank expressions on our faces. Yea- well that is, that is something isn’t it.
Yes, replied Ashley. The room was in perfect condition, and was one of the suites. It had a large fridge, fully stocked at that. A pristine kitchen with all the assesses. A stove, cooking supplies, coffee maker cupboards stuffed with food, and the flooring was a polished wood tile. We looked left and saw the best living room ever. It had lush carpets, 5 large couches, and coffee table, 60 inch TV, and a lot of other complimentary devices. Whoa! This is almost too good to be true! Said Ashley. As Ashley was limp dancing around, I started to think. How could a room be left in this condition, why hasn’t anyone else found it, why is it even here? I suddenly realized the truth. I got a sick feeling in my stomach.

Ashley we need to go now! I yelled.

Calm down Cole, this is perfect.

That’s why we need to go! I yelled back.

What? She asked confused.

Ashley, if threes anything I know about the wasteland, it’s that nothings perfect. Just then, a beeping started. Now that’s something we could both understand. The beeping intensified. C’mon Ashley move! I ran out the door. I heard her scream, and I ran back. She was on the ground holding her ankle. She obviously rolled it. Digit! I yelled. I started to run to help her up. About half way to her I heard a continues tone. My stomach flipped upside down as I realized the sound. My world slowed down and seemed like someone muted it as the explosion went off. I was thrown into the air by the force. I looked around and saw where the flash was originating from, the cab nits, I should’ve known. There were shards of glass and splinters flying around, cutting into my skin. The once pristine kitchen was being blown to bits, wooden tiles being ripped apart by the explosion, the stove was on fire and the fridge was midair. The TV was being pelted by the shards of glass and splinters, it looked like the force of the explosion was going to tear the building in half. Suddenly the sound came back to my ears, and my world sped up. I slammed against the wall, and everything went black.

Ugh, I said, as I woke. I looked up and saw the roof was gone, it was pitch balk outside, and the only light was coming from the fires of the explosion. I suddenly remembered what had happened. I looked over to where Ashley was, but saw nothing. The force of the explosion a literally taken about a forth out of the building. I looked down and saw exposed rooms, pipes sticking out of the broken walls, and I noticed something there were many fires and debris on each of the floors, there was also blast marks in almost every room. There had been more then one explosion, this was no mere accident with a left over bomb. This was planned.
I then thought of Ashley and panicked. Where is she, had she fallen down there when the part of the building broke off? How was this planned? Who did this? Why?! Did she survive? I kept playing 20 questions with my self until I realized if she were still alive down there, she wouldn’t last long without help. I glided down he steps and dashed through the corridors, eager to find Ashley, and also hesitant to finding what might have become of her. I finally reached the bottom floor, I broke open the doors as I ran to the huge pile of rubble that was the great hotel.
I had searched for what seemed like hours around this building, but I never found Ashley. She was in there next to me when it happened. How…. Why? I always thought the wastes could never get worse, but I guess anything is possible here. I should’ve known this was bad.
IT’S ALL MY FAULT! I yelled to no one. No, no I cant blame myself that’s how people die ‘round here, I knew that for sure. I knew that if I didn’t find her or her…. Body, I would never have closure. I was about to give up looking thinking she ran off or her body is buried under this endless pile of rubble. I started off, but found something that caught my eye. Footprints, those must be Ashley’s but there were more, size 10 – 12 boots.
Bandits, I thought. I know she is alive now at least, there is till hope!
I will find you! I yelled out, I will.
END OF FLASHBACK
Sadly, it didn’t work out the way I thought it would. I did find her, but not the way I thought I would. I was armed considering there were bandits, I followed their footprints to a bandit camp, and after killing a few guards I had found her, but I wish I hadn’t. I will skip to when I found her, for I can barely talk of the fun times I had at all without thinking of her in a good way.
FLASHBACK
I had killed the last guard that stood in my way, these bandits looked well armed and tough, but truly most of them were poorly trained. I opened to large doors carefully only producing one squeak, whining as it happened. I walked in and immediate saw 2 figures talking

Might as well pick up some Intel, I thought. I snuck behind a concrete pillar about 10 feet away from the two. I heard two voices, one was female. In fact, it sounded oddly familiar, I couldn’t put my finger on whom though. I peaked around to pick up on their conversation. One was a male, about 6,4 only about an inch taller then me, a rough beard, disheveled hair, and his face was very dirty. Looked like he just came back from a mission. It had been about a month since I had seen Ashley so I tried to hurry it up, no telling what they have done to her by now. I looked around to see the female. Who I saw was unbelievable. I almost had a heart attack right there on the spot. It… was, Ashley. In full bandit gear, assault rifle at her hips, and conversing with this guy. I felt so betrayed right then, how could she? After how long we have been together, she threw all that away in a month, and joined a people we both promised to hate! I wanted to blow up the world right then. I decided it was time for her to explain. I put a cloth over my mouth, and my shades on. I popped out and before the man could react I unloaded 8 rounds into his face out of blind fury. I turned to Ashley and knocked her weapon away and shot her leg, causing her to fall down in pain. I ripped off my glasses and cloth showing myself. She looked up and her expression changed to shock.

C-Cole? She asked in disbelief.

Yeah its me you backstabbing piece of crap! How could you?! How could you be with… THEM?! After all we have been though, you threw all that out in a month!!!

I-I thought you war-

No! It’s only been a month Ash! You couldn’t have faith in me for a month?! Don’t even try to make excuses like I thought you were dead! I yelled at her in rage, you got blown out of a building down 5 stories and I still had faith you were alive! I kept the onslaught of words going, I am seriously about to shoot you ash! Ashley was close to tears now.
C-c-Cole I’m sorry! I thought you would never find me! She sobbed

You pretty bad at this Ash! You didn’t have to join these… things! I can’t believe you! I put the gun to her head, TELL ME WHY! I commanded

They were going to kill me! She screamed, I had no choice.

I took the gun off her, no Ash you did have one, and You chose wrong, maybe I will come to forgive you someday, but not now, not anytime near now, I said calmly. I’m not going to kill you, not even after what you’ve done to me. Now LEAVE Ashley, and never come back here, I don’t want to see you again. She just stared at me, crying softly. LEAVE! I commanded. She clumsily got up, and limped away. I kept watching her until she left my sights.
END OF FLASHBACK.
There, that’s how I lost my only friend Barky. Barky was my German Sheppard as I said before. He is the only thing holding me together in this harsh and unforgiving wasteland.



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