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America. Hmph. The last time I heard it being called that was in 2057. I was only 4.That was right before the Revolt happened. Its 2076 now, and all that’s left is a barren wasteland known as Insenda, where finding someone you can truly trust is about as likely as finding food that is supplemental, and wasn’t taken from a rotting carcass. After the Revolt in 2057, the few survivors left banded with close friends and family that also survived, and travel in packs fighting off other people and mutated creatures, constantly scavenging for shelter and food. I only travel will Shelby, whom I can trust more than anything. Don’t get the wrong idea, Shelby is not a person, she is my trustworthy shotgun. It belonged to my Grandfather during World War IV. The gore and trauma from war led him into uncontrollable insanity and paranoia, and after my grandmother died, he named it after her. He then gave it to my dad when he was on his deathbed, and my father did the same for me. My name is Viktor, also known as Vik, and this is my story.
Vik put his journal away and got up off the pile of rubble he was sitting on, brushing off his torn clothes. He picked up Shelby and began walking south, into a bad district known as Rakharn. It was known for housing the biggest population of hostile gangs known, and without numbers and firepower, your as good as dead. Vik was still a 4-day’s walk from the district, but bands of thieves and dead bodies already started littering the area. Vik cocked back Shelby, making sure she was loaded, and replaced his finger at the trigger guard when he was satisfied.
After a few miles of walking, Vik saw movement out of the corner of his eye. He turned; leading his body with Shelby, prepared to blast whatever threat may have arisen. He lowered Shelby when he saw a beautiful girl lying on the ground. Although she was caked in dirt and dried blood, he could see her delicate features. He ran forward and tried helping her up, feeling the warm, soft touch of her skin on his fingertips, feeling like he help her dear life in his clasp.
“Are you okay? What happened?” said Vik softly, although his words held an urgent edge to them “Can you get up?”
“Yes, I think I can stand. I’ll be fine,” said the girl, her glowing blue eyes gazing deeply into Vik’s cold, grey eyes. “You can leave me, I’ll be okay.”
“No, you are cut badly, and it looks like you sprained your ankle. Tell me what happened,” responded Vik in a soothing tone as he led the girl to a nearby rock and started grabbing medical supplies from his pack “Give me your foot, ill wrap it for you, and I’ll stitch up your arm and your side.” Something in Vik’s chest was burning with a weight he had never felt before. Was it pity? Sadness? It was unfamiliar, so could it be trust? As he wrapped her ankle, he looked softly into the girl’s eyes, resulting in smiling from each person. Vik quickly looked back down as he fastened the bandages and began stitching together the gash in the girl’s side. “So how did this happen?”
“I was separated from the group I was traveling with, and a band of thieves attacked me and robbed me. They left me to die; I’m lucky you came around. Thank you so much, I can’t ever imagine of a way to repay you,” said the girl with a sincere look. She winced in pain for a moment as Vik pulled the last stitch tight and tied it off. She watched Vik’s careful hands stitch the cut on her arm, and they both rose and brushed off.
“So, what is your name?” asked Vik, curious to learn more about this stranger. He looked her over, judging she was about his age. She was fairly tall, about 5’6” and very slender. She had long brown hair that shined in the sun, and a very small figure. Something about her caused his to trust her, a feeling he hadn’t felt since childhood.
“My name is Samantha. I’m 19,” she replied with a flashy smile of white teeth. They began walking and she opened up to him, confessing her strange trust in him and how she felt safe around him. The two continued to walk until dusk, when they found a spot to set up camp for the night.
“So, uh, where are you headed, Samantha?” asked Vik as they ate a supper of stew and herbal tea. They had both washed up in a spring, and Vik couldn’t believe the beauty in front of his eyes.
“ To Rakharn. I need to try to find my group again. I can’t survive alone. Samantha secretly admired the tall figure in front of her, with medium- length dusty hair and a stern jaw. He had delicate features, but also had a gritty edge that hardly showed emotion.
“Are you serious? You could be killed there! That place is the most deadly place known in Insenda! Luckily, I’m headed there as well, you can stay with me,” responded Vik with a surprised tone. He cared for this girl, Samantha, and felt what he thought was passion. Was it fate that they met?
“Are you sure? I don’t want to hold you back at all,” said Samantha meekly, although she was bursting with joy on the inside. Something about this boy was captivating her.
“No problem. I enjoy your company anyway; it gets a little lonely sometimes. And I don’t mean to sound strange, but I like you; I have never felt trust like I feel for you in my life, and I couldn’t live with myself if I let you get in harm’s way,” said Vik shyly. He blushed and looked down at his stew, wishing he hadn’t have said that and he could just vanish into thin air. Samantha just replied with a warm smile as she moved foreword and gave him a hug, the pecked him on the cheek as she rose and put her bowl away.
“Goodnight Vik.” She said with a smile and a blush, and went into her makeshift tent. She heard a small “Goodnight” a few minutes later and smiled as she dozed off.
She startled awake in the morning with a loud BANG! She sprung from under her ratty blankets and crawled out of her tent to find Vik shooting at a band of thieves. One thief was lying on the ground with a hole through his torso. Another was slumped against a rock, holding her leg, which was gushing blood. Vik turned and, seeing Samantha, ran towards her, tackling her to the ground as bullets whizzed by. He got back up as he told her to stay down and fought back at the thieves. She crawled behind a rock and watched Vik in terror.
Vik was focused on killing the thieves, but he could only think about Samantha’s safety. He couldn’t let her get hurt, or worse. He kept glancing back at her, making sure he was okay. He crouched behind rubble as he reloaded and shot back at the attackers. The next time he glanced back, his face flushed with panic as he noticed Samantha was gone. He saw her sneaking behind the remaining two thieves with a knife. “Samantha! No!” he yelled as he ran foreword, shooting one thief and attempting to shoot the other, only to find Shelby was out of shells. He dropped her and continued running, but the thief put a bullet through his stomach. He stumbled as time seemed to slow. He could count every grain of dirt being kicked up into the air, and he watched the smoke from the thieves’ gun slowly spread like a disease in the air until if vanished. He hunched over, but continued stumbling towards Samantha, who plunged her knife into the thieves’ collar and ran towards him, catching him before he fell and looking at him with tears in her eyes.
“Vik! It will be okay; I just need to bandage you up. Where are your bandages? It’s just a little scratch. It will all be okay,” rambled Samantha as tears streamed down her cheeks, landing in small dark circles in the dirt.
“No. My time is up, Samantha. I wish I could stay… protect you,” Vik tried to say calmly through wincing and pain, some words non- comprehensible in his raspy, dying voice. “Stay out… take Shelby. Don’t’… hurt. Food and medicine in…” Vik broke off as he cried out in pain, and gasped for air. He then turned and stared into Samantha’s watery, puffy eyes and forced a smile. “Samantha… I… I love you…” Vik trailed off as a glossy look swept over his eyes. Vik was dead. Samantha held him in her arms and sobbed fore him, collecting herself after a long time, and ending with an “I love you” in return. Then she closed her eyes again and cried some more, feeling more alone then when she was left to die, and feeling like someone had just torn her heart in two.