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The Underground Rebellion
I wake to find that I can’t move, and can’t see. It’s either very dark or I’m blindfolded I can’t really tell. It’s cold, extremely cold. The only noise is the thumping of my own panicked heart. I settle my breathing; this is how I’ve awakened every morning for the last year. Not knowing if you’re going to ever wake up or not, has a tendency to do that to you. Ever since they took over no one has slept peacefully. We don’t call them by their name. If we have to refer to them at all we call them the Undead, or The Ones Without Souls. We always refrain from using the Z-word, we are afraid that if we call them they will appear, and that is the last thing any of us want. They have little use for the few of us humans that still survive in our underground world. They will never come looking for us, but if one of us crosses their path, it is unlikely that person will survive.
I touch my hand to my jaw and feel the scar. It goes from the corner of my eye to the base of my throat. I received it five years ago when I was only 16 and first encountered one of them. That was in the first wave. Their numbers increased so fast. We held them off for four years, before they took over the upper world completely. I jump out of my makeshift bed, a pile of rotting blankets, and stretched.
“One more day” I mutter to myself.
The gypsy woman Sophia had foreseen that exactly one year after they had taken over the upper world they would be lowest in numbers. That was the day the rebellion would strike. That day was tomorrow. There were not many of us left; only 29 humans that I was aware of.
I pushed open my door and grabbed my shotgun. One learned never to be unprotected. I took off through the maze of underground passageways; they wove in every direction. Some led to nowhere, just in case one of them got down here. The place I was headed was at the center of the maze. I walked for almost 8 miles before I reached Paul’s hut. Within ten feet of the entrance I felt the heat from inside. Paul was our blacksmith of sorts; he created the weapons for the rebellion. He had been working on weapons since Sophia had made her prediction. I walked up to the door already sweating. I knocked and shouted “Paul, it’s me.”
I heard a curse from inside “Come in, come in.”
I pushed the door open and walked in. The rooms smelled of rust and corroded metal mixed with the smell of the roaring fire. There were swords, unlit torches, hand-made machine guns, rifles, even a mace for two from when Paul wanted to experiment. The weapons covered every available surface of the room. Paul had a clipboard in his hands.
“Inventory?” I asked
“I’m making sure we’re prepared for any circumstance” he replied severely. “I want no casualties because of my lack of thought,” he said, looking me straight in the eye. When he gave me that look it felt like he was staring deep into my soul, and by the look on his face every time he did so, it appeared he liked what he saw.
“I just came to see if I could offer you any help.”
“I am very grateful to you boy. You have done much for me these past months. Alas at this time all there is left to do is wait.”
I could see the sadness in his eyes. It was a dangerous thing to get close to someone the way we’ve become close to each other. Most of us had lost our loved ones long ago, but in the last year, Paul had become like a father to me, and I a son to him. It would be painful for either of us if the other was lost.
I stayed with Paul for a while, discussing strategy for the coming day, eventually heading back to my own hut with a heavy heart. By the time I made it back it was time for me to get some rest for the coming day. It was harder to sleep then usual to sleep that night. I knew there was not a huge chance we will prevail tomorrow, but there was a chance, so we had to take it. I awoke after a restless slumber, in a cold sweat, panting. I knew this was the day. I took a deep breath and stood up. I spend no more than half an hour getting myself ready, then without thinking too much about the task ahead, started walking. We were set to meet at Paul’s to be geared up. I walked in without knocking. Almost everyone was there, we left in ten minutes. I armed myself in a daze and then waited. Time seemed to be at a standstill. Finally the time came. Paul made a final speech then we departed. There were only two places where our underground passageways lead to the upper world. We were headed to the one closest to Paul’s. It was only about a mile south. We were probably half way there when we felt the tremor. We were used to them; they were more prominent underground than on the surface. But there was something different about this one. It seemed to be coming from above us. Something was wrong and I could tell I was not the only one to notice. The nervous and cautious looks on the faces of the people around me swiftly turned to ones on determination. I knew all these people would be willing to die so long as they took some of the Undead with them. As we reached the door to the upper world the people up front hesitated. Paul pushed through the crowd and shoved the door open. We all ran up the steps and charged.
When we got above ground, we froze our eyes wide with shock. This was not the place I remembered. It took us a minute to assess what we were seeing. We saw…nothing. Everything that was once there was gone and replaced with…dirt. The sky was tinged with a strangely radioactive shade of yellow that was gradually fading into the distance.