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Excerpt from a Waste Lander’s Journal.

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Recovered in the ruins of a sizable settlement in Washington D.C.
(9/29/2022)
Journal Entry #14 10/31/2013
It’s been two weeks since the blast. The world had ended in a bang. The U.S. and Russia hadn’t been on good terms for quite some time. And this is how they decided to fix it. Unfortunately it didn’t work very well. I was one of the few survivors. I knew there were more out there but I hadn’t run into many of them yet. I was heading out of town. I’d been hiding there for a while, afraid there might be another explosion. The food at the local supermarket was running low, so I decided it was time to go. I grabbed as much food as I could carry and went back home to get ready. On the way I looked around. I saw trash lining the streets. Most of the buildings on this street were mostly intact. The bombs had mostly missed the area around my town. There was still some electricity going through a downed telephone pole. Little sparks were jumping from the wire and fizzing out on the ground. When I got home I gathered up some extra clothes, some bottles of clean water, my old hunting rifle, and book for the long nights. I looked around my house one last time. I looked at my stained couch that I’d had as long as I could remember. My television sitting across from it. My computer that I never did get around to fixing. As I went to the front door I picked up my coat that still miraculously fit me after my senior year in high school. As I walked out the front door I turned around to lock my door. As I put the key in I wondered why I did that. Old habits die hard I guess.
Journal Entry #15 11/1/2013

Met someone on the road today. He says his name is Joe Walker. I do not trust him. He dug around in his pocket a lot. I don’t know if it was my paranoia or if it was real but there seemed to be bulges in his jacket. He also seemed to be looking at me as if sizing me up. I do not trust people because one time people had come through town looking for food and other things. I looked out my window and saw them ransacking a house. After they left I went and looked in the house. It turns out there was someone there. I never knew them. I felt bad for them so I buried them in their back yard. I never did have good experiences with other people, even before the blast. The people in my office talked behind my back. They thought I couldn’t hear them for some reason. Hopefully Joe is better than the other people. Joe asked where I was going and if he could come along. I told him I walking until I hit another town and that he could walk with me if he wanted to. He thanked me and started walking alongside me. After while he asked if I’d had anyone before the blast. I told him I’d never been married and my parents had died peacefully a few years before. He said his wife and daughter had left for Florida a week before the blast. He hadn’t heard from them since.
Later

After rifling through his stuff while he went to the bathroom I found a note from some with the initials “R.S.”. It talked about getting back at people that had double-crossed this “R.S.”. I also found a silenced pistol and a list of names with a good majority crossed out. Before I could read the rest of the names I heard him coming back. I tried to remember if I’d ever crossed someone. It was probably my paranoia but I swear I could remember someone with the initials “R.S.”
Journal Entry #16 11/2/2013

We found an abandoned gas station on the road today. I knew that by now people would have formed small groups. Some were mean; some weren’t. I remember seeing a group of five people travel through town one time. I kept my windows and doors closed and hid. They passed through without a second glance. Joe thought the gas station might have some food. I told him that people had probably set up traps to catch unwary travelers. He said that he had gotten some food inside before. I gave up and went in with him. As we went inside I heard a click when the door opened. I tackled him to the ground just as a shotgun went off over our heads. A few stray pellets hit the fire alarm, which started going off. The sound of the gunshot and the alarm reverberated through the small gas station deafening us for a few minutes. There was just a ringing in my ears. I was yelling at Joe that we needed to get out. He just stared at me until our hearing started coming back. The alarm started getting louder as our hearing came back too. We ran out and ducked over a small hill across the street. When we peeked over we saw four men with ragged clothing, arguing over something. They probably weren’t too happy that their trap hadn’t worked. We ran away as fast as possible.
Journal Entry #17 11/3/2013

Had a talk with Joe about yesterday. He said he’d be more careful in the future. Luckily for me, he remembered his promise. Today we were walking along a major high way. It was a thirty-foot drop on each side. One side was almost completely gone, including the railing. Unfortunately the other side was paced full of cars fender to fender. Stepping on them would have been just as dangerous. The sheet metal had rusted and was probably weak. We didn’t need an infected leg slowing us down. So we picked our way carefully along the broken side of the road. I could hear the pebbles falling as I walked. I could barely hear them as they hit the gravel beneath the road. I stepped down on a piece of road only slightly falling off the side of the road. It was still attached to the road with metal bars. Unfortunately it wasn’t nearly strong enough. The piece of road fell out from underneath me. It caught me so off-guard I didn’t even scream. Joe caught me at the last second and pulled me back up. He asked if I was ok. After catching my breath I said we needed to hurry up and get off the bridge before it happened again. We hurried along the bridge as fast as we could. When we hit solid ground we lay down and stayed there for a while. I thanked him as we sat down to eat. He said it was nothing and that I would have done the same for him. I asked him what the list and pistol were for. He sighed and said he took the backpack from the office of a casino in his old town. He said the list was already in there and the pistol was in the desk of the office. He just never felt like taking it out. We laughed about it and then got ready for bed. I decided that I should probably ask before I jump to conclusions.
Journal Entry #20 11/6/2013

After I decided to trust people more, around 13 more people had joined Joe and me since the incident. We have unanimously decided it was time to just settle down and make a small village. This will probably be my last journal entry for a while. We’ve found a place near a small lake and some cows that survived. I just hope this isn’t a bad idea…





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