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Ruins

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I knelt down and began to crawl on the rocky ground of the desert wasteland towards the screams and gun shots over the hill. I was on a trail when I heard the first gun shot. I immediately hugged the ground to approach without being noticed. As I peered over the ridge, a tiny village came into view ablaze. I could see the masked assailants killing innocent families, slaughtering the men before their children. The scope of my rifle allowed me to view the chaos from a distance. Safe enough so that there is no chance of being spotted. The night seemed to turn into a chaotic mess of bangs and screams. My heart said to go in and save them but my brain says to not go because resources like bullets need to be saved. I felt my heart begin to race as I watched a man be pushed down by a giant masked warrior with red, spiky hair. The giant brought a pistol up and then, bang. I could not look any longer. As the masked invaders rode away on their trucks, I waited awhile longer to listen for any survivors. I heard nothing.
Looking through the rubble, I found a couple valuables; a canteen full of water, a scarf made from wool, a pair of boots, and two loaves of bread. This is enough to last me awhile, at least two weeks if I ration it. I took cover in a house that was untouched by the masked gang and sat on the couch. It creaked from my weight, it must have been years since someone has sat on this couch. I took my boots off and heard a small creak above me. With my pistol in hand, I began to climb the stairs being careful to not make a sound. When I reached the top, my heart was beating like as if I ran a mile. There was only one room and behind it is something alive. Many scenarios played in my head. It could be leftover from the gang and he could be standing there ready to shoot when I open the door. It could also be a survivor. I firmly gripped the knob and pushed. I came upon a young boy holding a gun to a girl's head.
“Don't do anything or else I'll shoot her.” he said. His voice hinted to me that he is very young and scared. “Boy, I know what has happened and I wish to not inflict injury on you or the girl. Just let her go.” I said sternly. At this point, my pistol was pointed at the boy. From this range I could hit him even with my eyes closed. “You don't know a thing stranger. You don't even know what I've been through!” the boy screamed. Indeed, I did not know what had occurred hours earlier. “So please, elaborate the situation.” I said. “It wasn't my fault,” the boy replied,” it's all Spike's fault!” “Who is Spike?” I said,” What do you mean who's Spike? He's the leader of the Masked Crusaders. The guy with red hair.” Immediately my head filled up with images of Spike's face. It was not much of an image because he was behind a mask. “I saw him kill people and he taught me about death, about how the strong live and the weak should be wiped out.” The boy exclaimed. Tears were now visible, shining down the boy's cheeks. I pitied the boy greatly. He was definitely brainwashed to believe every whim of Spike's knowledge. After the thought perused around my head I saw the young girl tremble and stare at me blankly. “I can't take this anymore. Spike'll just come back here and kill me because that is all he ever does to his underlings.” I watched as the boy brought his pistol to his head and pull the trigger. It clicked and a sigh of relief rolled out of my mouth. The boy's pistol was empty. Having realized this, the boy released the girl and collapsed to the ground. I held the girl tight as she began to cry into my chest. The boy passed out from the stress of the situation. I ran out and closed the door behind me with the girl in my hands. I put her on the sofa, put on my boots, and put her on my back. She wrapped her delicate hands around my neck and fell asleep. With my pack and rifle, I ran out into the unknown. I felt lost in the darkness. Running where ever my legs take me. The bitterness of the cold bit at my nose so I decided to find a little niche to hide for the night. I came upon a little indent on a cliff and made camp there to get some sleep. The girl was still asleep when I put her down on the cold ground. I did not care if someone spotted use, but all I needed was warmth. After striking my flint, the fire blazed strongly into the cave making all sorts of shadows and figures on the walls. The warmth engulfed the entire cave and I slowly felt myself drift to sleep.
I woke with the sun in my eyes. I peered over to where I left the girl and saw her lying there as still as the rocks around her. She seemed to be no older than nine years old with the light illuminating the cave. She had brown hair down the the bottom of her spine and small eyes. She reminds me of my little sister who died in The Flash. Out of everyone in my family I was the only survivor because I was at the right place at the right time. Never heard from anyone else again. I took out a loaf of bread and sliced it in half and shook the girl awake. “Time to wake up girl. Breakfast.” She woke with a jolt but proceeded towards the bread I provided for her. The bread was sour dough, a rare find. The taste transported me back to the time when I was a kid, back when everything was normal.
“What's your name?” I asked,”Caroline.” She replied. “You have any family I can take you to?” “No.” She said bluntly. The silence grew awkward for awhile. “You remind me of my little sister you know.” “Is she still alive?” Caroline replied, “No.” I said. “Sorry about that.” “It's okay.” I began to see the mature side of Caroline. She also seems educated. After Caroline finished her bread we started out on our trek again. This time the weather was blistering hot. The jackets provided no use so I stashed my and Caroline's jacket into my pack. We walked for about two hours until I picked up a few tire tracks. “Should we follow them?” Caroline asked, “I'm not sure, but at least it's a lead on something.” I slung the pack over my shoulder and sped up the pace. These tired tracks were from trucks.
The tracks brought us to a bridge overlooking a steep drop into the running rapids below. The bridge showed signs of use so I began to stake out a good vantage point. After about thirty minutes of climbing, I found the perfect spot. “What are we doing up here?” Caroline complained, “We are going to stay here for the night so that I can see what we are dealing with.” Caroline reluctantly agreed and began to throw pebbles into the deep basin below as I looked into my scope. I saw dust picking up in the distance and watched as a truck full of masked men sped across. It was definitely the Masked Crusaders. I heard that the only reason why they wear masks is to hide what they really look like. Supposedly there were some people who survived The Flash even while in its radius but those who did were turned into monsters from the effects of The Flash. People in town call them “The Walking Dead” or “Zombies” because their flesh seems decomposed and their hair is frail. These men in the trucks could be those monsters or they could be men who have lost their sanity. Nonetheless, they all pose a threat. I attached my muffler and aimed for the front tire in order to disable to vehicle. I fired once and the car skidded into the side of the bridge just barely safe from plummeting several hundred feet down. Luckily, they had not noticed and just thought the tire popped.
I turned around to get Caroline but she was gone. All I saw was her jacket on the ground. “No way.” I muttered. This must be a joke she is playing. I began to walk with my pack and rifle down the cliff but I caught a glimpse of something out of the corner of my eye. I looked up and saw a big man with a large club falling towards me. With a shout, he pelted me across the temple and everything went dark.
I awoke with a dry mouth and stripped of my good clothes and boots. I was just left in my torn shirt and worker's jeans from years before. The room was dark and oxygen-deprived. I coughed and dust engulfed the inside of my nostrils as I inhaled. I tried to get up but my hands and feet were bound with rope. I heard voices from the door about six feet in front of me but it was muffled. Eventually, fatigue set in and I feel asleep in the lonely darkness of my jail cell.
I felt a splash of cold water around my head and fingers dragged across the top of my skull. I felt the pain from a tug and my head began to lift from the ground. I saw Caroline standing there unscathed with a look of disgust. “Is this the guy?” the man tugging my hair said, “Yeah, he also had a large rifle, a pistol, and some bread too.” Caroline said. My heart sank, it could not be that Caroline is also part of the gang. There was no way that a girl of her age could be able to do something like this. “Let him go brother, you're going to kill him if you keep pulling him like that. Can't you see he's near death?” Caroline said, “Okay fine, we'll save him for later.” the man said. As he walked off I looked up and saw the back of his head and on top was red and spiky hair. Caroline had been lying to me this whole time. Instantly, a wave of anger swept over me and adrenaline began to power my unsatisfied hunger to get Spike. I got up on my feet but fell again from the rope around my ankles. As the door closed and the darkness grew, my anger slowly trickled away.
I awoke again, this time with Caroline standing above me. “Caroline, why? What do I have to do to get you out of here?” I pleaded, “You can't do anything because my brother gets everything for me already. I just provide my brother with men, women, and families who have valuable resources.” she explained. The sting from every word she said brought me even lower. I do not feel like I can get out of this alive. “Better think twice when you come across a little girl in danger.” Caroline spat. I felt each word stab into my chest and twist at each end. I fell over and put my head down on the ground to bury my face from view. Tears flowed from my eyes and onto the ground. “Pathetic.” Caroline said as she closed the doors behind her. I was once again enveloped in darkness with images of my sister clouding my head. I remember the time when we celebrated her sixth birthday. She accidentally set one of her presents on fire when she blew to hard on the candle but she put it out with juice she had in her cup. She ended up laughing it off later. I chuckled at the thought of that memory but tears and depression took over as I stared into the endless darkness, not knowing what may comes next.
I lost track of how long I have been in this cell. At this point I have accepted the fact that the next time they come I will most likely lose my life. I heard footsteps approach the door and then an explosion ripped through the wooden frame giving me a view of the battle outside. Two people ran in and saw me lying still as I looked back up at them. They were two women carrying weapons of some sort. They also had armor with a fancy insignia on it. One of them ran over to me and untied the rope. “Are you okay?” she screamed, “Yes I'm fine!” I yelled back as the oxygen revived me. She held out a pistol and said,”Welcome to the team, we need more recruits. Will you join?” I stared at the pistol and out into the battlefield. Memories of war engulfed my mind and the need for action began to grow in my chest. I grabbed the pistol and exclaimed,”Gladly.”





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