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Sanctity of Survival
Since forth grade Cole Casting and Sammie Elizabeth have been best friends they are inseparable. Cole was a six foot tall seventeen year old with dark hair, dark eyes and a bit of five o’clock shadow that never seemed to go away. Sammie was a five foot tall sixteen year old with hair that seemed to always be a different color, and a pair of thee most beautiful eyes you will ever see.
The year is 2070 and these two teenage friends never expected to do what they were about to do. The U.S. was at war with Russia once again and this time the nukes were real, no bull s***. Cole and Sammie were at a mall when reports when off that Russia had sent out their missiles. “Cole what are we going to do?!” Sammie asked frantically in a very soothing voice Cole answered “We’re gonna get to a secure spot in the city we should be safe at.” Cole grabbed Sammie’s hand and hurried her through the mall he kept telling her “We’re gonna be ok, don’t worry.”
They drove home first to grab needed supplies. Cole grabbed his radiation suit, canned food, knives, clothes, a shotgun, a radio, power tools and regular tools, and his father’s magnum. Sammie grabbed her radiation suit, clothes, matches, lighter, lighter fluid, gasoline, books, drinks, food, and a laptop with a satellite phone.
The pair then jumped in Cole’s truck and drove through town, there was no place that looked safe. “Any ideas?” Cole asked “None, sorry.” “Come on lets think back, where’s the safest place in town we can access?” “Cole get us to our old elementary school.” “The Basement?” “Exactly.” Cole drove as fast as his truck could go, he got off the street and began heading through valleys. They arrived at the school with only a short time left. They got to basement hatch and broke it open using a crowbar and a blow torch. Inside there was food and books. “Ha what else would you expect in a school basement.” Cole sealed the basement hatch closed, he and Sammie sat there in the corner of the basement waiting for the noise. Sammie squeezed Cole tight, she began to shake. “Sammie don’t worry, everything is gonna be alright, you hear me?” he tilted her head and stared into her eyes and said again “Ok?” she smiled and said “Ok.”
The first explosion went off about four miles south from the school. It shook the earth with incredible force. The building that was hit first was the mall. You could see people run out of the building on fire screaming for help as the flesh dripped off their body like a melted popsicle. Another bomb went off two miles east of the school and was a bit different from the first. It was extremely loud as was the first but this one did not set fire to the victims’ bodies it simple vaporized them. Piles of dust for miles around. Sammie and Cole jumped on every impact. It carried on for several hours. The two begin squeezing each other tighter and tighter.
What seemed like a lifetime later the bombs finally stopped falling. Cole nudged Sammie “Hey, Hey, I think it’s over.” “What? Ugh five more minutes…” “What are you talking about? Wait are you telling me you slept through that?” “Ha-ha I guess so” “Well get your a** up. I’m gonna go check out how everything is outside.” Cole geared up for his departure into the radiation. Opening the basement doors he could feel the heat of the air through his suit, it felt as if the air was slowly eating away at the special material of the suit. Cole’s eyes focused in and he now realized of what had happened to the town he had grown up in. It was all gone, everything. Trees were on fire, building were coming to pieces bit by bit. He slowly turned around and saw the building he was hiding under. It was nothing but rubble, a loan wall stood tall among all of the rubble. He walked up to it and saw what was on it. A couple posters, speaking aloud he read them “Stars and heroes both shine brightest in their darkest hours.” He turned his head and read the other poster “Legends need not speak their stories, the world shall speak for them” He laughed and said “Damn straight” as he tapped the poster.
He began to check structures that were mainly still intact. He believed there was bound to be some amount of supplies he could use. He first checked the cafeteria for food and maybe clothing from the lost and found. He found some lack luster thawed out food that seemed to be glowing like a dying light bulb. He touched the food and it was scolding hot, it began burning through his glove. Knowing that if a tear were to appear and radiation were to get in he would begin a slow painful death so he threw the food down. Luckily the lost and found proved helpful he found tons of clothing, bags, and cameras he could use.
He went back to the basement or as he nicknamed it “The Bunker” he returned to the sight of Sammie in a fetal position crying believing she was not gonna make it. “Sammie talk to me.” He wrapped his arms around his friend like a brother comforting his little sister. “Sammie were gonna have to stay here for a couple months maybe years before its safe enough for long travel.” And stay there they did for four long months they lived in that basement searching for supplies within a mile radius of the school, being careful that the hot radiated air did not melt through the suits.
About six months passed and the two friends were disturbed by a loud banging noise and a menacing voice coming from the cellar door the voice spoke “We know someone is in there unlock these doors now!” Cole woke up first he grabbed his father’s magnum and walked towards the exit, he placed his magnum in the back of his pants waist band and opened the door. “Who are you guys?” their silhouettes then became clear. There were three men all dressed in odd outfits that looked as if they jumped straight out of road warrior. “We’re raiders looking for some supplies, got any?” “Sorry but no sir we don’t.” “Liar!! I’ve seen you walk into this place with supplies now give them to us.” “No” “So you admit there are supplies?” “Yes” “Guess we’ll have to use force.” One of the raiders swung at Cole with a pipe. Cole then pulled the magnum out of his back waistband and shot the raider in the gut the sound of the gun awoke Sammie and the bullet whizzed through the raider’s stomach it passed through his intestines and a puff of dirt popped up on the ground behind him, he dropped dead. Cole told the other two raiders to drop their things and leave him alone. They did as told. Cole turned around to see Sammie and her jaw wide open, she seemed scarred. “Sammie look I took a shooting class preparing for the apocalypse. I hoped I never had to use it but I had to…I’m sorry” “I understand it’s fine.”
The two began to pack things up and Sammie said “What are we looking for?” Cole paused for a minute and replied “I’m not sure but I know we need to get moving.”
And get moving they did, packing everything they had. Quickly both friends realized they had to too many belongings. Cole broke out his power tools and disassembled his truck, which had been demolished from the blasts, and began making a wagon out of random woods, the truck’s wheels and frame, and some rope. Piling the gear Cole tied the rope around both his shoulders and began pulling his creation along the dried up road.
Cole knowing where he wanted to go decided to tell Sammie “Look we’ve gotta get to the library, it should still be intact” “How do you know?” “My dad was a contractor, he reinforced the library with stints in the walls and pillars making sure the building would be safe” “Oh ok.” They continued down the road, it was smaller then before, dead or dying grass shot out up through the cracks and the sides. This once suburban peaceful city was now the scene of mass destruction, the buildings hollow or not there at all and the once beautiful parks now just dirt, sand, and dust. The air maybe safe to breath but it was still filled with smog. As they were walking Sammie stared up at the sky. It was an orange haze, no sun was visible at all and the clouds were an amber color it seemed to be snowing crispy bits of buildings. Cole had noticed Sammie had been observing everything but hadn’t been talking so Cole spoke for her “It’s ok to be scarred Sam” “How do you know I’m scared?” “Sammie come on its me, talk to me” “Ok, well I’m afraid we won’t make it, that we’re not gonna get through all of this, the deck is stacked against us and were gonna run into god knows how many of those thugs who tried and steal our things. What if they out number us? What if they kill you? What am I gonna do?” “Sam, Sam, Sam calm down. We’re gonna be fine. I’ll make sure of it.” “It’s crazy” “What is?” “How everything used to be so vibrant and beautiful. I took pictures of this town, published them in magazines, but now, now everything is gone, no colors, no life, no breaths from anything, it’s dead.” “I read a poster back at the bunker it said ‘stars and heroes shine brightest in their darkest hours’ do you see any stars?” “No” “That means all that’s left are heroes, I don’t know who they are but we’ll find them, and we’ll be ok.”
They reached the library several hours later, as Cole had predicted it was perfectly in tact. Cole noticed that people were in fact inside already, they were more raiders. Cole pulled the gear behind a rubbled building. He told Sammie to stay safe he’d scout out how many were inside the building. Cole quietly crouched next to a window and peered inside, there were five raiders with make shift weapons, Cole still had his father’s gun. So he decided to take three shots at three separate targets. Remembering his instructor “Pull the trigger don’t squeeze it, point, shoot, breath, repeat.” Doing exactly as his instructor told he shot three shots not missing a target. The bullet piercing the glass. For a spilt second you could see the glass still solid as the bullet whizzed through the window, it then turned into a crystal like wall then collapsed to the ground. Cole climbed through the opening in the library. Pointing his gun at the remaining two men they seemed shocked. “Listen up guys I want you to strip your friends equipment and get their dead bodies out of here. But first I’d like you to drop your own equipment.” The raiders did as they were told. Afterwards Cole followed them outside to the back as they carried their friends’ corpses outside and Sammie couldn’t hear anything but two gun shots and five bodies hitting the dirt. Cole had kill five men Sammie was to afraid to ask why he had done it. Cole finally went back and acted as nothing had happened, he carried the things into the library and then set up shop. They had found a home.
Days, weeks, months past by and now the two seemed to be alone in the world. Until one day a group of about fifteen raiders showed up at the library and Cole told Sammie “Stuff as much things as you can into your pockets, waste band, and socks. I’d recommend grabbing meaningful things, they’re gonna take everything, including us.” “…” “Don’t worry we’ll be fine.” Cole took his father’s magnum, a knife, screwdriver, a hammer, and ammo. Sammie decided to bring a notebook, a small knife, and some pieces of scraped clothe.
The raiders did as Cole had said, except they did one thing different. Cole was viciously assault and was dragged to the raiders’ homestead. Sammie was left untouched but her torment of watching her best friend’s head bounce against the ground, over rocks, and then begin to bleed. Dirt entered his cuts and all she could do was walk forward and cry as raiders made comments like “Oh poor baby ah-ha-ha look at those tears ha-ha-ha there ain’t no room for crying in this world doll face!”
Cole awoke in a dark room with a dying light that would flicker on and off. Cole noticed Sammie curled up in a ball in the far corner of the room, she was silent. Cole stood up dazed and slowly walked, nay stumbled towards his hurt friend. He gently wrapped his arms around her and said “Sammie did they hurt you?” “…” “Sammie…it’s Cole please talk to me” “Do you know how it feels to see your best friend’s blood to be stained on the ground your walking on? To hear the voices of rapists, creepers, and murders whispering in your ear? And after all the years of your life you’ve spent doing all the right things, its basically a slap in the face with a bit of being spit on. Do you…do you know how that feels?” “No, and I can’t imagine it.” The two sat in silence for the rest of their time in that prison.
Days maybe weeks later, neither person could tell since there was no light entering their room, they finally had it with the raiders ways and were going to attempt to escape. But how? They were thinking, then Sammie said “Really how smart are these raiders? They shouldn’t be to hard to out wit. What if the next time they come and check on us we fake that were dead, then capture the guards and take their clothes” “Sounds like a good plan to me.” The two waited silently then there was a loud clang of the door being unlocked. Quickly Sammie and Cole laid on the ground putting on a façade that they were decease. The guards walked in and said “Ha well they lasted longer then most prisoners, well lets get the bodies out of here.” As soon as Cole heard that raider’s voice, he popped up welding Sammie’s small knife and slashed the two raiders’ necks. The bloodied bodies collapsed to the floor, their plan had worked. They both put on the raiders’ clothes and began walking out the cell. The raiders were to incompetent to notice that Cole and Sammie were not one of them.
The friends almost made it out of the prison but one raider began asking them question about how the prisoners were doing, Cole answered “They’re dead.” So the raider went and checked the cell and Cole whispered to Sammie “We gotta get out of here…now.” The two began walking faster to get out of the prison but then the raider who had asked Cole the questions ran out of the cell “Stop those two!! They are the prisoners!” Cole and Sammie ran into hiding and got behind a wall for cover. The raiders began firing shot after shot of every ammunition they had. Cole would fire blindly from the wall and occasionally hit a raider weakening the firing squad. “Cole what are we gonna do?” “I don’t know let me think of something…wait what are those?” Cole had noticed that a pair of assault rifles were hanging from the wall next to them. Cole grabbed one and Sammie went to grab the other one but Cole stopped her “No Sammie this is my fight” “What are you talking about?” “Sammie I want you to run as fast as you can to the outside I’ll hold off the raiders” “Cole don’t!” “I want you to be safe. So listen to me damn it!” “…fine” “On the count of three…one” Cole’s grip tightened around the gun. “Two…” Sammie began crying. “Three!!!” Cole popped out of the cover with two guns blazing. Sammie sprinted faster then she could even imagine she could. Cole picked off one or two raiders then a bullet crashed into his gut. He winced but began firing again knowing he was fighting for his best friend’s life. As Sammie reached the door she opened it and turned back, she saw Cole he was being ripped apart by bullets, he dropped to one knee turned to see Sammie and lipped “Run…” as a bullet smashed into his skull.
Sammie ran and ran all the way back to the bunker she sat and the corner and prayed. Two days later she was found by a group of settlers they caused her no harm and she became one of them. She never forgot the sacrifice Cole Casting had made to save her life, she told his story often and word began to spread around the remaining survivors. Cole had been in the dark but like all stars heroes shine brightest in dark, Cole Casting was a surely a hero, Cole Casting was a legend.