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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/campfires/item_id/1877943-EarthRebuild-ENDED
Rated: 13+ · Campfire Creative · Appendix · Action/Adventure · #1877943
The end of the world has happened and you are left. Will you rebuild or destroy?
[Introduction] This is my sequel to Earth:Lost.

The end of the world has occurred. You awake to find yourself alone. Everything is destroyed and as far as you know, everyone is dead. Off in the distance, you see what looks like a town (Hope City) and you hope there is life at the town (Charlie is the head governing figure at Hope City). Will you do your part to help rebuild the earth, or do you want to take whatever's left and bring havoc to all who remain? The choice is yours.

RULES:
1. You are allowed one item to start out the story. (electricity does not work in this new world) You must find anything else you use, but you can only carry one item at a time.
2. You will be given two days to make an addition. If you miss a turn, you can always jump back in.
3. If you want to kill off a character, you may do so, but they can counter your attack on their next turn. If they miss their turn, they are dead and out of the campfire. Whoever is the last person standing, determines the fate of the new world.

Use the following template to introduce your character:
Name:
Appearance:
Personality:
Alignment:
Starting object:
Name: Derek Becker
Appearance: Derek is average and very muscular. He has short black hair and a toothy grin. He's wearing a Dwayne Wade Miami Heat Jersey (shame, I know) and black athletic shorts.
Personality: Derek is the nice-to-your-face-stab-you-in-the-back kind of guy. He comes from a rough background, so he finds it impossible to truly trust anyone. In Derek's eyes, it's every man for himself.
Alignment: Bad
Starting object: switchblade


Derek groaned as he awoke to the blinding sun. As his eyes slowly opened, he was quickly startled by the sight in front of him. His entire home town was demolished, a charred shell of what it once was. As Derek groaned his way to his feet, he checked his pockets for anything useful. A switchblade. Well, it wasn't enough to kill anyone, but it was enough to scare someone away.
Derek looked around only to see he was surrounded by desolate wasteland. Then in the distance he saw it: a town. There was no way of knowing if anyone was there, or if they knew what had happened, but it was better than waiting around in this charred dump.
Derek began walking. Walking towards what he hoped was life. Life... and answers.
Name: Jason
Appearance: Average looking guy brown hair brown eyes wears a jacket and jeans about 18 years old
Personality: nice, trusting but not stupid, uses logic instead of fighting and tries to talk his way out of fights but is very sneaky
Alignment: neutral
Starting object: lighter

Jason looked out the window. He saw the buildings around him burned out or crumbling, he felt his pocket out of habit he felt a small metal object. He pulled it out to reveal his lighter he looked it over and saw it was none the worse for ware. He quietly exited the building packing up his small possessions in a backpack a blanket, some clothes and some food he'd found in the house. He shouldered his pack and walked out the hole in the wall that he'd come in last night. turning to walk out of the city he heard something loud break nearby he assumed it was one of the buildings supports finally giving out and he walked to the highway to continue on his quest to find his sisters and parents. He'd been across the country when whatever happened had happened. Luckily he'd been asleep in the basement apartment his friend had lent him for a week while he was out of town. So what ever had happened didn't effect him greatly.
Jason was walking down the street to get out of the town. When off in the distance he saw another person! Jason was walking off to the side of the road in the so he assumed the stranger hadn't seen him Jason thought about what to do. He could introduce himself or hide he had enough time to crawl off into the tall grass nearby. But not having seen anyone in so long he stepped up onto the road to show himself.
Name: Vern Ragnos
Appearance: muscular, long black hair, gold-hazel eyes, scars all over his chest and back.
Personality: Not very talkative, direct and to the point, impatient...but very observant.
Alignment: Neutral/bad
Starting object: spiked gloves

Vern awoke from what seemed like a long nap.
He groaned as he slowly stood and observed his surroundings.
The building seemed unfamiliar...he had never been here before.

He reached down and grabbed his spiked gloves...he loved these things.
They could really do damage to people.
He exited the building and immediately noticed he was in a isolated and obliterated town.
How he got here...he couldn't say.

He shook his head.
He needed answers..and he needed them soon.
There must be other people here he could get answers from.
He began scouting the town for other survivors.

Name: Adrianna Hope
Appearance: Dark brown hair, darkish skin, light brown eyes. Wears long sleeves to cover up her scars. Tall (but not too tall) and pretty skinny. 17 years old.
Personality: Doesn't trust anyone, but will talk about anything else. Nice when she needs to be, but never lets her secrets out.
Alignment: Neutral
Starting Object: Knife

From the alleyway, Adrianna could see a lot. She could see the sky, the sun blazing bright. She could see the buildings in ruin around her. But most important, she could see a town not too far away. Just as she picked up her knife and started out, she saw a guy not much older than herself walk out of the building across her. There was someone else here. She wasn't alone. Adrianna saw that he was wearing jeans and a jacket. He didn't look like a threat. He was holding a lighter.
A Non-Existent User
Name:Tony Minnow
Appearance: 6'3" long blond hair to his waist, blue eyes, muscular.
Personality: Kind but strict with rules.
Alignment:Good/Neutral
Starting object: Tribal axe

Walking up the cave stairs I started smelling something charred. Burt trees? Oh no a forest fire on the island, a big enough one could wipe out the island. I emerge from the cave and see as far as my eyes can see burnt trees right to the ground. Its August 2047 and ive been down fixing the ship in the huge cave that comes out to the Atlantic ocean and ive been down for days it might even be September now. But I doubt its been that long. I only went down with enough food for ten days and it was the beginning of August when I went down. But how did this happen, and what happened it looks like more then a forest fire. It looks like that uprage I was hearing about in the outside world finally went into total war and they nuked my island in the process taking my hole family. Well I better look around to make sure. I scooped the hole island for the hole day ad found nothing. I then went to my ship and slept. In the morning I woke and sailed the sea looking for life. I came to a shore in three days and started walking. Nothing worked. All I had with me was my pack with food and tribal axe sticking in its holder on my back. It was about three more days before I came across a town that looked like it was still intact. Weird how this one town seems to be unhurt. I move towards the town hopeing to find life.
Derek looked down the road and groaned. A man was waving at him excitedly. He was holding a lighter.
"Excuse me! Excuse me! Can you help me?" the man yelled.
"What do you want?" Derek muttered as he approached the man.
"Hi there! My name is Jason. What happened here?"
"It looks like the world was destroyed," Derek replied while looking around.
Jason put his lighter into his pocket and sighed.
"So think I can stick with you? I don't think it would be good to be alone out here. God knows what's out there."
"Sure, that's fine," Derek replied with a groan. "I noticed a city out in the distance. I'm walking towards it now."
Derek began walking and did not bother looking for Jason, but Jason quickly began talking about his past, making sure that Derek knew he was there.


"Excuse me! My name is Adrianna Hope! Can you help me?" a girl's voice called out from behind them.
Derek groaned as Jason began speaking to the woman.
"What do you need?" asked Jason.
"Please, I don't know what's going on. The world's all burned I need help." she said almost crying as she fell to her knees.
"She can come if she wants, But I'm leaving, and you should too." said Derek turning away.
"You're welcome to come with us. But we can't stay here forever. You understand right? We've got to keep moving." Jason said offering her a hand
"Yeah, I understand." she said standing up taking Jason's hand.
Vern Ragnos scoured the town looking for any survivors.
He could hear whispers echoing throughout the emptied buildings.
Having spiked gloves made him more calm, but still he kept his guard up.

He rounded a corner street and saw three people..two men and a woman..heading away from him.
As he readied to yell, something tackled him.
He shoved it off to see it was a man.

The mysterious man unsheathed a machete and screamed wildly.
Vern knew this man was mad...anyone else would have left him alone.
This man would not stop until one of them was dead....and that was fine with him.

Vern jumped into the air and smashed the ground with his right fist...sending vibrations through the nearby earth.
The man shook, but stood his ground.
"Fine then...you asked for this!"
Vern attacked his mystery opponent.

         After walking a short distance, Adrianna let go of the man's hand long enough to sneak her knife into her boot. The less these people knew about her, the better. At least until she knew exactly who they were.

         "I'm Jason by the way," he said.

         "Umm... Adrianna. And you are?"

         "Derek," said the other one.
A Non-Existent User
Tony looked at the town from a distance and decided it wasn't so intact after all. Some of the buildings wheat destroyed. But it was a lot better then some of the towns around. As he got closer he saw a tall man. When he finally arrived at this man he saw there where others close by all on guard it seemed.
The man said, "Hi, I'm Charlie the head governing figure at Hope City here."
"I'm Tony and come from an island of descendents of Troy my great great grandfather maybe you've heard of him?" Tony says.
"You mean your from the island of Troy? Wow there is big legends there. Uprises of superheros since 2020." Charlie says, "Welcome to our City or whats left of it."
"Thanks, from the distance it looked like everything was still intact. Then when I got closer I noticed a lot of buildings demolished. What happened?"
Derek mumbled as Jason and Adrianna laughed behind him. I really wish I didn't have to drag these two clowns around.
As they approached the city, the trio quickly realized there wasn't much of a city left. There were people, but they looked as hopeless as Derek felt.
"Welcome to Hope City!" a strange man exclaimed, startling Derek.
"What the hell is wrong with you? Why would you go around being all loud! I would have killed you if you weren't so lucky!" Derek warned.
The man quickly apologized and ran away. Derek smiled. He was never fond of other people. The only reason he wanted these two around was because he felt power in numbers. His chance of survival went up as long as he had his group.
"Hey Derek! Check out that long-haired blonde guy over there! He's carrying an axe! Want to go talk to him? Maybe he can help us out," Jason wondered.
Derek groaned, but he did not have much of a choice. Jason ran towards the large blonde haired man before Derek could respond. The man was getting ready to grab his axe as Jason approached...
Jason walked up to the man with the axe and said "excuse me sir, do you know what happened?"
"Hell if I know kid, now buzz off." said the man walking away
Jason turned back to Derek and Adrianna "He wasn't any help now was he."
"Jason people lost their families or kids in what ever happened, some people might not want to talk about it." said Adrianna
"Yeah I suppose."replied Jason sheepishly
"Jason what did you think would happen?" asked Derek "It's going to be everyman for himself out here now. We should probably leave this place as soon as we get some more supplies."
"Okay, if you think that's the best idea." said Jason with a sigh and a downward glance.
Vern had dispatched his enemy with relative ease.
The fool shouldn't have ever attempted to attack him.
Vern searched the man for anything useful.
"What have we here?
A lighter, a couple slices of rotten bread,and a health bar?
What a waste!"
Vern was upset the man had nothing of real use on him, but he took the health bar for a snack later on.

The group he had spotted was now long gone...where he did not know.
Should he go and look for them?
Vern Ragnos shrugged and began to walk away from the crumbling city.

He was a wandering man in a foreign world.
He had no idea where he was or what to expect.
And it kinda excited him.

A Non-Existent User
Name: Lucy
Appearance: 5’6” with really long legs, pale blonde hair, blue eyes, a frail thin body and scars all over her body.
Personality: Unhinged, timid but vicious, mentally unstable, and distrustful of everyone.
Alignment: Neutral; Bad
Starting Object: Razor Blade

I woke up to the sound of crying. Slowly, I opened my eyes to find myself in a dark room. Some light trickled in through a small window, just enough for me to tell it was a basement. I stood and made my way to the source of the crying. It was my mother, her black hair fanned out around her like blood. She was trapped beneath a large beam.

“Lucy, help me.” she sobbed as she bled out.

I looked at her, and a smile came to my lips. I turned away and crawled out of the small window as she cried out for me. Finally, I was rid of her.
I climbed out into an alley, an entirely destroyed city before my eyes. I made my way through the desolate streets in search of life. When I reached the city’s edge I searched my pockets, only to find my favorite razor blade. If I could not find life, I could just take mine…

I looked to the horizon and saw a city in the distance, it looked somewhat alive. Maybe could find out what happened, not that it really mattered. Obviously a great destruction had descended upon us and now we had to survive. I was undecided about my survival. I took out my razor blade and cut my hand, creating a trail of blood. I relished in the action and slowly began my way to possibility or death.



         Looking for supplies proved hopeless. Adrianna knew that they had destroyed everything. How many others survived? Hopefully they were all on the same side here, whatever that "side" was. As long as she could stay alive, it did not matter. In one of the buildings, she thought she heard crying. They did not have time for that however.

         "There's nothing here," she said. "We're wasting our time."

         "Yeah I couldn't find anything either," replied Jason. "What are we supposed to do if we find other people?"

         "Well there are only two options. Either make an alliance or get rid of them."

         Derek smiled at her comment, put his switchblade away, and started leading them away.
Name: Skylar Hawk
Age: 23
Appearance: Standing 6'2, he has black shaggy hair, he has a black Megadeath t-shirt on, with dirty beige cargo jeans. He has an athletic build, and Hazel brown eyes.
Personality: Skylar is a generous soul, but no fool he can smell bullshit when it is given to him. He is trusting to a point, but will always be his own man and help when it is needed.
Alignment: Undecided/Good for now
Starting object: Backpack



Skylar Hawk had been traveling for miles, and still wondered just what the hell was going on. He had been on his was back home to Chicago when everything went black for lack of a better term. As it stands now he is making his way to a city off in the distance traveling through the remains of a desolate wasteland. He thought he had a good deal on his plane ticket because he was supposed to be flying coach. However, due to over seating he had been bumped to first class. Skylar had never been in first class before so he didn't know how to react to his good fortune. He had become a WWOOFER, an association that focused on those willing to work on an organic farms throughout the world. He had been one of the volunteers first asked to go to another continent. He went to work on the Miller family Farm under the supervision of Thomas Miller on the Gold coast of Australia. The farm had been a wonderful opportunity for Skylar who was twenty-three and still wondered what he wanted to do with his life.

Skylar wasn't the tallest man standing 6’2; with an athletic body strengthened by all the work he had been doing on the farms. Sometimes it surprised him by the build of his body. Sitting in the plush first class seat he pulled a cigarette from the left pocket of his beige cargo jeans. The orange flame that flared into existence from his gold and silver butane lighter illuminated his black MegaDeth t-shirt as he brought it closer to light the cigarette in his mouth. It was then he felt the jerk of the plane. He thought the first initial jerk was nothing more than turbulence to which he was comforted by the PA coming to life with the voice of the Pilot confirming his suspicions. It wasn’t until the constant rocking of the plane that he began to think he was in serious danger. He planted his black boot covered feet trying to brace for whatever was happening. The plane took an abrupt sharp nosedive. It was at that moment Skylar said, oh shit!

The plane was thrust into chaos, and between the sounds of the people screaming along with the sound of the air rushing pass the falling plane creating a whistle that filled the air. Skylar strapped himself in the seat bracing for the worst.

He awoke in the midst of wreckage and burning debris the thick smell of metal and burning flesh filled the air. It made Skylar gag, and he found himself in pain. He glanced down at his legs to see during the time between his black out and the crash something had given him a gash on his right leg. It wasn’t enough to hinder his movement, but annoying enough to remind him it was there. He tried to unstrap himself from the seat then stopped and took time to look around him. The plane had been split into three parts, the first half that Skylar was in seemed to have been broken in half with his half lying on the side with daylight pouring through the broken cracks. The passengers that were adjacent to his seat weren’t moving.

Skylar finally freed himself from the seat buckle and heard someone in the seat behind him moaning so with some effort he helped the man that liked to be in his 40’s to his feet and the two of them went in search of survivors. In all, they found twenty people who were in need of help, and in contrast to the 145 people that were aboard only fifty or so made it out alive. Skylar didn’t know what city he was in, but decided it was best if he made his way on his own. He looked for his backpack only to discover the baggage area had been utterly destroyed, so his thoughts of keeping his most prized possessions went out of the window. With that realization a sense of dread turned his stomach in knots.

He had been traveling for a while and came across a deserted town that had been gutted from the look of things. The buildings and homes that were once a set part of the community were in shambles. Along the way he saw some people but no one could tell him just what the hell had happened. As he moved about trying to find some form of shelter from the unforgiving weather he found himself hold up in a crumbling sports store. It was there that he found a Spartan backpack. He picked up what he could find in the store which was a couple packs of batteries, flashlight, combat knife, fishing rod, a Colt Air pistol with four cartridges of air, and two packs of 100 ct. metal pellets. Skylar packed it all in the backpack, he wasn’t one for guns, but with the way things were going he just might need it.

On his way out of the store he spotted some food ration bars that were covered by some of the ceiling that had fallen through. Skylar also found some bandages that he used on his leg even though it didn’t bother him much now it was still good to cover up the gash. As he set out on the road again he had been traveling for a while when he saw a girl in the distance with blonde hair who from the look of the ground he was walking on seemed to be bleeding. It was against his first thought, but he chose to take a chance and see if she knew anything about what happened. He would have to be careful though because she also seemed to be carrying something sharp that caught the light of the sun.
A Non-Existent User
Tony got a lot of detail from Charlie but not enough to tell people much when asking him. He told some people about how the head governing figure in this hope city is Charlie and can be found at the city hall in the center of the town. The dome looking building that has a crack in the roof. To be a part of Hope City people should register. But that was what was happening, a lot of people kept saying I know that I want to know what happened. So he went on to say Charlie told him little just that the governments started bombing eachother and targeting all the power sources and technology. Notice how there's know electricity, he would say. But one time he got fed up with being asked and was rude to a guy. He felt bad and was looking for him to apologize.
After looking around he found the guy, Brown hair and eyes, young. Couldn't be more then 18. Tony thought those were the days. He walked up to this guy in his late teens a decade younger then him and said, "Hey I'm sorry about earlier saying to Buzz off. Truth is everyone was asking me all day that say question and the guy before you got to me for he dug deep asking me about where I'm from and when I told him he went on to say I cant believe your the last from the island of Troy. That made me think I could be the last or maybe some hot away. Some go on trips a lot. Some are considered super hero's like Charlie said." Then he went on to tell the young guy about Charlie. "So you going to register? I'm Tony by the way."
"I'm Jason. Nice speech, I can see why you got fed up."
Name: Oksana Pogodov
Age: 25
Appearance: Black hair, 6'4" Shoulder length hair 220 lbs (mostly muscle)
Personality: She's not afraid to do what's needed. She'll be glad to put het boot on those picking on the weak
Alignment: Good
Starting object: Crowbar

Oksana heaved on the crowbar with all her might, at first she heard a crack and then the large security door gave way, swinging open The Russian Woman walked onto the roof of one tall buildings standing in the newly named Hope City. She walked out to the ledge and glanced at the destroyed city. "Hope" She played with the word in her head, It certainly wasn't what she felt gazing upon the desperate landscape.

If it was to give hope then it needed to be much more glorious. A place that people could come to for safety. She scoffed at that thought, looking down she could see the havok that people had already started here. She thought about a man she had heard of rallying people, "Charlie" she whispered. Wondering where she could find him. She turned her back on the scene. She had seen enough. It was time for her to play her part in this new era of mankind.
It only took a few moments for Jason and Tony to aggravate Derek. They laughed and swapped stories and in moments, Adrianna joined them. Derek sighed audibly, getting the attention of the trio.
"This is ridiculous!" Derek shouted, startling Adrianna. "The world has gone to Hell, and you three decide to laugh and joke around? You three are a joke! I'm better off by myself."
Derek stormed off as the trio stared in stunned silence. He walked around the town, enjoying the quiet solitude. He broke into an empty house and swapped his switchblade for a machete. He grinned at his reflection in the blade.
"Hello? Is someone there?" A voice groaned from behind.
Derek turned to see an old woman buried underneath a collapsed wall. She was drenched in blood.
"Please... My daughter... She left me here to die..."
Derek knelt beside the older woman and raised the machete.
"I will finish the job for her," Derek whispered as he brought down the machete on the woman's neck.
"Do you think he'll be okay?" asked Adrianna
"He'll be fine" said Jason "He just needs to let off some steam. But we should leave markers to let him know which way we went."
"Okay yeah" the two of them started to gather small stones to make into an arrow pointing in the way the way they went.
"do you two have a place to stay tonight?" asked Derek
"no we hadn't thought about that, unless Jason had an idea?
"No I thought we'd stay in another hotel."
"Then why don't you come with me to city hall? cause like I told you we're trying to get a society running again and we could use anyone help."
"I'm game if Adrianna is."
"Sure. Let's go. but first we should finish this arrow."
Vern wandered the city streets, keeping an eye out for more would-be robbers and looters.
If he ran into one, there were bound to be more.
He wanted to avoid them if he could.

One or two he could handle...a group of them would probably pose a problem.
And problems he did not need at this time....
As the neared the outskirts to the city, he heard something that put his nerves on edge.

He looked around, but could not find the source of the noise.
He looked to the desert outskirts..and then he saw it.
A giant dust cloud heading right for them.
He turned and began running back towards the city.

He had to warn whoever was still left inside.
If they were caught in that storm, they would surely perish.
He saw a building that looked like a government building....a city hall perhaps?
He decided to head there.

         Tony led Jason and Adrianna to the city hall. Before going in Adrianna put her hood up so no one would notice her. Just in case. There were so many people inside. Adrianna pick-pocketed a few, but all she found were cheap bracelets, pictures of people who were probably dead by now, and a couple packs of cigarettes. Nothing she needed. These people were crippled. They had nothing left. Why would they devote the rest of their lives to rebuilding a city that would just end up in ruins again?

         A man put his hand on her shoulder and she spun around, startled, and pinned him up against the wall.

         "What are you doing?!" yelled Tony. "That's Charlie! He's the head governing figure in the city. What is wrong with you?"

         Adrianna let go of Charlie and stared back at Tony for a while before whispering "Sorry." Then she turned and walked out of the building.

Skylar approached the girl with caution. It was against his first thought, and his mother always told him to go with his first thought because that is what will likely keep you out of trouble. The stinging pain of not knowing how his mother was sent pain lancing through his heart. He had made up his mind that no matter what happened to the world he would make the best of it, and hopefully he would find his mother and father somewhere safe with his little brother. He didn’t want to give himself too much hope, but he hoped he would find them in the city; he found himself walking towards now. He pulled the combat knife from the backpack pouch he placed it in when he was in the store, and put it in the right leg pocket of his cargo jeans.

He gave the girl a wide berth when he ran up beside her, she had blue jeans and a black t-shirt that seemed to be torn in some places exposing her very pale skin, which was an extreme contrast to his dark olive-colored skin. Still, as much as she looked troubled and bleeding, she didn’t look bad. She was a beautiful girl with her long legs, and pale blonde hair, though she could really use some food from the frail look of her body. As Skylar got closer to her; he could see that she had dark scars on her arms along with the blood that trailed down her hand opposite the one with the sharp object in it.

She must have heard him running up because she spun around with cat-like reflexes lashing out at him with a razor blade.

“What the hell do you want!” She screamed, lunging towards him with the blade firmly in her hand in a backward position, so she could put all of her weight behind the strike.

“Whoa, shit!” Skylar yelled, pulling the combat knife free from the right leg pocket of his cargo jeans.
“I just wanted to know if you knew what was going on, and if you wanted something to eat.” He explained, cautiously circling around her.

She seemed to be thinking about what he said as they went around in a semi circle that Skylar knew would be a deadly dance if he let his guard down.

“Listen, I have some food that I gathered in my backpack, and I’m willing to share it with you if you put the blade away,” Skylar offered.

“What about your knife? You’re trying to trick me! I know how this goes. I put my knife away, and you jump me? Nah, I don’t think so. She said, slowly edging closer with her blade out ready to slice Skylar open.

“Okay, I can see how that could be possible, but I’m telling you the truth. How about I put my knife away, and you put your blade away at the same time? That way, we both are weaponless, and I’ll just get the food for the both of us. How does that sound to you?" Skylar asked, hoping against hope she goes for this tactic. He didn’t want to hurt her, but if he had to, he would take her down or die trying, either way this was all or nothing. He knew he should have listened to his gut feeling and stayed the hell away.

"Same time, right?" She asked, cautious of his every movement.

"Yeah, same time. I just want to share some food with you." Skylar replied.

She seemed to be debating with herself what to do. She twisted the blade around in her hand while thinking. That coupled with the look in her eyes made Skylar feel as if this stand off wasn't over just yet.

"Okay," She finally agreed.

"On the count of three, we'll both put our weapons away." Skylar informed her. He didn't trust her, and he could sense that the feeling was mutual.

"One, two, three," They both said, together.

Skylar pocketed his knife, as the girl pocketed hers. He then shrugged his backpack off and onto the ground, so he could find the camping bars.

"Hey, what‘s your name?" Skylar asked, as he tossed one of the bars to the girl.

She caught the bar effortlessly, and said, "Lucy."

"Nice to meet you Lucy, I'm Skylar."
A Non-Existent User
Tony walked out after Adrianna. "Don't go, he probably just startled you right? I mean you can help here. Sign up and put your time in to help rebuild this city with some structure. With a little help from me it could be like the island of Troy. Ever heard of the island of Troy?"
"No and I dont need your help." Adrianna said all defensive.
Finally someone who hasn't heard of my island, she might have heard of some of the hero's who came from the island but even those hero's are just big fire men, police men, detectives, or even doctors. Some like Charlie consider super hero's, have made costumes and helped put crazy people back in jail. But in my opinion they are just as crazy going around in costumes, some crazy distant cousins of mine. "No maybe you dont need our help, but we need yours. The island I grew up on had strict structure and a great teaching system all the way till the age of nineteen. Now I dont know how Charlie intends on bringing order out of chaos but I'm here to help and put my input in."
"Well I'm not sure, that guy, Charlie, he did startle me and I dont like when people touch me with out me knowing them first or from behind like that."
"Tell you what I'm going to go in and get my next assignment from Charlie, my first one was to find two or more people to help, then I'll come back out here and tell you what it is. Then you can decide if you want to help."
"Okay."
Tony walked inside and looked at the tables and chairs all set up with people eating. Behind this big set up lots of cots and beds are all lined up. But the people here are mostly in aid and hurt so they stay for medical attention like a hospital. He walked over to a table Jason was sitting at eating and talking to some others. "Where did Charlie go?"
"I dunno, but he gave us this." Jason replied handing Tony s paper. On the paper it said at the top centered 'Logging' then under it was three long paragraphs. "Where is Adrianna?"
"Oh she was upset at her reaction to Charlie touching her from behind with no introduction first. I understand where she is coming from if Charlie did that to me when we first met he might not have a head right now, my axe is equipped to my pack for easy access."
"So are you ready to use that axe for tree cutting? In the description it says we need logs for fixing some demolished buildings and building some new log lodges and some other stuff too."
"Sure thing just lending a helping hand can save lots of people."
Okasana turned her back and gasped as she saw the giant wall of dust moving toward them. She quickly ran over to the small door leading off the roof. She ran down the Stairs as fast as she could, skipping two or three stairs with each step. Oksana had heard of the terrible dust storms that rampaged through the deserts of Australia, She also thought of the Blizzards that afflicted her own country, She worried, however that this would be worse than both.

Oksana pushed the remaining half of what used to be the buildings entrance door open. She stepped out and scanned the streets, giving herself a moment to catch her breath. The tall Russian Woman spotted a dark haired man running through the streets, away from the storm. Oksana thought he may know where everyone else is and began running to catch him.

Turning a Corner Oksana saw the man enter a large building, She followed, not far behind. Opening the door she saw a crowded building, This was likely the town hall. The man seemed to already be announcing something as she came in. "The storm should be here in under an hour" Oksana stepped up beside him, her height giving her prescence "Da. He speeks the truth, I have seen it too"
Derek looked out into the desolate wasteland before him. As he ventured away from the small town, the voices of the town eventually faded into silence. Derek smiled at the realization that he was finally alone. He was finally rid of Jason and that girl.
Derek took a moment to relax before wandering the wasteland when a figure came into view. Derek sighed as a man walked towards him. He had long black hair and spiked gloves; Derek quickly noticed a look of rage on the man's face.
The man growled loudly at Derek. Derek quickly looked around, only to find that the two men were alone. He quickly pulled out his machete and swung at the man just before he swung his spiked knuckles. The man dodged Derek's attack and took a quick jab at Derek, hitting his left arm. Derek winced in pain but quickly regained focus. The man rushed Derek for another quick blow, but Derek kicked the man's knee, knocking him to the floor. As the long-haired man looked up at Derek, Derek raised his machete...
Jason was worried about Adrianna, but he had to figure out how to get trees from the park in the center of town to the various houses that would make up their new society. While he thought he also walked with Tony. Then Jason stopped he looked at the street. there were cars everywhere! he quickly ran up to one and smashed a window, wrapping his hand in a shirt and smashed a window.
"What are you doing?" asked tony with a concerned look on his face.
"The power might be gone but if we put the car in neutral we can push it around and use it to haul logs around." he said with a smile on his face.
"That's really smart Jason, but that car's an automatic, we couldn't use it."
"Oh right forgot about that." he said with a smile
"Plus we should find a flatbed truck instead. It'd carry more."
the two set off to find a truck and found one a few minutes later
"It's a stick. We can use this one." said Jason
"alright move." he said as he pulled back his arm and punched the window denting it. he pulled his axe from it's holster and used the butt to clear the glass.
"Alright now put it in neutral and we'll push it to the park." said Tony
Jason hopped into the truck and opened the other door then put the truck in neutral hopped out and began to push the truck guiding it to the city's park.
Vern turned and wondered who this mysterious woman was that was standing behind him.
She seemed to know about the storm as well...maybe she was a local or something.
He pointed to the city hall doors.
"Barricade...keep storm out."
The mayor nodded.

"Of course...c'mon everyone, we need to hurry and make this place safe."
The townspeople began to block the windows and doors to try and keep the sand from coming in.
Vern and the woman just stared at each other.
"who are you?"vern asked her.
" I should be asking you the same thing."
Vern shrugged and turned from her.

"Wait!"
He halted his steps.
"At least give me your name!"
He turned and faced her.
"Vern."
"Nice name...i'm Oksana."

         Tony was right. Charlie had startled her. But she also knew him from before all this had happened. She didn't know how he became the leader of this new city, but she knew one thing: Charlie was unpredictable. Adrianna hoped he didn't recognize her face. He had known her when she was younger. Her father and him were good friends.

         Adrianna looked around the so called city and smiled. They had said it was called "Hope City". Either it was just coincidence, or Charlie had named it after her family name. Possibly to attract her attention. If it wasn't for her companions, she would've left. Adrianna didn't completely trust Tony yet, and she didn't want to leave Jason alone with him, just in case. She decided to wait around and see if she could get more information about the city and Charlie.
A Non-Existent User
Tony looked out into the distance closing in on the city park with lots of big trees left. As they pushed Tony said, "Dont worry Jason I'm sure Adrianna just went for a walk to think about things, when we came out of the town hall and she wasn't there I told you that."
"It's not just about her not being there I sense danger. Hey is that her?" Jason said as he pointed behind him at a figure.
"I dunno but she is running and there seems to be another figure behind her I cant tell if its a guy or a girl yet."
"Thats not Adrianna, that girl has blond hair and that figure behind her is a tall guy and has black shaggy hair."
"You two run, cant you see behind us?"
Tony and Jason look behind them in a wonder why they didn't see it before. A big dust storm was coming there way. "Quick follow us." They both said united as they ran towards the town hall. Bit as they where running a gust of wind and dust swiped the girl right into the air and out of sight. They kept running for three was nothing they could do. When they got there they opened the heavy door and went into the building closing it was some hard force for the wind was really pushing. The building was full of more people then before.
After Tony caught his breath, he looked at this one guy that made it and said, "Hey I'm Tony sorry about your friend there."
"Names Skylar, no feelings hurt I just met Lucy but I guess it is kinda sad losing someone I just met. She might be OK if she lands on something soft, who knows."
Tony felt bad that this guy was saying no feelings hurt when he was obviously hurt if not much over Lucy then over something bigger like his family he may have just lost. He knew he was mourning over his family. He thought then about his island and wondered if anyone on trips when the bombs hit were in locations that where safe. Maybe he will go hunt after helping here a bit. He still hasn't checked all the people here in this town.
After the last two had entered, Okasana reluctantly began to move one of the heavy benches in front of the main door with the help of Vern. She hoped no one else was out there and that if they were that they would be able to find their own shelter.

As they blocked and boarded up windows the room began getting darker she noticed that the man who she had heard being called Charlie had begun lighting oil lamps for people to see. He seemed to be a very capable leader. Issuing orders for people and assigning roles for them.

The whole building began to moan and creak as the wind began to pick up pace and slam against the town hall. After everything had been blocked up Oksana moved over to where Charlie was standing, speaking to two men. one of them with an axe attached at his waste. Oksana stood taller then all three men, Her thick Accent showed as she spoke "You must be Charlie. My name is Oksana, I have heard much of your city, and of the bandit attacks that ravaged it. I am here to help rebuild."

"A lot of new people have been showing up here," Charlie motioned to Tony and Jason, as well as Vern who was beginning to walk up to them. "The more help we can get the better"
Derek looked down at the blood covered body that lay at his feet. The bandit did not have anything of value, save for some food. As Derek stared at the motionless body, an inexplicable feeling overwhelmed him. It felt like anger, but it was something more. Looking at this dead body at his feet created an unquenchable thirst for blood. He looked back at the city and smiled a twisted smile. He knew where to find his victims.

As Derek entered the town, people ran around in panic. Derek tried to understand what the commotion was for, but then he saw it. The wall of dust was coming in fast. Derek exhaled slowly as he planned his survival.

As Derek approached the town hall, it became apparent that the doors were locked, and no one else was allowed inside. He watched as people ran from building to building, trying to find a secure safe house. Derek walked his way around the town hall and eventually was able to find a large window on the side of the town hall. It would require a little bit of a climb, but Derek felt confident. Derek inched his way up the wall until he finally reached the window. As craned his neck to see inside, he saw a large crowd of people crammed inside with almost no room to move. Perfect. Derek crashed his elbow hard into the window, shattering the entire window and creating an entrance way for Derek.

Derek jumped to the floor as the crowd gasped. That kid from earlier, Jason, approached Derek with a look of concern.

"Derek! What are you doing" Jason asked, his voice frantic.

"I'm just looking for a shelter."

"But... look what you did! All sorts of sand is going to get in here now!"

Derek pulled out his machete and held it towards the young man. The entire crowd backed away from Derek with gasps and cries. Jason stiffened.

"Well... I don't think this is my problem," Derek growled.
"Derek what that dude!?" asked Jason a look of terror on his face as he backed away "That... that's not cool. Put that thing away before someone gets hurt." He finishes the sentence a little Braver than he'd started it.
"I'm not looking for much, bring me some water and food and a tent... a big one. I want them all piled over there by the window." he said motioning toward the broken window. "Or else Jason here's gonna be missing something very important, Maybe an arm or... hm a leg? what do you think Jason?" he asked keeping his voice calm "and I want one of those lanterns" he said as an after thought.
Charlie stepped forward "We don't have a tent but we can give you a few tarps and sticks. Just let the boy go."
"No! Bring the things here first then I'll let the boy go." said Derek grabbing Jason and putting the Machete across his throat. a few people take a few steps back at the scene that's unfolding.
"Move people!" shouted Derek "unless you want to see what color this boys blood is."
Charlie tells a few people to bring the demanded items then turns back towards Derek seeing Tony inching his way towards the back of the would be raider. Charlie decides to trust Tony to do what's right and holds Derek's attention.
"You know we could use your help around here. Big strong man like you, you'd be a great help to our cause." says Charlie
"I'm certain I would, except I don't like people very much, and" he motions around the room in front of him with his machete "There's quite a few people here. I don't think I'd get along very well with them now don't you?"
Vern watched as the storm entered the edge of town.
Any minute the town would be swallowed..then it was all up to chance.
He slowly walked over to a corner and sat.
He closed his eyes and began to wait...

Oksana walked over and sat beside him.
He opened his eye and looked at her.
"What?"
"I thought i'd get to know you some before we die.""
Vern shook his head.
"Silence.."

Oksana shrugged and stood.
He must not be one for converations after all.
She walked over to a mother and her children..trying to comfort them.
No mater what happened, whether they lived or died, Oksana would do everything she could to protect these people.

The storm swept through and the people could hear the noises of screams..of buildings crumbling..and of deathly silence afterwards.
Half an hour later, the barricade was removed and Vern stepped outside.
He could see others exiting the other houses that had not fallen.
He smiled..turned and began to head away from the city.
A Non-Existent User
I did not trust Skylar but I greedily bit into the bar. The second it touched my lips I felt it, poison seeping into me. I spit out the crumbs. I had been tricked!! I backed away slowly and began shouting profanities. The whole time Skylar looked at me like I was crazy. He spoke, his tone soothing but I continued to back away. Soon I was running, running from the monster. My head ached with so much pain that it soon became incapacitating...then everything went black.

         Adrianna had survived the storm. She was still crouched down behind he remaining wall of a demolished building, her body curled around a little boy's. She had saved him, but wasn't in time to save his mother as well. Now she had no choice but to take him to the city hall. But that would be it. She would take him there, make sure her was alright, and leave. Whether or not Tony and Jason came with her didn't matter. Hopefully Charlie would stay out of her way.
Skylar had a hard enough time dealing with Lucy when they were facing off, but it wasn’t until she finally believed him enough to eat the food he had salvaged from the sport’s store that things really went downhill. She for some crazy reason thought what he had given her was poison, when in reality it couldn’t have been farther from the truth. Skylar didn’t usually like to eat things that was good for him, but making the connection between granola and poison meant only one thing. Lucy was bat shit crazy. Skylar thought that realization would have made things worse, but the night wasn’t over yet.

Lucy took off running, so Skylar grabbed his backpack, and went off after her. The wind began to pick up, and before he knew it Lucy was submerged in the storm. Sand surrounded him making it practically impossible to see in front of him. Skylar could just make out Lucy’s form when a sudden gust of wind sent her flying through the air. He made a silent promise to look for her once he found a place to hold up until the storm was over. He didn’t know how long they had been traveling because almost immediately after Lucy was swept away Skylar encountered to men, both seemed to have been caught out in this storm as well.

Now Skylar sand up against the wall of this building he learned to be some sort of town hall. There were so many people packed into this tiny building with the wind whipping the outside piling sand up against the windows, from the sound of the screams and noises coming from outside there were still people caught out in the storm he could only pray none of them were his mother, father, or little brother. The two guys that he found out in the storm were somewhere in the middle of this collection of people having a conversation about a missing woman they both knew. Skylar learned their names were Tony, a big guy that had long blond hair, and a well-meaning face. The other guy’s name was Jason, and Jason seemed to be the most affected by the absence of this woman called Adrianna. The man who seemed to be in charge went by the name Charlie, and from what Skylar could gather he was an interesting character that didn’t seem to be getting much respect from the people under his charge.

Skylar watched the ruckus crowd confined in this place talk to one another while he just rested and shook sand from the contents of his backpack. It wasn’t until he heard the crash of glass that he knew something was about to go horribly wrong.

"Derek what’s that dude!?" asked Jason with a look of terror on his face as he backed away. "That... that's not cool. Put that thing away before someone gets hurt." He finished the sentence a little Braver than he looked.

From Skylar’s vantage point it looked as if some idiot had broken through one of the windows and now held a machete on Jason, one of the guys that Skylar met earlier.

"I'm not looking for much, bring me some water and food and a tent... a big one. I want them all piled over there by the window." The guy said motioning toward the broken window he had come through. "Or else Jason here's gonna be missing something very important, Maybe an arm or... hmm, a leg? What do you think Jason?" he asked keeping his voice calm "And I want one of those lanterns" he added, as an afterthought.

Skylar had been through a lot this evening not to mention the past couple of days, and this situation didn’t help the bitter mood he found himself in now. This asshole Derek was only thinking of himself, and now held a knife on an innocent because he wanted to think of himself. Skylar was no saint, but with the way the world has gone to hell. Skylar was fed up. He reached into his backpack while maneuvering his way around the crowd of people and withdrew the air pistol. It may not kill him, but if he could get a good shot off to this Derek’s head it could be just enough for Jason to get away.

Skylar saw Tony, the big guy he had met earlier with Jason edging his way closer around the other side of Derek, and then to Skylar’s amazement he saw Charlie talking to Derek distracting him to give Tony a chance.

"You know we could use your help around here. Big strong man like you, you'd be a great help to our cause." Charlie said.

"I'm certain I would, except I don't like people very much, and" he motioned around the room in front of him with his machete "There's quite a few people here. I don't think I'd get along well with them now, don't you?" Derek asked, pointing the machete back at Jason again.

Skylar had nearly moved into position when Tony made his move only to be seen at the last second by Derek which gave him enough time to move out of the way sending Tony crashing to the floor of the room. The people had gathered the items he wanted, and were on their way back.

“Yeah, that was real stupid big man.” He chastised as he put the blade of the machete against Jason’s skin pressing down enough to draw blood.

Tony stood up raising his hands, and backing away slowly. Jason on the other hand let out a whimper as Derek administered the punishment for Tony’s actions.

“Don’t do it Derek, bro they are bringing your stuff!” Jason wailed.

Skylar took aim after he caught Tony’s attention silently telling him to get ready to move. Pulling the trigger of the pistol let out a soft pop. Derek’s head was in Skylar’s crosshairs when Skylar took aim, but he decided it would be wrong to shoot him in the head so instead Skylar took arm for Derek’s hand that held the machete. As he took careful aim he felt no pity for this asshole with the knife. This world had enough problems, and didn’t need more caused by selfish people.

The pellet sailed through the air headed for Derek with ease, and when the pellet made contact with Derek’s hand the machete that was held on Jason fell away. Three things happened quickly followed by the successful shot. The first was Jason being knocked out of the way, by Tony who speared Derek after a look of astonishment crossed his face after discovering what happened. The second was Skylar understanding that Derek wasn’t that bad of a guy he must have been scared just like everyone else. The third, and probably most important is that after all of this was said and done Derek would probably want revenge, and at the moment Skylar was okay with that.
A Non-Existent User
After Tony speared Derek he had his tribal axe double blades out from his holster and said, "If you try anything like that again I'll chop your head off with my axe." Then he took the axe and put back into its holster.
"I think Derek should do two days service helping rebuild the city for his crime, all in favor say eye!" Charlie said out loud to everyone.
"Eye!" Is all you hear from everyone around except Skylar.
"Okay then Derek board up that window with those before anymore sand gets in." Charlie told Derek as the sand storm seemed to be picking up. Just as they finished boarding up the window the storm seemed to be at full strength. The building moaned and you could hear things outside cracking against buildings. As soon as it stopped Charlie was giving directions to two people with shovels to shovel away the sand all piled up against the door. They had to crawl through the window to get outside. Charlie then asked Tony and Jason if they would show Derek what they have been doing.
"You mean you want him on our team after what he did to Jason?" Tony asked.
"Why not, he has no machete any more. Didn't you say he was with you abit before you came here? Besides you have your axe."
"Well I guess it's only two days." Tony said disappointed
"I'll go and help." Skylar spoke up.
When the sand was cleared a man walked out first, Tony thought he heard a girl named Oksana call him Vern. Then the four went out side to the area Tony and Jason were loading the cut up wood and logs from the trees onto the flat bed truck. When they got there the truck was on its side. All four of them had to push the truck over into its upright position to start working again.
Then from a building not to far off just as they finished loading as much logs as they could on the flat bed, a girl with dark brown hair was walking towards them.
"Adrianna!" Jason yelled and started running to her.
"Hey guys I'm okay, I hid in time and found this boy. So I'm taking him to the town hall." Adrianna said as a little boy walked out from behind her. Jasons run slows down to a walk and then he says I'll help you if you help us.
After a large portion of the people that had gathered in the building had left, Oksana turned to Charlie, "We still need" Charlie cut her off. "Food," he gave her a small frown then turned to look at one of the more frail families still left inside the building. "We have a small storage in the cellar of the blue house a block east from here, but that's only going to last us a week at most. especially with the amount of people coming in." Charlie looked back at the dark haired woman standing beside him. "We had a couple of farms started but I doubt they survived that storm. The bandits you mentioned earlier took most of what we had stored up." Oksana lifted an eyebrow as she stared down at him "You want me to take food back?"

Charlie shook his head. "No, we sent people there when he had a small militia. They never came back." Oksana felt a littlle let down hearing that. She began to wonder if her presence here was too late. Charlie continued "I want you to check our supplies and farms to see if they're still intact." Oksana nodded her acceptance. "I will find what I can"

Oksana left the building, it would be night soon, Oksana could tell by the position of the sun that it would be setting in almost an hour. The woman went to the blue building only to find that it was now rubble. Oksana rushed over swearing to herself about the ill fortune of the town.
Derek watched as people slowly exited the town hall. He had full control of these people for just a few moments, but it wasn't enough. These people must pay. Whatever happened to the world was their fault, and they needed to suffer. After the people emptied out the building, Tony walked up to Derek, a look of frustration on his face.

"Okay, you will do exactly as I tell you. One bad move and you'll be getting a close look at my ax," Tony warned.

Derek refused to respond. Instead, he stared down Jason, causing the poor young man to squirm. Jason's throat still had some spots of blood from Derek and his eyes were now full of fear.

"Now follow me. We have some work to do," Tony ordered.

The trio of men walked outside into the blazing sun. Derek looked around for any sort of weapon, but nothing was in reach. As the three men walked towards a small building, a woman approached them. It was Adrianna.

"Hey guys! Need a hand?" the girl asked with a wide grin.

Derek watched as Jason's face turned a pale reddish color as a sheepish grin covered his face. The kid was blushing! Tony thanked Adrianna for the offer, but declined because Derek was a "problem". Derek could feel the blood heat up in his veins. As Adrianna walked past the men, Derek nodded towards her. She glanced at him as she walked next to him and made quick eye contact.

"I need to get away from these guys. Will you help me?" Derek quickly whispered.

Adrianna responded with a subtle nod as she walked past Derek. Derek couldn't tell if she understood him or not, but he hoped she would help him escape. Tony quickly grabbed Derek's arm and jerked him to the front of the group.

"Get to work asshole!"

Jason followed behind the two larger men. Walking behind Tony who was holding his axe in his hand explaining what Derek would be doing.
"You're going to help us Get trees to repair some of the buildings." Said Tony
"Why not just take the walls from the other houses?" asked Derek
"Because we don't know how many people are going to be coming, and we might need all those houses soon."
The three of them reached the small park. Tony had Derek hauling the logs that he and Jason had cut the day before.
Jason wanted to say something to Derek. He wanted to ask him why he'd tried to hurt Him, but he couldn't find the right words. So instead he just busied himself with the work.
He could feel himself beginning to tire out, he called out to Tony and said he was going to rest for a bit and walked off into the woods. Jason wasn't afraid of getting lost the park wasn't that big and he could see to the other side of the tree line.
Jason tripped. He'd gotten his leg caught in a root that stuck up from the ground, seeing his lighter fly out of his front pocket he reached for it but missed it before it could hit the ground. He picked it up and brushed himself off.
"You okay?" asked Tony who was a few yards as he stopped hacking at a tree trunk that looked about to fall down.
"Yeah, I.. I just tripped." replied Jason "I'm gonna be over here." he said sitting down.
"Sure Jason." Tony said returning to his work "I'll come get ya in a half hour.
"Alright." said Jason closing his eyes to take a nap.
Vern had done his good deed...he helped protect those people.
Now there was no reason for him to stay....
He walked to the edge of town..wondering where to go next.

For some odd reason, he turned and looked back at the town.
Her face danced in his head...oksana...
He sighed...even if he wanted to..he could never do it.

He turned again and began walking across the barren wilderness.
He heard a noise and clenched his fists.
Four large go-kart type cars sped across the desertland..spitting up dust and dirt.
Each car carried at least 12 or 15 people...

The cars slowed down and the passengers leapt off and surrounded Vern.
One spoke clear and loudly.
"Names Charles Kilroy friend...and i heard you killed one of our men a few days ago.
We're here to settle the score."

Each man had a weapon...swords, guns, pipes, shovels, bats....Vern scowled.
Why did this always happen to him?
He walked in front of the leader and looked down at him.

"Move."
"Or what giant man? You gonna kill me?"
"Yes.."
This caused the man to stop and stare.
Was he serious?
The leader scowled..noone disrespected him in front of his gang.
"Kill this a-hole...NOW!"
A Non-Existent User
I landed on the top of a building. I could feel the sharp sand hitting my face as I rolled over. I opened my eyes to see the street below me, about 20 stories down. Carefully I rose, trying to make my off the edge of the roof. I wasn't careful enough, I tripped and plummeted to the street below.

Goodbye world...

         Adrianna waited for Tony to turn his back on Derek, and then quickly pulled Derek aside. Once they were farther away from the others, they stopped.

         "Thanks," said Derek. "Those idiots were relentless."

         "Just get out of here okay? And if you lay a hand on any of these innocent people again, you better watch your back."

         "Why do you care so much about them?"

         "Because they don't deserve to suffer for the mistakes we make. People like you and me."

         "Alright whatever. I'm out of here."

         Adrianna was about to head back to find Tony and Jason when Charlie walked up to her.

         "Thought I wouldn't recognize you?" he asked. "Take me to your little friends. Maybe they can help me decide what I need to do about you."

         "Yes sir," she mumbled.
A Non-Existent User
Tony saw a figure in the distance. With his back to Derek he thought he would be fine with Adrianna. Yesterday they made alot of progress after Adrianna dropped the little kid off at the town hall then came back and insisted on helping. The figure got closer and Tony saw it was Charlie.
"Hey how's it going?" Tony asked basically yelling or talking deep and load enough for Derek to hear from the distance he was at.
"Good, but I can see your not doing so well." Charlie said opening his hand palm up making a gesture from left to right indicating no one behind Tony.
"Oh, shit they were just here a second ago." Tony said looking around.
"Meh, Derek has done his deed. It's almost the end of the second day. Besides if I need him I have this solar powered tracking device. Only little technology is left and this I salvaged from the depths of the police stations basement. I put the tracker on Dereks boot when he wasn't paying attention." Charlie said as he pulled out a rectangle thing that looked like a TV remote. He hit it a few times like that hologram on that quantum leap show does with his device, then said, "There he is. Just needs a little bump to get it going sometimes." He was pointing to a map with dots on it and his index finger was on the blue dot. Then he put the device back in his pocket and asked, "That explains where Derek went just over the hill now where is the other two? Are they off making out doin some love time?"
"No. Actually Jason is Just napping over there. It's Adrianna that disappeared with Derek." Tony said.
"Alright tell Jason the rest of the day is off. Go eat at the town hall. Don't worry about fixing more buildings for now I have some others assigned to that tomorrow. If you search for more people tomorrow that might be a better help. We are covering a fifty mile radius for now. Who knows maybe you will find more of your own from the island of troy, I sure hope so we can use people like you."
"Tell Charlie that food Storage is gone." Oksana told one of the citizens who had been heading back to the town hall. The woman looked up at her and nodded continuing on her way. Oksan watched for a few moments as she headed to the town hall then began walking towards one of the farms.

Oksana didn't mind walking, as she was getting used to forced marches when all the chaos began. She hadn't barely began boot camp when everything went wrong. She remembered hearing from someone that the next war was going to change the world. She hadn't quite known how until now.

Oksana and a few of her fellow soldiers in training had been on leave when the war began, First the tecnology stopped, then people started losing control. Many people blamed her comrades and her for the tragedies. Everyone that she'd travelled with died, most due to extreme rascism. She was lucky enough that she knew English.

Oksana shook her head, taking her away from her guilty thoughts, returning her eyes to the path ahead, to the skyscraper standing in front of her and the person falling from it. Oksana Gasped and rushed forward. A half buried car blocked Oksana's view of the impact. Oksana felt her heart sink as she lost sight of the figure who had fallen. She dashed around the side of the car to see the girl who had fallen.
Derek glanced at Adrianna as they left the town. It felt good to be able to leave the town with a good looking girl.

"So everything work out with Charlie?" Derek asked.

"He... doesn't exactly know I'm leaving," Adrianna replied. She seemed upset with her response.

"Well, I think we're better off out here in the wilderness than in that city. More people, more problems... that's what I always say," Derek said with a chuckle.

A voice grabbed Derek's attention from the left. Derek shot a quick look to find a gang closing in on a guy. The lone man had long black hair and looked confident. Derek recognized him from the city.

"Should we help him?" Adrianna wondered.

"He'll be fine," Derek replied with a grunt. He kept walking, but quickly realized Adrianna wasn't walking with him anymore. Instead, she walked towards the large group of burly men, completely unarmed. Derek searched the ground for anything that could be used as a weapon. He managed to find a large branch.

"Damn girl is gonna get me killed!" Derek muttered to himself as he ran after Adrianna.
Vern watched the body movements of his attackers. He knew if he wasn't careful, it would mean his death.
One man behind him ran forward, sword swinging in the air.
Vern heard his boots crunching in the sand...he turned and launched his fist into the mans face.

The others roared in fury and charged him all at once.
Out of the corner of his eye, Vern saw the woman who was so nice to him during the storm.
She was here with someone else...but why?

He threw one man to the ground and clobbered another over the head.
Two men jumped on his back, trying to take him down.
He saw the woman tackle one of the men and begin to beat him mercilessly.

The leader frowned...this was way too unexpected.
He had to get back....he had to get away.
Vern watched as the bandits leader jumped into his car and try to start it.
"No..."
Vern pushed though the weak bandits and grabbed hold of the leaders car.

All the bandits jumped him and he let go of the car...watching it zoom away.
He grunted as he felt a knife slice into his side.
The bandits cheered.
Vern looked and saw the woman startign at him....she knew he was wounded!
Another wave of pain...the bandit had stabbed him again.....vern fell to the ground.

         Adrianna whipped her knife from her boot and stabbed the attacker in the back just as Derek showed up and hit him over the head. She knelt down beside Vern and looked at his wounds. Derek tried to get her to hurry, but she needed to help the man. She took her jacket off and ripped it into two pieces, tying each one over one of the wounds.

         "You're gonna be okay," she said. She looked up at Derek. "We have to get him somewhere safe at least for the night. He won't make it on his own."

         "Fine. Just hurry with it. What the hell have I gotten myself into?"

         Adrianna watched Vern casting her a knowing glance before closing his eyes. He knew something about her that she was trying desperately to keep a secret.
Skylar didn’t know what to make of this place. The city that he found himself in was randomly over run with bandits on a regular basis He hadn’t been here a good 30 minutes, and some asshole had tried to take the people here hostage for his own personal gain. Derek’s antics disgusted him, but he could understand this man to a point. Although, they differed in their view on the situation, Skylar was angry too. Skylar felt he needed to protect these people from individuals like Derek, so he had volunteered to keep an eye on him thinking no one else would want to. He was wrong. Tony and Jason decided they wanted to watch Derek while making him work with them to gather wood to fix the many buildings that began to crumble.

The city itself was in ruin, and at one time it was beautiful. Skylar decided since Tony and Jason were on Derek detail they could handle it. He knew there was no way Tony or Jason would let Derek getaway.

Skylar with his backpack on set out to explore the city that he came to know as Hope city. There were skyscrapers, in the distance, and if he wanted to get a full view of what this city was like he would have to go to higher ground. He passed so many people who looked as if they were barely making it. There was a mother and child who had no clothing, the woman tried as best she could to cover her exposed breasts, but to no avail. Skylar reached in his backpack and retrieved the sweatshirt he had found, and gave the child one of his energy bars. It wasn’t much but it should tie them over, for the time being.

When Skylar made it to the base of the skyscraper, he marveled at the architecture to the building. The sheer height of it made his mind daze. If they could fortify the walls, then this could be used as a camp fortress. Everyone would have some place to sleep. Walking into the lobby of this building sent him back to the days he spent in his father's office. Arthur Hawk was a corporate raider, and took pride in his work. He thought Skylar would follow in his footsteps, eventually taking over the company after he retired. He was disappointed Skylar decided to walk his own path. The memory of the argument Skylar had with him brought him back to reality.

He had been absentmindedly walking when he found himself staring out of two large windows. He had to be at least two stories from the ground. From his vantage point, he could make out all the buildings and some homes that were in bad need of repair. There was smoking billowing in the wind off, in the distance, to the west. He knew that wasn’t a good thing. He found the latch to the window and opened it watching all of the people walking about. There were cars that no longer worked on this side to the building below him. As he stared out at everything, he heard the sound of someone screaming. Skylar looked up to see a shape falling at a rapid pace. Without thinking he made himself ready to try to grab hold of whoever it was.

Skylar forgot about the backpack he had on, and reached his hand out grabbing the arm of the person which pulled him further out of the window then he expected. The backpack he had on his shoulder snapped forward and fell to the street below. Skylar braced himself on the windowsill, and pulled with all his might to get the person in the window. With his shoulder burning with pain, he pulled the figure into the building with him, and unceremoniously on top of him. When he saw the eyes upon the figure staring back at him, a small smile crept across his face. It was Lucy.
A Non-Existent User
Tony told Jason the news when he woke. Jason wasn't pleased when he told him Derek escaped, he was secretly terrified of him and what he might do. When Tony mentioned Charlie had a tracker on him and that he had the rest of the day off, what little was left for it, he was pleased. Tony and Jason went back to the town hall and ate a good meal. Tony rested and in the morning went out on his own to find and rescue more people. Before he left people were saying to go in groups. He didn't listen and he soon wished he did.
Walking past tall buildings he wondered about how people were coping with the loss of technology and if they would be jumping from the tops from not being able to handle it. At the bottom of one of the buildings he saw a
Oksana stared at the backpack lying on the ground. She could have sworn she saw a girl falling. Oksana placed her crowbar on the ground and grabbed the bag that had fallen. She looked up to see if she could tell who had dropped it but saw no one. She sorted through the backpack finding an air pistoland a couple boxes of pellets. She recognized it as the one that had blonged to the man from the town hall. She continued to look inside and found a flashlight, batteries, A knife, fishing rod and three energy bars. Oksana hadn't realized how hungry she was until she saw the energy bars. She took one and opened it, once again looking around. No one was about. Oksana frowned, but continued on as she didn't want to travel long throughout the night.

By the time she reached the farm it had become dark A light Shown in the small Barn. She walked forward Amazed that most of the crops seemed to be untouched. It was certainly a miracle that the storm had left most of this area alone. It put her in good spirits as she walked to the barn, whistling to herself as she did. As she opened the door she became silent. The stench of death wafted out to her . she stepped back taking the small pistol she had found out of the bag and pointed it towards the door as it slowly swung open. There had been a massacre here. All the Animals lay bloodily inside, their skins flayed from their body. It looked as if something or someone had killed all these creatures and eaten bits of each. There was a small oil lantern lying on the floor not far from the door. It still burned brightly. It must not have been long since the last person had been here. Then she saw the body of a man, who she presumed to be the farmer lying not far away. Oksana slammed the door shut and looked around in the dark. Backing away she continued to look around, looking for the thing that had done this.


Oksana never noticed that something had followed her as she now walked on the outskirts of town, moving towards the other farm. Her nerves had calmed down a bit as she had been walking at a hurried pace for the last two hours, It's hard to stay on edge when nothing happens Oksana was surprized to see the other farm was actually amongst buildings in what had once been an industrial sect. She went inside what appeared to be the main building, a large warehouse in amongst deserted factories. As she stepped inside she felt something press against her neck, A man spoke up "Who are you?"

"I am Oksana" She angled her eyes to see the man speaking to her. It was a short man Holding a large sword to her, She continued "Charlie sent me to Check on farms" The two of them stood in silence for a few moments before the man moved his sword away but kept it ready "My name is Kon, and Although my crops are damaged the animals are fine. I will continue to send Charlie his supplies." Oksana nodded and backed up a few steps "I will tell Charlie" She walked out the door closing it behind her sighing loudly. Oksana began her walk back to town hall. The same way Oksana had not noticed her mysterious stalker, she did not notice that he was no longer following her.

When Oksana made it back to town hall, the sun had already began to rise. Charlie was already awake and moved towards her. "Oksana it is good to see you, I could use some good news." Oksana frowned "Then I would only be able to tell you about last farm I visited" Charlie frowned "Tell me what happened"
A Non-Existent User
Walking past tall buildings he wondered about how people were coping with the loss of technology and if they would be jumping from the tops from not being able to handle it. At the bottom of one of the buildings he saw a young boy with a broken leg. Walking up to him he said, "It's OK I'm here to help." He was careful to tell the boy this because the boy looked scarred.
"I couldn't take it anymore. No video games, no parents, no children to play with. I just had to..," The boy sobbed and had tears running down his cheeks. "to jump."
"This is going to hurt a little." Tony said holding the boys leg. "I'm going to pop your broken leg back in place. Then I'll splinter your leg up and take you to the town hall where there's more kids like you. Would you like that?"
"Yes sir very much sir." The boy answered addressing Tony with all the respect he knows and manners for adults, for this man had just made his world again saying there was still kids alive to play with.
"Just call me Tony, sir always sounded silly to me. For respect you could say son of Troy from the island of Troy." Tony told the boy. The boy just looked at him with a gapped mouth. "What did I say something to shock you?" He asked the boy. Then without waiting for an answer he said, "Oh I know your shocked because a lot of hero's come from the island of Troy. Some comic book writer's transform into super hero's, but everyone knows there's no such thing as magic or super or mutant stuff. But it's nice to pretend and a lot of people say the hero's from the island of Troy are super."
"Its not that, sir I mean Tony. My dad used to say the same thing. Only he said call me Ron son of Troy from the island of Troy. He said that to other people of course, I just call him dad."
"Ah so were cousins. Is your grandfather Mark by chance? To make sure we have the right family for I think there is another Ron whose father is Jack."
"Jack is my grandfather." The boy said smiling, "And sorry I'm Tom."
Tom and Tony went to the town hall talking all about the island. Tom told Tony how he wasn't born on the island and his dad Ron left the island when he came of age to be a fire fighter for the great city that he always liked. Tom also said he had visited the island every three years since he was young. He loved all the concerts and ski trips. They both talked a great deal more before getting to the town hall.
"So I guess something happened to your parents and thats why your all alone." Tony asked.
"Yea my dad died in a big fire two years ago. An my mom was above ground when the town got destroyed."
Derek continued to fight off the bandits as Adrianna aided the mysterious man. He managed to snatch a baseball bat from one of the bandits and began using it as his primary weapon. He swung at man after man, sending each to the ground in a pool of blood. He took a moment glanced over his shoulder to see Adrianna and the man staring at at each other.
"Hey, are you almost done over there?" Derek called out, taking a vicious swing at a fast approaching bandit. Teeth flew out of the man's mouth as he hit the ground with a thud.
Adrianna helped the man to his feet and threw his arm around her shoulder.
"I'm ready. Let's hurry!"
"Follow me!" Derek shouted. He quickly reached into one of the bandit's pockets and found a set of keys. He quickly led the other two to one of the carts and threw the key into the ignition. The small engine sputtered to life as they pulled away from the small gang. As they disappeared in a cloud of dust, Derek breathed a sigh of relief.
"So, what's your name?" Derek asked the mysterious man.
"Vern," the man replied with a cough.
"Okay. Well, you're lucky Adrianna is so nice. I would've just left you out there," Derek announced.
"Derek, we need to help him. He's not going to make it unless we get him medical attention," Adrianna said.
"I know... I'm just driving around the city to get away from those bandits. We'll be parking on the other side of the city," Derek called back.
As the words left Derek's lips, the engine coughed it's way to its death. In moments, the engine was gone. The city stared out at them from about a half mile away.
"Damn it!"

Vern tossed in his restless sleep...he did not know why, but nightmares plagued his mind.
He envisoned a small town razed by fire....a woman screaming for help....and then there was her....

A young girl...all alone...tears falling from her face.
Vern extended his hand and took hers.
He was only a boy...but he liked this girl....he wouldn't abandon her!
"We have to move."
He tried to pull her, but she seemed frozen.
She wouldn't move!

Multiple men jumped him...darkness overtook him...and then she was gone.
He tried to remember what she looked like...
Tanish skin....dark hair....
Audrey.......

Vern awoke in a panic.
He screamed outloud and fell back to the ground.
Adrianna and Derek came running.
She immediately noticed his wound had reopened.

As she readied to re-bandage the knife wound, she heard the name he was whispering almost incoherently.
Her eyes went wide with shock.
She tried to keep her composure, but Derek noticed.
"What did he say?"
She didn't answer him.

"Adrianna...what did he say?"
"Nothing...i have to get some air."
Adrianna left and Derek mumbled.
"Drove all this way with a injured man we don't even know....set up camp in the middle of nowhere....she goes outside to get some air..and now i have to fix him up?
This is bogus!"
As Derek mended Verns wound, adriannas mind raced.

Where had he heard that name.....?

         Audrey. She was sure that's what he said. But no... He couldn't have known. She would have to talk to him later and find out more. Adrianna felt guilty about leaving him alone, but she needed to get her thoughts straight. Derek was getting more and more impatient with time, and he was her best chance for an ally.

         She had to find out who Vern really was, and probably he was tryin to do the same with her. Audrey... It couldn't have been him. He couldn't have been that boy from what seemed like a lifetime ago.
The writer for Lucy has backed out, so I have been given permission to take over the character, and write for her as I see fit.

Skylar couldn't help himself. He was happy he was able to save Lucy from a horrible death. When they first met she had been pretty much out of her mind. However, now that he with her again she seemed different, very different. The last time he had seen her she was swept away by the sand storm that sprang out up out of nowhere, and at the time she had been running away from him due to a misunderstanding. The last thing she called him was a monster.

Lucy's eyes seemed to light up when she realized it was Skylar that had saved her, instead of running away as she did before she hugged him for all she was worth. He held on to her feeling her bones through the thin fabric of the black t-shirt she was wearing.

Staring up into Lucy's sky-blue eyes now; Skylar could feel a connection with her. It was there when they first met, but was discarded because they didn't know each other, and the fact that she seemed to enjoy cutting herself which put him off at first. He could understand the cutting though, he had many friends that cut themselves to relieve the pressure they felt. Most of them cut because it gave them control over something; especially when they had no control in their everyday life.

"Are you okay? Skylar mumbled, Lucy's blonde hair had covered his mouth.

She pulled herself up, and off of Skylar enough to look into his eyes, "Why did you save me?"

The warmth that bloomed within him was something he hadn't felt before. He pushed himself up on his elbows and instantly wished he hadn’t because pain lanced through his shoulder from the movement.

“I didn’t know it was you that I was saving,” Skylar said, through clenched teeth as the pain spiked. He reached out, grabbing her hand with his. “I’m glad it was you I saved.”

“I thought you wanted to kill me.” She admitted.

“It was just a misunderstanding. I think it was probably due to both of us being scared because of what has happened to the world.” He explained.

After Skylar stood the two made their way to the bottom floor of the building. Lucy held onto his hand as they went. Skylar remembered his backpack that had fallen, and went to retrieve it only to find that it wasn’t there. Skylar decided they should go back to the town hall to talk to Charlie about the building becoming a base for everyone to be in away from the bandits.

When they made it back to the town hall Skylar saw that Charlie was in the midst of a conversation with a woman he’d seen before. She seemed to be someone who could take care of herself. Whatever she was telling Charlie seemed to make Charlie’s face fall.

“Excuse me, Charlie.” Skylar interrupted with Lucy by his side.

“Yes, Skylar wasn’t it?” Charlie sighed, clearly upset over something he had been discussing previously.

“Yes, I just came from one of the skyscrapers roughly 3 miles from where we are now. It’s in pretty good shape, and can house many of the populous here.I thought it would be a good idea if we used that as a base.” Skylar informed Charlie with Lucy giving his hand a squeeze of encouragement.

“This is something that I’ll have to think on for a while.” Charlie said. Then after a moment of thought. “I’ll send a few people to check it out tomorrow. You’ll lead them to the place you’re speaking of won’t you?”

“Sure. It shouldn’t be a problem.” Skylar said.

“This sounds like good idea.” The woman standing with Charlie said with a thick Russian accent.

Skylar turned to her and noticed she had his backpack on her shoulder.

“This belongs to you." she said, handing Skylar the backpack. "I found it on the street, and saw it was yours, but I must admit I took one of your food bars.” She confessed.

"Thank you." Skylar said, grateful to have his backpack with all of its contents.

Skylar didn’t need to make a big deal about her picking it up, he was glad she got it, and no one else had. He held his hand out in thanks.

"You're Oksana right?" Skylar asked, when she took his hand in her firm grip giving her a big smile.

"Yes," she returned his smile. "Well met my comrade."

“I’m Skylar, and glad you picked up my bag, and if the energy bar helped then that’s great.” Skylar said opening up the backpack checking the contents.

He pulled the air gun out, and placed it in his left pocket. He then took two energy bars out, and passed one to Lucy then gave the other to Oksana.

It wasn’t too long after this that a huge commotion began outside the town hall, and three figures burst in. One was Derek and the other a woman Skylar learned was Adrianna. Both were supporting the third, a large man that seemed to be bleeding from his wounds. Skylar believed him to be Vern, the man who was the first to leave the town hall after the sandstorm.
A Non-Existent User
As Tony and Tom walked to the town hall they saw a man that was half mad. The man had long brown hair and was talking to himself saying, "I can't go on, I won't go on. Not like this. No TV, no cell phone, no way to tell the weather and no news from the rest of the world. I should have let that sand storm take me. It's like the olden days, but worse. Like cave man time. I will not live like this. I can't go on. I won't go on."
"Excuse me sir but it's not like the olden says. Nor like cave man time, but a lot hascome down on us. There is food and shelter at the town hall. Not much shelter but I'm sure soon we will find a bigger building for those in need. We have fixed lots of buildings with trees and logs from the forest and plan to fix many more for people." Tony said.
"Trees for air, you people are stupid. Were all going to die!!!" The man screamed running off down the street.
"Well don't say I didn't try to help him." Tony said to Tom as they continued walking to the town hall. The next thing they saw was Derek and Adrianna with some other guy Tony couldn't quite see. When they got closer the others were already in the town hall.
-Sorry This is going to be a short on everyone. been busy-

Oksana saw the men enter, She still felt tired from lack of sleep. "Get him to one of the beds in other room," She turned to Charlie, "Medical supplies?"

"In there" he pointed at the room that Oksana had directed the others to. Oksana nodded then called out "If anyone has any medical expertise I suggest you help, My knowledge of medicine is limited" She led the way into the room with the beds and grabbed the first aid kit, opening it up, she realised that even in this area they were limited in resources.
Derek walked outside the crowded building to get some fresh air. The people in the town were acting like they had never seen an injury before! Derek grumbled to himself about how much he hated the town, wishing he could just make his way out. He looked out into the desert landscape and closed his eyes. He pictured himself wandering the wilderness, alone. No people, no chaos, no problems. Just him and his thoughts. It was a paradise Derek hoped he would get to experience. For now though, Adrianna needed Derek. After getting him away from Jason and Tony, he felt he was indebted to her. Thankfully, bringing in Vern seemed to get Derek back in everyone's good graces.

"You okay out here?" Adrianna asked, catching Derek off guard. She smiled a thin smile and sat on a short ledge next to Derek.

"Yeah. I just needed to get away from the crowds," Derek explained with a quick sigh.

"I understand. These people are acting like they've never seen an injury before! Thankfully, the medical people said he's going to be fine. It's just weird. I actually know... never mind..."

"What?"

"Nothing. Maybe I'll tell you about it some other time. I just wanted to say thank you for helping me back there. There's no way I could've gotten him here if you weren't there to help. I guess... I guess I really owe you one," Adrianna said. She looked off into the wilderness as Derek responded with silence. Adrianna decided to keep talking.

"You know, one day, I think it would be fun to go out there and see what else is left. There's no way Hope City is the only place left on earth!"

Derek took Adrianna's hand and pulled her off the ledge. He caught her and slowly helped her to her feet. "You know, we can go out and check it out..."

"What? We can't leave Vern here! We have to make sure he's okay!" Adrianna objected.

"He'll be fine. He has the best medical staff in town looking at him. He's no longer our responsibility. Whatever or however you know him, just let it go. Now come on. Let's go out there!" Derek begged.

Adrianna looked back at the small building and shrugged. "I guess you're right. Go ahead and lead the way!"

Derek led Adrianna through the town towards the main entrance. He passed several faces that looked at him in fear. Obviously not everyone knew about his heroic actions with Vern. As the entrance came into view, Derek's heart sunk. He stopped and led Adrianna quickly into an alley.

"What happened?" Adrianna asked.

"It's that gang. They're back. And this time... there's more of them."
Vern awoke and glanced around the room.
He figured that he must be back in town...but had no idea of how he got there or who brought him.
As he tried to sit up, a woman rushed to his side.

"You musn't move..your wounds will tear open again."
Vern looked at the woman.
"Who brought me here?"
"A woman and a man brought you into town...said you needed medical help.
Soon after they left."

Vern laid back down...he vaguely remembers someone coming to his aid when the bandits attacked him.
He had heard a womans voice...that's for sure.
He wanted to thank them.
All of a sudden, voices rang through the streets.

"Thugs! Bandits! the gangs are on their way here!
Hide....Hide!"
Everyone scatered to find a place to hide.
Even the female nurse ran off...leaving Vern in the bed.

Vern sighed and slowly stood from the bed.

No-one else was going to fight them off....
Vern slowly walked into the street....spiked gloves at the ready.
He would drive them off.....or die trying!

         After a lot of convincing, Derek agreed to warn the people in the city. They would surely leave right after. Adrianna mostly wanted to make sure Vern was alright. After all, she was in debt to him. Her pace quickened when she saw how close the bandits were. Then she saw the man with the spiked gloves, and started running.

         The only problem was that the bandits would definitely recognize the three of them, and go after them right away. Derek and a few other people from the city said they would hold them off for a while. Adrianna smiled faintly and gave Derek a nod.

         "Thank you," she said.

         She sprinted towards Vern and literally pulled him back towards the town hall.

         "What the hell were you thinking?!" she yelled. "Are you trying to get yourself killed?"

         He looked shocked when he recognized her face, and she let her hair fall over her eyes. "Is it you?"

         "We need to get you back somewhere safe." She said, ignoring his question.
All hell broke loose.

There was chaos in the town hall. Skylar and Lucy stood in the midst of a crowd of people clamoring over one another trying to get to find some form of safety. Lucy gripped Skylar's hand tight. Skylar stole a quick glance at her before jumping into action. It was hard to tell just what the hell was happening because of the location they were in. There was glass breaking somewhere. A thick plume of smoke quickly filled the room followed by the fire that it promised.

Skylar’s arm hurt like hell, but there was no way he was going to die here.

“Lucy, do you still have that razor blade?” Skylar asked, trying to survey the situation.

“Of course.” She replied, pulling the long silver blade with the pearl handle easily from her pocket.

“Good, I’ll need you to use that to help me. We have to get these people somewhere safe.” He said, taking his backpack off, and grabbing his air gun inside making sure it was loaded.

Skylar and Lucy pushed their way through the crowd of people until they were near the front door of the Town hall. Charlie was already there with a hammer in hand and the look of fire in his eyes; dishing out orders to others on where to find safety. The sounds coming from outside were deafening. There were people screaming combined with the explosion of cars that used to be sitting idle.

Skylar saw Derek taking on two and three of the bandits who were in tattered clothing and carried all manners of weapons on them. Adrianna, took the big man Skylar knew to be Vern back off somewhere away from the fighting. Skylar thought it was amazing the man had been wounded and still wanted to help. Tony was trying to keep the little boy he brought with him calm, while Jason under Charile's orders gathered others to put out the flame that erupted after the first cocktail was thrown through a window.

“Charlie, I really think we should retreat to the skyscrapers I mentioned earlier about 3 miles from here.” Skylar suggested, taking aim at one of the men attacking Derek. The man was about to ambush Derek on his left flank when Skylar planted a metal pellet in the back of his head. It gave Derek enough time to take the man down with the metal bumper he picked up from the debris of one of the cars that exploded.

“Yeah, this is just too much. I don’t know if everyone will get there safely.” Charlie admitted, gripping the hammer in his hand so tight he knuckles turned white.

Skylar enjoyed seeing that Charlie was showing some life. He originally thought Charlie was just a push over with the way he allowed things to happen, instead of showing real leadership.

The woman Skylar had met earlier who had picked up his backpack had been helping with the the impromptu medical team with supplies came over talking to Charlie, but didn’t make any sense. In her haste, she had reverted back to Russian, her native language. When she saw the puzzled look on Charlie's face, she began to speak again in English with her thick accent. “Charlie, these bandits are trying to keep us inside. The secret passage is being blocked by something on the other side of the building."

“Damn it!” Charlie shouted, frustrated. He took the hammer in his hand, and slammed it against the nearby wall cracking it.

Dark smoke from the fire fell in a haze around them making it hard to see what was going on. Skylar with Lucy still holding his hand pulled her to his side, so she didn’t get lost. He heard her begin to cough from the smoke.

“I’m going out to help the Derek fight the bandits off, so you and the others can retreat.” Skylar announced, to Charlie and Lucy.

“Yes, this is good idea. I’ll help comrades." Oksana agreed.

“No!” Lucy screamed flaring that hint of crazy in her eyes.

“Sweetheart, if I don’t help, many others will die.” Skylar explained.

“I don’t care about everyone else. I only care about you.” She said with tears forming in her eyes.

“I understand, but if I don’t do this, then no one will survive. I’ll be fine. I need you to help Charlie and the other escape.” Skylar told her.

“No, if you go out there, I’m coming with you.” She said with finality.

Skylar knew there was no arguing with her. “Okay, we’ll go together.” He agreed. He could hear Oksana say something, but wasn’t sure exactly what.

Charlie said that he would do his best to get everyone out and down to the building that Skylar described to him.

Skylar, Lucy, and Oksana descended into the chaos that was the street in front of the town hall. There they found Tony, who had sent the little boy with the other children fighting along side Derek, who had a bat now from one of the bandits. Tony had his tribal axe wielding it with such skill seeing his actual movements was hard as he cut bandit after bandit down.

Skylar shot a few bandits in front of Derek and Tony cutting off their attack long enough for the new unlikely duo to take them down with ease. Oksana used her crowbar knocking the hell out of any bandit who approached her.

“It’s about damn time we had some more help down here.” Derek spat, wiping splatters of blood off his face from the bandit who now lay at his feet.

“Had to make arrangements with Charlie for everyone else escaping.” Skylar said, taking aim at his next target.
“Yeah, well, whatever. We’ve been down here trying to save everyone’s sorry asses while you’ve been in there.” He said taking on yet another bandit.

“Derek, let’s not dwell on that just now, we have to live through this first.” Tony interrupted, taking yet another bandit down with his tribal axe.

Oksana, with the crowbar in one hand took a bat from one of the fallen bandit in the other, and used both to beat a path toward the leader of this pack of raiders. Skylar decided to take on the bandits who were on the other side of the town hall that kept the people still inside from escaping. He went to grab a bat that was lying next to a bandit who had been taken down by Derek only for the bandit to strike up at Skylar with a shiv; nipping him on his side, and tearing a gash in his shirt. A red stain spread down the remains of his shirt on his right side from the light wound he received. Skylar snatched the bat, and kicked the bandit in his face, knocking him out. It was after this that Skylar heard an ungodly scream from behind him.

When Skylar turned, he saw that the person screaming was Lucy. She had seen the blood through his torn shirt, and in turn, lost her shit. She flipped the pearl handled razor blade in her hand backward much like when they were facing off in the desert, and ran slashing any bandits who were still standing. Skylar followed in her wake, shooting and beating all those that remained standing. While Derek and the others were left to handle the rest of the bandits who were in the front of the Town hall.
A Non-Existent User
As Tony fought alongside with many of the others he saw the young ones going at this with ease and skill. 'It must be all those videogames these kids are playing these days. They have that chip now and before that it was just as close with3D vision visors.' He thought with a chip in his head him self he knows the difference but it was similar. After those 3D TV's with glasses they came out with visors to go with it, then suits you could buy that vibrates when hit. Not the same as actually getting hit but it teaches you. Then they came up with using no tv at all and the visors were so small they almost weren't there at all. They tried rooms but not many bought that. Then when they came out with a chip, no suit needed but the same vibrating feeling, no glasses it just taps into your vision, everyone bought it. Well almost everyone. Tony did to try out the latest thing and to be a hero incase anything went wrong he would be the first to know. But nothing went wrong and the video game chip was a huge success.
Looking around most of the gang bandits were dead but the ones left fought good and didn't look like they were going down, atleast not with ease. Tony was looking around for were this humming sound was coming from. Others were too. Then he looked up and saw it. A hover craft, triangular shaped and grey. He thought, 'That looks like its from the island.' The ship had four points like V's coming off one side of the triangle. Hovering 20 meters above the fight the humming sound was loud now. With in one split second lighting looking bolt things shot out of the ship and hit all the bandits. You could tell who's side they were on. Derek and Tony side by side looked at eachother.
"What is that a hover craft?" Derek yelled to be heard
Oksana Marched up the street with her allies, She swung a bat that she had taken from one of the Bandits and missed , the bandit, tackled her knocking her to the ground, She kicked out his leg knocking him to the ground and finished him with the crowbar, This battle had been going on long enough that the adrenaline in her system was starting to Ebb and the tired she felt from not sleeping was taking over.

Oksana pulled herself up as she heard a shriek from Lucy, She was going berserk on some poor soul, It Was Brutal Even after the bandit had been killed she continued to attack the corpse until Skylar pulled her off him. Oksana had heard stories of soldiers snapping on the battlefield, A surefire way to get oneself killed, Lucy needed a thereapist, but those didn't really exist any more.

Oksana pulled herself up As another rush of Bandits surged forth. Oksana spoke a couple words under her breath, Unflattering words. Before the Bandits reached them though they were shot down from above. Oksana looked up and saw a large ship passing over them and heading towards town hall, "Come on" Skylar motioned already starting back with lucy. Oksana turned to start following, exhaustion Slowing her reflexes when another voice shouted "Not so fast" A man moved out from behind a small house, pointing a gun at the three of them, "I'm not going to lose that easily.

Oksana could tell that the wepon this man held was much more dangerous than the one Skylar had and they wer too far away from him to try anything, She was sure that Skylar and lucy could escape if they wanted too, But she was caught in the open.
Derek looked at Tony in confusion. Whatever that mysterious flying object was, it was definitely foreign. As far as Derek knew, technology was nothing more than a thing of the past. As Tony's ax sliced through the last bandit, Derek walked towards him.

"What the hell was that?" Derek demanded an answer.

Tony looked at Derek in silence, then began walking off. Derek ran after Tony and grabbed him by the collar, lifting him off the ground. Tony fidgeted in Derek's grasp, but he was unable to wiggle free.

"I did not just risk my life to have some ship destroy everything. I can tell you know something, so you better start talking," Derek growled, holding a knife against Tony's face for emphasis. Tony looked down at the ground and finally answered.

"Those people... they're... from my homeland..."

"Well are they friends or foes?" Derek questioned slamming Tony against a wall. Tony grunted as his head banged against the wall.

"They're friends. I promise. Now please, let me down," Tony begged.

Derek dropped Tony and the man crumpled to the floor. Derek dropped his knife next to the gasping man and walked off.

"Well go tell your friends they better go away. We don't need any more problems here."

As Derek walked around the small city looking for Adrianna and Vern, he saw one last bandit pointing his gun at three hopeless victims. Derek sprinted at the man, tackling him to the ground before he had a chance to respond. Derek landed blow after blow into the man's face as the man tried to recover from his daze. After several hard punches to the face, the man stiffened. Derek stood up from the man and watched as a pool of blood quickly formed around the man's head. He looked at the three potential victims and took a deep breath. The trio, two girls and one guy, looked at Derek in gratitude.

"You're Derek aren't you?" one of the women, beautiful with a thick Russian accent, asked. Derek recognized the woman but couldn't remember her name. He wished he did.

"I am. Now... where did everyone go?" Derek replied, placing a strong hand on the woman's shoulder.
Vern complied with her wishes....not like he had much choice.
His body was no longer obeying his commands...he needed to rest.
Adrianna helped Vern into an abandoned building that was some distance from the fighting.

As she helped him into one of the beds, he grasped her hand.
"Is it?"
She looked at him confused.
"What?"
"It is really you....Audrey?"

Adrianna shook her head....this couldn't be!
It couldn't....could it?
Vern lifted his head while she was distracted and lightly kissed her on the cheek.
She stood...stunned.

"I...missed..you........"
Darkness overtook Vern and he collapsed on the bed.
She checked his pulse...it was faint...but he was still alive....
She exited the room and left him to rest...

As Adrianna checked outside, she saw the battle was over...and sighed with relief.
She headed back inside and sat outside the room that vern was sleeping in.
As soon as he was awake, she would ask him the questions that were dancing in her head.
Was it really him?
Why did he save her all those years ago?
And what happened to him afterwards?

         Adrianna sat outside Vern's room, thinking about how much she owed him. Without him, who knows? She might not have still been alive. She brushed her cheek with one hand, trying to put her emotions in order. Hopefully everything went fine with the battle and Derek was okay. If he was still willing to stick around with her, she really would enjoy getting out of this town sometime soon. One thing she had learned about Derek was that he might seem rude at times, but if you were on his good side, he wouldn't give up on you. She needed to thank him, but no "thank you" seemed good enough. There was something mysterious about Derek, something that made her feel she could relate to him. Adrianna felt guilty about leaving Derek behind to fight, but she needed to make sure Vern was alright.

         There was a loud crash inside the room, and Adrianna was inside within seconds. She slowly took in the scene before her. Vern was standing up, holding onto the bed-frame for support. At his feet were large shards of glass, a broken lamp. Vern looked up at her.

         "I didn't mean to startle you," he mumbled, but his mind was somewhere else.

         "No, it's fine," Adrianna said. "I was actually just outside. And it's a good thing I was, because you should be resting, or your wounds will never heal."

         Vern sat down on the bed, and after a while, Adrianna joined him. They both had so many questions, but stayed completely silent. When Vern didn't move or say anything for a long period of time, she reached down and picked up a piece of broken glass. It was plain. It probably wasn't as boring before it was broken. But now it had no home, no purpose. Without thinking, she ran the shard along her hand, drawing blood. It helped her remember what things were like before. Vern reached over and grabbed her hand, stopping her short. He took the piece of glass away, and rolled up her sleeve a little. There were scars all over her arm.
A Non-Existent User
After Derek let Tony down and he crumpled to the floor, Tony stayed there still in shock about seeing the hover craft. He thought his island was distroyed. 'I suppose some could have got away. I guess I should get up soon and confront them and see if I know them, but there is so many families now they could even be from the main land. But only some get to take the hover craft to the main land like special police forces, ect.' Having the hover craft coming only from the Island or special forces on the main land is how Tony knew the people on the craft were friends, but foes could have stole the craft, but they wouldn't know how to drive it. Then the hover craft opened at the front point and down came the stairs. Out of the stairs came a tall woman with blone hair and blue eyes. 'April.' Tony thought, 'So they got away before the Island was destroyed.' And why Tony thought "they" was for the man that took April his love away from him, was also standing right behind her.
"Tony come back to the island with us." April demanded.
"What do you mean the island was distroyed, I saw it with my own eyes. Burnt to a crisp were a lot of the trees, although I did find some small clumps of trees left all over the island. And I did wonder why there weren't many bodys dead and charred on the island when I was looking around. Did you guys get off before and people were warned some how? Why wasn't I warned? Let me guess you want me to come help you rebuild the island. Well theres no way I will with that ancient technology, that is what I think caused this in the first place." Tony said in a rant asking questions and not waiting for answers.
"We never left the Island, well the outer islands are ancestors made over time. We were on outer island hour 11 you didn't check the clock islands before you left." April explained while walking down the steps closer to Tony, "And we did try to warn as many as we could with chips in there head. We thought you would have got the message but you must have been working on your boat or out at the main land already and we guessed if you were at the main land you would probably been killed or hurt. We have been searching for you since we starting getting signal from one of the satalites that is still working. But it cuts in and out and we only get it for a good hour a day. We would like your help to rebuild the island. Please come back with us, we don't use much of the ancient technology anymore."
"Well thats good you don't use much of it but I think even using a little causes polution and an evil that takes over." Tony tried to explain but people were giving him looks like he was crazy so he stopped and said, "Tom over there with the broken leg might want to go back his father was Ron son of Jack and of course his great grandfather was Troy."
"Oh a long lost cousin. I remember Jack and so old he was when I was so little on little island grade two, I think it was, telling old stories. Stories like of the eight men with wives who first came to the island in 666 A.D. and built log houses that are now castles that are now probably demolished." Aprils smile dissolved into a frown as she spoke and remebered the horror, "You know it's hard to belive you didn't check the hour islands or even the islands on the outer rims of the hour islands, the ones you and I went to school on."
"I don't want to go to the island. Maybe if they rebuild some of those eight log cabins or even castles, though that might take a long time, then I'll go." Tom cut in walking over with a limp, "I do know alot of the stories and maybe even before they build the log cabins I'd like to go see the caves."
"Tell you both something we can plan then, take this." April threw Tony a little see through green cube, "And call me at noon one day when you do want to come help. That goes for anyone. We usually only take main land people to the island for marriage but alot of people have been destroyed along with the island. But the people that are left want to rebuild it, just like you people here are rebuilding Hope City. Yes I know about your City and some plans, don't looked so shocked. Charlie has actually had some info of us in the last hour but time has been cut from this raid and one of the reasons we were able to get here so fast was for Charlie turned on a signaling device. Just take in mind we have a good system I'm sure Tony will help set a similar one here, but if I asure you it will be much better on the island and if you want to come, come with us now or later tell Tony and I'm sure he will call me to come get you."
With that all said April turned around and walked back onto the ship. The ships noise started back up and off it flew in what direction nobody could tell. It seemed everyone was in shock and there was no time to tell April they wanted to go with her then. Tony walked off into a broken down building with his head hung lower then ever.
"I think they fled when ship flew in" Oksana remarked unsure of what to think of Derek. Sure he was a loose cannon, but he had also helped Vern return safely from the bandits earlier. "We should see if they are friends" Oksana continued, starting to turn.

"Troy" Derek said, "They're from Troy" Oksana knew very little about the people of Troy, What she did know was likely exaggerated, She had heard they were super heroes, but that also seemed an unlikely tale. She looked back at Derek "It seems Fate has brought you back again. Will you try leaving again?" Derek seemed to think about what she had said "Not yet"

Oksana nodded still a little unweary, Not sure really what his motives were she said "If you really want to make good with these people, Perhaps you could solve the problem at the farm. I don't think they know it yet, but if nothing is done, we will be out of food in only a couple days." Derek seemed to acknowledge what she was saying, but did not confirm what he would do, so she continued "If you want to help Meet me in front of town hall in three hours. I Need to rest my eyes for a bit before then." Derek nodded then let go of her shoulder, and she began to walk away. "What was your name again?" He called after her. She looked surprised, forgetting he may not have known. "I am Oksana"
Derek watched as Oksana walked off with the other couple; he never did get their names. As he watched them disappear around a corner, Derek walked off into the town. Silence filled the air as Derek realized all of the townspeople were gone. He wasn't sure where they went, but Hope City had quickly become a ghost town. He looked through buildings, hoping to find a clue to finding the townspeople. As he poked his head into a small house, he noticed Tony sitting in the corner. Derek's mind reminisced the encounter they had earlier, and a part of Derek felt bad. After all, Tony was the only person to really help Derek fight off that gang.

Derek shook off the guilt and stepped back outside. As he looked around, he let out a slow exhale. He then reentered the building and forced a smile. Tony immediately noticed Derek and backed into a corner.

"Hey man, you okay?" Derek asked.

Tony stared at him in silence. Derek sighed and rolled his eyes.

"Look, I'm not going to pick you up and slam you into any walls. I just wanted to say thanks for helping me out back there. That was pretty cool."

Tony looked at the ground and stared for what seemed like several minutes.

"My home. It's been destroyed," he muttered.

"Well no kidding. We've been trying to rebuild it!" Derek said, waving his hand around.

"You don't understand. I'm... from another planet."

Derek did a double take at Tony. Did he just say he's an alien?

"That spaceship held some of my friends from back home. They want me to go back and help them out... I declined," Tony sighed.

Derek looked out a window as he processed this. The last thing he wanted to do was deal with yet someone else's problems. On the one hand, this guy claimed to be an alien; normal people didn't do that. On the other hand, he did help fight off that gang; a sure sign that he could come in handy when Derek did leave Hope City for good. Derek reached out a big hand to a surprised Tony.

"Come with me. There's this hot chick I'm gonna go help out. I could use your help."

As the two walked the streets of Hope City, Tony tried to explain his background to Derek. Derek didn't understand a word the guy was saying, but Tony turned out to be a pretty cool guy. Even if he was a little weird...

"Derek!" a voice rang from an abandoned storefront. Derek turned around quickly to see Adrianna smiling. She ran to him and gave him a long hug. She snuck him a quick kiss as well. Derek glanced back at Tony, but he hadn't noticed.

"Derek, I thought you were dead!" Adrianna beamed. She shook her head in disbelief.

Derek looked at Adrianna and smiled a gentle smile. Something about this girl made him happy. Derek didn't really care for many of the people he had encountered so far in Hope City, but something about Adrianna brought out a secret mushy side. He tried his best to conceal it, but he couldn't tell if it was working. Besides, there was that hot Russian chick.

"Somehow, I managed to survive that fight. It was tough, but I couldn't have done it without this guy. His name's Tony," Derek gestured at Tony. Tony smiled and shook her hand.

"Well thanks for keeping him safe. I really appreciate it. So Vern... I know him."

"What do you mean?" Derek asked.

"Well from my past. He's..."

Adrianna was cut off as a yell came from inside. It was Vern. Adrianna smiled at Derek and shrugged.

"Sorry, but I have to go check on him. Come inside. I'll tell you about Vern," Adrianna offered.

"Thanks, but Tony and I have to go help some chick named Oksana out with some farmwork. She said if we don't help, we're gonna starve. You know I don't care about these people, but maybe I can get some free food so we can get out of here. If you get the chance, you should come help out."

Adrianna looked back at the storefront then back at Derek and Tony. "I'll see how Vern's feeling. If I can't get out there, you better come back!"
Vern cursed as he tried to sit up in the bed again. His mind was telling him to rest, but his body was too excited to stay still.
He had finally found the girl he had been searching for for so long....he didn't want to wake up and see that she was gone...

He wanted to tell her how he felt about her....about how he had searched for her since that fateful day....how he never gave up on her...That he wanted to be hers forever....
He finally collapsed onto the bed..unable to move.
He glanced up to see Adrianna enter the room and sigh.

"You can't be moving in your condition...you want to make that worse?"
She sat beside him.
"Sorry..."
Adrianna shook her head.
"You're lucky.....the wound is still closed.
Looks like it'll heal in a couple days if you stay in bed and rest."

Adrianna stood and began to leave, but Vern lifted his hand and grasped hers tightly.
She turned and faced him.
"Please....stay with me.......
Please don't leave....."

         Leaving was what she did best. But not this time, with Vern. She'd have to stay in the town until he was completely recovered. Vern was still looking at her, but she could see that he was slowly drifting away again.

         "You shouldn't have messed with them," she whispered, meaning the men who jumped him on that day, so long ago. "They were looking for me, and they're good at what they do."

         The pain she saw on Vern's face disappeared as he closed his eyes, and she let out a shaky breath. His long hair fell over his eyes, creating a barrier between him and the real world. An hour later, when he didn't wake up, Adrianna decided to help Derek with whatever they needed done at the farm. She lightly kissed Vern's forehead, got her knife just in case, and went to the farm. Derek and Tony were already there. Adrianna caught Derek's eye, and blushed slightly. She didn't know what came over her before, but something inside her brightened when she saw he was safe. He was guarded, just like she was. They both never let their secrets out.

         "Hey," she said. "Uh... what can I help with?"

         "Umm... basically we're running out of food," said Derek. "So we'll probably start off by trying to grow some sort of grain... I'm not exactly sure, Oksana's more in charge. How's Vern?"

         "He's holding up. If he takes care of himself it'll heal in a couple days. I'm really sorry we got stuck here again. I know you wanted to leave, and it's probably because of me that we're still here."

         "It's alright," he said. "What's a couple days, anyway?"

         There were around 15 of them working at the farm, and it was quite efficient. Once they were done, Adrianna told Derek and Tony to meet her by the building where Vern was, and that she would try her best to explain her story to them. Parts of it, anyway.

         When she got back, Vern was waking up.
Skylar didn’t know what the hell was going on. He had been following Lucy beating the hell out of anyone that came across his trail and shooting others. Lucy had lost it before and now they both found some quiet time to themselves. After the commotion with the bandits and the ship that seemed to come out of nowhere went away the unlikely couple found their way away from the main group of people. They made their way back toward the skyscraper they had been in before. Skylar had an idea and if it turned out to be true it could help the people left in Hope City.

Skylar had over heard from others that food was scarce, and some farms that Charlie set up were in bad need of assistance.

“I think we should go help the others.” Skylar said. He placed a few weapons he picked off some of the fallen bandits in there then shouldered the pack again.

“I lost it back there.” Lucy said, shyly not making eye contact with Skylar.

A part of Skylar told him that there was a possibility that the crazy side of Lucy wasn’t going to be gone forever. He decided to seek out a doctor when he could to see if there was anything that could be done about her psychotic breaks.

“Don’t worry about it.” He told her. “If it wasn’t for you then there is a good chance I might have been killed.” He finished, touching his side where he still hurt from the slash he took from that bandit.

Her laugh was harsh. “It was that Derek guy that saved us.”

“Yeah, well, I suppose that is true too.” Skylar agreed, trying to find a way to get her out of this mood she seemed to be in .

“Still, what you did was important, and we were only saved in the end when that dude had that gun pointed at us.” Skylar argued.

It was true, he owed Derek for his help. Skylar hated owing someone anything. He promised he would repay him when he had the chance. It was the sound of his stomach that broke the silence that had grown between them. She had been sitting on the floor of the building poking around a few papers that were strewn everywhere.

“We should really move to see if you are right about a garden being at the top.” Lucy said, standing and dusting herself off.

“I really hope I’m right. I know how my father had a few gardens on top of his building.” Skylar replied.

He remembered how his father told him that the garden was a place he would go to when he had a lot on his mind. Since there were no elevators the duo made for the stairs taking two at a time.
A Non-Existent User
As Tony was helping with some farm work he noticed Oskana working on her own. Walking over to her he thought back to when he first started trying to tell Derek about his history.
"Hey." Tony said as he approached Oskana.
"Oh, hi." She replied.
"I know we haven't talked but it feels like I know you somehow already."
"I don't see how, I live not on Troy, your superhero island." She said using a little sarcasm.
"Oh we are not that kind of super. I tried to explain this to Derek too but he didn't understand. Atleast the part about how I'm from a different world. I ment that the island is like a different world because of the way we are raised. Using all the resources to not wasteful and being schooled every year on a different small island surrounding the large one. Taking knowledge from the caves in the north island my great great grandfather Troy helped establish a better world that his eight grandfathers started when coming to the island. That's the long story short."
"Really I hear of this eight before. My great great grandfather told me story from his great great grandfather of eight come to island in south from their island. I didn't know this was island of Troy." Oskana said with amusement while standing up from bending over picking carrots out of the ground into a basket.
Tony had a basket of celery and they both walked back to the town hall together from the outskirts of the town where there were still gardens found. Some crazy farmers didn't want to give up their land and harvest, but after some negotiations they agreed with all the help they could grow more.
When they got there others where preparing a dinner. When sitting down everyone was in deep discussion about the skyscraper.
"We can all fit and I told Charlie here about it already," Skylar said noding at Charlie. "The skyscraper would be a perfect base. Lucy and I checked it out earlier at the top there's some gardens. We did run into a little trouble when up there though."
When Oksana had led the others to the farm, she had been expecting the worst, She remembered the mess that the Barn had been left in and shuddered having to think about it. She remembered the bodies that had been left there. By the time that She, Derek and Tony arrived. She had already told them about the events of the previous night and what had happened. When Oksana opened the door, however, all the bodies and mess were gone. No farm animals remained nor did the farmer, But the barn was spotless. Both Derek and Tony had looked at her skeptically. She could tell that they were doubting her but she couldn't say anything that would convince them.

It wasn't much longer that other Hope city residents had arrived. Everyone started working on the abandoned crops and began harvesting them. Oksana did what she could, but didn't have any agricultural expertise. Luckily one of the other citizens, a woman named Tanya, knew a bit and began taking charge.

After a while of working Oksana started to push the mystery of what happened to the farm out of her mind. A few of the citezens had also agreed to go to the only farm in possession of Hope city that had livestock left and gather supplies from there. The long day of work began to relax Oksana. This was the first time that things actually felt normal after that war some time ago.

Oksana was startled when she heard a voice behind her, It was Tony, They began talking about his home on Troy and confirming a few of her doubts as well as informing her of the history of the island. They walked back to the Town hall together carrying their respective Vegetables.

"That's because I was soldier in Homeland" Oksana responded when tony had asked about her attitude.
"I never would have guessed" Tony answered with a bit of surprise
"Well I was just in training when the war began," Oksana explained, "I had not been in real combat until after war had ended."
"I don't think anyone has been free of battle since then"

Oksana smiled understanding that he must have had a story too, but could not continue the conversation as they had just arrived at the city hall. They brought the food to the kitchen then sat at one of the tables filling the hall, It seems someone had prepared for this feast quite extensively. People began to talk about moving their base ad were sure that Charlie was going to make the official announcement over the course of the meal. She recognized most of the faces sitting at the same table. Skylar, Lucy, Tony, Vern, Derek, and another girl, with which she had only seen with some of the others. Oksana remembered that the woman had helped bring Vern in Earlier.

She listened as Skylar began talking about something that had happened in the skyscraper as she noticed something. There was no meat on the plates. What happened to the group that had gone to get the meat? "Excuse me." Oksana Stood up from the table and looked around to see no one else had any meat on their plate either. She had to find Charlie to ask. Oksana stood and quickly started walking towards the head table.
Derek felt his stomach turn as Oksana walked towards him; he was too tired for another conflict. As Oksana stood before him, he began to undress her with his mind. She was perfectly curved, a beautiful yet firm face, and she was toned. Derek's mind wandered off...

"Derek. Did you hear me?" Oksana asked. Derek shook back into reality. Oksana stared at him in confusion as he tried to think of an answer.

"I... uh... think I'm gonna sit this one out. I just need a breather. But! I'm sure Tony would love to go with you. Wouldn't you Tony?" Derek called out to an unsuspecting Tony. Tony's head shot up as he heard his name.

"Tony, wouldn't you love to go with this sexy young woman? She's needing some help," Derek explained to Tony.

Tony looked around sheepishly and walked towards Derek and Oksana.

"Sure. I think it would be fun," Tony replied with a chuckle. His eyes seemed glued on Oksana the closer he got to them.

Oksana seemed to notice. She let out a loud sigh and walked off. "Follow me Tony."

Derek watched Oksana and Tony walk off then looked back at everyone else. Skylar and Lucy were busy talking to Charlie. Vern was sitting alone looking out into the wilderness. Adrianna was watching Derek from a short distance. Derek shot a smile to Adrianna and made his way to her. Her smile widened as he got closer.

"Hey," Derek greeted, "I just sent off Oksana and Tony. I think now is the perfect time for us to get out of here. I'll go steal us some food and we can go."

"What? Derek, we can't do that! What about Vern? He's still hurting. And...where would we go?"

"Adrianna, gorgeous, you can't worry so much. We'll be better off out there than we are here. And Vern's a tough guy. He'll be fine. Besides, he has everyone else. You don't need to play doctor anymore."

Adrianna shook her head. "Derek, why are you so anxious to leave? We have a community here. You want to go back out into the wilderness? Alone?"

A slow exhale left Derek as he thought up a response. "I... I don't want to talk about it. If you aren't coming with me, I'm just gonna go out by myself then." Derek turned towards a table of food and began stuffing a small bag with some of the freshly picked produce.

Adrianna grabbed Derek's large shoulder and turned him around. She looked up at him with her big brown eyes.

"Well, if I'm going with you Derek, you're going to have to tell me everything."

Derek smiled a weak smile. "Thanks Adrianna."

As they snuck out of the area, Derek looked out and felt worry build up inside of him. As far as he could see, there was nothing but wasteland. All the cities, towns, and people were gone. Forever. He shook his head in disbelief. Adrianna grabbed Derek's arm and gently squeezed. Her looked down at her and could feel the fear coming off of her. He shouldn't have brought her out here.

As they made their way through the wilderness, a noise caught their attention from their left. Adrianna gasped and hid behind Derek. Derek pulled out a machete he had grabbed earlier and held it out. Some bushes shook and rustled and eventually a man popped out. It was Jason. The young man's eyes were as big as saucers.

"Jason! Where have you been?" Derek asked.

Jason took a deep breath. "Talk later. We need to run!"
Vern had started wandering around the town, helping around with minimal tasks whenever and whatever he could manage.
He knew he needed to heal, but he didn't want to lay in a bed all day.

He heard shouting and turned to face the source.
He saw Derek, Adrianna, and Jason running back to town. They looked worried!

He began to walk hastily over to them and met them at the edge of town.
Adrianna saw him and sighed.
What the hell was he doing out of bed!?

The trio passed him and called for him to run....but Vern didn't budge.
Adrianna and Derek turned and faced him.
"What are you doing? C'mon!"
Vern shook his head.

"No...you go."
Adrianna ran to face him and he looked at her.
" I failed to protect you all those years ago....i will not fail you now.
Whether you love me or not, whether we end up together or not, i will not abandon you here.
I will stay and protect you from whatever dares to harm you....no matter what!
Now go....."

Derek stared.
This was the most he had heard Vern speak since he met him.
Vern was severely injured, and he still insisted on protecting her....even if she didn't love him....
Derek called to Adrianna.
"C'mon..let him stay...we need to go...."

Adrianna gazed into Verns eyes...and he into hers.
"Go Audrey...and stay safe..."
"Vern, please come on!" Adrianna yelled for him to run, run from something she wasn't even sure of. "Derek, tell him!"

"Look, we just need to get somewhere safe for now," Derek said. "Come with us and then you can act heroic all you want."

"I can't. Audrey, I failed you once before. I let them hurt you. I owe it to you now to protect you." Vern said.

"You don't owe me anything. Please, we have to go. I'm asking you to come with me Vern. That's all I need from you. Please."

Derek put a strong arm around Adrianna's waist and urged her to follow Jason. "Look, sweetheart, whether or not he's coming with us, it's better that we don't ALL die. Go, follow Jason to that building over there, and I'll get Vern."

"Be careful," Adrianna shouted, squeezed his hand, and sprinted behind Jason. Just as she was getting into the rhythm of things, she tripped over a rock that jutted out from the ground. Adrianna's ankle twisted backward, but she was able to get up and start running again. With every step came excruciating pain.

She finally caught up with Jason in what looked like an old abandoned bakery. A couple of minutes later they were joined by Derek and Vern. Adrianna was so exhausted she couldn't even get up to greet them. Derek sat down a couple feet away from her, and Vern didn't move from the entrance.

"Sit down," Adrianna told him. "You need to rest. How many times do I need to tell you that?"

"I'll protect you from whatever is out there. I won't fail you again."

Derek looked at her ankle with sad eyes and said, "I never should've brought you out here. You're hurt, and its my fault."

"I'm fine," she said. Adrianna peeled off her jacket and hung it over the back of an old chair. "Really. Jason, what was that out there?"
A Non-Existent User
In what seemed like no time at all Tony was back out side with Oskana and she was explaining what Charlie had told her.
"Charlie says there is no meat, people look and can not find. But he says people say stories of herds of cow and some buffalo got lost in cave near that mountain." Oskana said as she pointed to a mountain to the east.
"Lost in a mountain? Impossible, unless the war scared them right into the caves." Tony said.
"Well that's the story. So I say we go check it out." Oskana said with a smile.

They both walked all day to get there. As they walked there they ended up passing deserted half burnt down farm houses once they were outside of the city borders. Coming to the top of a hill at one point on their trip Tony stopped suddenly.
"Look another forest but on the outside of the city, it looks like it was protected from the two mountains." Tony claimed pointing in a valley in between the mountains.
"Yea and the day is almost done. Lets use that forest to our advantage.
Heading down to this forest they had to make some shelter first. Tony used his double bladed tribal axe all cleaned from the blood when fighting the bandits, to cut some branches to put in piles to get ready to use for walls. Taking some leg thickness trees down he used four of them for the top tieing them with veins from near by to four trees about squared from eachother when looking birds eye view on them. Oskana tied the branches on to the sides for walls then on top like a flat roof. Then they built a fire and cooked some food to eat the from the pack Tony had when the evening came. There they were at the edge of the mountain but it was to dark now to check it out. Also there would be no time to walk back if they did or didn't find some meat.
"Well that's the fastest hut I can build, that I've been taught. I could have build a teepee but it was easier this way for me." Tony said before going to bed.
There is no saying what happened that night in the hut but the next day they woke to a rooster cooing and a cow mooing.
Oksana woke Earlier then tony, She got up quietly so as not to disturb him and redressed herself in the same Dirty clothes she always wore. They smelled terrible and had far too many holes, She sighed as she finished putting on her shirt the stepped outside the makeshift shelter, This was the first place she had been where it seemed the war had not affected. There were sounds of animals in the distance. It took Oksana a moment to realize that those must be the missing livestock. "Sana?" Oksana looked behind her towards the shelter from Where Tony had called her. "Out here" Tony came up behind her, "Seems we might have found them"

Oksana turned to see that Tony had not put on a shirt yet and she realized that Tony was almost the same height as her, Not many people measured up to her so it came as a small shock to her that she hadn't noticed until now. She walked past the muscled man, much to his surprise and picked up the shirt that had been discarded there the previous night tossing it at Tony. "Let's find them then", with that she started heading further into the trees. It didn't take long until Tony had caught up to her. The conversation turned to how they were going to catch the animals rather quickly. Oksana wasn't sure if she wanted the previous night to be a one time thing or not and quickly diverted the subject whenever it was starting to come up again.

The Noises from the animals led the two into a small cave. Upon walking inside. they noticed a the animals being led into a small iron door on the far side of the small cave by a young child. The girl looked at the two of them and slammed the door shut in panic. The two of them rushed to the door, Tony being faster, pulled on the handle but it was already locked. "Crap!"

A chicken walked up carelessly and started pecking Oksana's boot. She shooed it away with her foot, and noticed that all that remained on this side was a goat and two chickens. "What now?"
All eyes were on Jason as they waited for his response. Jason shifted uneasily and simply shook his head.

"I... I... I don't know..." Jason stammered.

Derek looked over at Adrianna and felt his eyes water. He rose to his feet, catching the attention of everyone.

"I can't handle this anymore! It feels like no matter what we do, we keep getting stuck here in Hope City! We're like sitting ducks. Oksana and Tony are gone. Just about everyone else is in that tower. I mean, what are we doing here? I'm tired of this hopeless feeling! Adrianna..." Derek cut himself off.

Adrianna looked up at Derek with big eyes. Jason and Vern sat frozen. Derek wanted to continue but felt his mouth going dry. His stomach twisted up in large knots. After several moments of silence, Derek took a hard swallow and continued.

"I care about you. Alot. In fact, I think I may be... falling in love. I know it may sound crazy cause we haven't known each other a long time, but you're just... special."

Silence filled the room as everyone waited for Derek to finish.

"I've had enough of this hopeless feeling. I don't care what's out there, or what it takes. I'm going to put an end to this once and for all. I'll do this alone if I have to, but it's about time someone did something. Now... who's with me?"
Vern sighed. He didn't have anything against this man named Derek...in fact he really respected him.
He began to cough violently and blood splattered onto his hand.
Everyone turned to him.

"Don't you even think of joining him..." Adrianna scolded him. "You're in no condition to go anywhere."
Vern lifted his head and gazed into Adriannas.
As he struggled to stand, he realized he couldn't and sat down in defeat.

Derek sighed.
Vern was indeed persistent...but he was still only human and could only go through so much.
He walked over and placed his hand on Verns shoulder.
"You stay here and protect her...i'll go alone."

Derek exited the cave and Vern looked at Adrianna.
"Audrey...."
She looked at him.
" I need you to do something for me....I don't know whether you still care for me..or if you have feelings for this man Derek.
But i want you to know...
If you do care for me like you did so long ago....then please stay with me.
If you care for Derek, then go with him. I will understand...and will do all i can to protect the two of you."

Jason stared at the two in disbelief.
He had seen how much Vern had fought for her....pushed his body to the limit....and yet he was willing to give her up!?
He faced Vern and shouted.
"You lie....you want her all to yourself.
We have all seen how far you're willing to go for her!"

Vern turned to him ferociously.
"Do not mistake my intentions! I care for her deeply, but i will not force her to stay with me if she does not care for me like that.
If she indeed loves another, I would not interfere!"
Vern coughed again and more blood flowed from his mouth.

         Adrianna wiped at Vern's blood with her jacket. Tears threatened to flow, but she fought them back. Nothing could just be simple for once, could it? And now they were just talking about her as if she wasn't there. She didn't know what to do. Somehow, she either needed to take Vern with her and go with Derek, or convince Derek to wait a little longer. Adrianna didn't have much left, and she couldn't bear the thought of losing either one of them. But that seemed to be what they both wanted. Derek was right. They had been stuck here long enough. She would have to go talk to him.

         "I'll be right back," she said. "I promise."

         "Wait. Don't go alone Audrey. What if something... bad happens?" Vern said, thinking about the incident.

         "I can take care of myself. It's you who needs to stay safe right now, not me. Do you ever think that maybe I feel as guilty as you do, about that day?" The tears finally seemed to win. "I'll be back soon," she said, and took off.

         Derek was only a short distance away.

         "Derek!" she yelled. "Wait up!"

         Derek stopped walking and looked back at her. "Hey," he said, smiling. "Are you crying?"

         Adrianna wiped at her cheeks. "I'm fine. I want to go with you, Derek. But is there any way we can take Vern and Jason with us?" Derek's expression darkened a little. "Please? I don't want to have to choose right now."

Skylar had been keeping a low profile.

Lucy hadn't been the same since that last invasion of bandits. She still had issues that she needed to work out, but she was trying her best for Skylar.

The days following the attacks had been rough, and as of late Lucy had begun retreating into herself. She would often stare off into the distance while sitting alone in a corner of the building they had decided to take refuge in. Skylar was losing her. When she was to herself she would ramble about things Skylar had no clue about. It worried him, yet he had to carry on for the both of them. Each day he would get up and travel to one of the farms a little ways from the city to help get things back on track. He found that a lot of the people he had met since he came to the city were gone now.

Finding the small garden on top of the building had been a life saver, but there had been an issue with a couple of bodies on the roof. Apparently, when the sand storm hit the town it carried people up that weren't as lucky as Lucy had been. The bodies were of a male and female, both had been badly beaten by the debris, and were rotting. Skylar and Lucy both discarded of the bodies in a respectful manner before going about checking what kind of vegetables were being grown on the roof.

~ ~ ~


Skylar stacked the bundles of onions and potatoes on the makeshift cart. "Thanks, Paul," he said.

The farmer took Skylar by the hand. "You keep bringing that cactus milk and I'll be more than happy to keep your city well stocked with potatoes," Paul assured him.

"We do what we can," Skylar said with his thin smile as he climbed in the front seat.

"Tell Charlie I won't forget all that he's done for us."

"I will," Skylar nodded. "As soon as I get home."

"More stops?" Paul asked.

"Just one. Charlie needs more antibiotics. I need to go into town for those."

"Last we checked there were a few stores on the North East side," Paul said. "You should be able to get plenty for him."

"Let's hope." Skylar said, turning the key in the solar powered car and setting out.

A lot had happened in the time Skylar found the few gardens on the roof of the skyscraper. After everyone he knew left, he and Lucy had set out to find a little place of their own, or at least some word on his parents, and little brother. Instead they came upon a crashed ship from the attack on the city. There was very little to scavenge from the wreckage Skylar thought. It wasn't until he rummaged through the debris that he realized the ship is what he had seen just before he saved Lucy from falling from the Skyscraper. The solar powered car wasn't very big, and didn't go for long periods of time. But it helped out in a pinch. As it stands this is the only vehicle that was undamaged, but there were other objects that could have been used as weapons if one were to put their mind to it.

Lucy for one had found a few useful orbs that have yet to prove much of a purpose besides taken in solar energy. Since finding the solar car it has come in handy when transporting vegetables with other newly found survivors in adjacent rebuilt cities.

More often than naught Skylar wondered just how the others were doing. If push came to shove he would strike out to find the others to tell them of his great finds. He didn't want to push his lucky though. Things were already rocky especially with the way things had been before. Plus, there was no way Lucy would let him go out there by himself. If she hadn't been distracted with providing entertainment with the kids of the city then she would be right here with him now.

On one of the more successful trips into the city he came across medication she mentioned that she needed. Since she had been taking it things with her changed dramatically. It was also during one of these trips he found a large collection of cacti that really came in handy once they were picked and their milk extracted. Trading the milk with the other cities proved invaluable.

~ ~ ~


When he made it back to the city after a semi successful stop in an old run down store. He set about unloading the car. The people hauling the goods inside were marveling at the amount of potatoes and onions that Skylar had been able to score.

He was easing the new bottles of milk into his cart when he felt a presence behind him. "Lucy," he greeted, slowly turning around to her.

She pushed him playfully. "You asshole," she laughed.

Skylar raised his hands defensively. “Well, it’s good to see you too,” he replied. “How are things with the kids coming along?”

“Don’t try to distract me, you shit, “Lucy scolded. “ You know what you did.”

"Glad one of us does."

“Now you’re playing innocent.” She accused. “You waited until my back was turned and you left me.”

He smiled ruefully then grabbed a hold of her waist, then pulled her close to him. “I am innocent,” he lied.

Skylar pressed his lips to hers, kissing her in front of everyone at the entrance to the building. A lot of the younger girls were cheering Skylar on. One of the older men was berated by his wife for not kissing her like that anymore.

Lucy pushed Skylar away enough to look into his eyes.” Don’t think that kissing me will get you off the hook.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t dream of thinking something like that.” He agreed, with a smile. Holding firmly on to her waist thinking about kissing her again. Before he could go through with his thoughts, Charlie walked out of the building with a grave look on his face.

“Did you get those things I asked you for?” He asked, in a gruff tone.

“Yeah,” Skylar replied, letting go of Lucy’s waist to go into the front seat of the car to grab the bag, “I wasn’t able to get everything, but here is what I could,” he said, handing the small bag over to Charlie.

“Thank you,” the older man said, taking the bag.” If the two of you are through putting on a display, there is work to be done.” With that he turned and headed back into the building followed by a few others who instantly went back to work taking the bundles out of the car.

Skylar looked at Lucy, then went after Charlie to find out what the hell was going on. He caught up to Charlie on the third floor of the building where one of the largest offices had been turned into triage. In there were seven people, many suffered from injures during the attack, while others had more serious problems. Charlie was at the bed of one patient, a woman.

“Charlie, I don’t know if this will be enough, but I’ll see what I can do.” The doctor said.
Charlie looked up to find Skylar standing there, then motioned for him to step outside the room.

“Charlie, what’s going on?” Skylar asked, noticing for the first time the other people who had any medical expertise working frantically on other patients. He also noted that there were more patients than the last time he had been in there.

“It would seem there is a virus of sorts going around.” Charlie revealed, his hands were clenched with anger.

“That’s why you wanted any and all antibiotics.” Skylar affirmed.

“Right, but the doctor doesn’t think there are enough for everyone here.” Charlie confessed.

He looked tired with deep rings under his eyes. The man looked as if he hadn’t slept in days. Let alone eaten a good meal. When Skylar first met him he had a nice amount of weight to him. Now, he looked as if he was half the man he once was. Still, he had a fierce determination about him.

“What are we going to do?” Lucy piped up, surprising both Charlie and Skylar.

“Nothing to do.” Charlie replied, “We’ve had our first casualty a few hours ago. “We need more antibiotics.”

Then we’ll get some.” Skylar said passionately.

“Do you think the others would know where some are?” Lucy asked.

“I don’t know, but if we meet up with them on our way to find all the antibiotics we can. I’ll let them know what’s happening around here.” Skylar said, turning to go make preparations.
A Non-Existent User
"Well we could take these two chickens and goat back with us to town." Tony was starting to tell Oskana answering her question. "But I think if we build a fence back at our shelter to keep the goat from wondering off. Then build a chicken coop to keep these chickens in. Then we can look for a opening in this mountain side, maybe there is another way in. But I'm also hoping to find who is running this farm and explain are situation. There must be more then that little girl. Maybe we can help them while they help us."
"Sounds like plan." Oskana replied.
So Tony and Oskana built a chicken coop first, with the goat tied up to a tree with a long thick vine. Finding long grass, they put the hay together as a nest for the chickens in the coop. With all the trees in the big valley it was no problem building a fence to go around their shelter. They were done by lunch time and just as they finished they noticed the chickens laid three eggs each. They decided to take one each and see it maybe the other two would hatch, in time, to make more chickens. Cooking up the eggs on a flat rock proped up by two other bolder rocks, with the fire underneath and in between, they had a good meal of eggs with some carrots and celery they brought. As well the goat gave them milk to drink. Tony collected this in a water canister he brought and he left the little bit of water left in the canister to mix with the milk to dilute the thickness of it a little.
After their meal they went looking around the mountain for another opening. They searched all afternoon finally deciding to head back to their shelter with no success. But before they got all the way back something happened.
"Hey, what was that noise?" Tony asked.
"Sounded like wood cracking." Oskana relied, "It coming from cave where we saw animals go in and girl close that door."
As they approached the cave they saw a young boy cracking pieces of wood. 'Probably for a fire inside that cave and through the door to some big under the mountain farm.' Tony thought.
"Hey you, can we talk? Please don't run." Tony said to the boy.
Derek looked into Adrianna's fear-filled eyes and dropped his head. How could he say no to this girl? Derek grabbed Adrianna and pulled her in for a long embrace. His large body completely enveloped the girl as her tears flowed into his chest. Derek waited then pointed Adrianna's head towards his. He gave her a gentle kiss and smiled.

"I'll see what I can do."

Derek walked back into the small building and looked around at Jason and Vern. Jason hurried to his feet. Vern seemed planted to the floor, blood pouring out of him. Derek looked around for something... anything... that he could use to transport this bloodied mess.

"Jason, help me find something to help transport Vern with us," Derek ordered.

Jason nodded his head and ran through a doorway. Vern looked up at Derek and stared blankly.

"Why? Why are you doing this?" Vern asked. His voice was raspy.

Derek glanced at Adrianna before responding. "We're all in this mess together. We started this journey together, and we're going to end it together."

Adrianna whispered a "thank you" as she tried helping Vern. She found some bandages in a desk and began dressing Vern's messy wounds. Derek let out a quiet sigh and began searching for something to help transport Vern. Jason barged into the room with a big smile on his face.

"I found a wheelchair!" he beamed.

Derek rushed after Jason into a room where a lone wheelchair sat in a corner. Derek gave Jason a strong pat on the back and grabbed the wheelchair. He carried it over by Vern and dropped it to the ground in front of him.

"I'm not getting in that," Vern said.

Derek stared at Vern. "Vern... get in the damn wheelchair."

Vern grunted in displeasure as he climbed into the wheelchair. The bloodied man looked silly in the wheelchair, but for the situation, it was the best option. Jason began pushing the wheelchair and they headed out into the wilderness.

Darkness consumed the area as the cloudy skies hid the moon. Derek darted his eyes around as he waited for something... or someone... to jump out at them. Jason finally broke the silence.

"So... where are we going?"

"I don't know Jason. It's too dark to really see anything, but I'd like to just get as far away from here as possible," Derek replied.

"Derek, we can't leave! What about Tony, Charlie, Skylar... and that Russian girl?" Adrianna asked.

"They'll... they'll be fine. We just need to worry about ourselves," Derek replied.

Adrianna stopped dead in her tracks and stared at Derek. "You expect me to be selfish like that?"

"Adrianna, we are living in a post-apocalyptic world! It's every man for himself out here!" Derek exclaimed.

"I still don't like it. If we want to rebuild the world, we need to work together."

Derek sighed. He knew Adrianna was right, but he did not want to admit it. Before he could respond, though, a rustle in some nearby brush silenced the group. Derek couldn't see much, but something big was coming their way. The group held their breath.
Vern watched the group. He could tell they were on edge, but knew that if he were to fight, either Adrianna would chastise him or he would die.
He didn't want to make her worry any more than she already had.
He turned to Jason.
He didn't know of Jason had a weapon or not, but decided to give him his.

"Take these....Protect them."
He removed the spiked gloves and handed them to Jason.
Jason looked at the gloves, then at Vern.
How did he expect them to fit....Vern was much bigger then Jason was.

As he put them on, he noticed they fit snugly around his hands...it's like they were made of some kind of self fitting material.
He thanked Vern and watched for whatever was coming towards them.
Derek watched Vern give up his only defensive weapon.
He smiled...they may have to protect him...but at least he wouldn't make Adrianna worry.

Derek, Adrianna and Jason all readied their weapons...
If whatever this thing was that was rapidly heading for them was hostile or vicious...they would put it down.
They would do whatever they had to.....to survive!

A Non-Existent User
The boy turned towards Tony and Oskana looking perplexed after trying to run but getting to the door that was still closed. A mixture of angony and shock was in his eyes. He had no where to go. Trapped like a mouse the end of a maze being chased by a snake.
"What do you want?" The boy with orange hair asked.
"Some meat." Tony answered honestly and straight up, "We could trade you grains and vegetables from back in town." At the end of saying this he pointed over to the direction of town.
Tony started thinking of the boy like the boys on The Island Of Troy, the look of exception and dedication. Going back to all the campfires as a child, telling stories and real history of the island. Usually paddling out to one of the islands at night, different ones depending on his age, just to tell the stories and for something to do at night. Meeting others his age there, each grade usually around two to three hundred with twenty to thirty teachers. Names for schooling was the same as the main land for there was no need to change the language of things even if they were a little different.
"We want nothing to do with your kind." The boy said in a stern voice with his face all scrunched up.
"How do you know what are kind is? If you mean the city, everyone has to deal with a new way to live. I'm from the island of Troy and I'm doing all that I can to help. I hope you will too." Tony said quick to reply.
"We have been living with no power for centuries. Like Amish Mennonites we like living in peace." The orange haired boy said.
"Same for my people on the island and in Hope City. We want peace. What is your name?" Tony asked.
"David." The boy called himself with a short answer to Tony and Oskana.
"Well hey I'm Tony and this is Oskana." Tony said pointing to Oskana standing there speechless.
Oskana has heard of Amish people but has never met them. She now spoke, "There was a girl that was out of the cave earlier. We saw the animals and she ran in and shut the door on us. Why?"
Derek held his breath as something came out from the bushes. The group stared in awe as a large beast stomped out into the open and stared down at them. The beast looked like a giant wolf. It stood tall on its hind legs and held out its arms preparing to attack. It's long white fangs glistened in the moonlight.

Derek ran to the large beast and took a powerful slice at its legs. Blood began gushing out and the creature yelped in pain. It took a powerful swing with its razor sharp claws, but Derek dove just in time. He felt the claws graze his side. He laid on the floor and watched as Adrianna and Jason began swinging and beating on the beast. Vern watched from his wheelchair.

Derek pushed himself to his feet and checked his side. There was a light scratch, but he was going to be fine. He tightened his grip on the machete and let out an long exhale. He charged the large beast and jumped onto its back just as it took a blow to Jason. The swing sent Jason flying away several feet into some bushes. Derek looked down at a petrified Adrianna and couldn't wait anymore. He plunged the machete deep into the beast's back, then jerked it out and drove it back in. The beast screeched in pain as Derek continued to stab it's back. The creature turned and jumped viciously, but Derek clung to its fur for dear life. As the creature weakened, Derek grabbed his machete and slammed the blade into the creature's neck. He heard a snap, and the creature immediately went limp.

As it fell to the floor, Derek immediately ran to Jason. Jason had a bad scratch across his stomach, but he was going to be okay. He slowly staggered to his feet and looked at the rest of the group.

"What was that thing?"
Vern watched as the group took down the gigantic beast. He regretted that he was useless in that fight, but was just glad Audrey was safe.
"Maybe it changed after the world did...whatever the case...i doubt that was the only one."
Derek gazed around cautiously...if there were more, then they were screwed.

Vern couldn't fight, Derek was worn out from killing this one, Jason was injured and Audrey was still partially petrified.
He hoped there weren't others close by.
"We should head back to the cave and think on our next move.
This way, we'll have shelter and we can think clearly."

Vern nodded. He agreed with Derek....Jason looked like he was about to pass out and it would probably get dark soon.
He didn't want to be caught off guard in the middle of nowhere.
When they finally reached the cave, Derek looked at Vern.

"I'm going to head out and see if there's anything close by we can use to keep a fire going.
Keep them safe..i'll be back soon."
Derek headed out before Vern could respond.
Vern looked around the cave to see both Adrianna and Jason resting.

He sighed....he hadn't really thought about her feelings.
She probably felt just as bad as he has all these years...maybe worse...
This whole time he'd been very inconsiderate of her....
What if she wanted to be with this Derek person...was it really fair of him to deny her that?
He shook his head.

*Tonight...tonight i'll tell her how i truly feel...what's in my heart and what i think...
If she wants to be with me...then we'll be with each other....
If she wants to be with him....then i will not interfere....*

Vern wheeled himself over to her bed and lightly kissed her on the forehead.
*no matter what happens from here on in...no matter what you decide....i will give everything to keep you safe...
I promise!*




         Adrianna shook her head, willing herself to get up and do something. Vern, Jason, and Derek were all hurt, and she needed to make sure they got everything they needed. Derek walked into the cave carrying firewood, and set it down in the center. Adrianna noticed that he had a slight limp. Without a word she made him sit down and exposed the scratch he had on his side. It wasn't bad, but it made her feel guilty.

         Behind her, Jason was laying on his back bleeding from his stomach. On her right, Vern coughed, his shirt stained with his own blood. And yet, Adrianna swore than none of them hurt as much as she did at that moment. She brushed her fingers over Derek's wound, causing him to wince. He looked at her and smiled, but her face was wiped clean of emotion.

         "Hey. What's wrong?" He asked, concerned.

         "Derek," Adrianna whispered. "I'm scared. I'm really scared."

         Derek looked at her. "I won't let anything happen to you. You won't get hurt."

         "But you will," she said.

         Vern, not coughing anymore, sat up. "Audrey, we need to talk."
The Boy Scrunched up his face, clearly deciding on what action to take, Having not reached his decision he began to speak " We need it more than you do" Oksana gave the boy a sceptical look but Tony spoke next. "You live in a metaphorical Oasis, we have seen traces of life all over the place." The Boy flicked his eyes from one to the other

Oksana watched the two talk. Her friend from training had once told her she was too brash, She never was good at negotiations, so she stayed silent watching as Tony negotiated with the boy. "Can we please talk to your parents Daniel? your elders?" Tony must have gotten the name of the boy while she was thinking back. Daniel hesitated but Oksana could see the defeat in his eyes. The boy sagged a little. "Okay, but you have to look away and cover your ears"

It was a risky move but they didn't have much choice if they wanted this to be a friendly negotiation. Oksana looked at Tony and he nodded to her, So they both turned around, Oksana pretended to cover her ears but listened keenly. It appeared that Tony was covering his ears too, but Oksana could not tell if he was faking it or not

Three quick hollow raps on the door followed by two slow taps. Four more quick, then five slow. a couple moments later She heard the door open, She turned back around but it was already closing again. The boy was gone. "We're back where we started" Oksana exclaimed in frustration" Just wait," Tony encouraged.

It felt like it had been hours and nothing had happened. It was harder to tell time with the amount of trees surrounding them, Usually she was good at waiting, but it didn't seem like anything was going to happen. The Russian stood up, and walked towards the door. "What are you-" Tony began, but oksana had already began rapping on the door in the pattern she had heard before. By the time she was finished Tony had arrived to her side. "We are getting the animals back, One way or the other" before Tony could respond, they heard a soft click from the door as it began to open, As soon as the door was opened enough to get her fingers in, she did and wrenched the door open.
A Non-Existent User
"We want to talk to the person in charge!" Tony yelled as he helped Oskana push open the door. But on the other side of the door there was no one there. They see a long hall with twenty watt light bulbs every twenty feet or so. Tony looks behind the door and sees a machine of some sort that must have opened the door. 'It must run solar powered.' Tony thought. Then he turned and walked faster to catch up to Oskana. They went down this dimly lit hall way for almost five minutes before coming to some stairs. For some reason Tony thought of counting these steps to keep his mind occupied. Ninety nine, when all said and done, was the number of stairs he counted when they got to the top. At the top was three doors. They took the left one. Or Oskana picked the left one and Tony followed.
"What's that noise?" Tony asked as they took five steps into a big black room.
"It's the animals." Oskana said stating the noises of baing and mooing mixed with other animal noises they were hearing.
"Is their anyone here?" Tony yelled also adding after the echo of his voice came back, "We just want to talk to who ever is in charge to maybe make a deal trading some meat of yours for vegetables of ours."
Just then when the echo died off a spot light came on and made a white circle around them. A women's voice came through a loud speaker and said, "How many besides you two is there ere? How did you get in?"
"Please mam, it's just the two of us. We come in peace to negotiate. Oskana here ment no harm listening to the little boys knock to get in." Tony explained putting his tribal axe down in front of him to show peace. Tony thought back then about the steps and wondered how the animals got up them. Then he thought with all the technology they must have some elevators or maybe a longer way winding up and around to this area. Maybe at one point in the hall most likely at the beginning there was a secret way to the left or right to get to this ramp or elevator.
"We see what you have done in the past and have no interest in helping a society that runs with crowded areas and wastefull resources. Leave the way you came in and no harm will be done to you two." The woman's voice boomed out and around them.
"We did not do what the society did. The past is different then the future. Help us make a mend and maybe we can help eachother." Tony said still trying to negotiate.
""Can't you see they want nothing to do with us and don't believe are ways will change." Oskana whispered to Tony. With that she took a flashlight from her pocket pouch she had and shined the light around. Behind them to the left they saw some steel beams holding rock up in some form of structure. This was on the right side of the door they came from. Tony picked up his axe and ran for the door they came from. When he tried it, it was locked and wouldn't open. "This way!" Oskana called already holding a rope that was looped around a cow and going through the steele arch way that was a truck load wide and probably high too. The spot light widened and Tony could see more animals tide to the cow ending about twenty down. Then another flock of twenty was tied together and tied to a big steel ring bolted to the rock wall. Tony grabbed this and united it. But as he was checking the door he heard a gun shot. So as he was trying to untie the rope he was having trouble but they seem to have a old gun that needs reloading after one shot for they didn't shoot again till he was down the big path that had a steady down slope. From the light of Oskanas flash light he saw the wall curve to the right not a hundred meters ahead. They arrived about an hour later at a steel door that looked familiar. But when they tried to open it by pushing it wouldn't budge.
"I have an idea." Oskana said and she walked up ti the door and knocked the knock she learned from listening to the little boy. The door opened but looking out was a smaller hall then the one they were in. As Tony peaked out and looked right he saw a long hall with twenty watt light bulbs every twenty feet. Then he looked right to another steel door.
"Looks like now we are back to where we came in. You might have to do that knock again." Tony stated.
Tap Tap Tap Oksana started again three quick then two slow four fast and other five slow. Nothing. Did she do it wrong. Three, two, four, five. Nothing happened again Footsteps echoed towards them, They were walking steps. Calm and patient. Step Step Step. Oksana took a deep breath and tried the door one more time. This time the familiar click sounded once more and the door opened.They began leading the animals as fast as they could through the trees. They got to the edge of the trees when Oksana halted, "Wait"

Tony stopped looking at her with concern "What is it?" Oksana stared out into the distance, towards hope city. "No cover" she muttered, "If we go We'll be easy target" Tony looked around then started moving out to the side "This way" Oksana kept a firm hold on the rope and began to lead them but Tony shook his head, "Tie them to a tree."

A couple minutes later, an woman in her late thirties walked out into the clearing, her eyes tracked to the animals then quickly swept the area, surveying it. Oksana waited, watching the woman. Oksana was Wary of the rifle The Woman carried in her hands. She waited for several minutes to see what would happen.

The woman had gotten fairly close to Oksana's location but had not seen her or Tony yet. Finally Oksana got her chance, She jumped out from the tree she had been hiding behind and rushed at the woman, The Woman turned in Surprise. Oksana lifted the crowbar into the air ready to strike when She felt a Sudden pain, reinforced by a loud ringing in her ears.

Oksana Fell to the ground, the Woman standing over her. "You will not steal from me" Oksana struggled to turn herself over. "You stole from us first" The Woman finished reloading her Rifle and pointed it directly at Oksana head. "They never belonged to your kind."

That's when Tony swept his axe in a low arc. sweeping the woman's legs out from under her. The woman fell on top of Oksana and the Russian howled in pain as the Blond woman's hand fell hard on her injured Breast. Tony turned his axe to the side and rolled the Woman over with a hard club to the side. She fell beside Oksana but had enough mobility to Lift the gun up and point it Directly at Tony's Head. "You're being soft" The woman warned

"I won't" Oksana yelled driving the end of her crowbar into the Woman's skull. Oksana leaned heavily on the crowbar Breathing heavily, Then she heard what sounded like crying, Oksana raised her head to see the little girl crying, and the boy charging towards them with a knife "You Monsters" he screamed
Derek and Adrianna locked gazes for a few moments before Vern called over Adrianna. She smiled at Derek then walked over to Vern. Derek shook his head at the bloodied man. How he was still alive from the loss of blood, he would never know. The man was obviously a warrior.

As Adrianna and Vern whispered to each other, Derek crawled over to check on Jason. The poor kid took a powerful hit and blood seemed to be forming a small pool around him. He looked over at Derek and coughed.

"What was that thing?" Jason groaned.

"I have no idea kid, but that hit you took looked bad. How are you holding up?"

"Eh, I think it just needs some time to heal. Wish I had some bandages though."

Derek nodded in agreement. He touched his scratch on his side carefully but still winced in pain. Derek knew they would not survive out here if there were any more of those large beasts roaming in the area. Derek slowly pushed himself to his feet and reached for Jason's hand.

"What are you doing?" Jason asked.

"We're going to get some bandages. Hope City is not far, so we should be back in just a couple minutes," Derek replied.

Jason was hesitant but took Derek's hand. He put a hand over his bleeding stomach and limped after Derek into the bushes. Derek looked back to see Adrianna and Vern focused on their conversation. He led Jason through the wilderness towards Hope City cautiously; he wanted to be very careful to not run into any more of those beasts. Jason let out the occasional groan, but he was silent for most of the trip.

"Are you sure it's okay that I walk around like this?" Jason finally asked.

Derek looked back and chuckled. "Well you've made it this far. Obviously it can't be that bad!"

Jason shrugged as they entered Hope City. The town was completely abandoned and the streets were silent. Derek felt a chill run down his spine. Derek and Jason walked their way up the streets until they made it to one of the houses. The door creaked as Derek opened it. They walked into a small dark living room and immediately began searching for bandages. Jason fell onto a couch and grabbed his stomach. Blood poured through his fingers.

"Derek, I need some bandages... fast."

Derek ran through the kitchen and tore apart the drawers and cabinets. He eventually managed to find some bandages and ran back to Jason. The blood has settled a little, but Derek did not want to risk Jason losing more blood. He set the bandages down and ran back into the kitchen. After grabbing a bowl of water and a towel, he returned to help Jason. Derek knew nothing about cleaning wounds, but he tried his best. After Derek applied the bandages to Jason, Jason slowly rose to his feet. He claimed he felt much better.

"Well let's hurry back before Adrianna realizes I'm gone," Derek ordered.

"Sounds good to me. By the way, what do you make of that Vern guy? Do you think he's gonna hook up with Adrianna?"

"Honestly, I don't know. I told her what I wanted to, so there's nothing I can do anymore."

"Well why don't you..."

"Stop," Derek cut Jason off. "Let's just hurry back. Who knows if another one of those beasts will show up."
Vern had barely noticed that Derek and Jason had left quickly and quietly....he almost missed them leave.
Maybe they wanted to give them some privacy....
Whatever the case...he and Audrey were now alone....and he could tell her how he truly felt.

They sat beside the fire and he confessed how he felt to her....even back then before the incident....he had cared deeply for her....and he wanted her to finally know it.
He wanted her to make her feel safe....he wanted to hold her and tell her everything would be alright....he wanted to make all her sadness go away and tell her how much he has missed her all these years.

And so he did....

Vern gazed into audreys eyes and confessed his feelings for her. He told her how he felt about her then...and how he still feels that way now. He wanted her to know...
Vern and Adrianna gazed up as Derek and Jason re-entered the tent.

Derek could see the serious look on both of their faces. It seemed that Vern told Audrey how he felt....but did she feel the same way?
He didn't know...but he wasn't about to ask...
Whoever Adrianna wanted to be with...whoever she was about to pick...she would tell them.

         Adrianna looked at Derek, and then Vern. She knew they both wanted her to pick one of them over the other, and that was exactly what she was trying not to do. It was like picking between two sides of her life. With Vern she saw all the memories from the life she had, the good and bad. All he wanted to do was to keep her safe. On the other hand, she saw so many characteristics of herself in Derek. He was also very guarded, but opened up a little with Adrianna. And they wanted her to choose?

         She loved them both, in different ways. But how is anyone supposed to decide who she favors more?

         Clearing her mind, she looked at Vern.

         "You know, you really shouldn't feel guilty about... what happened... before. There was nothing more you could have done about it. And because of me, those men... they hurt you. They might've killed you."

         "Well they might've killed you too," Vern said.

         "No, they wouldn't have. They were just being stupid because they were like drunk or something. I didn't do anything to anger them, but you did. It's you who could've gotten hurt. So just stop feeling so responsible for it."

         Vern's expression was still one of regret. No matter what she said, she wasn't able to make him feel otherwise. Derek knelt down beside Adrianna.

         "No matter what happens from here on out, or what goes on between us, one thing's for sure. And that's that we need to get out of here. One of those... things might show up again, and we are in no shape to fight. So we better head out."

         Derek walked outside, but was stopped again by Adrianna's voice right behind him.

         "Aren't you happy?" she asked. "We can finally get out of here, like you wanted."

         Without a word Derek turned around and pulled Adrianna into his arms, holding her like she might easily slip away. They headed out as soon as Vern and Jason had everything they needed. Whatever was out there, hopefully they would be ready for it this time.
As the sun set, Skylar decided to pack it in; he'd used up his allotted and ultimately fruitless hour of hunting. Skylar and Lucy had made camp for the night in the remains of ruined church. Things weren’t as they had expected. It wasn’t until a few days after they left Hope city behind that they had run into trouble with a gang of people that had lost nearly all of their humanity due to the circumstances of the world. Skylar witnessed Lucy lose control again, only this time it was better than it was before. She was able to pull herself back from the brink of insanity to recognize who he was this time.

It was during this rage that they were able to free a few of the men and women that had been captured by this gang that called themselves 'The Blood Kings'. The things that the men had done to these people were unspeakable. Some of the women were having issues communicating with Skylar because they were deeply traumatized. It bothered Skylar a lot about the amount of people he had to kill in order to free the few people he and Lucy were able to save.

They were now a group of seven.

Mason - 33 - He has been beaten just as bad as the women they rescued. He used to work as a mechanic, so now he spent most of his time trying to figure out ways to be useful. After being beaten so many times he has a way of always shying away from looking anyone in the eye.

Janine - 19 - She has experienced more things than any sixteen year old should ever experience. She has a way about making little bracelets for the people she likes the most.

Kendrick - 17 - He had been recently caught by the gang stealing food from one of their stashes, an decided to make him their gofer and feeding him as such. He was only allowed to have the scraps the gang decided were beneath them. He along with Mason were beaten, but they took it exceptionally easy on Kendrick.

Jillian - 18 - Skylar found her cowering in one of the shacks that had been used as one of the stashes for the The Blood Kings. She was the cook for the group, and seemed to like the position which seemed odd to Skylar.

Kelsey - 5 - She had been discovered on their way back from saving Mason, Janine, and Kendrick. She had been with her mother who had been trapped under a car. Before she died she made Skylar promise to take care of her little girl.

Skylar frowned as he counted the arrows in his quiver. Lucy had made a place in one of the remaining rooms for Skylar, herself, and Kelsey. The others had each fanned out to adjacent rooms while maintaining a relatively close proximity. It had been this way since they were saved. All Skylar needed to do was mention he needed something and they were quick with whatever he needed to have done. It felt weird for him to have people willing to jump at his every beck and call. It made him feel uneasy.

The world had become a place he didn’t even recognize anymore, and Lucy had come into his life by chance. He wondered what happened to the people he had met so long ago. He hoped he would meet up with them again soon. He had changed so much since he found the world wasn't what he used to be. He now sported a thick beard and mustache, along with a nice thick layer of muscle on his body. His hair was longer now as well touching his shoulders, but a little wild for his taste. Lucy thought it was wonderful though, and made a point to run her hands in it when she could.

Skylar walked across the room that was cracked in various places with ivy growing upside the wall. He could overhear the others in the next room talking in hushed voices about being away from the gang that hurt them. Lucy busied herself with the bedding she put together for Kelsey. There was another in the room with them that Skylar watched as he placed his bow in the corner along with his quiver and the backpack he seemed to carry everywhere with him. Kelsey was a cute little girl with brunette hair, pouty lips and adorable brown eyes. She had flawless cream colored skin, and was incredibly intelligent. She understood what had happened to her mother, but seemed to be doing her best to be strong.

Skylar watched Kelsey playing with a doll she had with her that must have come from her mother. As he watched Lucy and Kelsey together he overheard Kelsey mention that she was hungry. He had been about to break the news that he hadn’t been able to catch anything on his hunt, then remembered that he had laid traps near the forest he hadn’t checked before returning to their makeshift home. He picked his bow, quiver, and backpack up again.

“I’ll be back in a little while. I just remembered a few traps I forgot to check while I was out.” He announced, making eye contact with Lucy. She gave him a smile then mouthed ‘Thank you.’

“Come back to us safe” She said holding onto Kelsey.

When Skylar closed the door behind him, then turned around into the dark hall that had dull white walls broken with age. He noticed that a dark figure was disappearing around a corner. He was instantly alert to all that was around him. He had a bow draped across his back with his quiver and a couple of knives in a sheath he picked off one of the men he had taken down from the Blood Kings. He pulled a knife free and crept down the hall at a fast pace. He flattened himself against the corner of the wall before springing around the corner with his knife raised in a defensive position ready to attack. What he did see surprised him. Standing in front of him was Mason with pieces of wood in his hands. All that Mason carried in his arms fell to the ground in a loud clatter.

Mason was visibly shaken and appeared to have pee’d his pants. A twinge of anguish rushed through Skylar for doing this to him.

“I’m sorry Mason. I had no idea it was you. I thought someone was trying to hurt one of you.” Skylar apologized.

“It-it-it’s okay.” Mason stuttered, still standing stock still looking up toward the ceiling.

Skylar bent down to pick up the supplies Mason had been holding. The sudden reaction caused Mason to flinch as if Skylar was going to attack him. Skylar noticed the move and slowly handed the supplies to Mason.When he picked up the things Mason had been holding, he noticed it was all the tools Mason placed in the solar car Skylar and Lucy had been using before it broke down. Mason had offered to see if he could fix it, and had been working on the car for the past few days.

“Get yourself cleaned up. I’ll be back hopefully with some food for us to eat.” Skylar told him handing the supplies over to Mason who was now watching Skylar with a careful eye. Then added, “While I’m away see if you can set up a fire from some of the nearby trees. Get some of the others to help you.”

“Yes sir.” Mason said hurrying pass Skylar and into one of the rooms around the corner.

Skylar shook his head and set off to retrieve the traps. Upon suspicion Skylar realized that Any and all potential game seemed to either have been scared off (most likely by the rolling thunder clouds), or eaten off by other predators or passers-by.

He rolled his shoulders back, then rotated his sore neck, and went on to collect the nine traps he'd set in the undergrowth near the forest's edge, he came upon two silver-furred rabbit cadavers, recent by the looks of things and thanks to his trapping skills, instantaneously killed. Smiling, he gave silent thanks to Charlie that had given them the hunting gear. Skylar removed the rabbits carefully from the traps (perhaps something could be made from their fur), and put them in the burlap sack from his backpack.

The night was looking up besides the thunder that streaked across the dark sky which made Skylar happy that he would be bringing back food for the group. They would have to skin and cook the rabbits quick. He had laid nine traps, and from that nine he caught eight, which meant they would have some left over for another time. Skylar had a smile etched on his face when he finally stood from his last catch.

The snap of a twig behind him made him drop the burlap sack he’d been carrying, his hand flew to the bow on his back followed by an arrow from his quiver. He tracked the movement that seemed to be coming from the bushes with the head of the arrow he had knocked.

“I don’t know who you are, but if you don’t come out I’ll shoot.” Skylar warned.

A Non-Existent User
Tony didn't have time to stop him. The little boy drove the knife right into Oskanas heart. Screaming Oskana still had a hand on the crow bar that impaled the woman that had come out of the cave demanding that the animals were never theirs. Oskana pulled the crow bar out with a thuck sound and impaled it into the boys eye. Now the woman and the boy had no left eyes and we're dead bleeding all over the ground. Oskana pulled the crow bar out with a final thuck soundand the boy fell over. Then Oskana fell with a thud and a moan. Tony didn't know what to do first. The girl that was crying was now bawling hysterically and Tony wanted to comfort her. But Oskana was on the ground badly wounded and looked like she might die from taking a knife to the hart. If he went to the little girl he probably wouldn't be able to do much, so he nelt down beside Oskana.
Turning to the little girl as he was kneeling he asked her, "Do you have any medical supplies in there?," Then he added even though he knew it wasn't true but he thought it was the only way to get the girl moving, "I think I can save them all if you have the right stuff."
"We only , brah, hu, have some , hu hu, basic stuff. Bruh, not like, hu, the stuff your kind has. Whaa haa." The little girl said in between her sobs then a full out whail again.
"Well stop that crying and go get it if you want to try to save someone here. Is there any more of you in there?" Tony suddenly thought of asking her this even though it seemed it might be to late, but all he wanted to do was get rid of the girl. In a way he was concerned about if there was anyone in there not only so he could get going with the animals and Oskana on a horse to get back to the town, but also for her safety. It wouldn't be nice to leave a little girl alone when we just killed her family.
"Yes my father. Also my aunt and uncle." She said suddenly stopping her hysterical crying and thinking of the others. Then she was off.
Going at a fast pace Tony pulled Oskana onto a horse with him. He grabbed the ropes holding all the other animals and led them off to another cave they discovered when searching for the opening of the place. Quickly he tied them up there and took off on the horse as fast as he could with out hurting Oskana.
"It must not be a deep wound if your still alive." Tony told Oskana.

"You shouldn't be so sure of you self. I strong. But might die with this,.." Oskana trailed off coughing.
When they got back to town Charlie took Oskana in right away with nurses all around. Six in total Tony counted. One he saw her name tag said Maryia.
"What happened?" Charlie asked once Oskana was bandaged up lying in a bed and seemed to be doing o.k. for being stabbed in the heart.
After Tony explained what happened Charlie said, "You must go back. Unfortunately most of the crew you knew went off with some hunting supplies to find meat like you two."
Upon hearing Charlie's words she tried to sit up, But it was a great strain for her. "Not you." Charlie told her, a tone in his voice that she had not heard before. She could not tell if he was upset by her actions or just being stern, but she did as ordered. Tony walked up beside her on her left. "I would bring-" Okasna cut him off, a warm smile on her face "I wouldn't be of any use to you there I'm soldier, not diplomat." Tony opened his mouth to interject but Oksana continued on " If they see me there, woman who destroyed their family, it'll start war between our two groups. You can't let that happen."

Tony kneeled beside Oksana's bed side " I'll come back as soon as I can." Oksana reached up and pulled his head towards hers giving him a deep long kiss. "good luck" Tony Grew a large smile on his face "I'll be back before you know it." He hesitated a bit longer, Oksana could tell that he was reluctant to leave but after a few minute he left through the door. Oksana's smile turned to a sad one, knowing what she must do.

It was another six hours until Oksana was able to get up and move around on her own, her movements were limited but they had given her a cane to walk with. She snuck out of the tiny radio room to see Charlie Standing directly in front of her, The look and his stance conveyed he was waiting for an explanation "I've done a lot for you and the city right?" Oksana asked not willing to look Charlie in the eyes " Charlie remained still, nodding only slightly " I want you to promise you won't tell Tony what I've done." Charlie took a moment before responding "Tell me what you did and I'll think about it." That was as good as Oksana could hope for. "I called his people. The people of Troy, I asked them to come get me. I heard someone say they were recruiting people to help rebuild." Charlie raised an eyebrow "Why don't you want Tony knowing?" Oksana took a long breath and continued, She took the cane and leaned on her other side, nothing seemed to work as well as it had before being stabbed "Tony would come looking for me. He is good man, A warrior, You need those, There is still much danger here. If he knows where I went, he will follow."

"we need people like you too" Charlie interceded. The tall woman shook her head, "No for you to make peace with forest people, you need to get rid of me. They will want vengance, You will tell them you exiled me as punishment for crime" Charlie sighed, "Seems you've thought about this a lot." Oksana shrugged " I had crew once and I have seen a lot. I know what will happen." Charlie let out a large exhale, "Best of luck my friend" Then he did something unexpected and gave Okana a large hug, She hugged the man back "Thank you"

Some time later Oksana waited on the outskirts of town, She had seen the ship coming for some distance, it was easier to see this time now that there weren't any buildings to obstruct her view. The ship landed, a woman greeted her and helped her onto the ship, it wasn't long until they were on the ship and flying away, Oksana looked out the window towards the forest She knew Tony was in, She knew one day he would come back to his people and that they would meet again, but that thought did not stop the amunt of tears that flowed from her eyes and down her face.
Derek led Adrianna, Jason, and Vern through the wilderness. Somehow, they were going to find refuge. Maybe then, they could finally live in peace. After being bandaged, Jason was back to his usual chipper self.

"So does anyone know which direction we are headed?" Jason asked.

Derek sighed, "We should be headed east. I'm hoping we hit an ocean eventually."

The group trudged their way around the wilderness for what seemed like an eternity. Derek could not help the feeling of being lost. So much of the scenery looked the same. The darkness of the night did not help either. He looked back at Adrianna. Her eyes were will with fear. After their encounter with the beast, she had not been the same. He gave her a weak smile and continued forward.

The eerie silence was eventually ruined by the sound of voices. Derek stopped the group and tried to listen to the voices. They were too far to make out what they were saying. He inched towards the voices until there was nothing but a bush separating them. As the group followed him, a twig snapped. Derek looked back to see Jason smiling sheepishly back. Derek held a finger to his lips as the voices silenced. Everyone stood in silence as they waited for the voices to continue. Derek shook his head and gripped his machete. He counted to three in his head and burst through the bush, his machete flying in front of him.

He was cut short though as a sharp pain went through his chest. He looked down to see an arrow piercing through his chest. He looked up and saw a blurry Skylar gasping in front of him. Derek staggered for moments until he finally fell to the earth.

"Skylar! What have you done?!"

© Copyright 2012 Pollo Mark, Undbitr, Scythe, Apoorva, xx-xx, xx-xx, Lonewolf, Archivist, (known as GROUP).
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