by Peter Parker
After WW3. No government. No money. Survival is key. (read preface first)
|August 28, 2038 (942 days after the war)
"Hello, my name's Sam. I'm looking for work-"
"No," the pudgy man said, slamming the door on my face.
"Thanks for the consideration, Mate," I say, mocking his English accent.
I continue to walk down what once was a beautiful park. Now, it's a pile of literal rubble where, if you're lucky and homeless, you'll find a place to sleep. Since the war, life has changed. For the worse. All governments have been taken away. And anyone who worked for the government eventually were murdered. Yes, even my interviewer from years ago. She died that night actually. And since there is no government, no currency. It's all useless junk. Though, I know people, like myself, that if it ever did come back, we'd be millionaires.
I've walked for about 3 hours now. My feet are sore. And still in the dirty grey sneakers. But don't worry, I've traded the jumpsuit. Army green cargo pants and a "white" shirt. It's more of a grey now. I'm standing at the edge of a forest. It's been marked off by police tape. Yes. Police still stand. Only because they have guns and all the ammo in the world and will shoot you. Only reason. I look around, for police or bystanders. Then I take a pine branch that "snapped off" in a terrible storm and brush some dirt from the side of the highway that reveals a latch. I open it and quickly walk to the other side. Once there, I find another door and pop it open. Then I start throwing dirt delicately on the trapdoors.
"Good enough, Sir," I say again, mocking the English man.
I run deep into the forest.
Out in the forest, a bunch of people have formed a mini community to survive. By a bunch of people I mean maybe 30 adults, 10 to 15 kids. We all have formed a big family, and we're happy. Well, as happy as can be, given situations but, we've got each other. When I enter the main camp where all the children play, they run to find the Head Chief. He's not much. Just a good young guy to follow really. Head Chief is just a joke.
"Hey, Chief," I call out to a guy wearing a baseball cap walking up to me.
"Hey, Jake! Find anything good?" Oh yeah, Sam isn't my name. Jake Banks it is.
"No. Sorry. I hope the other runners come back with something though."
"That's okay. Can't find gold everyday. Especially in the section you were given. Who gave you that squadron anyways, eh?"
"You did," I say, slapping his arm. Truth be told, Chief was a good friend from high school.
"Mmm. Well then, better change that up. Tomorrow, I was actually gonna send you on a mission."
"Yup. Up to Canada."
"Canada? Sir, I-"
"Jake. I've known you for what? 10 years? I know you can do it."
"What am I doing?"
"There's a girl up there. She's smart. She somehow sent a recorded message asking for help."
"Woah. How? Technology doesn't even work!"
"Fine. Where in Canada?"
"Mmm. What's in it for me?" I say with a smirk.
"Oh, Jake! Say, what do you think?"
"Really? Okay, pull up a chair. First, the hair goes. You look like a-, a-, you look hideous!"
"Hahaha! Knew it!"
"But on a more serious note, I want to take Octavia," Octavia is the young girl that took up the job of helping Big Doc. Over the last several years, he's been teaching her the ropes. Big Doc was old when the war started. Now, he's ancient. So when flu season comes around again, he knows he might not make it.
"She's doing a great job on her studies and I mean, with my a-, concerns. I don't want to head out there alone. I want medical help. And Big Doc ain't equipped for that anymore. And what better way for Octavia to practice in the field than now?"
"True, Jake, true. I'll talk to Big Doc. And Octavia."
When I walk into my tent, someone's already inside. When I open the door, Octavia jumps to her feet.
"Jake, there's something you should know."
"What is it?" I pull up a bean bag chair patched with duct tape.
"You can sit down."
"Thanks, I'm nervous."
"I can tell. But don't worry. You're good."
"Kay. So, you know the Bomoratin?"
"Yes?" Bomoratin is the disease I have. When the bombs exploded, a white exhaust came out. Pretty much you gain super powers. But you gain them from pain. Mentally or physically. It sucks. I also hear this girl screaming for help.
"It's getting worse with the experiments. We've used rats, rabbits, and frogs. No life form has shown symptoms of improvement."
"I think you might never heal."
"Well, if I never heal, I'll at least weaken the effects, right?"
"No. I think they're gonna get worse."
"It'll take more pain to initiate the reaction. We've seen that already. But I think that's what's killing you."
"Yes. Your body is now trying to make you gain these powers. So they purposely hurt you. But if you keep getting immune to the pain, it's going to go as far as killing you to obtain these powers and so really, you're dying," I search her. She hasn't been touching her nose or throat. Her breathing and talking has been steady but nervous. Blinking pattern hasn't changed. Even though her eyes are brown, and a darker brown, it's hard to read them but they look generally concerned.
"You're telling the truth."
"I wish I wasn't."
"Me, too. So what does Big Doc think about this theory?"
"He thinks it's possible. And makes sense. He's currently thinking about what to do about it."
"Okay. So I actually have another thing to talk about."
"What is it?"
"If I'm dying, and going to Canada, I'm going to need a doctor healthy enough to come with me."