I wasn’t around when it all happened; kind of glad I wasn’t honestly. From what my dad told me life was so much easier then, to me that means life would be a lot harder after all that was before was gone. Many years ago was what my dad and most that I’ve come across called the Fall, an event that caused the end of all civilizations. The end was nothing like what most had thought it would be, there were no aliens from another planet that came to destroy the earth, or a virus that wiped out humanity; it was nothing like that at all. According to my father it was a financial global collapse that caused such a stir that riots began in the streets and violence on a level that my father claims was like none other; I find that hard to believe because in my lifetime I’ve seen serious violence, granted I’ve only been on this earth for only twenty two years but since I can remember all there has been is violence or the fear of it. My mother was a Christian a firm believer in the rapture; dad said that after the Fall she seemed to be a zombie wondering what happened, she didn’t know why God hadn’t come to sweep her away from all of what was happening. None of her congregation was swept up as they thought would happen so instead many took their own lives, one of them was my mother. I was a baby then too young to even recall but as I got older I remember my father teaching me at a young age to keep quiet to not bring attention to any that might hear us.

I never understood what he meant until I was twelve; I’ll never forget the true meaning behind his fear. Dad had went out in search of food it was early morning we always seemed to never have enough food it was a daily battle to find something to keep us from starving and some days we went without; it was difficult sleeping with an empty stomach and that happened often. I remember how afraid I always was when dad would go out and be gone for a few hours, it was at those times I would be the most silent and hide in a small burrow dad had dug behind the makeshift shack that we lived in it was out in the forest far from the cities. Dad had made a point to leave the city when the chaos broke out he said that it was nothing but lawlessness there. I would not know I grew up out here far from the city. I remember as I sat there quietly I heard my father approach he cried out to me, I ran out of my hiding place horrified to see that my father had been shot in the chest; he was bleeding badly. As I approached him he fell to the ground rolling over on to his back; his last words were for me to run but I didn’t understand until it was too late. I didn’t know at the time that a sniper bullet from a hired gun that belonged to a search party looking for women to sell to the Law was the culprit. I heard a voice faintly behind me and before I even turned fully to see who it was I got knocked off of my feet thanks to a baseball bat. I went flying my eyes were seeing bright colors I hadn’t felt such pain before. I think I went into shock for a moment my vision was blurry, I could hear men walking up beside me they were laughing. Obviously they got a kick out of seeing me get smacked around. I could hear them question my father before they killed him, then they ransacked our shack one stayed with me. I felt his filthy hands slipping underneath my shirt touching my breasts I tried to struggle he took his knee driving it into my stomach knocking the air out of me.

The others came back and they took turns raping me, there was no questioning, no words said; they just merely forced themselves upon me. I take it back when I said when I got hit in the face it was the greatest pain I had ever felt; being raped was far worse. After what seemed like an eternity I was allowed to put my clothes back on, a rope was tied around my neck and I was scurried along through the forest to the nearest city. I was numb, my father had been killed and I had been beaten and raped my life was over as I knew it. Now I knew why my father avoided the cities and why he taught me to remain quiet so that no one would ever hear us. I heard the search party talk about how I would fetch a good price from Law once they got back to the city, but we never made it. Another gang ambushed us; I just dropped to my knees and covered my head as the two rivals fought each other. I am sure the intention of the other gang was to steal me and anything else from the search party; the end result was that they all killed each other not one man stood standing. I looked around in disbelief at the bloody display that was all around me just sitting there kneeled for at least twenty minutes before I decided to stand up; something in me clicked maybe it was my survival instincts I don’t know really.

I grabbed whatever food and water I could carry; then an afterthought came to me, I needed a weapon to protection. The first thing I grabbed was a black gun from one of the corpses I found a handful of bullets in his left pocket. I found an aluminum bat that was painted black no doubt to make it more concealable, and my last item was a black dagger. It had a grip that formed a brass knuckle for striking no doubt; and a six inch curved blade. It was concealed in a small sheath that was strapped to another corpse. I tied the gun holster around my waist and the strap that held the bat I tied to my back, I then attached the dagger sheath under my shirt. I thought I heard men approaching I was too close to the city; my heartbeat quickened gripped with fear and the possibility of rape and being sold I took off running and didn’t look back. I kept myself hidden in the forest near where I grew up with my father but never returned to that old shack; there was nothing there for me now. From time to time there would be search parties and others where were just wanderers I stayed hidden from them all. As I grew older I realized it was time to move on I felt confident enough to leave the forest I had to find someplace better, somewhere safer with a better food source. I had practiced over the years how to use my weapons and I used them save for the gun to hunt; I felt I would be a dangerous adversary for anyone I came across if I was discovered. This is my life, stay quiet, stay unseen, stay alive. It was time to start my journey for a better place to live if there was one.

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