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Part 1 of 2 (Part 2 below)

That fateful day started like any other day, waking up to the lovely sound of my baby brother crying. It’s funny, I remember that day perfectly, and yet I would give anything to forget it. By the time I slogged downstairs at about 6:30 to make myself breakfast, my mom had been gone almost seven hours. She worked the midnight to noon shift at the hospital so that she could be home to greet everyone when they got home. She was always there, and I wouldn’t want anything different.
I met my one and only friend at the bus stop that was on the corner a block away from my house, near the drug store where we always bought candy after theater finished up. He was sitting at the end of the bench, trying not to make eye contact with anyone bigger or stronger than him, including the little sixth graders going off to the middle school. Jackson and I were both tiny, and neither of us was ever any good in a fight. As the bus pulled up, we went straight to the back of the line, and sat in the front of the bus. Only the seniors sat in the back, and we weren’t about to risk getting one of those gorillas angry with us.
After we got to school, I went to chemistry and Jackson went to Spanish. That was the last time I ever saw him. Alive, that is, but I’m getting ahead of myself. In chemistry we were studying different compounds of elements, so it was a pretty easy review period. The teacher seemed to know that no one would be paying much attention in his class, so he just talked in front of the room and let everyone do what they wanted for the hour. After that, I went to my locker, and tried to open it to get my German book, but my locker was stuck. I tugged and tugged, and finally it gave up its struggle to stay closed and groaned unwillingly open. I reached for my textbook, when suddenly I felt someone push me harshly in the back and say, “Get in the locker, midget.” Some people just do not appreciate all that we vertically challenged people have to deal with.
I struggled for about fifteen minutes in that cramped cell of locker, and then gave up. I hoped that someone would walk down the hall, or realize that I wasn’t in class and come looking for me. Usually there were lots of people in the halls at any given time, even during class, but right now the hallway sounded utterly silent. I waited for another half an hour, and still I heard no one. I decided to take matters into my own hands. I started pounding on the locker, and finally jarred my locker open. Thankfully, the person who had shoved me into the locker hadn’t locked me in, or I would still be in there.
I fell out of my locker, thankful to feel the gentle caress of the air flowing through the school. Then I realized two things: One, there isn’t a breeze inside buildings; and two, it wasn’t a breeze, it was heavy, rank, disgusting breath from someone right next to me. I looked up into the torn out eyes of our star quarterback. His face was swollen, his eyes scratched out, and his hair freely falling out in clumps. I barely had time to mentally register the image, when he screamed a primal scream and jumped out a nearby window to his death.
After this horrible, scarring sight, I realized that something was wrong. As I walked down the hallway, I noticed people lying on the ground, motionless, and others fighting ruthlessly with each other, and yet more trying to kill themselves. None of them had noticed me yet, but I knew that it was only a matter of time before one of the violent ones saw me and tried to rip my head off of my skinny shoulders, ripping my neck apart at the tendons, bone, and skin, spewing blood all over the school. I decided that school was indefinitely cancelled, so I grabbed an unlocked bike from the racks and rode it a nerve racking three miles home, keeping an eye out for roaming around my neighborhood. I didn’t see any, but I was still happy to get home safely and brace all the doors and windows. Suddenly, I heard a shot.
The shot came from outside, in my back yard! I hurried to the back door and peeked out. I didn’t see anyone in the yard so I opened up the door, and a body thumped into the house. It had a horribly disfigured face, no eyes, and a hole out of the back of its head. I recognized it by the clothes it was wearing. It was wearing the same clothes that I saw Jackson wearing that morning. The corpse was even wearing the same worn High Tops that Jackson had worn every single day, rain or shine, for the past three and a half years. However, I was not worried about shoes or clothes, or the fact that my best friend Jackson was lying dead on my back porch. No, I was most interested in the pistol that he had stolen from his dad’s gun safe, and ultimately shot himself with. My parents never owned a gun in their lives, but I had shot a one a couple of times. Jackson had died holding one of the guns his dad had let me shoot. It was a .22, and not very powerful. I wondered if in his pain and haste, Jackson had been trying to warn me.
I went back into my house and turned on the news. An anchor stationed in Washington, D.C. was broadcasting on all stations, telling viewers to avoid anyone affected by the dangerous pathogen released by the recent biological attack by North Korea directed at the U.S. Oh my God we just got attacked by the North Koreans!!!! I realized that I needed guns, food, and ammunition very, very soon. My neighbor’s Jeep Wrangler was in his driveway. I walked over to it, and opened the door. My neighbor fell out, with a knife embedded in his chest, blood flowing out like a river just after winter, a flood of red down his chest. Apparently, he had stabbed himself recently and died quickly.
With as much respect as I could muster, I pulled him out of the Jeep and started the car. I gunned the engine, and roared down the street. A few people ran in front of the car, looking for an easy death, a release from the horrible pain that the pathogen had caused them. Still not knowing why or how I was immune, I hit a few because there were far too many in the street for me to avoid all of them.
I drove to the nearest gun store which was about five miles away, downtown. There was nobody in the store, so I went behind the counter and grabbed an M-16 and two .45 pistols. There was a duffel bag in the back of the Jeep, so I loaded that with as much ammunition as could fit in it. Now, all that I needed to get to survive was gas and food. I loaded up an M-16 and drove to the Sentry nearby. I locked the Jeep and ran into the store. I saw my first violent Crazy in this store. I grabbed a bag and ran through the aisles, looking for bottled water and precooked meals. What I ended up with was $550 of Fuji water and enough Lunchables and ramen noodles to last me a lifetime.
I drove around in the Jeep for a while, filling up gas cans so that I could refill my tank without having to stop and put myself in a vulnerable position. I began to see more and more Crazies becoming violent and feared that I would have to start shooting them at sight. I didn’t know if I was ready to do this yet, even after all of the horror that I had seen.
Suddenly I heard a voice yelling, “Hey! Hey! Stop!” I slowed, because I hadn’t heard a sane voice since I watched the reporter on the news describing the attack. I stopped, and a teenager ran up. He looked to be about 17, and he was covered in blood.
“Are you hurt?” I asked, fearful that I would have to take care of an injured person along with myself.
“No,” he replied exhaustedly, “This isn’t my blood.”
“Hop in,” I said.
Suddenly, he fell forward, blood exploding out of three new holes in his chest. I heard the sound of running boots, and saw a group of North Korean soldiers wearing gas masks and holding AK-47s running toward me, their bullets ringing off of the steel sides of my Jeep. Scared, I floored the gas and peeled out. It looked like the country was being invaded by North Korea only hours after they had launched what appeared to be a full scale biological attack against us.
I drove for about half a mile and then slowed down. I saw that the soldiers were following me. I decided that I would need to get rid of them if I ever wanted to live to see tomorrow. I grabbed my M-16 and fired blindly at the following car. I was lucky enough to hit the windshield, and the car started to go out of control. It crashed into a nearby building, launching soldiers out of the wreck like a three-year-old throws ragdolls during a temper tantrum.
This episode was horrifying, but I kept thinking about my parents, and the outside chance that they were still alive. I turned onto interstate on ramp and started to drive west, hoping to avoid soldiers.
I drove for about an hour with no problems, when the Jeep started to cough. It looked like it needed a refill, so I hopped out the driver’s door and reached for the gas cans I had strapped to the roof. Instead of feeling a gas can, I suddenly felt the cold, hard metal of a gun being pressed into the side of my head by someone who had apparently strapped himself onto the roof of the car.
A gravelly voice said, “slowly put your hands on your head and I won’t blow your f***in’ brains out of your f***in’ skull.” Needless to say, I did what the voice said.
A rugged looking man of about 55 climbed down, holding a blood soaked AK that appeared suspiciously similar to the type that I had seen the North Korean soldiers holding as they chased me. He noticed me staring at it, and said in explanation, “It was him or me, and I’m not ready to die quite yet,” and flashed me a smile. In that moment, an understanding passed between us, and he climbed into the passenger seat of the Jeep and off we drove, after I had refilled the gas tank that supplied the guzzling 4 liter, V8 engine. As I climbed in, he said, “Turn around and drive east.” I spun the car around and we started down the highway at about 95 mph, which in a ragtop Jeep is almost as scary as being shot at by masked North Korean soldiers. As we got closer to Chicago, we started to hear intermittent bursts of gunfire, and the occasional scream of a person being shot or jumping from a window. As we approached the inner city, we got stopped at a road block by a group of Russians.
One soldier screamed, “Get out of the vehicle! Hands in the air!” The old timer that was sitting next to me pulled out a gun, but the soldiers were faster than he was, and shot him three times, twice in the chest and once right between the eyes. Horrified at this senseless act of brutality, I spun around and drove away from the road block, while the soldiers fired their rifles at me to no avail. I drove away, desperate to find some sort of U.S. defense, but all I saw were North Korean soldiers in full biological warfare combat fatigues and violent Crazies. I didn’t want to live in a world like this, and I didn’t have to. I saw a military Hummer, and drove toward it as fast as I could. The soldiers in the vehicle were wearing biohazard suits, and looked surprised to see me. They jumped out of the car and yelled at me to get on the ground, but I was just thankful that they had American accents. This had been the worst day of my life, but at least I was still alive. The soldiers drove me to the Midwest base of operations for the defense against the North Korean invasion. Unfortunately, the biological weapons had taken the military so much by surprise that the U.S. had only about 5,000 soldiers left in the United States, and even fewer civilians in the entire country were left alive. The situation looked dire, but we pulled through by hiding from the enemy and trying to stall the enemy in any way possible.
I am writing this now, three years after the fact. I know that I may have helped keep America, or some vestige of its former self, alive. I spent most of those past three years driving through enemy territory looking for immune survivors. I risked my life to help others. For these deeds, some people call me a hero, but I don’t think of myself that way. I think of myself just as a person that was in the right place at the right time. We now have half the numbers we did at the beginning of the invasion, but things are starting to look up. For some unexplained reason all of the North’s troops have pulled out of the area, so we are able to venture dgbnkleak, sorry, the ground shook and I mis-typed, for some reason; I meant to write the word outside. The soldiers are telling us to get below ground!
I just got the go-ahead to return to ground level. I spent the last 48 hours below ground in a lead-lined bunker, hiding from the sounds of running feet. According to the few readings we were able to get from our above ground instruments, the North dropped a low fallout nuclear bomb about 30 miles away. If it had been any closer, our entire base of operations would have been wiped off the face of the earth faster than I used to be able to eat a Taco Bell five layer burrito, at least before all of the Taco Bells in the U.S. were destroyed.
We’ve just received word that what is left of the Air Force is going to be destroying D.C., because that is where the North has located most of its military intelligence and its air power. I hope that this works, because we are running out of stockpiled resources really fast, and need to get the North Koreans out of our territory. Luckily for us, we have 22 remaining bombs and missiles, which should be able to wreak havoc on the 10 square mile area of D.C.
It worked. I can’t believe it, but it did. We can go above ground, and only 5% of the North Korean troops in our area are combat effective! This means that we have the upper hand for the first time in almost three years, and we can begin to flush them out of our country. I am ecstatic, as are all of the people around me. Recent word is that we will be able to get back to self-sustaining work in a few weeks
I never found my family, but I did hear scattered reports of other survivor camps in the Appalachian Mountains, situated above the altitude that the pathogen was able to reach. Once we can push the North Koreans back far enough that I can drive my trusty Jeep up into the mountains and look for the camps, I will. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll find my family safely in one of them.

PART 2

When I left to look for my family, I was alone. I was accompanied by a group of soldiers to the gate of our compound, but after that it was me, my jeep, and the open road. I was loaded with supplies and ammunition, and ready go to the Appalachians.
As I drove down the road, I noticed that since I had last driven a recovery route to look for survivors, the plant life that is usually abundant at the side of the road had died off considerably. Most of it was brown, and instead of long, wavy grass in the gullies on either side of the highway there were hard packed expanses of dirt. I knew that it hadn’t rained in a while, but this was looking worse than any drought I’ve ever seen in this area. Although there was some plant life, most of it was dead.
After driving for about two hours, I neared one of the mountains that supposedly had a survivor camp on it. The road to the top seemed clear, but if the camp had survived through the attack, there was bound to be some barriers and traps.
While ascending the mountain, I noticed that as I increased in altitude, there were more and more boulders lying on the road, until it was impossible for me to navigate my way around them any longer. I drove the jeep off into the bush, attempting to provide some sort of hiding place for it, filled a backpack with ammunition, food, and water, grabbed my rifle and started to hike up the road on foot.
After I had hiked for about five hours the sun started to set. Rather than risk my life by hiking up the mountain in the dark, I decided to make camp for the night and make the final ascent in the morning. I looked around until I found a little crevasse formed by some boulders and a cliff face. Finding that this was a good defensive position in case I had to start shooting, I ate my dinner and went to bed.
I woke up with a sharp prod to my back. I rolled over and stared straight down the wrong end of an AK-47. I tried to jump up but my wrists and ankles were tied. Realizing that struggling would be futile and possibly deadly, I rolled over and looked straight into the face of my mother.
“Mom? Is that you?” I asked, afraid that it was just someone that looked like her.
“Who are you? You don’t look like my son.” She replied.
“It’s me, mom. Joaquín.”
“You don’t look anything like him. You’re about six inches taller.”
“It’s really me mom. I survived the attack and I came looking for survivors in the mountains.”
“Yeah, right. You think I haven’t heard that one before?”
“Really, it’s me. Listen; do you remember that time when I was 13 and I sleep walked in my underwear all over the neighborhood and you had to chase me down in the car so that nothing happened to me?”
“Oh my God. It’s really my little baby!” My mother exclaimed as she wrapped me into the tightest hug I have ever felt. “I’ll just cut those ropes off of you right away.” And with that, she freed me from my bonds.
My mother proceeded to tell me that some families had a natural genetic immunity to the North Korean pathogen, and that our family was one of the lucky few. There had been a survivor camp made before this one, but the North Koreans over ran the compound. My baby brother and my dad tried to run away, but were shot. What kind of monsters are these people?
I sat down, stunned by the news. I couldn’t believe that they were dead. I spent the next few months wandering around the camp, barely eating, barely speaking to anyone. Finally, my mother thought that she should talk to me. She told me that we were safe here, that it was a fortified position. We could exist here without many of the problems that the pathogen had caused, including killing off most of the plant life in the cloud. We had farmed terraces along the mountain that would sustain our little community. I guess that this is really all that I could hope for given the current situation. Simply existing, never actually living.
 

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I enjoyed it. I could tell you were young when you wrote it but I think you have talent that will grow with time!
 

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A very interesting read, and it's certainly better than any fiction I would have written when I was in the 9th grade (heh, that feels like so long ago). As some other people mentioned, a bit more detail would be good.

For example, what exactly are the symptoms of the pathogen released by the DPRK? The effects observed by the narrator seem to be a bit contradictory. On one hand, it causes such pain in the afflicted that they commit suicide. On the other, it turns them into homicidal maniacs, kind of like in 28 Days Later. Nonetheless, it sounds like the disease from hell, and just what those communists would love to get their paws on, heh. If you wished, you could give it a pseudo-scientific name (modify the name of some obscure bacterium or virus), or perhaps a [insert name here]'s syndrome, e.g. 'Collins' syndrome.'

I initially thought that it would make sense for the (tactical) nuke to be used before the virus, but reading your story again, the sequence you had is a lot more logical.

You have a good talent for writing; your ideas are refreshingly original and your story is of a caliber that, if it were a full novel or in an anthology of post-apocalyptic, I'd definitely buy it (in the latter case mostly because of your story) :).
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
@Pyrrhus, thanks for the support! I'm working on a new story, based on swampwoods idea with the animals... and another story that i'm keeping close to my chest until it's finished
 
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