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|"No Shelter" (standard:horror, 2294 words)|
|Author: Straybullet||Added: May 11 2007||Views/Reads: 1500/840||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|I came up with this when I lived in Tucson. Let me know what you think|
NO SHELTER BY The Straybullet Somehow my feet keep moving. My mouth is slack, my arms dangle uselessly at my sides, my head now tilted back and staring at some nonpoint in the predawn sky....but my feet keep on. I stagger down the gravel slope of yet another foot hill, one of hundreds maybe thousands here in the Southwest. My head swims due equally to lack of sustenance and the night of travel I've been through running beneath the song of the coyote. In a fog of weariness I nearly blunder into a cropping of cacti. A large mutated specimen stands before me its gnarled form seems to reach out for me like a banshee. I have to stop these delusions; they will do me no good. I gather my thoughts and my breath as I see a blush on the eastern horizon announcing the arrival of the sun. My bleary eyes scan some of the higher hills for shelter. Nothing. I know how dangerous it is for me to travel in daytime especially in such a state as I am in. The world is not as it once was. I do not panic, though I do not know if it was exhaustion or will that held me. "I can't fall here." I whisper to no one. "So much depends on me." I resolve to somehow find a way and double my pace. Within minutes I scale the highest foothill sapping the last of my arm strength to reach its summit. It is a panoramic view of what once was Tucson. I hadn't realized I was this far south. Tucson was one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S. when the end came. The ruined city stretches out beneath me like a rose of ash. The broken structures below me that used to be lived in and worked in look like nothing but litter from up here. Just within the range of my vision I can see where the blast hit first. Around it in circles the buildings fell, those that still stand lean away from ground zero. It has the queer effect of a frozen ripple. If I remember correctly, there used to be an air force base in the southern part of the city. In any case that is where the blast hit. Finally I catch sight of what I was looking for. My heart leaps as I scramble onto the road that leads to the city. Wind catches drifts of red sand and ash sending across the asphalt cascades like light reflected in water. This same wind also waves the yellow banner jutting from what used to be a shopping center. “Humanity still lives” is what this banner says. Somehow I manage to make myself run. The orange sign beneath the yellow banner reads Home Depot; I am several yards from the place when a group of figures emerge carrying guns. I am at the mercy of these men. My pace slows and I raise my hands to show I am no threat. In the growing dawn I can make out but little. I cannot judge by simple appearance whether or not these men are mad or not. Since the war everyone that survived has lost something of themselves. When the poison and fire fell, many lost their sanity. My knees buckle slightly as my body nears collapse. More figures file out behind the guards. These are smaller and I take them to be the tribe's women children and elderly. They are each carrying things though I cannot tell what they are. They place them in rows and return to fetch others. I close some distance and can see finally that these are plants set out to nurture in the light. I smile. The guards move to receive me. They eye me warily. They yell for me to stop and turn around to which I comply. The sun is almost visible now; a jagged line of white etches itself around the black hills I have just come from. Just behind me one of them speaks. "Turn around and give me your name." Cautiously I obey. There are only the two with weapons raised, behind them the work has halted and a dozen eyes bore into me. "Jacob...my name's Jacob." I say to the older and more reasonable looking of the two, a shirtless gray haired man wearing jeans. The other man is younger and much taller, a beast of a man wearing a Hooters T-shirt. "What are you doing here?" shirtless asks. "Passing through, heading south." I wheeze from a fiery throat. My God how long had it been since I'd spoken? The larger man moves toward me his weapon at the ready. I am ordered to remove my shirt, which I do, they inspect my torso. A sudden wave of nausea hits me and I sprawl to the ground. Click here to read the rest of this story (139 more lines)
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