Rain

Rain

A Story by Trance
"

A post-apocalyptic suspense thriller. Urban wakes to an unexpected situation. He reads a letter, written by his wife, that he had been in a coma for years. His only goal now is to find her.

"

Rain

Prologue

            Urban. Urban, remember that day at the hotel? The one in Royal Creek? You said you would take me back there one day. You never did. Don’t worry, though. I still remember everything. When we walked through the forest, watching every deer or critter that passed by. And you, taking notes on your little journal for new material for whatever you were working on. I…I had the best time there. When you wake up, let’s go to Royal Creek again, alright? The circumstances are different now, though. It’ll take a while before you begin to comprehend any of this. But I’ll be waiting for you. Don’t worry, I’m in good hands, with people you can trust. I know everything went to s**t after the Flash, but I’ll be safe until you get there. Just…stay away from the Blind, Urban. Please.

 

I love you.

 

            Yeah, I remembered. It wasn’t the greatest weather over there, but the Royal Creek trip made good use of our time. Oregon always had something to do, something to keep us occupied. I had come so close to finishing that novel, too. After the trip, I couldn’t much recall anything. Sitting up on my bed, I realized how severely my memory had been affected. I wondered what had happened to me. Obviously something serious, if I had lost track of what had happened between October of 2015 and now, whenever now was. I walked over to the calendar, teetering a bit as I tried to regain my balance. When I reached the calendar, my balance disappeared as I fell to the floor. My wife had been a stickler about keeping time organized, even in the state our country was in. As such, she had been kind enough to cross out the year 2015 on the top. Next to it, written in faded black ink, was 2020. I came to terms with the shock. And as I stood up and leaned against the wall, I realized I had slept away five years of my life.

            Though in shock, I still attempted to create a scenario in my mind that would make at least a bit of sense in explaining my coma. Was it due to medical issues? After all, I had been suffering from chronic headaches just before the trip to Royal Creek. The possibility I was hit on the head wasn’t likely, especially since I couldn’t imagine what force would cause me to pass out for five years. I paced around the room for hours, coming to no conclusions, only possibilities. I took one more longing stare at the note left for me by my wife. I had to concentrate on finding her, not dwell over the trivial cause of my coma. I packed up everything I needed in a backpack: food, water, and other supplies. A machete given to me by my father. A 1911 pistol, one that I had acquired a certain skillset to use it with the upmost proficiency.

 I said a silent goodbye to our home and was about to walk out the door when a certain worry interrupted my pace. Azura mentioned the Blind. The representatives said Blind Psychosis was a disease, an aftermath of the Flash that caused the evacuations. One of the only things about the Flash I can recall is the panic. When the government released the information about the Flash, the fact that those left outside were rendered blind and stricken with a neurotoxic reaction in their brains that makes them “rage” whenever feelings of anger or depression rise up, had us all clamoring for safety in the little tents and shacks we were put in. My wife and I, along with some friends, were lucky enough to be placed in the same shack as a Colonel in the military. I forget his name. But I can’t forget how he helped us; how he told us that everything would work out somehow.

This must have been what Azura was talking about in the letter. The Blind has to be a new term for those unfortunate enough to be diagnosed with Blind Psychosis.

In that case, things still have yet to work out Colonel….

Episode I

Broadcast One. Date: November 22, 2020

For the case of unnecessary foreshadowing, no, I’m not going completely mad. Nor do I have a severe case of split personalities. This is real. Everything I tell you, from the sappy love story to the Death Kings and the toppled buildings, teeming with moss and creatures once foreign to our country, is reality.

This is real. We’ve got diseases so widespread in this “nation” that even our outdated architecture is infected. By “we”, of course I mean those of us who aren’t under protection of the government. Those of us who wander the streets looking for loved ones and meanings. Surely the technology the politicians spent billions of dollars on in order to make our buildings stand out from the rest of the world are protecting the luminescent noir metal of their superior structures from Aurorialis. Preventing them from catching a serious case of Old Fen’s Syndrome.

We used to create names of new diseases by combining the names of old ones, for fun. Diarrhea and Tourette syndrome. Diarettes.

Diarrhea and Schizophrenia. Shitsophrenia.

Now we live some of those sick, twisted ideas birthed in the minds of people who were too careful or too ignorant to pay attention to the major sickness. The Big Daddy. The Blind Psychosis. Yeah, I know it’s a stupid name, not to mention a lazy one. However, there’s no other way to describe it. If you want a rundown, here’s the short version:

Step 1. You’ve gone completely blind in the Flash. Thus, our noble friends in the White House have ordered you to be under quarantine until further notice.

Step 2. After experiencing the death of a loved one out in the Wastes, or not putting up with little Billy stealing all of your daughter’s rations, you’ve taken one of the officers in charge of your sector and twisted his arm until the joint popped loose. Then, you began to devour him, castrate him, et cetera. This, my friend, is your first reaction to the one and only symptom of Blind Psychosis. Rage. Specifically, rage of the uncontrollable, frighten-your-family-away-forever variety.

Step 3. After everything went to s**t after a few friends of yours murdered the warden of Quarantine City in cold blood, you and the majority of your diseased allies escaped into the Wastes, setting up communities of your own, partaking in combat training. Why the combat training? Because Big Brother will be looking for you, friend. No, it’s not fair. But they (the government we trust with all our hearts) remain to view you, along with all of your kind, as menaces to society. Yes, menaces, even though you haven’t been near a Safe Haven before. They think you are the entire cause of the problem. Not defective Death Kings. Not the rapidly changing weather. Surely not the fact that ever since you escaped the government has been in total collapse and ruin. But you. You and all of your poor, pitiful diseased friends. Thing is… some of you, the government is right about. The Rouge Blind.

If you follow all the criteria above, well, sadly you are the one thing I’ve no business with, out here in the Wastes. I have trouble identifying you as a regular, safe, relatively friendly Blind, or an anxious, drug addicted, permanently psycho-a*s Blind. “Why the trouble, Urban?” you would ask me in a passive-aggressive tone. And I would answer; because you two groups of Blind not only look the same, sound the same. But you also act the same. I’ve studied your behavior patterns through this part in my journey. You two aren’t as different as you probably thought. The Rouge Blind are only different because they’ve embraced their madness as some divine gift. Therefore, out of lacking simple common sense, they dine on human flesh. You don’t believe me, of course. But I’m no liar, and I certainly take note of whatever I see out here. A gentleman b*****d akin to myself becomes quite bored, quite quickly where I’ve ended up. Thus the studying of fellow human beings, like animals. I’m never proud of it. Never once have I patted myself on the back for a day’s research done well. However, I do believe it’ll make some difference when I get back to my wife. She’s a scientist, you see. She’s working on a cure, brilliant girl. God, I miss her…. Urban Strange, out.

End of Broadcast One.

 

The time is about 12:03 A.M. I’m around the desolate former town of Brennanburg, just outside of Springfield. At least, that’s what the map says. However, this damn thing is about 35 years old, torn and with pieces missing. So who knows if Springfield even exists anymore, or what people call it. One thing’s for sure, and that’s the (unfortunate) fact that I’m still wandering around in the Midwest. I know, of course, because the landscape is flat all around me. I know because, even in the post-apocalyptic wasteland some unlucky b******s like myself find ourselves in, there’s still jack s**t to do in the Midwest.

A fellow wanderer gave me the advice that led me here, landed me on the roof of a brick building that should’ve collapsed years ago but still manages to retain its old strength. I sit here, with night-vision binoculars and an M1911 pistol, cocked, loaded, and ready to fire on whoever pisses me off the most. This thing, this weapon, is my best friend. My partner-in-crime. I’ve had so much time with this in my hands that I truly believe I know it better than my own wife. In all honesty, it’s a damn shame it can’t speak.

Prone on the edge of the rooftop, my eyes begin to fail me, and their lids drop heavy and cumbersome on my vision and my conscious. I take another sip of the rain water gathered at the bottom of my canteen and hold it in my mouth for a few seconds before swallowing. I’ve fallen asleep during recon before, but never on a rooftop, which would be…fun. Thankfully, just as I start to waft off into another nightmare, something catches my eye. Reflected in the lens of the binoculars is a shadow of a man, shambling around the main street that connects all the downtown stores and restaurants. Recovering my gun from my side, I ensure the safety is off. Next comes my favorite part of the recon, the part that only an absolute idiot like me would be able to pull off. I line the man-shadow in my sights, finger on the trigger, and yell “Hey!”

Silence. Then the shadow turns around, facing me, and shouts back. “Who’s there? I…I can’t see you, who’s there?”

He sounds about middle-aged, with a gruff, gravely tone to his voice. I walk down the stairs I used in order to make my way up to the roof, sneaking towards the man, all the while his voice pounding into the air endless questions about my identity. Successfully, I make my way behind him, putting my gun to the back of his head and covering his mouth with my free hand. First question.

“Are you Blind? Answer me, quickly!”

Nervously, I take my hand away from his mouth at an angle so what he says is audible only to me. “Y…yes, yeah, I’m Blind. I’m Blind! Oh, God, please put the…the f*****g gun away man, please!”

Well, my hand is still attached to my arm, so that’s nice. One more thing….

“Show me your hands! Now! I said show me you f*****g hands!”

I’m such a kind, gentle man. Without speaking, and with my hand firmly stuck to his mouth, he outstretches his arms and extends his fingers. I’m checking to see if they shake or not, a side effect of cannibalism, and a symptom of Kuru, a disease characterized by “the shakes” and caused by consuming human flesh. I check his hands, carefully.

They shake. Violently.

I muttered “s**t” under my breath. This man must have heard it, because after I spoke, he elbowed me in the gut, sending me heaving over, clutching my stomach. I couldn’t see anything due to the darkness. But he could hear everything, smell everything. I felt a rush of air beside me, and my gun was knocked out of my hand and landed with a thump somewhere a few feet away. As I stood up, I barely made out a face about an inch in front of me, teeth decaying and mouth wide open in a howl. Sidestepping the figure, I pull out my machete from the sheath on my back, and tackle the shadow, now trying to sink its teeth into my arm. I grab his hair and pull, at the same time taking a swing with my machete. My hit landed the man square in the face, halving his head from the lower to the upper jaw, contorting his head into a grim sneer before his body went limp, collapsing on top of me.

I reached into my backpack and pulled out the familiar shape of a flashlight, turning it on and surveying the area. So far as I can see, there weren’t any more of them. Looking down at the newly slain corpse, I reached for the bandana around my neck and placed it around my nose and mouth, searching the body for anything valuable. Finding his wallet, I opened it. He died with two dollars to his name, Raymond K. Hessel. Well, Raymond, it was nice meeting you, although under different circumstances I believe our meeting would have been more sweet than sour. I had no more need for him, so I left him there until morning, when I could hopefully find some gas and matches to burn the body.

Morning came, and still not a lick of sleep. Treading tiredly through the town, I searched for gas and supplies. Thing is, both are rare, considering the government took everything and moved it to the Safe Havens and Cloud City. Thus, I only found a first aid kit and some canned soup. Raymond, have fun with the vultures. I took a quick glance at my watch. 10:00 A.M. On the date ticker it read: November 22, 2020.

 

Episode 2

Broadcast Two. Date: November 28, 2020

You come to terms with the fact that you’re standing in a room strewn with dead bodies, somebody’s limbs leaning against a wall, and you realize how twisted and disturbed the United States of America has become. After throwing up, feeling these poor souls for anything that’s valuable now, you try to come to terms with the fact that no one did this on purpose. Not one single person meant for this to happen, the murder, the carnage. But everyone knows who did it. This sorry sight of tangled parts was the work of the Death Kings, the hit squads sent out to gather the Blind for experimentation after the disease had wiped most of the population of America straight into Safe Havens. After fate had moved the luckiest into Cloud, above Chicago.

I haven’t seen a Death King in weeks. Not because the government recalled them, however. But because not one Death King has been “on duty” anywhere I’ve gone in the last few dozen days. The one I’ve seen, though…I shudder still at the thought of it. Yeah, I know. Call me an insensitive prick, but “it” is the only thing that’s still appropriate to call them. True, they were once men and women doing their job and protecting the people they love. But something changed in them. I guess they got used to killing any Blind that resisted…it’s the only explanation I’ve got. Dressed in black, like the badass hero from the movies, or the sexy chick every man has dreamt about, they now only perform their “duties” late at night, so no one can see them. The more I dwell on the thought, the more they look like the classic serial killer, the picturesque post-apocalyptic survivor, prepared for anything. Gas masks, black. Trench coats, black. Combat boots, black. Driving gloves, also black.

Black hoodie. Black jeans.

Black souls. Blank minds.

They are the true terror of the Wastes. Not the radical Blind, who will eat your flesh. Not the weather. The Death Kings. They are the true danger, the true entity resembling what should have never happened. Urban, out.

 End of Broadcast Two

 

It is nighttime. I can’t determine the exact time because my f*****g wristwatch gave up on our struggle to survive. Now my little group is made up of a lonely man searching for his wife, a rusted machete, and an M1911 pistol that may or may not jam at the exact moment it matters most. We’re a team, my weapons and I. Until I find my wife, until I can hold her in my arms again, these two are the only things I can trust. Not any strangers I meet on the road.

Not any town I happen to pass through on my way to the Safe Haven in Oregon.

Even the birds are corrupt.

As I make my way down a highway spanning several miles until the next exit, I come across a rest stop, a brick building surrounded by nature as it’s hugged by the road leading west. Thinking that I could use a nice long nap and a restroom break, I headed in the way of the building. Peering through the glass front, I could spot a bit of gore about five feet away from the entrance, splattered over the floor. Taking cautious steps, I silently unsheathe my machete and step inside. Strewn around the inside of the structure are welcome pamphlets and information about places to visit in…whatever state I’m in. Following the blood spatters, I arrive at the restroom. Perfect. Absolutely f*****g great, I think to myself as I enter this place, prepared to s**t my pants in two scenarios, both of them undesirable to what I was planning to do. Entering the restroom, I am greeted with a rustic and brutal sight. The tiles of the walls and floors of the room are messed with somebody’s gore. Stepping in further, I see a dead woman on the ground near the stall, her body emptied of most blood. Intestines were creeping out of her stomach, next to them a foreign object that had a shining gleam over its small frame. It was about the size of a baby.

The shock of seeing this poor woman sprawled on the floor of a restroom, parts of her littering the floor and walls of this hell on earth, made me go into a panic mode as I whipped out my pistol and took a stand in one corner of the room, near the sinks. Minutes passed. Hours, possibly. Leaning against the wall, I felt the blood dry onto my jacket. Tweed isn’t exactly the preferred fabric for soaking up someone’s blood, but it’ll have to do.

More minutes.

More hours.

I had dozed from sleep when I awoke to the sight, not of morning sun, but to a group of figures standing in a circle speaking to one another outside of the restroom. I recognized them, but made sure to keep silent, lest one of them sees that I’m still alive. These, I knew, were Death Kings. Instantly recognizable by their gothic-styled getup, I had learned to fear them a couple weeks prior to this moment, when I encountered a lone one in a grocery store located in a small town. These scars on my back remind me of him every day. However, it wasn’t the actual attack that had so much of an effect on me. Nor was it the foreboding style of dress.

It was the fact that he didn’t speak.

Whether out of choice was still to be determined. But as I removed the gas mask to take a final look at his face, still not a word was spoken. No emotion was to be seen on that man’s face…”at peace” isn’t the right phrase, but it’s the first phrase that comes to mind. Seeing him accept his death brought forth feelings of pity, of remorse for what I had to do. After I killed him, I took his dog tags, believing that I could possibly attach some personal thing to him, make the body I left behind more human. I found only the number 238 written on the tag. No name, no certain platoon. Just a number.

For me, the world we knew didn’t end with the Flash. It ended when men and women who volunteered to serve their friends and family were transformed into codes.

My mind wandered back and forth from that memory to this moment numerous times. Luckily, that distracted me from the danger just outside the restroom, and kept me still. I looked authentically dead. From a distance, anyway. The Death Kings probably though I had committed suicide, since I had my head slumped to one side and my pistol in my right hand. I didn’t know how long I could stay like this, though. If I tried to move, one of them would surely see me. And even if all of them had their backs turned, if I was gone from my original spot they would become suspicious. Due to the lack of options to retreat, I began surveying my chances of surviving a fight with all of them. As far as I could tell, there were about five of them, all well-armed. If I could pick them off individually I’d be in the clear. However, the fact that they always stay in one group makes it impossible for that plan to succeed. I couldn’t take them on all at once, either. I sat thinking about my situation for what seemed like 45 minutes when I noticed something that made me feel ill.

The Death Kings had all been standing in one spot of the lobby for this entire time. They occasionally moved around and made slight hand gestures when they seldom spoke to each other, but for the most part they remained in the same area. If this was a regular raid they would’ve been gone by now. It almost seemed like they were waiting for something. It finally hit me. They were waiting for me…they know I’m alive. Worse than that, they realize that I’ve been watching them.

I had no other options left, then. I had to fight my way out of this room and back onto the road. I sighed heavily. I knew full well how dangerous, let alone stupid, this was. Death was on my conscience, and was probably about to break its way into reality. My wife needed me, though. Right now, that was the only thing keeping me going, keeping me alive. I sighed, heavier this time, and each one of the Death Kings looked straight at me. I raised my head and looked back.

Getting up, I slowly placed my finger on the trigger of my pistol, while the Death Kings seemed to be doing the same. When I was up, I dashed to the wall opposite me as the black spaces of their masks followed me, along with a stream of bullets. I checked my safety and made sure my machete wouldn’t snag on its sheath when I inevitably pulled it out. The stream of ammo kept flying towards the wall, thinning it inch by inch until I was forced to move a few more feet towards the sinks in order to keep from getting shot through the tiles. For a split second, the firing stopped, and I heard the sound of magazines swiftly being exchanged for new ones. I made a dash for the lobby, shooting two of the Kings while I made my way for one of the pillars near the entrance to the building. I nearly made it, messily shooting backwards and putting a hole in the mask of one of the Kings, when I felt a sharp pain in the back of my thigh. Making a final jump behind the pillar, as the remaining four Kings sprinted towards me, I sprayed the mass of them with the last few bullets in my magazine before I landed hard on my side. Sitting down and putting my back on the pillar, I reloaded and leaned out from behind my cover. The Death Kings were all standing in one group, waiting for me to show my face. One of them saw the gleam of my eyes and fired a shot, which whizzed past me just millimeters away from my face. Closing my eyes in pain and fear, I fired blindly around the corner of the pillar until the last magazine I had left was empty. Throwing the gun aside, I unsheathed my machete, holding it with both hands as returning fire from the Kings rattled the pillar. I couldn’t wait until they came closer. I knew they would wait me out, realizing that I had to fall asleep. If I didn’t fall asleep, I was already close to dying of starvation…their options were limitless, while I had run out. I sent my love to my wife and took a breath, deep and satisfying.

I turned the corner. And I ran.

Holding my machete in one hand, I charged the Death Kings with all intentions of at least getting close enough to throw my weapon at them. But as I drew closer, I noticed that they had lowered their guns. My advance slowed until I came to a complete stop. From this distance, I could see red running down their necks. Then, these soldiers, these killers, dropped to their knees, their heads adorned with bloody gas masks tumbling off their shoulders and onto the floor. The four of them on their knees, decapitated, revealed a slender figure holding a samurai sword sparkling with blood. Too shocked to say anything, I stood there and stared instead. From this figure emitted a woman’s voice: “They look like a bunch of…contemporary sculptures, don’t you think?”

I stared. This woman came closer, with a stride that instilled confidence among her. She almost had an aura. “So…do you speak or what? ‘Cause if you don’t, we’ve nothing more to do here. And since my blade reaches farther than yours,” she giggles “well…I’ll probably be the one leaving this place.” I finally regain my composure and ask who she is.

“I’m nobody.”

I still stare. “You’ve got to be somebody. Nobody’s are difficult and boring. And,” I gesture at the group of headless bodies around us “you don’t seem very boring. Of course, you do happen to be a woman in the post-apocalypse carrying a samurai sword. So I could call you Cliché, but…that seems a bit cold.”

“Fine. Call me Elisa. I don’t suppose you have a name….”

I just fucked myself over. “Yeah…Urban. I suppose it’s…nice…to meet you.” God, this is awkward.

“Sure, whatever. I’ll decide whether I want to kill you later. For now, you’re out of ammo, tired, and have a bullet in your leg.” I completely forgot about that. “So, with how fantastic your situation happens to be, I guess you’re staying with me.”

“Alright, fine. Only if you’re going west, though. My wife’s at the Safe Haven in Oregon.” By this point I might as well tell her all about my feelings and f**k her. Already I’m giving out way too much information to the first stranger that hasn’t tried to kill me.

She gives me a sad look. “You sound like you don’t know.”

“Don’t know what?”

She hesitantly moves to the side, looking at the ground. “The Oregon Safe Haven…it’s gone.”

I feel a lump in my throat. My heat skips beats. “What do you mean ‘gone’?”

“I mean, the government moved everyone there to Cloud after it was overrun by Blind. I’m…I’m so sorry.”

Then I’m going to Cloud.

I stare at the ground for a few minutes. Then I say “Do you know how many people survived the Blind attack?”

“Less than half of the Haven. Don’t ask me for specific names, though. I heard only the largest details.”

“I’m…I’m going to Cloud, then.” What a great display of intelligence here.

Elisa looked shocked, and a bit offended. “Are you insane? You do know what Cloud is, right? The giant floating city about Chicago that not a single soul from the Wastes has ever been to? It’s impossible to get in without a security card for the guards on the ground entrance. And even if you did manage to get onto Cloud, what makes you think you’ll find your wife?”

“Yeah, I know. But…what do I have to lose? If I die along the way, at least I’ll die knowing that I made the effort to find her. And if I do see her, people live up on Cloud. Not like animals, like us. They have things from before the Flash, things that we haven’t seen in years.”

She moves closer. I look down and see a tiny photograph inset into a small pendant, a necklace. There are two women in the photo, one being Elisa. The other looks like the woman in the bathroom….She notices me looking. “The woman in the restroom is my sister…I’ve been planning to kill those b******s for a while now, but with you showing up and all….Thanks for making it easier, I guess.”

“I’m so sorry….”

“Don’t…its ok.” She looks around. “Hey, I know how you feel about your situation right now. I know you don’t trust me. And, frankly, I don’t trust you either. But we’re here now, and you’re injured badly. Before you set off for Cloud, you at least have to rest first. I know this means jack s**t, but I’ll watch over you while you recover. I don’t have anywhere to go now, anyway, nobody to see.”

My nerves become tighter, but I don’t have a choice. “Yeah, sure. Thanks.”

She sighs a heavy, high pitched sigh. “You’re welcome. For now, sit down. I’ll try and find some bandages and get that bullet out.”

Elisa left me on the floor of the rest stop and walked to the bathroom. Surrounded by the four corpses of the Death Lords, I began to feel dizzy, and my vision blurred. Before I blacked out, I thought of this mysterious woman who saved my life. She was quite attractive, that was for sure. With long, raven black hair and the flawless figure she had, I was reminded of my wife. Both of their faces, ageless, made you feel relaxed. Like everything was going to turn out alright.

Before I lost consciousness, I witnessed her rushing to my side, a look compressing deep longing and panic in her brown eyes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2013 Trance


Author's Note

Trance
This is a work in progress. Everything you see is subject to change.

My Review

Would you like to review this Story?
Login | Register




Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Stats

99 Views
Added on January 11, 2013
Last Updated on January 11, 2013
Tags: post-apocalyptic, suspense, thriller

Author

Trance
Trance

About
I write. I like cats. I enjoy sharp things. I am funny. more..