Survival: The Beginning
My name is Bryan Kirkland. I am a former Marine, and I am here to tell you we are in trouble.
The war had been over for ten years. Ten long bitter years of recovery.
The United States, North Korea, and Russia had finally went ahead and did what the world feared most and that was massive destruction.
If you look around, you would think you were hurtled back into the past at least a good thousand years, maybe more.
Gone are the tall skyscrapers that once reached up and touched the sky. Gone, are the quaint houses in suburbs with the friendly, and not so friendly neighbors.
Gas refineries exploded, sending massive, sweeping fires for hundreds of miles, decimating everything in its path like molten lava. Earthquakes erupted, opening the ground to swallow hole anything within its grasp.
Highways are torn into rubble; cars are littered everywhere you turn. Airports are a shambles. Train stations, shut down. Ships? There are none. It’s all gone. Basically the only transportation is either a bicycle or your feet.
2024 was to have been a very good year for many people, since that was the year the final vaccines for Covid were handed out and had finally made us immune to a disease that killed over two-million people here and nearly thirty-million worldwide. We were finally on track to going back to business as usual. Things were starting to look good again. Instead, it became a nightmare come to life.
The business as usual has come down to survival and regaining a new purpose for our lives.
Power supplies at best are still minimal but there are people working on that. Water supplies though are difficult. All the water needs to be boiled first, strained, and then boiled again, to insure there are no contaminants floating around. Even then, what few people I now know, like me, they do it a third time just to make sure. The difficulty here; it takes five gallons of water just to have two liters.
The other problem is food. Meat is no longer an option as all the animals that once roamed the world are extinct, or so I would imagine, since there aren’t any here, except for the fish, but they too are contaminated. In order to eat fish, you have to cook it until it is burnt, and the taste is putrid when you get right down to it.
Because of this; a hybrid growth system was eventually put in place. Mostly vegetables and fruit, but enough were built to sustain life. That took some doing, but eventually over a hundred were built. At least no one goes hungry.
The big thing though, is communication. Not the one-on-one but the communicating by phone and Internet. With the satellite systems down, the way things were done in the past is just not doable.
Even regular phone systems are at a proverbial standstill without power and the satellites. If you were one of the lucky ones to be able to beg, borrow or steal a walkie-talkie and had battery packs that still worked, you were okay except for the fact the range in order to communicate was limited. I found a ham radio and tried to reach someone, anyone, anywhere, and no luck. Nothing but dead air. No electricity, no satellite systems to work off of, makes that a no option deal.
Funerals have been quick. Dig a hole, place a wrapped body in the hole and cover the person up. Say a few words and move on. Sounds cold and heartless but the truth is; everyone, including me, mourn every damn day for the loss of a life. The elaborate funerals are a thing of the past. We just move on and keep our feelings to ourselves.
But even all of this isn’t as bad as the rest.
Hospitals, what few there are, are unable to function without electricity and I was told it could be at least another six months before electric power grids would be fully operational. More people would die needlessly until that could be worked out. Medicines that people need are just not available, or the drugs that take an inordinate amount of time to create.
What few medical specialists there were, were also working on something just as vital as human life, and that was the continuation of life itself. Women can no longer give birth without hemorrhaging and dying, and the babies never survive. No one has given this a specific name as yet, but without the ability to procreate life, humanity will eventually cease to exist.
But we are rebuilding. Not the fancy million dollar homes, but at least they are livable. Carpenters and other workers, work side by side, creating new structures to live in and survive the harsh winters, rains and even hurricanes and tornados. The weather has no clue what happened, so it just keeps on rolling along.
We were lucky though. The fallout from the explosions didn’t leave too much in the way of acidic rainfall and disease, other than constantly purifying the water. Of course when this first happened, the initial fallout from the radiation killed millions of people I suspect. Those of us indoors were able to find some protection, some shelter. Others were crushed from falling buildings, earthquakes, fires and so on.
I wish I could say I knew what the rest of the world is doing, but I can’t. I can only account for the nearly 2,000 people that once boasted a population of nearly nine million are doing. Surviving. L.A. is a city buried in ashes.
Last week, thirteen people managed to find their way here from the north. They told several people that San Francisco is under water and that they barely escaped in time. They said they left there about a year ago, hoping to find other people alive, which they hadn’t and followed what roads they could or trekking through wooded areas to avoid massive sinkholes in the ground.
This whole thing is a mess.
What’s more—even after all of this, there were groups of marauding bands running around, openly stealing what supplies they could and killing people who stood in their way. After all we went through, you would think they would want to band together, but their leader or boss or whatever he is called, Lionel Banks, is an evil, twisted man. Seems his calling card when people are killed is to burn a set of twin snakes into their bodies. He is a twisted son of a bitch.
A few weeks ago, about twenty people came to me asking for help. They wanted leadership, and since I was in the service they felt I was the best option. Granted, I know what to do when a situation came up, but this was a new breed of dog we were up against, but I agreed.
After a few days of them coming to me, I spent time looking for something, anything to give us some kind of protection and I finally found a badly damaged Dick’s Sporting Goods store and a Walmart in just as bad of shape. Rummaging around, I came up with two dozen rifles and twelve handguns that were workable, and a good two dozen throwing knives; the kind that when they hit the target, it’s lights out. Shells were doable. It was a start. The big question was—would it be enough?
I came across a woman named Leila Espion. Fairly attractive, but with rugged looks all the same. Guess when the end of the world hits you in the ass, it changes us all. But she appears to be a good woman and a police officer; or was. I asked her if she would like to work with me to keep some sort of civility in place and she agreed.
At right around 5’6” and maybe 140, with short jet-black hair, her green eyes relayed to me she wasn’t afraid of taking on the responsibility and would help me put some plans in place of which I really didn’t have a plan but was working on one.
I later called for a meeting of several neighborhoods that were rebuilding to discuss and hopefully find a solution to stop Banks and his men—somehow.
On top of this, we have to face another war, one that either keeps humankind alive, or, one day one of us wakes up and realizes we are the last person left alive. And I’m betting that Lionel Banks wants to be that person.
Not on my watch.
If by chance you missed the Introduction: