She turned over in her sleep, her body twisting so that her face was tilted upward. She was breathing easily and steadily when a large drop of water fell from above and plopped itself directly on her nose. She woke up instantly, confused and unsure of where she was. Only a few inches away from her face were old boards that were wet from the dripping water. She lifted her head up off the crumbling concrete floor to peer through one of the cracks. Up above her there was an old and rusted ceiling with its support beams bending at unnatural angles. Water was dripping from it, and the room was filled with the sound of the drops hitting the floors. Below the ceiling, there was a long line of windows. Most of them had been knocked out somehow and had sharp bits still sticking up. Another drop hit the board above her.
She pulled her head back and rested it on the dusty ground. Moving her right hand in the dimness, she searched the space around her. Sandwiched on either side of her were bits of impenetrable rubble. Right at the top of her head was a gigantic chunk of metal that if moved could possibly fall and crush her. She moved her feet and using the exposed toes of her flip-flops to find a hole to escape from. She found one and using her palms she very gingerly slid herself down towards it. Feeling with her feet, she searched for the end of the small passageway. It was frightening to see herself passing under all the debris, knowing full well that at any moment its might collapse on her.
Finally her toes felt the soft breeze of the outside air. Quickly she gave herself one final shove and she was lying on her back staring up at the whole ceiling. Pushing herself up with her palms, she sat up and looked around at her surroundings. The place was a wreck, with piles of rubbles scattered all around the decaying floor. When she breathed in, a smoky gas filled her lungs, making her cough. She pulled her legs up into a squat, but immediately her knees buckled and she fell down hard on the cement. She tried again, but to no avail. Her legs were numb, kind of like when a person cuts off the circulation to them for a while.
Leaning forward she rested her hands on the floor and began to crawl, careful to avoid the bits of glass and shrapnel strewn everywhere. The room was far larger than it had seemed from where she was before. It was some sort of warehouse and it still had a few shipping containers left. The closer she got to the end of the building, the stronger the strong the smell of smoke was.
She carefully skirted her way around bits of rubble until she came to a wide-open area. On the floor in front of her was a rather large puddle. A drop fell from the ceiling above and landed in it with a soft plop. Upon hearing this she felt her mouth go dry and she became unbearable thirsty. Crawling to it a fast as she could, she leaned over puddle and cupped her hands. She filled them with the surprisingly clear water and gulped it down. She kept doing this until her thirst was entirely satisfied. The puddle had shrunk back down into a deep dip in the concrete.
She moved her head up to cover the puddle and stared back at the girl she saw before her. She had shaggy dark brown hair pulled back into a messy ponytail at the nape of her neck. Her face was dirty and streaked with ash. Right at the hairline there was a big bloody scab that had dripped blood down the side of her head. She had two amazing green eyes that glittered even in the low light that the warehouse provided. They seemed almost luminous and were made up of rings that faded from bright green to a blackish center. She looked at her and knew that it was her reflection staring back at her, but there was nothing familiar about her at all. She could not recognize her own face.
She turned away from the puddle, both confused and intrigued by her discovery. She shrugged and crawled away from the puddle, deciding to deal with this at another time. She crawled over to one of the shipping containers and leaned on it. Using her legs, she pushed her upper body towards the top and grabbed a hold of a metal bar wrapping the container. Her legs began to get that pins and needle feeling that they usually get when your leg falls asleep. She slowly eased her weight off of the container and onto her legs. They were still quite wobbly and tired, but she managed to stay upright. She paused for a little while before putting all her weight on one foot. Her knees threatened to buckle, but she still didn’t fall. She set that one down and shifted her weight. She repeated this in place for a couple of times until she started forward. She teetered like she was a baby just learning how to walk across their parent’s floor. Soon, her legs got the hang of it and she was moving pretty well across the floor.
She carefully avoided rocks and pipes as she walked and she found that she didn’t have to swing her arms so hard to keep her balance. She was making her way towards the end of the warehouse when she noticed that the debris here were not from the ceiling collapsing, but from a fire. Ashes were scattered all along the floor and large parts of the floor and the wall had charred marks still left on them. The smell of burning still resonated strongly here and she had covered her mouth to keep from coughing.
She had trudged her way over to tall pile of debris and charred remains of wood. She could see the glow of the doors, which would be her exit from this place. The piled in front of her, however, was a gigantic one. She would have to scale this one. She reached her hand up and curled it around a downed metal beam that looked secure and dragged herself upward. Screws in the wood and other bits of metal scrapped her skin, but she didn’t even notice because she was to busy trying to get up before the metal was yanked free.
Finally, she was on top of the pile and balancing on a large, flat piece of metal. She could now she the door, but getting down would be more precarious than getting up. Glass and shrapnel stuck up in large angry spikes all along the slope down. Figuring it was her best option, she carefully squatted down and readied herself to make a jump for the door. Quickly she pushed off with all of her force, but at the last second her piece of metal tipped backward and she fell at the bottom of the pile onto her back. Glass and metal slashed and her shirt and exposed skin, and a few dug deep into her flesh. Her teeth smacked together from the jarring impact and she bit off a piece of her tongue. Blood filled her mouth and she started wheezing because the breath was knocked out of her. She thought that she would cry out in pain, so she pressed her lips together and only let a small moan escape. Carefully placing her hands on either side of her body and pushed hard to rip the metal pieces and right back out again. Pain erupted up her back and she could feel the hot blood dripping quickly down onto the floor. Her white shirt blossomed with the blood and her knees buckled.
She knelt there for a while in pain, waiting to get her bearings before moving forward. She felt her injuries with her hand. The bleeding in her back had ceased, but it still hurt pretty badly. She knew that she couldn’t stay here though. The building was not safe from anything. Putting her pain aside, she stood up straight and tall. She walked toward the rusted doors that would be her ticket to the outside world.
She cautiously stuck her head out of the building and looked around at the area in front of her. It looked like a courtyard of some sorts with tall, crumbling factories surrounding it. Tall black smokestacks rose from the one, but a sweeping ivy had already begun to cover it up. The buildings had been charred like hers, and trash was strewn all over the ground. It didn’t appear that anything had set foot here for a long time. She stepped out in the cloudy light and looked around at the darkened windows, which seemed to stare menacingly at her. She walked through the empty courtyard, peering cautiously around as she stepped on the weeds that were overtaking the concrete. By a guess, she chose one of the long alleyways and hope it would lead her to some sort of road. The road would take her to civilization where she could safely treat her wounds.
As she walked down the dim alley, she steered clear of the rusted doorways and dumpster just in case something sinister lurked inside. She really had nothing to defend herself with except for her hands. And she wasn’t even sure how to fight. She stopped where she was, lost in thought. Or rather lack of thought. She had no idea how to fight. Or how to get food. Or find people. Or how to survive. So far, everything she had done was by pure instinct. She really had no idea how to do anything. She thought as hard as she could, trying to remember who she was and where she came from. All that came up in her mind was pure blackness. She tried so hard, but the first thing in her memory was waking up in the warehouse. Nothing about her family or other people. It was as if she had just appeared out of nowhere.
She was still shaken by this but she had to keep moving. She was going to survive, or she was going to die trying. At that meant moving on and getting medical supplies. She continued down the alley running her finger along the decaying bricked and the smooth ivy leaves that laced up the walls. Shattered glass crunched under her feet and she winced at the loud sound that was created when she accidentally kicked a metal pipe across the ground. If there was anything that was in the factories, it was now aware of her presence. It was the best time to high tail it out of there.
She finally reached the end of the alley and ended up sandwiched between two loading docks. A rusted semi was parked in the dock of the factory on the right and another was left on the street with the doors flung wide open. She stepped a few paces closer to that one, but she looked away. The windshield and the rest of the interior had dried blood smeared everywhere. She turned away from the rusted truck and started down the street in the opposite direction. She walked down the middle of the street, but she had a feeling that she shouldn’t do this. It made no sense to her, so she shrugged it off. She scanned the vacant factories and looked and their sad decaying forms in the cloudy afternoon light. A cool breeze hipped through, blowing her shaggy brown side bangs in her face and for a few seconds hiding all the destruction from her view.
She walked for a while down the dirty street, passing garbage and ashes from the burnt out buildings. She knew that here had to be some sort of store somewhere around here, but it really could be anywhere among the maze of vacant industrial buildings. She refused to give up, however, and continued to keep moving along. Soon, the industrial buildings grew smaller and further apart from on another and that led her to believe that she was leaving the area.
At last, she reached a sign that said WELCOME TO MAIN STREET in black painted letters. She walked past there and looked down at the rows of shops that lined either side of the street. It was a rather unimpressive place, and she could easily see the end of the “main street”.
She started down the slight slope and looked around. The shops windows had been smashed out and ransacked. Up above each of the shops were living quarters for the shopkeepers, and many of the windows were flung open with their curtains flapping in the breeze. A neon sign hung in the window of the first shop on the left proclaiming that it was a doctors office. She walked over to the shop and peered in its smashed windows. The waiting room was dark, with only the front to let in light. Papers were strewn all along the floor and a thick layer of dust had coated everything.
She turned away from the window and cautiously entered through the front door. She winced as the little bell rang out to alert her presence to anyone inside. She careful crept across the carpeted waiting room to get to the wooden door that would contain the examination rooms. She careful pulled on the handle and quickly swung the door open, ready to face her attacker. Nothing. She was along in the dark hall. There were two exam rooms right across from each other, two offices and a supply room in the hallway. She chose the room on the right and set to work searching the cabinets. She found a bottle of antiseptic, some cotton balls, and a box full of various bandages. She seated herself on the exam table with her back facing the full-length mirror. She gingerly pulled her tattered tank to up over her head and tossed it one the floor near the table. She lifted up another handheld mirror so she could view her back without twisting around. Her skin was a tangled mess of and red scratches. Thankfully no pieces appeared to be still stuck in her back.
She poured antiseptic on to a couple of cotton balls and began to rub them on the scratches. She hissed in pain as they foamed up and started to drip it down her back. After a while the foaming ceased and she began to bandage them as best she could. When she was finished, her back was a mass of bandages, going in all sorts of crazy directions. She also cleaned the wound on her head and bandaged that as well. She dropped the mirror on the exam table and bent over to get her bloody shirt. Just as her hand curled around the edge of it, a loud bang echoed through the building.
She froze where she was and waited; her eyes open wide with fear. Then there was another bang, louder, and it was accompanied by the sound of wood cracking and snapping. She heard something smash hard against the wall, and the sound of it vibrating back and forth. That snapped her out of her paralysis and she quickly pulled on her shirt and prepared to leave when she heard footsteps in the hall.
She darted forward and pressed herself to one side of the doorframe. Cautiously, she peeked her head out the door. Down the hall on the opposite side as hers the door was flung wide. She could see a shadow moving about quickly and franticly, tearing open cabinet and pulling out their contents. Fear bubbled up inside of her, but also hope. She wasn’t alone in this world, and this could be a person she could talk to and trust. Happy daydreams about the stranger flooded her mind until she pulled herself out of it. She could trust nothing in this world but herself. When she woke up, she was alone and she had to make it here by herself. There was no way that she was going to bet something on a complete stranger.
While she was thinking somehow her subconscious turned against her and a low note escape from her lips. The shadow froze where it was. Paralyzed with fear she stood there stupidly, trying to figure out how this had happened. She only had a second to react before the person had sprinted down the hall at her. She cried out and withdrew away from them and they crashed into exam table and fell to the floor. The person rolled over to face her and she saw a glimmer of metal arcing down towards her. At the last second, she slid to her side and the sharp blade grazed her ribs.
She kicked him as hard a possibly with her legs and twisted away from them. She felt around in the dimness with her free hand and it curled around something solid. She grabbed it just as the rose above her ready to strike again at her. She swung the object at the person with and her might and felt a swell of satisfaction as they screamed out and fell limp beside her. She kicked the person away from her and yanked the knife out of his hands and tossing it aside.
She felt like crying and running away in hysterics but she calmed herself. She had to think rationally now, even though the adrenaline pumping through her veins made that exceedingly difficult. When she was ready she turned over her unconscious attacker and studied them. The person was indeed masculine, but his face was now smash and broken. Blood was rapidly flowing down from his shattered nose and his face had bits of whatever she had hit him with still embedded in it. His teeth were really long and stuck out over his lips. She knew this wasn’t normal, but she had no idea how this could be. She dropped his head on the floor and looked for the object that she had used to smash his face. Lying just a few inches away from him was the hand held mirror, which was now shattered and bloody. Break a mirror, and its seven years of bad luck she thought. Isn’t getting on broken on your face bad enough? She giggled a little at this and it brightened her mood. For a young girl, she was pretty awesome at surviving.
She reasoned that there was no way that she was going to take the chance of this man following here, so she took off his belt and tightly tied him to the exam table. She took off his shoes and resolved to put them somewhere so he wouldn’t be able to find them. It would be hard to chase her down the glass-strewn streets with bare feet. She rifled through his pocket and found nothing useful except for a flashlight. She took it, and also his knife, and left the room.
Walking slowly, she made her way down the hall to the supplies room on the left. The man had come here to steal various medical supplies and had filled a backpack full of everything in the storeroom. She added her bottle of antiseptic and more bandages. She placed the knife in one side pocket and the flashlight in the other. On the bottom shelf, the people who worked here left boxes full of snacks and bottled water. She filled the rest of the bag with these supplies. She then zipped up the bag, slung it over one shoulder, and exited out the back door.
She made her way back to the main street and was walking alongside the dim shops and rusted cars when she found what she was looking for. A sign hung above the sidewalk saying DOTS, sporting an image of a green button. She turned and walked into the clothing store. It was musty inside and the carpet sent up puffs of dust into the air. The racks had been left they were and somehow the front windows of the shop were not broken. This gave the shop and even creepier atmosphere because the only sound in the shop was her breathing. Walking quickly, she went over to the first clothing rack and picked up a green army jacket and jeans. She also picked out a green tank top.
She walked to the back of the store where the shoe section was. Her eyes were immediately drawn to a pair of pink sneakers made of canvas. She held out a hand to touch them, and she felt a familiar feeling as she held them. There was a tingle at the back of her mind, like the tingle that you feel when you leg wakes up after falling asleep. Right beside the shoes were a pair of practical black boots that would suit her purposed far better than the flimsy canvas ones. She picked up both and looked at them side by side. Shrugging, she tossed the canvas ones back on the shelf. The tingly feeling stopped.
The girl shed her green shorts and tattered tank and pulled on the clean clothes that she had chosen for herself. She put on the black boots on and went to look at herself in the mirror. She could now recognize herself, but only from the time she saw herself in the puddle. She looked pretty awesome with her new clothes, and now she would have more protection against all the debris lying around. She turned away from the dusty mirror and headed out of the store.
The girl walked back down the street to the edge of town. It was almost nightfall, and it would be long before she wouldn’t be able to see anything at all. She needed somewhere safe to rest. The small town had that man who may try to attack her again, so she could stay there. Her only option was to leave.
The road in front of her was lined with trees all along it and it looked like a small residential area for the factory workers. She passed by the vacant houses that might have once had happy families living in them, playing in the yard, laughing at the dinner table, and even going for walks in the hot summer. Now it was only her that passed by them, all alone, to look at their sad decaying forms. Nature had begun to take them over, with plants climbing up the side and the wooden porches rotting away. It was beautiful and sad all at the same time.
Distracted by these thoughts, she didn’t hear it before it was too late. Be hind her, she heard a low growling noise. She froze midstep and slowly began to turn around. Behind her stood a big brown dog with its head bent low staring at her. Its skin was pulled tight over its ribs and it was smeared with dirt. White foam dripped from its mouth and its body was twisted around in an unnatural disturbing way. Its teeth were so long that it looked more like a saber tooth tiger. Its tail was cover in long thin spines that stuck up straight. She stared at it, paralyzed with fear. Unsure of what to do, she slow put one foot behind her and attempted to move backward. Little by little she shuffled backward until her leg hit something hard. It knocked her off balance and she fell down to see the rusted tricycle rolled off to the side. When her turned back up again, the dog when upon her, lunging at her throat. She lifted her legs up and hit the dog in the belly, knocking the wind out of it.
Rolling up onto her feet, she drew her knife out of her pocket just as the dog came at her again. It hit her square in the legs, forcing her to stumble backward. The knife slipped out of her hand and skittered away. The beastly dog stared at her with its crazed eyes, preparing to rush at her again when a shot rang out on the street. She turned her head to the left and saw a blonde haired girl with a black scarf tied over her nose and mouth pointing a gun at her. The dog cowered from the shot, for she had grazed its back with her bullet. The girl motioned for her once with a black-gloved hand for her to come.
She had to make a choice now before the dog attacked again. She had to either trust the blonde girl to save or take her chances with the dog. She took one last look at the dog before turning towards the other girl. Together, they ran towards her running motorcycle. She placed her hands around the blonde girl’s waist and held on tight and together they rode away from the little town to an unknown destination.
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