The Fire of DC

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
She goes to sleep in the year 2030 in a cry tube for a military experiment that was only supposed to last 2 years. 300 years later she wakes up and has to survive in a world she doesn't know anymore. On her journey, she meets two children who are part of a caravan seeking salvation, and soon finds herself fighting for her survival, and the people she so desperately wants to protect.

Submitted: July 03, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: July 03, 2017







September 4, 2030ID: 85748864-19


Washington DC


SUBJECT: 28-year-old female

AFFILIATION: Marines - Staff Sergeant (E6)

MARITAL STATUS: Married - No children

PARTICIPATION: Military experiment regarding effects of

cryogenics on the body and mind as well as the effects of serum given at the start of the experiment. Subject volunteered to participate. Subject will be cryogenically frozen for a period of 2 years. Upon success, participant will receive 6 months leave as compensation for time spent, a substantial pay raise, and pride in helping America’s Marine Corps advancing in soldier enhancement. Experiment set to start at 0400 Monday September 20, 2030.



I hereby agree to the terms of the experiment and will not hold Cryo-Labs responsible for any injury. I am here on my own volition.  















Sunday, September 19, 2030

Tomorrow I will be participating in this crazy experiment. They’re gonna put me in a cryo-tube and freeze me for 2 years. I’m a little nervous. Scratch that, I’m REALLY nervous, but I just have to keep telling myself that it’s worth it. Alex isn’t happy with it but I spoke to him about it and explained that the benefits totally outweigh the costs. I think I’m still trying to convince myself, as well as him. Yea, it’s 2 years, but then I get 6 months off and a HUGE pay raise!! With this extra money, and time off, we’ve talked about finally trying to have a child! All I’ve ever wanted, besides serving my country, is to be a mom! There’s just something about looking down at a living breathing piece of yourself.

Anyways, I’ll write more about that when I wake up in 2 years. Until then, see ya Washington! Don’t go changing too much!



It’s the year 2030, Washington DC on a crisp September morning at 4 am. She walks out of her house, hand-in-hand with her husband. The gentle breeze dances with the wind chimes creating a soothing harmony. A black SUV, with tinted windows, pulls up to the curb; a government vehicle. She nervously squeezes her husband’s hand as the passenger door opens. A tall man in a black suit and earpiece steps out and, without a word, opens the back door.

“They sent an agent?” her husband asks. He turns to her and looks her right in the eyes, taking her face in his hands, gently rubbing her cheek with his thumb. “You ready?”

She takes a deep breath and nods her head and they step forward into the SUV. For the entire ride, no words were spoken. The tension in the air could have been cut with a knife. Through the tunnel and into the city, past the monuments, the SUV was the only car on the road.

“They must have closed the roads” she says.

“I’m guessing they want to make sure you get there in one piece so as not to mess with the results” her husband replies, shrugging his shoulders.

“But they do a full physical right beforehand to document any previous illnesses or anything like that.”

“We’re here” says the agent.

The sun is just starting to rise, casting a glare on the car window. She rolls down the window to get a better look at the facility. The outside is an inconspicuous pale white color; anonymous to outsiders. There are small windows, set about 10 feet apart on the second and third floor. The front door is heavily guarded on the inside. It opens up to a grand marble-floored lobby with a security desk centered between two large staircases. Their footsteps echo as they walk up to the security desk. The agent flashes a badge and the security guard pushes a button beneath the desk, opening up an otherwise invisible door directly behind him. She and her husband look at each other, fear flashing momentarily in her eyes.

“Follow me” the agent cays coldly. Through the door they are met with a metal spiral staircase. Cobwebs and dust have collected in the corners of the small room.

“Why the scenic route?” her husband asks sarcastically.

“This way is the most secure, the safest, and the quickest way to get there” the agent replies. “Now hurry up, they’re waiting.”

“This place looks like it will outlive the nuclear holocaust” her husband says jokingly. The walls are a cold mixture of stone and steel.

They walk for what seems like forever until they get up to a door similar to those in bank vaults. It surprisingly opens easily and they step into an all-white room with computers, control desks, a single window on the south wall, and a cryo-tube. Her eyes skip all the clutter and focus in on the tube; her home for the next two years. A woman in a white lab coat walks up to her and juts out her hand.

“Good morning, I’m Doctor Lively and I’ll be doing your physical before we get started.”

“Do we have to do that now? This is all kind of…” she trails off as she takes in the scene in front of her, ignoring the woman’s hand.

“It can be a little overwhelming, I know. But, unfortunately, we are on a tight schedule.” Doctor Lively hands her a hospital gown and points the way to the “exam room”, which is just a simple divider with a table on the other side.

Twenty minutes later the exam is done and she is getting ready to get started. Doctor Lively injects her with a light auburn colored serum.

“What is that?”

“It’s a special serum that will affect some aspects of your body. For now, it is a need-to-know basis and you will be debriefed once the experiment is over. Don’t worry, it’s harmless, it won’t hurt you.”

“Sure...umm, okay” she says reluctantly.

“There’s no turning back now” her husband says as he walks up to her. “Don’t worry, I’ll be here when you wake up.” He takes her in his arms and hugs her tight. She buries her head in his shoulder, taking all of him in; his touch, his smell, the way he makes her feel. A lump begins to form in her throat as her eyes start to water. She can’t let him see her cry.

“I’m the one who volunteered for this, nobody is making me do this” she says to herself. “It’s only 2 years, not forever.”

“I love you” he whispers in her ear.

“I love you much!” She squeezes him tighter.

“It’s time” Doctor lively says softly.

Her husband nods in acknowledgement and gently pushes her back so he can see her face. “I promise I’ll be here. I know the date and time. Just think, you’re taking the short time around. You’re not going to know the meaning of time. You’ll close your eyes here in 2030 and open them moments later in 2032.” He smiles at her and gives her one more kiss, soft and sensual. She gives him one more smile and walks towards the cryo-tube. Her heart is pounding in her chest and her hands are shaking. She steps in. The tempered glass door closes silently and she can see her husband, the love of her life, through the glass. A gas starts to fill the tube, icy against her warm flushed skin. Her vision starts to go blurry and hazy, her eyelids getting heavy. The tube starts to fall back, parallel to the floor. She lets herself sink into the cushion. Her husband’s face appears one last time above her. She puts her hand on the now frosted glass, wanting to touch him one last time. He smiles at her and blows her a kiss - the last thing she sees before sleep overcomes her.





A whooshing sound, like and air valve leaking, can be heard faintly. She opens her eyes and a sudden wave of dizziness takes over. She struggles to breath in the stuffy tube. She frantically pushes and kicks at the door, desperately craving some air. The door falls to the side and the cool air hits her face. She closes her eyes and takes the deepest breath possible, trying to remember where she is and what happened. Pushing herself up with shaky arms, she takes in the scene before her.

“What the…”

The small window on the south wall is broken, littering the floor with glass shards.

“What the hell happened” she asks herself as she slowly walks through the debris. Standing in the middle of the room, she looks around. The room is filled with shadows. The only bit of light is from the window. A noise snaps her attention off the room. She walks slowly towards the sound, careful not to step on the broken glass. The decrepit floor is cold beneath her bare feet. Another noise stops her dead in her tracks.

“Wh... who is that?” she asks with a shaky voice. She can hear faint whispers behind the vault style door. She takes another step forward, kicking an empty can over, sending it clattering across the floor. She winces at the sound, her heart skipping a beat.

“Shhh! She’s getting closer” the voice says.

“Who are you?!” she asks with a little more confidence. Out of the shadows cast by the vault door a meek, little girl steps out. Her face is covered in dirt, clothes torn and much too big for her. She couldn’t be more than 10 years old. An older boy, about 14 or 15, steps out behind the little girl. They look like brother and sister. Both with brown hair and striking blue eyes. The boy pulls the little girl behind him protectively and reveals a small pistol.

“Whoa kid! What’s going on?” She puts her hands up to show that she has no weapon.

“Who are you?” he asks, still pointing the gun at her. She tries to remember her name but...nothing. “Who are you?” he asks again, this time more forcefully.

“I... I’m not sure. I don’t remember” she spits out. Her head is pounding. She can hear her blood rushing in her ears. The pain causes her to drop to her knees, covering her head with her hands.

“What’s wrong with her?” the little girl innocently asks.

“I don’t know, but we need to get back” the boy replies, taking the little girl by the arm.

“Wait! Please...tell me what’s going on? What happened here?” She gets up on shaky legs. “I have no idea...this is 2032...right?”

The boy laughs condescendingly. “Where have you been? Its 2330.”

“It can’t be. I was scheduled to wake up in 2032. That was the plan. No earlier, no later.”

“Look, lady, I’m sorry your plan didn’t go as planned, but me and my sister have to go. Good luck.” The boy pulls his sister by the arm through the door

“Kid, wait!” She gets up and, on not so steady legs, goes after them. Through the vault door and down the spiral staircase and out of the facility. The sun blinds her and she drops to the ground. Once her eyes adjust to the light, the scene before her brings tears to her eyes.

“It’s gone…. it’s all gone” she says to herself. The once great city of DC is now a pile of rubble, resembling Chernobyl. The power line poles that are still standing are tilted, straining on the earth that holds them. Skeletons of cars can be seen for miles. She looks behind her at the facility, her heart dropping in her chest. The entire north side is gone, reduced to piles of brick, cement, and bones of steel beams.

A caravan of people come into view down what used to be Constitution Ave. The two kids she met earlier are running towards them, the little girl looking back. She sits on the steps of the cryogenics facility, trying to remember. In her mind, she can see a man’s face, blurry and distorted. She feels something in her chest and lets out a cry. She knows the face and the meaning behind it but she can’t remember his name or who he was. She looks down at her hands and notices a wedding ring.

“He was my husband...I think” she quietly says to herself. She can see snippets of what happened before she went to sleep, but they’re all jumbled up. She remembers what was supposed to happen - she wakes up in 2032 and gets time off and a big pay raise, but nothing after that. The people in her mind don’t have names, and at this very moment, neither did she. A weathered wrinkled hand interrupts her thoughts. She looks up into the face of an elderly woman. Behind her is the caravan she saw the kids running to.

“Jack here says you’re out of your time” she says with a raspy voice.

“Wh... what? Oh, yea, I think so. I don’t know what's happening or even what happened here.”

“My dear, there was a terrible war a long time ago. It almost wiped out the human race but a few of us survived.”

“War? What war?”

The old woman sits next to her on the steps. “Honey, it was all out nuclear war. The world is gone. There are only a few pockets of people left. We’re traveling south. There’re rumors of a new city; a salvation. They call it the city of light. We call ourselves the Pilgrims. My name is grandma Ellie. What’s yours?”

“I... I don’t know. I have these but they don’t have a name on them.” She pulls out her dog tags. They read:



ID: 85748864-19


The old woman holds them in her wrinkled hands. “DC, huh? How’s that for a name?”

“I guess it works” she says, trying to smile at grandma Ellie. The little girl comes running up to her with an apple.

“My name is Josie! Nice to meet you DC!” She hands DC the apple and grins.

“I believe you’ve already met her brother, Jack.” Grandma Ellie points at Josie’s brother.

“Yea, I don’t think he likes me” DC replies.

“Oh no, he’s just weary of new people. We don’t come across them very often. Actually, you’re the only new face we’ve seen in a few years. Besides the Marauders there’s just a few hundred of us Pilgrims.”
“Marauders?” DC asks curiously.

“They’re the bad guys” Josie chimes in.

“Well I can assure you I’m not a bad guy” DC says as she takes Josie’s hand.

“We don’t know that” Jack says suspiciously.

“Oh shush, Jack, you see what kind of condition she’s in” grandma Ellie exclaims.

“Whatever. C’mon Josie.” He takes her by the elbow and drags her back to the wagon.

“Don’t listen to him. You can travel with us to the city of light if you want” grandma Ellie says as she stands. She helps DC to her feet and they walk towards the caravan.

“I’d like that” DC says and smiles at grandma Ellie. “Thank you.”








2330 - or so they say

The Pilgrims and I are traveling to the city of light. They have been so kind to me. They gave me new clothes so I can “blend” in with the rest of them. They gave me food and water. I’m still not entirely sure what happened. Nuclear war? The entire world? That means that everyone I knew is gone. This was supposed to be a 2-year affair, not a 300 year one. The man I see in my mind makes me sad. I’m assuming he’s my husband. I feel things but I don’t know why. I don’t even know his name. I don’t know my OWN name for that matter. These people have named me “DC” because it was on my dog tags and it’s where they found me. It could be worse. I just really wish I knew who I was. I know that I’m a staff sergeant in the Marines, or that I was. I know that I was in a program for cryogenics. Beyond that, it’s fuzzy and blurry. I can’t make any of it out. I’m so so scared. I keep waiting to wake up from this nightmare, back to the life I have forgotten. I want to go home. But that’s gone. Everything is gone. Grandma Ellie says that there are only a few hundred “good guys”, as Josie calls them, left. Other than that, it’s just the Marauders - raiders and thieves from what grandma Ellie has told me. Josie’s brother, Jack, thinks I’m one of them. He doesn’t like when Josie talks with me. I like it though. I love her innocence and her spirit. She seems so happy and full of life. She makes me feel better and lets me forget that I’m 300 years too late. Anyways, we’re getting ready to make camp for the night so, until next time.










It’s been 2 years since I’ve been with the Pilgrims, 2 years since my life changed forever. Josie has grown up so fast! She almost has all her adult teeth in! Jack has grown into quite the man. He protects Josie and his people with his life. I admire that. He still won’t talk to me though, but he’s gotten a little better with letting Josie hang out with me. Grandma Ellie has since passed. She went in her sleep sometime last year, peaceful and painlessly. Josie insisted on having a ceremony for her. She’s still so sweet and innocent, unpolluted by this world. I guess they still do funerals 300 years in the future. Not all of humanity is lost.

I’ve lost direction as to where we are - the country doesn’t look anything like it used to. Every now and then there’ll be a road sign but the years have not been kind to it. All I know is that we’re on some highway. Not a major one, just one of those two-lane ones.

Wait a second...I hear something up front. Hold on…





Screams and gunfire is heard at the very front of the caravan. DC gets off the back of the small wagon and cautiously trots up towards the front.

“JOSIE!” Jack’s voice echoes over the barren landscape. DC’s heart skips a beat and turns her trot into a full-on sprint. Then she sees. A large man dressed in what can only be described as steampunk chic, is mounted on a horse with Josie, screaming and flailing, in his arms. The man’s friends are ransacking the wagon for supplies. DC grabs the nearest rifle and takes aim. Ammo is in terribly short supply so she has to make her shots count. She aims at the man on the horse.

“Breath in…...breath out” she says to herself as she’s about to pull the trigger. Then, something hard hits her in the head.

“Lights out girly.” A tall man in his thirties takes DC’s rifle from her limp hands and takes off running towards the others. The Marauders have what they need and, with Josie in hand, take off on horseback.

“DC! Wake up!” Jack shakes DC’s shoulder’s. “Wake up dammit!!” DC’s eye flutter open.

“What happened...?” She groans as she sits up, her head spinning. She touches the spot that hurts and looks at her fingers. Blood. “Man, what did I get hit with?”

“A boot” Jack says impatiently. “Look, they took Josie. We need to go after them!”

“Umm...yea...yes, of course” DC says, still disoriented from the knock-out.

“Now DC!” Jack yells.

“Just hold on a second, Jack! Let me get my bearings. My head is buzzing and I can’t see straight. Just...give me second.” DC rubs her head.

“Here, let me.” A young woman, about the same age as DC, kneels down and dabs DC’s head with a damp cloth. “My name is Dani. I’m a doctor.” She takes out a bandage and wraps it around DC’s head.

“Thank you” DC says, touching the bandage. She stands slowly and walks over to the wagon that had the ammo and guns in it. The Marauders took all but three of the guns. DC takes two of them and gives the other one to Jack. “You know how to use this I presume.”

“Yea, I know” Jack snaps.

“Which direction did they go in?”

“That way,” Dani and Jack say in unison, pointing across arid wasteland.

“Awesome” DC says sarcastically. “We’re gonna need horses. Can we spare any?”

“We have a few in the back that we rotate out with the ones pulling the wagons so they don’t get overtired. You can have two of them” Dani offers.

“Great, thanks Doc.” DC walks to the end of the caravan and starts to tack up the two horses.

“Which one do I get?” Jack asks.

“Umm, none…?” DC says. “You’re not coming with me.”
“Why do you need two then?” Jack whines.

“One for me and one for supplies. I expect it to take more than a day to get to where they were going. I don’t need to be worried about you as well as Josie AND myself. I got this. Trust me.”
Jack watches as DC gathers her supplies, loads the horses, and takes off across the badlands. Once she is out of view, he starts to tack his own horse.

“What are you doing?” Dani comes up behind him, her hand on her hips.

“What’s it look like, Doc. She’s MY sister. She’s MY responsibility!” Jack is yelling. Tears are coming to his eyes. “She all I have!!”

“Jack...I’m not here to stop you. I’m here to help you.” Dani wipes the tears off his face and hands him a bag of food and medical supplies. “In case you come across people in need.”

“Thanks Doc” Jack says between sniffles. He mounts his horse and takes off.




2332 - still

The Marauders took Josie. These guys are serious bad news. They are cleverly named after the Marauder armored car. It’s like a Jeep jacked up on steroids that’s impervious to mines. It was originally produced in South Africa by the Paramount Group. It’s heavily armored and can take on most terrain. Sometimes there is even a 50 cal mounted on the roof.

This was the first time I’d seen them. The only image I’ve had of them was from what Grandma Ellie and the others have told me. I just hope Josie is okay. I’ve heard stories of them taking young girls as slaves and other sick stuff. I guess not all of humanity has remained untainted from this disaster. It’s almost dawn now so I should be on my way. It’s hard to travel at night over this ground, so when it’s first light, I like to get as far as I can before dark. Until next time.





DC packs her things on her horse and follows the other hoof prints left from the Marauders. It’s a long and quiet journey with nothing more than death and destruction to look at. Days go by without any sign of the Marauders.

Jack, on the other hand, has some visitors. On a cold night, he lights a fire to keep warm. As he is just on the verge of sleep, a hood slips over his face and his hands are bound. A group of Marauder scouts ransack his camp. The biggest of them knocks him out and slings him over his shoulder.

“Time to go boys! The boss will be very happy to keep it in the family.” He laughs maniacally. The others hoot and holler, destroying what’s left of Jack’s camp.


Just as DC is starting to lose hope of getting Josie back, she hears gunshots and yelling in the distance. She quickly dismounts and finds a place to hide behind a large rock formation. Staying as low as she can, she spots a group of Marauders galloping towards what she mistook for rocks. Upon looking closer, she notices it’s the Marauder headquarters. With a jolt of adrenaline mixed with stupidity, she jumps on her horse and goes after them. Not thinking about her own safety, only Josie’s, more Marauders soon surround her. They grab her reins and push her off her horse.

“Where’s Josie?!” she spits at them. None of them say anything, they just laugh. Two Marauders pick her up off the ground and, with one on each arm, walk her through the spectacularly camouflaged front gates of their headquarters.  A blindfold is placed over her eyes.

After what seems like forever, DC is let go. One of the Marauders pushes her to the ground, releasing her hands. A loud roar of a crowd erupts when she hits the ground. Taking off the blindfold, she is struck with shock. She’s dead center in an arena - like the gladiators. Straight ahead of her is the same man who took Josie - the bossman himself. Next to him, in chains, Josie sits with her head down.

“What is this...Star Wars meets Gladiator?” she says to herself. The bossman stands and the arena becomes silent - not a peep.

“Brothers and sisters, welcome!” The boss man's voice, deep and grumbly, echoes off the walls of the arena and is answered with a cheer. He holds his hands up, like Caesar, and once again, the arena hushes. “You have all come here today to witness the battle of the slaves.” He looks right at DC. “I have been planning this ever since the caravan. If you TRULY want your friends back, you’ll have to do it the Marauder way. TO THE DEATH!” The crowd erupts in cheer again. “If you win, they go free. If you lose, well, you won’t know what happens ‘cause you’ll be dead” he laughs, cocky and confident.

“Bring it on!” DC yells, full of conviction and adrenaline. “On one condition! I fight you. Not some low-level scum you force to fight. I want to beat YOU.” They lock eyes and the arena, once again, comes to a standstill. The Bosman leans forward.

“Deal.” He grins at her, his teeth crooked and rotten. He hands Josie’s chain leash to a guard, but not before taking her face in his hand and making her look.

“See her? You want to go home to her, right? You want to live, right? Your life rests in her hands.” He laughs and kisses her cheek. He jumps down off his what could only be described as a throne, and lands heavily on the sand. One of his guards throws him a sword and he catches it without taking his eyes of DC.

“What do I get? It should be as fair a fight as possible” DC exclaims.

“You know, you’re right” he says, nodding. Turning to the crowd he asks, “anyone willing to offer this little bird a stick?” A small object flies through the air and lands at DC’s feet. It’s a dagger, about a foot long. DC picks it up, grateful to have any sort of weapon at this point.

“So,” she says, turning to the Bosman. “You’ve heard the story of David and Goliath, right?”

“No, and I don’t want to. Let’s get this done with so I can go back to my day” he replies and swings his sword at her. She ducks and rolls away from him.

“Well, in short, it’s about a little guy,” she ducks again, “who beats the big guy, against all odds.”

He swings again, missing DC by mere inches. She tries to think of her combat training on how to defeat an enemy with a weaker weapon.

“Tire him out” she says to herself. “All I gotta do is survive long enough and then one shot. That’s all it takes.”

Lost in her thoughts, she fails to notice him swinging his sword at her. She ducks at the last minute but she’s not fast enough. It slices her arm, tearing her shirt. Blood immediately soaks her arm. Dropping her dagger, she grasps her arm. The crowd cheers again. He goes after her again, this time full of more confidence and vitality than before.

“If it bleeds, it can be destroyed!” His voice bellows over the cheers. Out of breath and getting tired herself, she picks up the dagger, still waiting for her opportunity. He lunges at her. With a clang, she strikes his sword with her dagger. It shatters.

The Bosman laughs and runs at her, sword aimed at her chest. She dives to the side, holding out what’s left of her dagger. With luck, she clips him in the side. He screams, mostly with surprise than with pain.

“If it bleeds, it can be destroyed” she mimics. She smiles at him and thrusts her broken dagger into his chest. He grabs her throat in a last effort to win. He falls back, bringing her with him. With a thud, he hits the ground. She watches as the last bit of life leaves his eyes and his hands loosen around her neck. The entire arena is dead silent. She stands up, taking the dagger with her. Without a word or a glance at the others, she takes the keys off the busman’s belt and goes to Josie’s side.

“Here baby girl. I gotcha.” She takes the chains off and takes the frightened girl in her arms. “Where are the others?” she asks the guard. He nervously points to a cage-like structure off to the side of the arena. Inside, DC sees Jack and others from the caravan. With Josie in her arms, she goes to the cage, unlocks, and opens the door. Jack is the first one to move. DC hands Josie to him and turns back to the crowd in the arena.

“Understand! From this point on, the Marauders are dead! Anyone caught raiding, raping, thieving, or otherwise being inhumane will be dealt with accordingly by me. This is my town! I was here first! This is MY land. If anyone has a problem with that, speak up.” Nothing. “That’s what I thought.” With that, DC, Jack, Josie, and the other prisoners take their leave.

Back at the caravan, a three-week journey from the city, DC sits at the front, flipping the dagger in her hand.

“DC…?” Jack’s voice, surprisingly meek and mild-tempered, comes from around the side of the cart.

“Hey Jack. What’s up?”

“I... I just wanted to say...thank you, and…. I’m sorry.” His voice cracks with emotion. “I’m so sorry for not accepting you. Because of you my sister is safe. Because of YOU, the caravan has nothing to worry about anymore, at least when it comes to the Marauders.”

DC jumps down from her perch on the cart and takes Jack’s face in her hands.

“It was my pleasure. You and Josie are the closest thing I have to family here. I’ve lost so much, I couldn’t bear to lose you two as well.”

“But...I was so mean to you. I never accepted you. I never let you and Josie talk. I thought she needed me when in fact, she needed you. We all do.”

DC hugs Jack tightly. His shoulders heave with a sudden release of emotion.

“That’s what happens in families sometimes. They fight. But when it really matters, they come through for each other. I will always be there for you and Josie and this entire caravan. Here,” she hands him the broken dagger. “You keep it. Whenever you get mad at me, just look at it” she laughs and winks at him.  







© Copyright 2019 Caroline Marlin. All rights reserved.

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