The Aftermath: Parts I and II

BOOK: The Aftermath: Parts I and II
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Title

 

 

 

The Aftermath

Parts I
and
II

 

Megan E Pearson

 

 

 

 

Copyright

 

The Aftermath: Parts I
and
II

by Megan E Pearson

 

Copyright © 2013, 2016 by Megan E Pearson

 

 

All rights reserved.

 

Cover Design by Emma Roy

 

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a review.

 

Publisher

Megan E Pearson

 

First edition: May 2016

 

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or, if real, are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

 

 

Dedication

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For my sister who is patient with me,

Mike who is my soundboard when I need it most,

and Ben, my partner, my rock, and more to me than I can express.

 

Thank You

 

 

 

Table of Contents
Part I:
The Colony

“I
t always happens the same way," he said pulling in a long drag.  "Thank you for the smoke by the way."

"What do you mean, it always happens the same way?"  The woman answered sternly.  She wasn't going to play games.

"How do you guys have cigarettes still?"  He replied.  It didn't matter that she didn't want to play, he wasn't going to give up everything without a little bit of conversation.

"Answer my question please."

"I asked first," he said.

"We stocked up, we assumed that people wouldn't be able to get over their addiction just because the world went to shit."

"Fair point, I am guessing you rationed them."

"Yes, but it's harder to ration with new people.  We sometimes have to give them a few extra."

"Doesn't seem wise," he said, continuing to procrastinate.

"Well they know that once their extras are out they are on the same ration as everyone else.  It's up to them to decide to make those last or not."

"Ah, the firm hand."

"Not the same as the firm hand your little community had," she snapped.

"You really aren't going to let me have my fun are you?"

"No, I am not," she paused to light her own cigarette.  "I'm already pissed that they felt the need to use me as a tool to get you talking so I am not in the mood for games."

"I see that the end of the world hasn't stifled your feminist agenda."

"I actually wasn't one until the end of the world.  But so many of the men trying to take care of me failed in the most horrible way.  You kind of learn that regardless of your gender, age, or who you were before, sooner or later you have to be responsible for yourself or die."

"That is one of the truest things I've ever heard.  So, am I going to be rationed?"

"I'll make you a deal, we can share this pack if you stop fucking with me and answer my questions."

"I like saucy women," he noticed her glare, "I'm sorry, I do.  End of the world or not, it's still sexy.  I will answer your questions.  Not for the smokes, not because they sent you in here to toy with me, but because I like saucy women."

She rolled her eyes but set the pack on the table.

"Like I said, it always happens."

"And like I asked, what always happens?"

"I'll start from the beginning by the end I assume you'll be able to figure out to what I am referring to.  You just can't get impatient with me.  I can tell you are the type, but you have to understand it all."

See, I have no real life example, but we all know it.  When all hell breaks loose the format is simple.  The government makes promises but is ultimately ineffective.  Most of the population is wiped out due to the lack of knowledge of what people are dealing with.  One person gets sick and bam, another and another.  Then your whole little cluster fuck of "protected people" is just a massive horde of what they were supposed to be safe from.  

You are then left with the others.  People who couldn't make it to the safe locations or people who simply didn't believe that they were safe.  These people are freaked out, and they know they are alone.  They've seen first hand the failures of the government, and are in need of a game plan to survive.  That's when you start getting groups.

Now there are different types of groups that band together for different goals.  People who believe that loved ones are still alive and go on quests together to find them.  These groups aren't the worst off because their common goal is one worth fighting for.  And a goal that strangers will fight for on your side.  If Bob and Joe both want to find their daughters then Bob and Joe will protect each other with unquestioned devotion in order to help one another.  However, it's also that emotion that makes them weak.  When they start to realize their common goal is hopeless they fall apart one by one.

Then you have those groups of survivors that keep a positive image of the world in their minds.  They want to save each other and anyone else they come upon.  Honor, duty, the safety of man kind, all that bullshit.  These people are either killed off or join a group like mine.

My group banded together for one purpose and one purpose only, surviving.  I'll admit it's not the most honorable goal in the world, but it is a goal that will still bring people together and help them in the long run.  See, our leaders had been at one of those "safe places" and managed to get out relatively unharmed.  However, they did learn an important lesson.  They saw the damage that accepting everyone could cause.  They also learned that not everyone can be saved so it's not always worth trying to save them.  The formula is simple, the young, old, weak, and sick are just bait.  But in a world like this bait is dangerous.  You waste time, energy, and supplies on them, and they just go first anyway.  They kind of prove the rule that you don't need to run the fastest, just outrun the slowest.  If you are fighting for survival though, they are a strain that is not needed.

And that's the problem most people have with this goal of survival.  That you have to go to great lengths to actually live by it.  There are certain things you have to do to obtain this goal that others have a problem with.  Ultimately though, it's the willingness to do those things that separate the survivors from the potential meat sacks wandering around.  It's also how we would pick our new recruits.  How desirable they were to us was based on what they were willing to do.  All were required to show a certain level of submission to our rules.  You want to join, you give us all your supplies and don't question why.  However, the more desirable ones were the ones willing to do just a little more.

We didn't ask them to kill their groups, but it pretty much ended that way.  See they were the leaders.  The people chosen because they were the smartest, strongest, or just generally the most useful.

Sometimes it was one, sometimes more.  They were welcome, but the people only alive because of them were not.  We gave them limited time to figure out if it was worth it, and if they did….  Well, that was pretty good evidence that their priorities were in line with ours.  If they decided not to leave their group behind and showed up later, well we had all the proof we needed that they didn't belong.  Although it may seem unforgivable to you that we just let them wander off to what I can only assume was their death, you have to consider whether or not they would have actually fit in with our system.

Odds are they would have taken issue with our rules, and our brand of punishment.  But then I guess our infamous punishments are part of what has you so curious.  It's true we were pretty harsh.  We had rules, and we had a system for maintaining those rules.  Now you could brand us as cold or whatever else people call us, we were very clear about the rules.  No one entered our community without a full understanding of what we demanded of our citizens and the price you paid for failing to meet those expectations.

Make a minor infraction and you would be presented with a choice.  You could leave the community, albeit with minor supplies, but still free to go with assurance that we wouldn't hunt you down.  Or the more merciful choice in my opinion, we would kill you.  Pain free, quick and easy.  We would also make sure you didn't come back.  The worst that would happen to you post death is the community would see your covered body going through town and then buried.  It was honestly the most respectful example we would set.  Those little punishments aren't what people talk about though, is it?  No people like to talk about what would happen if you made a major infraction.

In those cases you didn't have a choice, and you certainly weren't given much respect.  I can admit it, we treated those people like shit.  Some of them we just killed, depending on their crimes.  They were usually our trophies.  You have of course heard about our trophies.  There were the dead, dead trophies.  Heads on stakes, all that Ivan the Terrible scare your opposition kind of thing.  Though we used it to scare our population.  Some though, some became our more famous trophies.  We killed them but allowed them to come back, kept them on leashes around our perimeter.  Tied up enough that we knew they wouldn't be a threat, but not so much that they didn't serve their purpose.  It doesn't do much for morale to see your ex-neighbors snarling and snapping at you.  It does a hell of a lot to keep people in line though.  They also served as pseudo guard dogs.  I mean we've all seen what a fuss they make when they see others, living or dead.

I guess that was really a cruel punishment.  I mean you could argue that the human soul or whatever the fuck we got that gives us cognitive reasoning would disappear.  That you wouldn't be you, so there's no way you'd know what happened to you.  That being said, we all know that becoming one of those things is the last thing we want to happen to us.

It was effective though.  At one point we actually had to start going out to find our trophies because simply put, no one wanted to be our next trophy.  As far as keeping the population in line we seemed to have cracked the code.

Our community was pretty good too.  We had the original five that started it.  People like myself managed to gain the honors of being leaders because we had proven ourselves.  We were close enough to a major city that we could get in and scout for supplies, but not so close that we had to deal with the meat sacks that had once lived there on a regular basis.  We had a good place to grow our own food, and good places to store all we got.  We rationed regardless of how much we had, and were smart about it.  Training and working were part of everyone's daily lives, as well as brushing up on survival skills.  After awhile we took a group of people with one or two skills and made a whole community of people with a large set of skills.

Survival was something we knew we had down to an art form.  It also didn't hurt that our population growth was controlled in such a way that we weren't at risk for losing that.

But like I said, it always ends the same way.

The problem with our plan was it left us a lot of room to feel safe.  Now when the end of the world is a reality feeling safe is just not a good thing.  It was something that all people had striven for in the world before, but the last thing you want in this new world.

Now you have a bit of the old world you left, so you don't understand why feeling safe is a problem.  Neither did we.  See the problem with feeling safe is you honestly start to believe you are safe.  But we aren't.  We could be in the most fortified place in the world with unlimited resources and we still aren't safe.  But since old world us exists we forget that.  Believing you are safe wouldn't be such a problem either, except we no longer stick to the things that made us feel that way in the first place.  We relax.

Our leaders relaxed first.  See, each section of the community was closed off from the rest.  Now I don't mean we controlled where the population was or was not allowed to go, there were just gates you had to go through.  One of the rules was locking those gates when you left or entered a section.  But when the leaders stopped being so careful about that, the community as a whole did.  It became a rule we simply could not enforce anymore.  When safety was a major concern it wasn't hard to explain it.  Once the leaders felt safe enough to stop doing it though, I guess it just fell away.

Population also became a major issue.  I mean they didn't start breaking rules left and right, but they did start to question them.  More importantly though they started to question our common goal.  Why were we keeping so many people out?  Why weren't we trying to help rebuild the world?  If we had found a formula that worked so well, why weren't we doing more for everyone else?

BOOK: The Aftermath: Parts I and II
2.12Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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