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Armageddon part 1, chapters 1-3
It was the year 2025. The Third World War had been raging since 2012 and finally, after years, had reached American soil. It had sprung up, this time not with a country in Europe, but a country in Asia. Iraq had deliberately and without cause, attacked . The U.N. had intervened, but that only made things worse, resulting in the worst war in the history of the world. Once again, America remained blissfully unaware of the terrors of war while in Europe and Asia, the war raged on. Of course, the U.S. had sent troops, many young men enlisted to help their foreign allies, as well as keep enemies off of United States soil. Then disaster struck. Peru, Brazil, and Argentina allied together, and then made an alliance with Iraq and Iran. With their own armies, as well as the aid of all of the Middle east, a war was raging in the Americas as well. The South American Alliance fought its way through their neighboring countries, crushing them easily until they reached Mexico. America was now going all out, recruiting and sending off young men and women to fight for their countries freedom. The Alliance backed off, but America wasn’t able to gain ground outside of Mexico, and deeper down, destruction was in the making.
The planes had been heard, but it was too late. Deep in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest, Brazil had been spending all of its extra money, time, and materials to making the biggest air force possible, and Argentina and Peru copied it. Finally, with several thousand planes at the ready, they took flight, blotting out the sun as they passed. By the time the army was mobilized, the first bombs were already dropping. Mexico was flattened by a rainstorm of explosives, and the states of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas were crushed as well. Thousands of troops parachuted from helicopters and jets into the new conquered land, killing everyone they saw. By the end of the day, Mexico had fallen, and by the end of the week, tens of millions lay dead in piles of rubble, and the war raged on. Armed with the biggest force of bombers ever in history, South America’s major alliance laid waste, while China, Japan, and North Korea, another anti-American Alliance, did the same to Hawaii, and then California. Meanwhile in Europe, England, the last country left fighting, had fallen. America was all that was left in the war, and it was losing fast. For the first time in over one hundred years, A war was being fought on American soil.
Jacob watched as his mother walked towards the door again. Her face was pale and she had tears streaking her face.
“Oh, where is he, where is he…?” She moaned quietly. Jacob walked up to her. He was four years old and, he thought, very capable of taking care of himself and his mother without his father. He tugged on her dress.
“Don’ worry mommy, I’ take care uv both uv us.”
She looked down at him and smiled. “Jacob honey, your father will do that until you’re old enough…but he just isn’t freaking here…” she said. She heard a gunshot and began to sob. She was so nervous, her husband had gone out that day for last minute supplies. The gunshots had been getting closer. The U.S. Army was making its final stand against a combination of the Asian Alliance (North Korea, Vietnam, China, and Japan) The South American Alliance (Brazil, Argentina, Peru, and Chile) The United Middle Eastern Warriors (Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Jordan) as well as the captured armies of Russia, Britain, France, Spain, and Italy. They had been encroaching o the last state left standing. Idaho. Land of potatoes, and also, an overlooked part of Idaho, the land of shotguns. Another gunshot, much closer, then a deafening explosion. The door opened quickly, and a man stumbled in. His arm was covered in blood, and he was panting as though he had run a mile. He stumbled forward and dropped an armload of supplies on the kitchen table.
Before she could ask what happen, another explosion shook the house. Jason watched in horror and an artillery shell blew the roof of his home. Shards of wood flew down like knives, and the next thing he knew, there was a mound of wood where his mom had been. Nobody could be seen, and the only sign of life was the grown puddle of blooding coming from the wood. Jacob’s dad stared in horror, to shocked to even register what just happened. Jason, however, had fallen over. A chunk of damaged roof had hit him in the head, knocking him unconscious. A second later, the last shots of American soldiers were heard, and it was only moments before three men dressed in camouflage gear burst through the door. Jacob didn’t hear the dying screams of his Father. He would just wake up the next day, in the ruins of what used to be a town, one of the many orphans in America.
BOOK ONE: Prologue
11 years later
Jacob was no longer the small boy he used to be. He was one of the few survivors (Out of the hundreds of millions of people in the United States, only around four million had survived) to escape the bombings and bloodshed unharmed, and counted himself blessed for being so. He was clad in the usual clothing of those who survived, which was to say, badly. He had a mop of dirty tangled brown hair on his head that was altogether too long. He had two shirts. One was a brown and green army shirt he had found on the ground laying around. The other, his current shirt, was black. It was filled with holes, but it blended in well with his background. He had three pairs of pants. One pair he had traded a bike wheel for with a group of nomadic survivors, the other two he had made by patching together a bunch of old rags and clothes. His belt was made of a thin shred of cloth he had tied together in a knot, and he wore a hat on his head, which he had taken from a department store eleven years ago when there were still buildings that hadn’t been bombed.
Currently, he was sitting behind an old bombed-out brick house. The bombing had stopped ten years ago, once it was no longer useful since everything had been turned into rocks anyway. It was surprising how un-useful everything was now. Without electricity or gasoline, many old appliances didn’t work. Televisions, which were found in abundance, weren’t good for much except for setting as rat-traps. Sometimes he’d smash in an old screen and use the glass as a knife. He had just gotten done scavenging the remains of an old apartment complex, although scavenging was getting harder every year. It had been 11 years since the last bombs were dropped. Oddly enough, it was the U.S.A. that did the last dropping, and they did so by nuking the crap out of everywhere else in the world. Now the world had changed. Vines and plants had grown over the rubble, and he had heard that in Europe, the radiation, whatever radiation was, had changed everything. The plants were completely different, animals were bigger. Things that were harmless before were now lethal. He shook his head. The war had completely ruined life, and now, even after it was over, it continued to do so.
The world had reverted to a feudalistic type of society ruled by Kings. There were small roving tribes of people too. Jacob wasn’t in any tribes or under any kings rule. He was a free-rover. Someone who wandered around, looking for food and supplies as he went. In this city he had found a particularly sharp kitchen knife that had escaped rust and rubble-raiders for over ten years. He liked it. It would definitely be worth trading.
He was chewing on some meat he had roasted over an early fire. It usually wasn’t a good idea to make a fire in the day, because gunmen could find you, but he had been starving and had managed to kill a rat with a rock, so he had food. He lit the fire and roasted as quickly as possible, but still, smoke could be seen from a long ways away. His hand moved to his hip, and felt his pistol. That made him feel better.
Guns were still widely used. Ammunition was all over the place, even 11 years later, and, due to improvements in war technology, was still useable. Also, ammunition was pretty easy to make, given you had the right materials. Spend a day at it and you had enough to hunt with for a week or so. Jacob still had enough shots left in the pistol to make it sound like a small army to any muggers, and enough shots for his rifle to make things difficult. He had been fighting in the aftermath of the war since he was six, running through the flames of the streets of Boise, Idaho, panicked , he had stabbed at the legs of anyone who got too close. He shuddered as he remembered those days. Back then he got nightmares. He saw faces of dead people in his dreams and it made him not want to sleep. Now, those never happened. Killing a person was, to him, easy as killing a bird now. He’d grown up doing it. He finished the rat meat, licking his fingers clean as he did so, then stood up. He dusted himself off, picked up his rifle and an old faded red backpack, so faded it looked slightly pink. He picked up an old gallon milk bottle, made of plastic, that he had found in the smoldering remains of a Grocery Store. The milk had long-since been drunk, but Jacob now used it as a water bottle. He eyed it. Through the plastic, he saw the level of the water was low dangerously low. Maybe he could clear a pipe and get some water from that, or else, find a small stream nearby. He wanted to stay and scavenge a few days before setting off. He looked around. There were some footprints in the dust. They had to be at least two days old, since a big windstorm would have blown away any footprints before then. Maybe there was someone in the town he could talk to. He hadn’t seen anyone since the Thelmsly Tribe a few weeks ago. They hadn’t been very friendly, but they traded with him. That’s all he really wanted. He took a piece of torn cloth from his backpack and wrapped the knife in it, then set gently in the pack. He looked around. There was a house he’d seen early that looked pretty left alone. You’d be surprised at how much is left untouched, even after so long. This was something Jacob often found himself thinking while digging through trashed ruins of houses and coming up with rare, sought after things. Things like Clothes, Condiments, and any kind of metal, especially titanium. Most metals used nowadays came from wreckage since everything else was either too blown up to be useful, or else too deep to mine for. Things like gold weren’t worth a lot either, since they weren’t very practical. He walked down the street, walking around a bomb-crater and carefully stepping over a skeleton, it’s torn and molding dress still on its body. Through the rubble he heard a rat scurry along, and bent over, picking up a shard of brick to throw, just in case the rat came out. It couldn’t hurt to have more food, he thought to himself.
He made a right down past an old McDonalds, the building sagged and the letters on it, once spelling McDonalds, were now charred beyond legibility. Finally, he arrived at the place he’d seen. It would’ve been a nice house. Flecks of green pain remained on the old wood that must’ve been part of a fence. The front door was intact still. He took the pins out of the hinges. Those always traded well. Then he began to dig. After a few minutes he found an old shirt, preserved from major decay by a layer of rock and dust. He also found a fork, a few spoons, a box of ammunition that was still usable, and some flint and steel from an old survival kit. He also found a bent bike wheel with half the spokes sticking out. He took the spokes and stuck those in his pack too. He would’ve kept on collecting, but it was growing darker, and he didn’t want to be caught in town with the rats after the sun set. He set out, following the main road until he was out of the towns boundaries. He was lucky the town had been relatively small, or else he might have been walking in the dark. That could end up in a broken leg, which was worse than the rats. He found a small clump of trees that had obviously grown in since the bombings, because they were so small. Still, they provided shelter. He unpacked his blankets and sleeping bag from his pack, then dropped it and the backpack on the ground and curled up. He lay his head down on his backpack and promptly fell asleep.
Jacob woke up the next day to the sun rise. He had slept in, because it was already fully up, still, it felt good to have that extra rest. He sat up and yawned. Something moved by his foot, a second later a mouse scampered away from it. Jacob let it go. Mice were too small to eat. Still, he did need breakfast, the mouse had reminded him of that. He dug around in his backpack until he found a bottle of honey and an old spoon. He took the lid off, got some on the spoon, and swallowed it. Honey never went bad, he’d heard, so he always carried some.
Jacob packed up, which I total took no more than five minutes, and set off. First to find breakfast, then to scavenge some more. He had a crossbow he’d made from some strong rubber-bands, and bicycle parts, including a bolt made from a spoke. He wandered around the grass of the new small forest, gathering edible plants and looking for something to eat for meat. After twenty-five minutes, he had a handful of grass, roots, and flowers, and no meat, but he decided to eat anyway. He walked into town, still chewing on a bit of dandelion root. There were a few more footprints, walking opposite to his old ones he made leaving. There was definitely someone in the town besides him. He shrugged, it was only person, and scavengers weren’t usually hostile. He kept his crossbow ready for rats or birds, and walked through the town. After a few minutes, he found a house that looked good for the pickings and walked over to it. After a few minutes of digging through rubble and what would have been splinters ten years ago, he found a thighbone. It wasn’t much use to people with dogs, but he kept it anyway. He found a rusty bent knife, perfect for giving an infection. He wrapped this very carefully and put it in his backpack. He dug around for another half hour or so, but all that rewarded him with was a scratch on his arm, and a roll of copper wire, so he abandoned that house. After a few more nearly fruitless searches, he gave up that part of town, and began to wander the streets. He found a soldiers body. He always respected those. His father had been in the National Guard.
The body was relatively new by the looks of it. Even after the war had ended, it was still going on. He bent over and examined the soldier. He had a fragmentation grenade, and a supply pack. Jacob took the grenade, and some dehydrated food, plus a collapsible frying pan and said his respects to the soldier before moving on.
After a few hours, he decided to find lunch. The dehydrated food from the soldier was only for emergencies, he’d determined, and the honey was only for the morning. That meant that for lunch, he’d have to hunt. He walked around the city, looking for something. It took about twenty minutes, but something walked into his line of sight. He held the crossbow up. Then stopped. It was a cat. Cat’s ate rats, that much he knew. He lowered the bow. He continued walking until he came across another dead body. The body gave a shudder and he jumped. It was a dying body. Or, injured in the least case. He hurried over to it.
The hair was long and tangled, but despite its length, it was a male. He was coughing loudly when Jacob came up to him. He knelt down beside him.
“Sir?” He asked.
The man coughed a few more times before turning his head. “Another human? What are you?”
Jacob was used to the question, and answered it quickly. “I’m a scavenger, what are you?”
“I’m a hunter,” he said, then succumbed to another fit of coughing.
“Do you need help?”
The man shook his head. “I’m afraid I’m beyond help now,” he said shakily, “my tribe was attacked. They got me…here…look.” He pulled open his ragged shirt to reveal an infected bloody puncture wound, probably made by a knife. Pus an blood oozed out of it.
“Who did this?” Jacob asked.
“The reds…” the man muttered. Jacob knew about the reds. The remnants of a civilian army group that had been corrupted by power. They were a huge organization, and grew almost daily from things like this. Conquering other tribes brought in new recruits. Jacob shook his head, then bowed it. The man saw and closed his eyes too.
“Do you think there is a Heaven after we die?” He asked Jacob.
Jacob nodded, there were instances in his life where God’s hand had been shown. He was deeply religious. “Yes, I do.”
The man smiled, “I do too,” he said quietly. His eyes slowly drooped. A few minutes later, Jacob knew he was dead. He shook his head sadly and gave the body its respects, the felt around the body. He found some food, and even better, matches. Only a few were left I the box, it meant for a few night, the long hours spent trying to make would be gone. He also found a water bottle, which made him very happy. He poured its contents into his own, then stood up. He saluted the body, and turned his back to it. His desire to stay in the town had left. He didn’t want to see the body of that man again. Slowly he walked away, chewing on the food from the man’s pack. He thought as he walked out of the town, this time for good, and journeyed along a pockmarked road. Wondered what life would be like if this war had never happened. He shook his head as soon as the thought entered his mind. “I can’t change the past!” He shouted to himself. It began to grow dark, so he removed the bolt from his crossbow and put it away. Jacob continued walking until long after the sun set, walking along an old crumbling highway and worrying, as always, about what the next day would bring.