Author's note: I am going back through this book and touching up old chapters, changing only minor things (like some dialogue that felt a bit out-of-character or prose that felt off.) However, the main thing I'm doing is adding the name tags to the beginning of each chapter, like I am doing in the sequel, so as to be less confusing as to who's perspective it's from. So, if the quality drastically changes after a chapter or the name tags are missing, please be patient as I am getting around to this whenever I can.
Thanks for the patience, and enjoy the story.
* Denotes a refurbished chapter.
*1: Alone - Page 1
*2: Alone Pt. 2 - Page 1
*3: Slightly Less Alone - Page 1
*4: Hostilities and Separation - Page 2
*5: Slavery - Page 3
*6: Burn in Hell - Page 3
*7: The New Kid - Page 4
*8: Augmentations - Page 5
*9: Sci-Fi and a Fallen Angel - Page 6
B1: Claire - Page 6
10: Breakdown - Page 7
11: On Our Own - Page 8
12: Rescue - Page 8-9
13: Bloody Reunion - Page 10
14: Food-Chain Reversal - Page 11
B2: Reuniting - Page 12
15: Molotovs Ahoy! - Page 12
16: Trimming the Weeds - Page 12
17: A Shopping Trip and Early Apocalyptic Woes - Page 13
18: Daemons, Robbers, and a Shocking Development - Page 13
19: Field Trip! - Page 14
B3: Jenny - Page 14
20: Back to These Guys - Page 15
21: Folsom Prison Blues - Page 16
22: Folsom Prison Blues pt. 2 - Page 17
23: All's Well that Ends Well, and This is the End - Page 17
~~ denotes beginning/ending of chapter.
-- denotes perspective switch/timeskip.
== denotes reading a note/video/log of some sort.
I found the term quite apt for my situation. I mulled the word around with my tongue, trying to get a feel for it.
Not a word you’d like to describe your situation. I may have everything I need where I am, including clothes, shelter, and enough food and water to last for months. One could say this bomb shelter was a godsend. However, none of that changed the fact that I was irrevocably, unequivocally, alone.
At first, I found it quite nice. Having no one around meant no distractions. I could read the plentiful amount of books here, and occasionally I could get lost in a good story. I had as much time as I needed to start a few hobbies, too. Construction and knitting, among others. I knitted myself a sweater, and even built a birdhouse. Though, one questions the point of these small triumphs when you have no one to share them with.
After a while, though, I began to start feeling... odd. I started having nightmares, and I swear that I put my birdhouse on the other side of the shelter. Still, it wasn't anything I couldn't handle. I've been alone before, I could deal with it now.
Time flowed on by like a river, unimpeded by any vain attempts I may have made to slow it down. Days turned to weeks, weeks turned to months. It was only a matter of time until I eventually did run out of food. I may have been stocked to begin with, but this shelter didn't have a river running through it nor a farm inside it. So, after spending enough time down in these dark halls, lit usually only by a small fireplace I'd keep running to read and keep warm by, I finally had to go out.
I didn't know what day it was. Hell, I didn't know what month it was, but my estimations put it around late fall, so I donned clothing to match the season. A light jacket, plus my own sweater, along with a pair of jeans. I slung a backpack over my shoulder, along with a few essentials, and set off into the world.
Stepping out, I was surprised at first. I assumed I would be blinded immediately, however I found I could see just fine. It took me a bit to realize that it was night time; and quite late, at that, since the moon was high in the sky. It wasn't really that dark, either. Spending months underground tends to do that to your vision.
So, onward I trekked, following a road almost blindly, not knowing where I was going. My plan, naturally, was to find some food and water, then hike back to my basement to live out the rest of my days. I'd find a way to keep myself occupied, I always did.
After a few painstakingly long hours of walking, I saw what appeared to be buildings off in the distance. They weren't houses of any sort that I remember; these were much more ramshackle. Most were made of logs and hatch, with sheet metal interspersed in between. They were all surrounded by a barbed wire fence, which was mostly for naught, seeing as I was able to squeeze under a hole quite easily. The whole thing felt quite... surreal.
"Hmm... This seems a good place to start as any."
As I mumbled to myself, I entered the first hut I came across. Inside the floor was dirt, and the bed was a cot. There was a wooden stove in the far corner, along with a few cooking utensils. It was just as abandoned as the rest of the place, however, and devoid of anything useful.
On and on I searched the ramshackle settlement. It was eerily quiet, but then again, what wasn't at this point? I hardly found anything, unfortunately, after the first few hours of searching.
Beginning to feel dejected, I started to leave the settlement the way I came. That's when I saw something flick out of the corner of my eye. As I turned to it, naturally, it wasn't there anymore. I thought nothing of it, seeing as I've been getting jumpy over small things all night. Then I heard a growl.
It was a deep, sinister, growl, coming from behind me. I froze ramrod stiff. The growling came closer.
I spun around to meet my predator, but before I was able to get a good look at it, I was immediately tackled to the ground. It started clawing at my face. I felt a sickening and extremely painful sensation in my left eye. I tried to fight back, but the enemy was too strong. Until, just like that, it stopped attacking me, and fell onto its side. With my remaining good eye, I could see that it was a cougar, now sporting an arrow in its side. I also saw my other eye lying in a pool of blood next to me. I screamed, until I passed out a few seconds later due to blood loss.
I then woke up. I felt weak. Very weak. I noticed I was lying in a cot, my eye bandaged. It was also daytime outside.
What caught my attention, however, was the woman standing in the doorway. She appeared to have been watching me the entire time waiting for my awakening. Truthfully, I didn't feel like I'd stay awake much longer anyway. I had lost too much blood.
She approached me, and laid her hand on my chest. There was a sorrowful look on her face as I sat there, in immense pain, yet unable to react due to just being so... tired. Then the woman spoke. "I'm so sorry... but at least now you're not alone." She began sobbing with the words. I wore a smile on my face as she cried, until the darkness overtook me for the last time.