I'm not a professional writer, it's something I do with my spare time to relax. Been about five years since I've actually posted something publicly viewable.
Post-apocalyptic fiction is always something I have been interested in, and it's a field that isn't explored very often. I hope you enjoy reading it, and would appreciate any advice on how to improve myself - criticism or praise.
So it's in that vein that I present the prologue to a story I may not even continue.
Thank you for reading.
I remember the day clearly, though it has been years now since it began. I remember how the sky rained fire, how the earth bucked and screamed, my family sobbing around me as I was rushed out of our home in the middle of the night. I was confused, why was I being taken? I couldn't have seen my fifth summer yet, and there hasn't been a summer since.
All around me crowds shoved. I couldn't breathe - I was sandwiched between a thousand fleeing civilians and the rock beneath my feet. I lost my mother's hand then, but I couldn't stop running. It was run or be trampled by the mass of flesh at my back, driving forward as if frenzied. I didn't understand the fear until I caught my first look at the sky.
Crimson was all I could see along the horizon, it looked as if the very heavens were aflame. There were no stars, only flickering lights, flashes that streaked downward towards the earth. I couldn't comprehend it then, I still can't, not entirely.
Thunder blossomed in my ears as the first streak struck earth, a deafening roar. I could see the rising smoke. The crowd pressed onward. My legs were tired, I wanted to stop and rest, I wanted the noise to stop. I could see a building in front of us.
The ground began to quake as I was forced inside. There wasn't room for everyone. Men with guns began firing into the air above our heads. The crowd stopped for the first time since it had formed, I could hear frantic panting, then crying as realization sunk in. My ears were just beginning to function again as a spot was found for me underground. The building was shaking now. I was sure it would fall around us.
I saw others being left behind as a large steel door swung into place behind me. I was lead downstairs, my feet were aching. I asked for them to stop and let me rest - just for a minute. They didn't even seem to notice me. I pouted, too scared of being abandoned, I followed. It felt like hours. It couldn't have been more than a handful of minutes, I was dragged into a room filled with people; more people than I had ever seen before. That was the first time I saw my new home.
It seemed like no more than a large room to me, like a warehouse one could see on the television. People of all ages, more young than old, though that didn't trouble me at the time, I know now it had been no more than a priority. Leave the old and the lame to die, preserve the young and the strong. I sat, too tired to think, too tired to even sleep.
One of the men who had escorted me handed me a small bottle of water, said it was all I would be given today. Rationing. The citizens were still too shocked to argue, to complain. I began to see more clearly. The room had doors on either end, after a few minute's rest I was dragged to my feet, urged towards the nearest one. The guard banged on the door with his fist, it slid open a moment later, and I was pulled inside.
As soon as I stepped inside I had to slam my eyes shut. Bright! It took me a few minutes to adjust, to work my eyes open enough to peer about. I was standing in a long hallway, dozens of doors with numbers and letters planted on their fronts, a dormitory, though I didn't know it then. A keycard was shoved into my little hand, J-6 was printed on the plain side, nothing but a thin black stripe on the other. I was shown to my room, I could hear the next civilian, a man judging from the noises, being pulled into the hallway as I was escorted away by a different guard.
I was taught how to unlock my room before the guard wandered back to his fellows. My dorm was nothing special, the walls unadorned. A simple single sized bed was in the corner, a small table beside it. I flopped across it, finally able to think, finally wanting to cry. I could hear the thuds of impact even this far down, but weariness caught up with me long before I could begin to consider events.
It's been more than a decade since then. The original guards who had walked me to my room are long dead. Most of the older have joined them. Time seems to work differently down here, I believe myself to be nearly twenty. Little more than a guess. The only gauge of time is the passing of light through a tiny gap in that great steel door.
My name is Michael, my surname was lost. A lot was lost, some don't even have names anymore. An old man who calls himself Redeye pulls me aside to preach his life story every now and then, reminding me never to return to the surface. I sometimes think it's all that keeps him sane. Our numbers are dwindling. Food produced in the gardens is scarcely enough to maintain the several dozen that remain, one or two continue to die per year from starvation or illness, we ran out of meds years back.
Eventually, there won't be any choice but to return to the surface. I have heard the rumors, the mumbles of shambling monstrosities. I have heard the scratching on that large steel door that separates us from the outside world. We have no real weaponry, the guards in our complex had carried no more than tasers, sometimes clubs. They weren't needed, when there's no way to get out, people either go crazy or very sane, and the crazies died out at the start.
People are desperate, stealing food back and forth like a group of little rats, eager for anything that could fill their growling bellies for a few minutes. I was beginning to feel it, too. But I could still remember the beginning, the screaming and the fire, the flickering lights and the endless explosions. It has been many years since anyone has reported hearing so much as a rock falling above ground, but nobody was eager to test the theory.
Soon, there won't be a choice.