Dark

The room is dark, the fire is flickering

You raise yourself to your feet, feeling the icy ground simmer across your skin. You arms ache, your vision is blurry.  You  slowly inch towards the flame and put a log across it. The fire roars.  The light casts a shadow from across the room. It illuminates a woman’s face, a traveler’s face, her pale skin and light silver hair  look almost incandescent in the firelight.

She tells you that they didn’t make it, that there was nothing you could do. They had no choice. She tells you she can gather others, that you need to start rebuilding. That they’re being hunted.

You nod, its time. Too long hiding in the shadows. The traveler walks out of the hut. Her silver hair vanishing into the darkness of the outside world. You sit on a log. The fire is burning. You take a small stick and stroke it ever so slightly. The flames dance around the pit, expanding and swallowing the air.  You can see a streak of moonlight through the smog covered clouds above.  You decide to start tomorrow. Tonight would be to much.

You let your eyes rest.

The next morning you go into the desert. As your waking through the dust and grim you see a group of travelers in the distance. You nod to them. They come rushing towards you. They tell you about other groups, other survivors, but that they’re scared,. That people will find them.

You invite them back into the hut. The fire is roaring. One man says that he can hunt. You give him the bow that hangs on the wall of the hut. You say to get to work. they will need food. A woman says she is pretty good at building things. You nod and tell her to get to work.

You return to the outside. Looking for a source of water. In the distance you can make out a collapsed skyscraper. Broken windows and cracked concrete litter the ground. You slowly walk towards the building.

As you come closer you reach  into the back pocket of the jeans you’re wearing. Your hand glides across  smooth metal, you pull out the pistol. You check the cartridge. Three bullets. Make it count.

You walk slowly into the city. The crumbling road groans as your step on its surface. You see some children playing in the distance, Some people glare at you as you walk by. Their emotions portray a fear and anger that makes you slightly unsettled.

You see a white tent with a man inside. He shouting across the commons that he is selling water.

You walk up to the man, you tell him you need three gallons of water. He says that he will not give it to you. That you would be better off dead, to die of dehydration would not be good enough punishment.

You tell him again that you need water, that you’re a traveler and that you are desperate.

The man then pulls out a knife, he says to get out. You contemplate the situation. You are outnumbered, and do not have enough ammunition. But you need that water!  You decide that its not worth it, that you’ll come back later.

You start walking out of the city, suddenly a little boy runs up to you. Dirt and mud cover his face, his gaunt cheeks and bright brown eyes stare up at you.

He says. “My papa said not to trust you,He says that you caused all the smog and stuff.  Why did you make the smog?”

You look the boy right in the eyes and tell him that you did not cause the smog, That his papa is wrong, What caused the smog was the violence and warfare from both sides. That you were only trying to help, that you never meant for it to go so far.

The boy says nothing. You continue walking out of the city, Back towards the hut.

You walk towards the fire.

The flames are roaring, its just the beginning.

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