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 7 Months: A Prologue

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Frosty

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PostSubject: Re: 7 Months: A Prologue   Sun Aug 01, 2010 10:38 pm

"Right, right. Yes. Let's go."

Evgeny started walking the wrong way, slowly. "Let's go.....I need to lay down."

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PostSubject: Re: 7 Months: A Prologue   Mon Aug 02, 2010 12:19 am

Finished with shoving the scope back on in somewhat of a crude fashion, she looked up in time to see Evgeny stagger in a direction obviously not the way he had intended to go. She stood up with determination then, leaving the rifle where it lay. "Evgeny... you need to sit down. It's not a suggestion anymore," she said firmly, moving over to him and putting a hand on his arm, partially to steady him and partially to keep him from continuing off in the wrong direction.

Morgan sensed the tension in her voice and whined.



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PostSubject: Re: 7 Months: A Prologue   Mon Aug 02, 2010 8:34 pm

Evgeny looked around the broken building in which Malorie had dragged him to, "No, no. I am fine Malorie, do not fuss. I am not a baby."

He sat regardless, his head still spinning. "Okay, okaaayyy. Oh...."

He fell backwards, collapsing onto the floor. Sleep deprivation, injuries and a lack of good food had finally gotten the better of him. He began to dream.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It was winter in Tskhinvali, although there was not much snow fall. The town was getting rebuilt but some people, like Evgeny, refused to move on. He stood in the tower block, his rifle in hand, as the people marched outside. It was another march to commemorate the loss of the innocent in the South Ossetian war but for Evgeny it was not enough. Not when they were still here; not when they wouldn't leave.

"Evgeny?" The young man who had spoke was looking at Evgeny, fretting from foot to foot.

"What Vlad?"

"Are you sure about this? I mean they're not fighting back anymore, they're not really causing us any trouble."

The room went quiet and the other two men back away from the increasingly nervous looking Vlad. "What did you say?"

"I said Evgeny that I don't think-"

"Shut up. You are here to think? You are here to do as I fucking say. Understood?"

"But Evgeny, I'm not sure it's right."

Two strides and Evgeny had picked up the young man by the scruff of his shirt and threw him against the wall, "I DO NOT GIVE A SHIT! DO YOUR FUCKING JOB."

"Y-yes Evgeny."

"Good, now fuck off."

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Evgeny came to slowly, peering round the room. "Malorie? Oh fuck my head. Malorie?"

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PostSubject: Re: 7 Months: A Prologue   Mon Aug 02, 2010 9:47 pm

Malorie sat just a few feet away, peering through a tiny hole in a covered window. She'd had to do the covering herself with a few pried-up nails from elsewhere in the building and a grocery bag. It was dark outside now, and she was rocking back and forth from her perch, looking anxious. She turned as Evgeny spoke.

"I'm right here," she said softly. "I think you've got a concussion. Don't move too much."

She talked more quietly than usual, though if Evgeny was really observant, he would notice that it wasn't simply for his pounding headache that she did so. "I hid the corpses from earlier, but their buddies came back looking for them. They've been searching the area all night," she whispered, moving over to him in the semi-darkness. Reaching into a pocket, she withdrew something smaller than her hand and opened her palm to him. Inside it was a tiny pill. "I found some aspirin before the search party showed up. You should take it."

Her other hand reached for a water bottle, the last clean one they had for the day, and passed it over to him as well. Her expression was difficult to read in the bad lighting, but she was obviously looking at him with masked concern.

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PostSubject: Re: 7 Months: A Prologue   Mon Aug 02, 2010 10:11 pm

Evgeny took the pill and the water, drinking it slowly. He tried to shut out the pain lingering in his head and instead propped himself up against the wall, trying to read Malorie's face. "Are they still close? We shouldn't leave this hut, it'll keep us safe from those damn bat things."

He patted himself down and withdrew a silver canister filled with the ghastly home made alcohol that farming couple had traded a few miles back. He took a sip and winced. "Have you not eaten? You should, you keep losing weight."

Evgeny went silent for a moment and looked a little distant; his memory was playing havoc with him.

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PostSubject: Re: 7 Months: A Prologue   Mon Aug 02, 2010 10:22 pm

"Last I saw 'em they were heading to the Eastern side of the city. It's been getting darker though so there's a chance they may slip by my vision. Been watching Morgan for the most part to see when he hears things out of place." Malorie actually smiled a little then, "He always does that funny head-turn thing in the right direction. It's quite helpful."

Settling in against the wall beside him, she fished through her pack for a second and retrieved a small, dented can. Slipping her finger underneath the pull tab on the top, she popped open the lid and sat it aside. Wiping her hands off on a semi-clean portion of her shirt, she began to open the boiled peanuts inside and chew on them happily. "I'm so glad we found these. Want some?"

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PostSubject: Re: 7 Months: A Prologue   Mon Aug 02, 2010 10:26 pm

"Yes," Evgeny said unthinkingly, "please."

He dipped a hand in the nuts and watched Morgan carefully; the hound had curled up by the door where he could listen easily. Evgeny chewed on a few of the nuts and looked thoughtful; his head was still humming. It felt like someone had tried to cave his brain in with a piece of frozen steak. Not effective enough to break him but hard enough to bloody hurt.

"Malorie," he said in a distant tone, "Do you believe in karma?"

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PostSubject: Re: 7 Months: A Prologue   Mon Aug 02, 2010 11:00 pm

"You actually like those things?" Malorie was surprised that Evgeny was eating the nuts without wincing. Most people hated boiled peanuts straight from the can, if they even liked them at all. Then again he was foreign. They probably ate weird crap over where he came from all the time, right?

When he suddenly changed the subject to karma, Malorie paused for a while, thinking.
"I don't know that there's any sort of otherworldly system of order out there, but I figure it's best not to tempt it in case it does exist. I guess what I mean is, I try to do good by people and hope that reciprocates. But I know that's not always the case. How many bad guys out there get away with what they do, especially now? How many good people are never rewarded for their sacrifices? The world isn't fair, and I don't think there's any sort of mystical force that tries to put it straight."

She glanced over at him. "Sorry, did you just want a simple "yes" or "no"?

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PostSubject: Re: 7 Months: A Prologue   Mon Aug 02, 2010 11:21 pm

"I am....not sure." Evgeny frowned at the peanut and chewed on it slightly. "You are right. This does taste like shit."

He took another peanut regardless and chewed on it slowly. "Who did you lose when it landed?"

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PostSubject: Re: 7 Months: A Prologue   Tue Aug 03, 2010 12:03 am

Malorie closed her eyes, letting her hand fall into her lap slowly with the latest peanut still clutched between her fingers. She sighed, the images that were so vivid in her dreams coming back behind her eyelids in an instant. She fought so hard every day to keep the thoughts out of her head, but it was amazing how quickly they could be summoned.

"My parents..."

She opened her eyes again but did not look at him this time.

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PostSubject: Re: 7 Months: A Prologue   Fri Aug 06, 2010 1:34 am

"They would have....pride," Evgeny said awkwardly. "Pride that you survive like this, pride that you keep going. Too many people just decided to die instead; you have to be brave to keep going."

He took a nibble on the peanut, "Or stupid I guess."

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PostSubject: Re: 7 Months: A Prologue   Tue Aug 10, 2010 9:20 pm

Malorie sighed, staring down at her peanut as if it might do a trick or something. She recognized that Evgeny was trying, in his socially odd way, to cheer her up, but it made her think of something else she'd seen long before she’d met him.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

When Malorie had finally picked herself up off of the ground, she’d left a puddle of tears in the dirt that was already being covered up by bits of ash. The debris raining down in this part of town was much less than it had been around her incinerated home, but she realized it probably wasn’t a good idea to be breathing it in anyway.

The town was strangely quiet, with the rumble of just a few vehicles’ engines echoing off in the distance as the only noticeable sign of life. Everyone else had cleared out. Maybe they’d had warning in the city, alarms or whatnot. Malorie found herself inexplicably angry at that thought, at the idea that some people just a town over had had the chance to get to safety while no one had even bothered to call her household. Nothing. No cautioning. It wasn’t fair!


“Life’s not fair, Mal,” her mother’s voice rang in her head, an echo of a time when she’d been a child, just complaining about some petty injustice that only a child can’t see past.

She hung her head, tears gathering in her eyes again. How could she make herself leave? There was nothing here for her now, but it felt like her sneakers were rooted to the earth, tethered to the past with invisible chains.

It took the sound of gravel skittering across asphalt for her to look up, and only when the source of the disturbance came straight for her did she finally break out of her trance enough to move. A beautiful white horse clopped frantically into the road and came tearing down the street as if escaping from some horror. Its coat was thickly covered in soot like that which now covered Malorie, giving it more of a gray complexion. Even so, she recognized the mare as one of her neighbor’s prize-winning stock. Upon its back, a saddle lay abandoned, as if the rider had fought to stay in an upright position or had never made it that far to begin with.

About a half-mile down the road, the horse finally came to a trot, and then a slower plod, breathing heavily. It came to a stop and turned, looking in Malorie’s direction but evidently listening for something else. She moved towards the animal, slowly and with one hand out in a beckoning gesture.
“Whoa now, easy does it girl. That’s it,” she cooed, inching closer until she was able to reach up and touch the horse’s muzzle. At first it flinched and took a few scared steps backwards, whinnying at the unfamiliar smell of the unfamiliar person. Continuing her string of calm, gentle words, however, Malorie coaxed the creature into a stationary state. Adjusting the saddle and replacing the dangling bridle, she clambered atop, patting the horse’s flank lightly. “I think you want to get out of here as much as I do.”

Deciding where to go from there hadn’t been easy. Waterloo, Nebraska was one of those towns situated smack in the middle of the country. At first Malorie simply wandered northeast along the Elkhorn River, away from the smoldering nothingness that was now Omaha. In a twist of irony, Offutt AirForce Base near Omaha had manufactured the first aircraft ever to drop an atomic bomb as a weapon of war. It seemed that the Land of the Rising Sun had finally gotten its revenge for the Enola Gay.

Malorie, on the other hand, had no way to fight back. She couldn’t make whoever had started this whole mess pay for what they’d done, for the lives they’d wrecked. All she could do was defy them by surviving. For the next few weeks, she travelled in relative silence. Even the horse, which she’d come to call “Thunder” for the manner in which she’d been officially introduced, was quiet most of the time. During the day, they would take to the cover of the trees in an effort to hide from the harshest rays of sunlight. At night, the pair slept in whatever cavern or empty house they could find.

In the beginning, the earth gave Malorie and her steed all that they needed. Shelter, water from the river, and fruit from the trees could all be sought out among the varying landscapes. Every so often they would draw closer to a city and Malorie would tie Thunder’s bridle to a tree, then go exploring on foot. Many of the smallest cities were abandoned completely, leaving Malorie to scavenge unhindered. Some of the larger ones, however, held locals eager to defend their homes, paranoid from the many weeks without contact. She carefully took note of their locations in her memory, and moved on quickly.

A little over a month of nearly constant travel had worn the horse and rider considerably. By now, they had run out of the few supplies Malorie had managed to find, and the land in Eastern Wyoming was less than hospitable. Travelling along Interstate 80, she came to her breaking point at a worn-down sign that simply read “Walcott” with an arrow pointing down a dirt road to the north. Wearily, she led Thunder along the new path and into what even she wouldn’t have considered a town. Only a few buildings stood in the sandy dirt, but the lack of structures wasn’t due to any nuclear activity. The place was just that small.

Almost immediately she considered turning back, if not for the fact that she doubted any supply value in the area, simply because it gave her the creeps. Something about the way nothing moved sent chills down her spine, even in the heat of the day. Still, she reasoned that she’d better at least try and see if there was anything she could use here. Without a map, the only thing she’d had to go on was the signs along the Interstate, and she hadn’t seen one in a while. It could be a long time before she came across another civilization of any sort.

Walking cautiously toward the first of the handful of buildings, a wayward breeze fluttered the otherwise stale air to her nostrils, and with it came a stench she had never before had the displeasure of smelling. For a moment she recoiled, then clamped her nose shut and pressed on, tip-toeing to the door of what had apparently been a pre-bombing general store.

The door swung open with a small chime that made Malorie jump unexpectedly. She caught herself and slipped beyond the frame, eyes adjusting to the change in lighting. When she was able to discern the shapes on the shelves for what they really were, she smiled. There would be a feast tonight.

Adorning the merchandise rows were dozens of cans and bags, all filled with preservative-laden goodness. In some sections there were even untouched non-perishables like flashlights and toothbrushes. Assuming that no one was in this “city” like so many other places she’d visited, Malorie began unceremoniously scooping things into a bag, though she took only what she knew she would use.

As she contemplated the lack of nutritional value found in a particular chocolate bar, the smell from earlier returned to assail her senses once more. It wasn’t as strong as before, but it was definitely noticeable and definitely coming from something nearby. Curiosity overcoming her distaste of the odor, Malorie moved forward in an effort to discover the source. Near the opposite end of the shop from the front doorway, a second door, which inevitably led to the back stockroom and rear exit, hung partially cracked open.

As she drew nearer, the young woman noticed that what she had previously thought to be an ornate trim around the door was actually writing. Holding her breath, she leaned in close to examine the odd note, scrawled in stabbing red script.


The angels are injured; fall with broken, burning wings. Are we dead inside? Are we blind? We can't keep moving forward, backwards with closed eyes. We’re losing sight, all lost inside.


Malorie’s heart was thrumming against her ribcage now. She felt fearful, yet inescapably drawn to the unknown beyond the door. With one hand, she pushed on the slab of wood and it gave way easily, the metal hinge sighing as the parts slipped past each other.

The smell, now with no barrier, hit Malorie with full force. From a frayed leather belt clasped firmly to a support beam overhead, a corpse dangled silently, skin shriveled with the beginnings of decay. Across every square inch of wall and floor, someone, likely the hanged man prior to his death, had painted just two words.


All gone.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Back in real time, Malorie looked back at Evgeny and shook her head in reply.


“Both.”

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PostSubject: Re: 7 Months: A Prologue   Thu Sep 02, 2010 7:16 pm

Evgeny shrugged, "You are probably right..."

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
One month later

The area was quiet, mostly due to the intensive rain. Although some things may change in life there are a few universal truths: Sundays have, and always will, feel weird, when it's raining people try and head indoors, or will complain about getting wet and finally bad things happen when it's quiet and it shouldn't be.

The rain was streaking down, it was a Sunday and Evgeny was moody as he stood in the strange little town, rain pouring off his shaven head. "This is not right," he said, mostly to himself, "I have been here before. There was a whole group here, a whole community, all of them working together."

He turned to his companions, one on all fours the other having mastered the art of evolution up to the point of being so complex that the digital watch seemed like a cool idea, giving them a look. "I do not like this. It feels wrong."

He looked once more down the street, "But perhaps that is because it is Sunday."

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PostSubject: Re: 7 Months: A Prologue   Sun Sep 26, 2010 1:19 am

"How do you know they're not still around? It IS raining hard enough to make a fish drown out here."

Malorie had a hand curved over her brow, trying to keep the downpour from obscuring her vision. Meanwhile, she gazed down at her feet. She'd recently found a new pair of sneakers almost in her size that she really liked, and they were only lightly used. Now they were getting soaked and would probably be filthy much sooner than they otherwise would have thanks to the rain turning all the dust into muddy paste.

"I don't think Sunday really has anything to do with it, unless we're talking about religion here. But what do I know? Let's just do what we came here for, okay?"

They needed several things, with the top of Evgeny's list being more alcohol while Malorie's choices were more practical. Food was a constant need, but that went without saying. Little things like clean bandages and other first aid requirements were almost equally hard to come by... and almost equally necessary now that the world had gone to hell. Everywhere was dangerous, and that wasn't even counting the human factor.

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PostSubject: Re: 7 Months: A Prologue   Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:23 pm

Evgeny nodded numbly and walked towards the nearest house, rifle in hand. He moved slowly, despite the heavy rain masking the noise of his steps. He looked at Morgan pointedly as the dog sniffed around the bottom of the door, waiting for him to growl so Evgeny could be proven right and shoot everything and anything through the door. Except the dog didn't growl but neither did he wag his tail. Something was not right.

Evgeny pushed the door open but found it was harder to open then it should of been, something at the bottom of the door was acting as a door stop. Evgeny paused, waiting to be shot, before pushing forward again when no gunfire greeted him. He wished he hadn't continued.

The stench of death was everywhere, as where the bodies. They were bloody and broken, covered in gashes, bite marks and all the kind of injuries you'd expect from unarmed fighting. Each and everyone was bloody round the mouth or in bits and pieces-those with the bloodiest mouths had head wounds, presumably from firearms.

"What the fuck?!"

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PostSubject: Re: 7 Months: A Prologue   Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:06 pm

When Malorie walked up behind Evgeny, all she could see from around him were the feet of one person sticking out of the open doorway. As she moved to go around him, however, she noticed that the feet were lacking something.

The rest of the body.

Her hand immediately moved to cover her mouth and she had to fight the gag reflex as she took in the rest of the room. "Oh, Jesus..." She staggered back a few steps, leaning on the wall next to the door. Even so, she didn't turn away from the scene completely. For some reason, she felt like she shouldn't turn her back to the room.

Without warning, Morgan began to bark and whine, looking incredibly uncomfortable. Malorie stared wide-eyed at the dog's increasing agitation, then slowly back toward the room. In the time it took she and Evgeny to look at the dog in surprise, the room had changed.

Standing in the middle of the bodies was a filthy little boy, clothes tattered and torn as they dangled from his limbs. He was facing the other way and shaking slightly, as if cold or scared. Had he been trapped inside this horrid nightmare for days on end? Did he have nowhere else to go? Malorie couldn't help but be concerned for him.


"Are you okay? You can come out here. We won't hurt..." she said with quiet compassion, a gasp cutting her off as the child unexpectedly turned his head toward her voice. His eyes were red-rimmed, but not nearly as vivid as his mouth. Lips agape, blood was smeared over his face from ear to ear in a disturbing smile.

An inhuman growl wound its way out of his throat and Malorie screamed.

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PostSubject: Re: 7 Months: A Prologue   Thu Sep 30, 2010 3:02 pm

The child ran but not in a mournful or fearful way. It simply ran straight at Malorie, it's roar continuous. Evgeny froze, unsure of what to do. It was a child, a gods damned child, charging at Malorie like it was posessed by a demon. Morgan was not moving towards it, only growling.

The child was close to Malorie now, it's mouth open wide and it's arms outstretched. No child should do that....

Evgeny would have difficulty remembering what happened after that. He knew that he must of shot the child because he had the gun in his hand and it was no longer charging for Malorie but he didn't remember the details. He didn't remember that it took the third bullet, a shot to the temple, to down the thing. He especially didn't remember vomiting.

"Leave.....we should leave......"

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PostSubject: Re: 7 Months: A Prologue   Thu Sep 30, 2010 6:57 pm

Run…

The boy scrambled ever closer, stumbling over scraps of clothing and broken bodies, his mouth dripping with saliva the color of bloody soot. A gunshot rang out to Malorie’s right, making her flinch.

Run…

But she couldn’t move her legs. A second round ripped through the moist Sunday air.

Run away already!

And then the child was maybe a foot away from her; one more step and his fingernails would be able to dig into her skin, pull her arm toward his drooling maw. She could make out every fine detail of his face: his small round nose, his dirty blonde hair, and his sapphire blue eyes.

And then they were gone.

The features Malorie had studied for all of a moment were now indistinguishable mush in a face mutilated by a well-placed bullet. She screamed again, and suddenly rediscovered how to use her legs.

Practically tripping over her own shoes, she turned and fled into the rain, vaguely overhearing the sound of retching behind her. She didn’t stop running until she was somewhere near the entrance of the town, back the way they had come. Grabbing onto a stop sign for support, she rested her face against the cold metal, letting the weather drench her while she stood there shaking.

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PostSubject: Re: 7 Months: A Prologue   Thu Sep 30, 2010 7:23 pm

"I had to....." Evgeny said, walking from the house slowly. The rain was lashing around him as his hands shook, trying to light a cigarette. "I had to......"

------------------------------------------------------
Malawi, two years earlier

"I had to......"

The room was a state, the debris and remains a perfect reflection of the mercenaries' spirits. The single room was neither big nor well fitted but now it held four living beings, all in various states of emotional distress. Evgeny stood amongst the group of foreigners in this land, his fist clenched tightly; the body of three children lay before him. Each one had bullet wounds, each one held guns. Each one could be no more then thirteen years old.

"I had to," he stated again, his voice cold. "They had guns."

"Of course Evgeny," another mercenary said softly. "We should go now."

"The boss said we take building. I took building. He did not say there would be children."

"But we all knew," another said, a tad coldly. "We all know the unions have child soldiers."

"I did not know they would be here!"

"Alright Evgeny, alright. We've done it though, let's go."

"Yes." Evgeny looked at the bodies and nodded simply, "I had to."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Evgeny stood by the road sign, not looking at Malorie. His cigarette had gone out again, the water running down his face having put it out. "I had to."

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PostSubject: Re: 7 Months: A Prologue   Fri Oct 01, 2010 3:08 am

Malorie didn’t realize that Evgeny wasn’t talking to her, that he was somewhere far away at that moment. She pulled herself off of the street sign and nodded blankly, trying to accept what he was saying as justification. The kid couldn’t have been older than seven, but something incomprehensible had happened to him. Something had killed not only his sanity, but his very humanity.

Or maybe this was pure human nature. A living incarnation of everything that was wrong with the world. The greed of the race of man had manifested itself until it was nothing but a parasite.

Nothing but a hunger.

Whatever the reason for this town’s collapse, it did nothing to assuage the fact that Malorie’s new shoes were now splattered with both mud and the blood of a dead child.

“Evgeny, he… it wasn’t… I just…”

And then her face was buried into his chest as she cried, not caring if he just stood there in awkward silence at her outburst. Right now, she needed something much more intrinsic: to know that there was someone else she could stay grounded with, someone else who was alive and going through the same roiling emotions that she was, even if he barely showed them at the worst of times.

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PostSubject: Re: 7 Months: A Prologue   Fri Oct 01, 2010 10:17 am

Evgeny wrapped his arms around Malorie slowly, unsure of what to do. How long had it been since he'd last held a woman? How long had it been since someone was this close to him? He felt strange, it wasn't right someone being this close. It was stupid and dangerous and would only lead in either his death or for him to mourn when she died. Continuing this game with her was not what a man like Evgeny did.

He placed his head on her shoulder and started to shake, the tears rolling down his face silently. "I do not know what I am anymore."

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PostSubject: Re: 7 Months: A Prologue   Fri Oct 01, 2010 1:18 pm

In Evgeny’s moment of emotional exposure, Malorie held him closer, grateful that he hadn’t pushed her away. At that instant, they were just two people in the middle of two storms: one very real and physical, another billowing over their psyches harsher and harsher every day. It was made apparent to Malorie for perhaps the first time that, even though she’d suspected it all along, Evgeny needed her as much as she felt she needed him.

The rain started to let up as it dissolved into a fine drizzle, and Malorie pulled back just slightly, looking up at Evgeny’s face. She knew what she wanted to say, but not how she should say it.

“You are a good man stuck in a bad place. The world is upside down right now, but for you I think it’s been that way for a lot longer.”

She glanced back toward the house they had just come from, then quickly turned back again, grabbing his hand in a gesture of mild urgency. “Come on. You were right. We should leave.”

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PostSubject: Re: 7 Months: A Prologue   Fri Oct 01, 2010 3:04 pm

"I'm not sure I can believe you," Evgeny said, pulling away from Malorie slightly. "But thank you."

He picked up his gun from off the floor and nodded absentmindedly, "We should go around the town. Make sure we do not walk through again."

He set off slowly, glancing round to make sure Malorie was following.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Month Ten, Yakima Airport ouskirts, Oregon.
150 miles from Seattle, no direct damage from original bomb drop. Fallout levels: Survivable.

The approach to Yakima airport was very well thought out by its residents. No one approached by coming north, from the city. The place was a deathtrap and well-known as one. The residents of Yakima gracefully requested that you approach from the South to the outer perimeter fence where an outer guard would talk to you via a two-way radio. You never got to see the guards up front but Evgeny was fairly certain they operated from the radar tower. Once the guards established you weren't evil the gates would swing open and you would find yourself walking down the long runway to the main airport building. It was quite a long walk and gave the guards ample time to shoot you in the head if they decided you weren't what they thought you were. Without fail, most people tended to feel threatened at this point when the gate would swing shut behind them as they set foot on the runway. Evgeny knew the game behind this and he had to admire the resident's work; those coming here to make trouble quickly felt intimidated enough to calm down.

After a good brisk walk you'd find yourself approaching the terminal. It was a small one, the airport having acted as a small local air center, but it was a crucial keypoint. For the first time in weeks, for many people months, you'd see what resembled civilization. The terminal was always bustling, or at least comparatively to the rest of the country. About forty odd people lived here permanently and to those who happened to pass through and discover it, it became very much a stop-off point. Shops here were set up by the residents trading in everything from weapons to food, including the rarest and most delicate of specialties, like chocolate. There was even a bar hidden in one corner where a departures waiting lounge had once been.

Currency was simple in Yakima: When you entered whatever you sold was returned in paper form signed by the shopkeeper with a approximate value. These tokens could then be taken to another shopkeeper to trade for their goods: Every shopkeeper knew each other's signature so forging wasn't such a problem. The society in Yakima were sharing everything that was traded amongst themselves and to Evgeny it was the closest he'd ever seen to that ill fated thing called communism that his mother had always banged on about. He'd decided it would be best to never share that thought with Yakima residents.

Yakima was neither pretty nor that relaxed but to Evgeny, it was the best place he'd found in the wasteland. There were adequate guards to stop fights and the residents had seen Evgeny a good few times so they trusted him about as much as you can trust a strange foreigner from the wasteland with a gun, and he trusted them about as much as you could trust a group of people better armed and larger in number than you. To say he had friendships there was wrong, but at least he was fairly sure they wouldn't kill him. Plus they were always happy to reward you with their tokens if you helped out in a raider assault or even went into the city and cleared out a few problem makers.

Evgeny stood at the door, waiting for Malorie to walk in first. It was always good to see how someone reacted to seeing all those people together and working in unity. You were always treated as an outsider at first but the simple act of seeing it was enough to bring a smile to a great many people's faces.

"We should get some clean water," Evgeny said, waiting for her reaction. "They have a river here and keep the water clean. We'll trade spares before we decide what little bits we can allow ourselves to get."

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Mesh'la Runi

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PostSubject: Re: 7 Months: A Prologue   Sat Oct 02, 2010 3:07 am

Malorie followed Evgeny down the tarmac, eyeing the old ATC tower above them. The lights were on inside, but its contents were nevertheless indistinguishable at that distance. It fed into her feeling that she was being watched from more than one place at once.

At the airport building, Evgeny paused to let her enter first and she smiled, nodding at his words. “I can’t rightly remember the last time I had water that didn’t taste like rust.” Malorie stepped through the door and walked a few slow steps beyond, then stopped.

Although it had once been an airport, if she hadn’t been outside first, Malorie would never have guessed it. The interior was completely transformed into a hive of motion. The terminals had been turned into merchant stalls, and on the far end a group of escalators (now functioning as stairs) led to the floor relabeled “Living Quarters.”

All around her, Malorie found people not only living, not only surviving, but thriving in this environment. It was incredible. Friends were talking amongst each other, children were playing, and families were getting along as if the bombs had never gone off. It was a burst of hope, but at the same time it reminded her of what she was missing now.

She knew they’d only stopped here to get a few things, trade their less-needed items for more essential goods, but it was going to be difficult to leave. Would Seattle really be worth it?

“Where to, boss?” she asked, putting on a brave face and turning to Evgeny as he passed through the doorway himself. Meanwhile, a group of kids crowded around Morgan and petted him happily. One of them tossed a ball into the air and laughed as the dog caught it in his jaws and then playfully refused to return it.

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PostSubject: Re: 7 Months: A Prologue   Sat Oct 02, 2010 2:19 pm

Evgeny nodded and pointed at one of the stalls ahead of them, one of the most empty. It was also, curiously, the most well guarded with two burly looking guards dedicated to looking after the stall. "That is the weapon stall. We won't bother wasting money on new weapons and don't take up the offer of repairing your gun because I can do it but that is where we will sell all that ammo we have collected. It will earn us many tokens which is good because then we can get lots of water."

Evgeny started to walk forward and Morgan trotted forward happily, the kids practically hanging off his tail in a effort to get their ball back. "Be on your toes Mallorie. They do not like outsiders here, even though they need us."

Evgeny came to a stop at the stall and placed his bag down heavily and opened it carefully, making a show of showing the guards that any weapon he did pull out was unloaded and had the safety on. The small woman behind the shop counter smirked slightly at Evgeny as he unloaded the ammo-he hated how she always did that. He could swear that she enjoyed having this much power over him. He placed his final box of spare or incompatible ammunition on the counter and waited for the first insult.

"Is that all you have?"

"Yes," Evgeny said, his teeth grinding together.

"That's pretty pathetic russian."

"Wasteland is getting emptier," Evgeny said, his body tensing up.

"Bullshit, we've had people return with much better."

"Fuck you! I have worked hard to-" Evgeny placed his head in his hands and stepped away. She had won again. "Mallorie, you do deal. I am going to go get a drink and find out gossip using little tokens I have left."

Walking away from the shop Morgan looked at Evgeny and then Mallorie before sitting down next to Mallorie, chewing on the ball. The small woman smirked at Evgeny's back and then turned to Mallorie, her eyebrows raising. "You don't look Russian. You sure don't look like his type of friend, if there is one."

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