It was naught but a whisper passed from ear to ear, a comment made while purchasing something at the market place, a secret to be kept from The Three. "Is the Sheriff mad?" "I heard that they organize themselves." "Lani's dog went missing and she's been forgetting things... I'd watch out when you're around her."
This is the town of Marion.
Five months ago, these little snippits of conversation would mean no more than Greek to the villagers of Marion. Life, back then, was perfect. The petty drama in your life from day to day is practically a privilege that now all survivors had to live without.
Early on in this summer, there was this incident that now is only referred to as The Zap. The exact source an cause is unknown; however there is enough information in circulation to confirm thus, modern times are know as the age of technology. Modern society thrives, feeds, off of technology... and hostile powers have learned to take advantage of that. America had grown prosperous and powerful and for some reason provoked hostile nations to attack them. The attack on us caused America to retaliate and it appeared that almost simultaneously, thousands of e-bombs were set off all over the world.
E-bombs are a new type of warfare, a bomb that sends out a series of electromagnetic pulses designed to cripple the enemy's use of technology by frying modern electrical components. The creator of such a weapon missed one concept: the human brain also runs on a form of electricity, called bioelectricity. When all the e-bombs were set off at once, it affected humans as well as our technology.
Millions died instantly. If you were from about the ages of 26 to 49, you're nothing but ashes now. You had a fifty percent chance of surviving if you were over that range. However, if you're under.... Well let's just say that there's only a ten percent chance that you're still you.
They call them the changed. That is, those whose brains were most affected by the EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) burst. What the EMP did was that it fried the part of their brains that controls their humanity. It shut it down. In that select few of people, it unlocked the animal inside them. It took away all the parts that made them human: kindness, communication, most emotions, and so on. It turned them feral and they began to hunt their human brethren and crave human flesh. If you didn't change, if you're one of the lucky ten percent, then you've apparently been spared. Sounds like a lot of psychotic religious, crap doesn't it? As if God was sorting through the people of the world... deciding who shall live and who shall live in anarchy the rest of their lives.
Little is known by us in Marion about the area outside the City's zone. Except for maybe Three or some of the guards. When we refer to The Three, we actually mean the co-leaders of our safe-haven. The Sheriff, The Pastor, and The Deputy. Their reign is slightly tyrannical, but it keeps us safe and at least this way everyone knows what there job is. The Sheriff and Deputy are the head of the guards, those men who protect our town.
Marion is surrounded by what we call the "Buffer Zone", or in short, "The Zone." It is about a five mile deep ring all the way around Marion that is rich with these animalistic Changed and keeps us safe from other civilizations that try to attack us and take our supplies. Out there is a mystery. It's dark, cold, and dangerous as the days grow shorter and time fast approaches December. I just pray that I'm not selected in the weekly lottery.
My name is Megan Harras. This is my world, and it turns my blood to ash in fear.