Chapter OneMature

Marcus Judd

The sky was falling.

Explosions covered the visible landscape, as well as fire, which was burning our hope to a crisp. I didn't know where to go, what to do, or what I could do. So I ran. And that was it. I held my wife's hand as tightly as I could manage, and ran. 

My legs ached from running so long, but I didn't stop. Even when I saw a child sobbing into the ashes of what once was her parents. I just kept running, trying to stop the tears from pouring out of my red-beat eyes. 

To no avail.

"Marc, we can't keep running!" my wife screamed, just as a fiery explosion erupted only ten feet away from us, sending us flat onto our backs. I groaned as shrapnel from the explosion shot up dust around us.

"We have to," I mumbled, my voice raspy from the constant screaming I had engaged in only an hour before. "Stop pretending like you're ready to lay down and die. We're too close to give up now!"

"What are we close to, Marc?! Everyone's dead! The kids, our parents, we have nothing now!"

"We have each other!" I snapped loudly. I pushed myself to my feet and shot her a glare. "Now stop arguing and get up!"

She didn't move. She just stared at me, as if she didn't recognize me anymore. Truthfully, I didn't recognize myself either. I was panicking. And I had no hope.

I held out my hand to her. "Take my hand. Trust me, everything's going to be okay."

She said nothing for a moment. Finally, she reached out and placed her hand in mine. I pulled her to her feet.

"So what now?" she asked, leaning on to me for support.

I took a deep breath and looked around. "What can we do?"

There was silence between us. But the world continued to roar with explosions and dying screams. My wife fell to her knees and sobbed uncontrollably. 

I sobbed too, but not before grabbing her by the arm and helping her to stand. Then, we ran again. Faster than before.

Much faster.

Then, somehow, we escaped from LA before it was completely enveloped in a nuclear explosion. And thank God for that.

I found a place for Annalise, my wife, to stay. A shelter not too far from LA, if we can even call it that anymore. Now it's a graveyard where millions of people lay, dead under miles of rubble and ashes of what once was the City of Angels. The City of Dreams.

But now, I just call it the City of Death.

Where did I go from there? Well, I'm not quite sure. All I know is, I couldn't stay with my wife. I had to get away and find something. Find myself, maybe. I travelled in circles it felt like for a long time, until I ran into some travellers. They said they were going to enlist in the Marine Corps to fight as a resistance against the North Korean hogs. So I did too.

And now, I'm Marcus Judd, 1st Lieutenant of Sully's Squad. And I fight for the US army, and for my family, or what's left of it.

No, I fight for the fate of the world, and the people who inhabit it.

God bless America, while it still stands.

The End

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