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Battle Scars
Field Journal Issue Viral
ReAnimated
It wasn't the thunder or the hard rain that woke him, he'd learned to drown that out a week ago when the storms started. No, it was the sound of shattering glass and collapsing stone that had made Cyrus spring up from the ground in his newest hiding place. In a flash he had everything packed into his bag, going through the motions as he did every day when practicing for a situation like this. The only difference in his preparation was the speed of his heart beating and the cold chills on the back of his neck. The crash had come from down stairs, but he already felt like something was waiting just on the other side of the door. He put his ear to the heavy wooden door of the storage closet he was hiding in, floor four of a long abandoned hospital where nature was the only resident. He waited twenty... thirty seconds and was only met with silence, It could have been the weather wearing away at the stone walls. he suggested to himself, but deep down he knew that was a lie. There was something down there, and it was quiet; quiet enough to suggest that it was hunting for something, and that something was probably him. Cyrus took in a silent breath and readied himself, strapping on his most important pieces of equipment; two seventeen inch long forearm machetes. It was true, there was no way a normal person would have been able to come across such deadly and uncommon pieces of weaponry; but back in the day his grandparents had been hardcore apocalypse fanatics buying up weapons and supplies in their later years for the inevitable end of the world. Back then everyone thought it would be zombies, now they probably wished it had been. Zombies would have been an easier battle to recover from in the long run.

But that wasn't how things were meant to be, no one just got up after the chaos and started shooting their way to safety, or banded together in small factions to protect themselves. And it was Mother Nature herself that nearly brought about the end of all sentient life. Humans or animals, it didn't matter; nothing could find shelter from the endless storms that flooded entire cities and washed away small towns. No one could hide in underground shelters with every fault line shifting producing earthquakes that lasted hours and brought the Statue of Liberty to the ground. The Ring of Fire erupted and torched everything in it's wake, every volcano said to be dormant came alive over the course of a month. Every coastal city gone, if not burned then drowned by the impossible tsunamis that came with it. And even with every natural disaster plaguing the world, it didn't end there. Major cities that had their own nuclear power plants were empty of all life after the first night, places where even now are unsafe to enter. Almost two hundred years later, people still die of radiation poisoning if they're exposed for more than a few hours; but those spots were far a few between with bodies littered on the edges of the fallout zones, a morbid way of warning others of the danger. The truth to it was, the dead where the only ones left who showed kindness to strangers; their corpses served as guardians protecting humans and animals alike from sharing the same fate. Those who were warned lived just a little longer, but death always had a new trick up it's sleeve. Everything that remained in the world after the chaos had a way to kill someone, it wouldn't think twice and it wouldn't feel bad later. Humans or otherwise; for fun, for food, for territory rights, or just because you twitched at the wrong time, everything was a threat and you place your trust in no one but yourself.

And now Cyrus had to trust himself to know what to do, and to react and move as he had trained to for surviving what was left of the world. He lingered a moment longer before slowly turning the handle, making sure his blades didn't tap against the door. He had to avoid making as much noise as possible, which would be easier said than done. It seemed to take an eternity opening the heavy door in silence, the tiniest creak could mean his death. Eventually the gap was just wide enough for him to shuffle out into the office without his bag touching the door frame behind him. The first thing he did was scan the room, stopping to listen for any more noise from below; when he heard nothing he tentatively stepped from the storage room. In two strides he was under the office desk, stopping to listen again. He would have to move slowly, but it was necessary. Though his movements were precise and smooth, he was shaking with fear. He tried to avoid conflict in his travels and he'd only run into predators a handful of times; and in not all of them had he come out unscathed. Just as he was about to move again, he heard a crash from beneath him, it seemed closer than the initial noise. Whatever was in the building it had moved from the ground floor and was making it's way up. If he didn't get out soon, it would find him. His only advantage now was the rain and the dark. Whether the monster knew he was hiding here or not, he didn't know. But his scent would be harder to track with the smell of the rain and the water leaking into each of the floors, not to mention the constant thunder would muffle any small noises but he would still be as quiet as possible just in case. Cyrus took another breath and cleared his thoughts, then peered over the top of the desk. His eyes scanned over the counter on the far side of the office, looking out into the lobby. It seemed clear from his current position; he was probably in the clear if the beast was still two floors below.





 
 
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