The After-World

Years ago World War Three broke out, killing millions. The last place hit? America. The acid bombs dropped released a chimical which somehow caused people to grow with weird abilities which shouldn't be possible. The story follows a young girl who goes on a journey to stop the men who started the war. The girl and a large group of super soldiers train, to prepare for battle.

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2. Chapter 1

Nora’s eyes scanned the thick forest, wet with the sky’s tears. The trees bent to the right, creaking with anger at being disturbed. A gray sky stretched on for eternity, never ending, and never changing. She held the string of her bow taught, pulled back so it was in line with her shoulder. Her breath came slow and steady, as she concentrated on seeing movement. Then, a twitch in a bush and she fired her bow.

The arrow soared through the air, arching in the middle before it plummeted down. As it struck her target, she smiled in satisfaction. She walked towards the bush, slowly, loving the suspense. As she reached her spot she stopped, then stared at the small bush. Her hand reached out to go in the bush and she pulled out a white rabbit with long ears, and plump thighs. Her mouth watered at the sight and she shoved the dead rodent into her animal skin bag she had gotten for her sixteenth birthday a year and a half ago.

Nora skimmed over what she had caught that day and let out a satisfied huff when she counted four rabbits, two coyotes, and a weasel. It’s not the best she’d done but it was good enough, especially since all the animals were dying from the toxic air, or lack of food. She had seen three dead deer on her way out, and one was a buck, a pretty big buck in fact. But it wasn’t safe to eat animals already dead; they could contaminate most of the population of the shelter.

Her footsteps made nearly no sound as she traced over the path she had come. They were hunter steps, trained and steady so she wouldn’t scare away game. She was done hunting for the day, but her quiet steps were habit and couldn’t be easily changed.

The shelter came into view after an hour or so and she approached the thick door. She shifted the weight of the bag to her opposite hand and slammed her fist painfully into the hard door. There was a few seconds wait before the door opened to show a small little girl holding open the door. “Hey Nora!” The girl yelled, “You got food?”

Nora chuckled lightly, “Yes Penpe,” She replied to the six year old child, “I got lots of food! Is Jack back yet?” Penpe’s eyes sparkled in a teasing way, and Nora could only guess what the little girl was thinking.

“Yeah, he came back a few hours ago with a mountain lion! He is in a really good mood now. I think he’s in the tavern with some other guys. You might want to wait before you go talk to him, you know how the men get when their drunk.” Nora felt a pang of jealously that he got such a good kill and had to travel less than half the distance she had, but there was nothing she could do so she just ruffled Penpe’s hair and walked towards the stench of the tavern.

Nora passed many people who nodded happily in her direction and some even nodded in respect. Nora nodded back, but kept walking until she was nose to wood with the tavern door. Bad memories flooded in her head but she pushed them to the side, smiled, and opened the door.

The smell that attacked her nostrils was a stinging alcoholic stench but somewhere deep in the smell, there was something sweet. Her eyes easily locked onto Jack and she strolled over, ignoring his friends. “Hey Jack.” She said, holding the y way longer than it needed to be held, “What’re ya up to?”

All his friends made “Ooooooooooooooooo” noises and she rolled her eyes. Jack and her had been best friends since they were in school together. Then, they had been excused from school due to their “special” abilities, which they put to use in hunting. Ever since then, they hadn’t really talked as much and Nora missed her friend. He was always too busy hanging out with the other specials, who were all guys. Nora was the only girl special in their shelter.

Jack blushed and put his beer mug to his lips, and swallowed bit after bit until it was all gone and there was no way to avoid talking to her. “Nothing really, hanging with the guys. What are you doing here?” He looked around, noticing how all the guys in the tavern had noticed she was there, and didn’t like it. Nora knew good and well girls weren’t allowed in the tavern, but they wouldn’t bother her. She didn’t really count after all.

“Well, I just got back and Penpe told me where you were. So, I decided to pop in and say hey.” Nora smiled at her old friend who seemed to want nothing to do with her any more. She turned, “Guess I’ll go then. Cause I already did that.” As she walked away she took a deep breath.  She realized what a bad idea that had been. She just wanted a friend, all she had in the shelter was a life of leaving early to hunt, then return at night and feed people who only respected her because of her gift and the food she brought. She wanted something bigger.

 

 

Nora walked in silence to the butcher’s shop where she dropped off her kills and walked back to her house. Her mother sat on a beaten up couch which she refused to replace, probably because it had been my idea to replace it. She looked up hopefully when I walked in, but when she saw me her face fell. It wasn’t the worst welcome she’d ever gotten.

“Hey mom. What’s up?” Nora walked over and sat next to her mother, who avoided looking in Nora’s eyes like she always did. Nora was pretty sure her mother didn’t even know the color of her eyes. It wouldn’t surprise her.

“Well I was enjoying the quiet, then you came in so I guess that’s out of the question.” Her mother coughed then rose to her feet with a steady step. Her mother was in her mid to late thirties, but she looked much older. Grief hit her hard.

“Guess so.” Nora muttered then stood up, “Guess what happened today.” She was trying to make a connection with her mother like she tried every day, but it never worked. Her mother would need to try if a relationship was to happen.

“Does it matter? By the way you used e-d, at the end of happen then it sounds like it was in the past. And the past should be buried; it is no use to me now.” Her mother began to walk away, her eyes straight ahead.

“Then why don’t you bury it. It wasn’t my fault and you know it, yet you blame me? Maybe I should just be done trying.” Nora said loud enough for her mom to overhear. Her mother spun around, probably going to fire back. But then, the emergency horn sounded and Nora ran out of the house before her mom could say a word.

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