Zone Girl in the Apocalyptic World Book One

New York, 2010. Stella Kincaid is a fourteen year old girl whose parents are dead due to the plague. When World War III happens, she is forced to wear battle armour to fight the United States Government whose corrupt behaviour threatens all of humanity.

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1. Stella Kincaid

****

Something ​happened today. 

I was concerned about mom and dad. They were ill with a terrible fever. "Stella, it's too late. Save yourself", Casey Kincaid told me; Harold Kincaid was on his death's bed. I wore a green mask on my face; I wasn't going to contract the deadly plague; I was strong. The E-news on my I-phone stated that the United States Government wanted things to keep everything working as normal; I didn't believe in fanciful tales of imminent death until I wore green military clothes, and black boots on my small feet. My flaming red hair was like a fire had happened; my green eyes focused on the acrid smoke near the Lower Manhattan factories that had been around since World War I; World War II was in Europe...but America had sent our soldiers to fight against Hitler was old school now. Grandfather and Grandma Kincaid knew that. All of my family were dead of the plague; all of them except me. I was prepared; I was going to survive World War III no matter how deadly everything outside was trashed. By early morning, (around six o'clock AM), on Friday, September 5, 2010, I gripped a .38 Smith & Wesson gun that dad had bought years' ago for protection against rogues. I didn't think mom cared too much about rogues; I saw her baking cakes on weekends; I saw her do ​motherly​ things like making sure I did my homework, and reading books during my free time. Dad was a businessman for South Water. He died aged forty-four; mom died aged forty-two. I am fourteen. And I knew, deep down, everything that was happening in New York had damaged my sanity. ​Well, almost that is​. I saw Trisha Jane Lowenstein smile at me. "Hey, Stella. What's happening?", she asked me. "My parents died, Trish from the plague; my life won't be forfeited by death. I have a feeling that disaster will happen since the Army came to the city". Trish was fourteen as well. She had long, blonde hair, blue eyes, and had an average height; she wore a green mask too. "Mom insisted on it in case of germs, you know". I nodded. I knew all of my friends, and their families had taken precautions. World War III, (as it was termed), became a factor in the nightmare which engulfed us all; I took a long, deep, breath...and waited for death to come. And, when nothing happened, we decided to head up the road towards ​Bath's Iron Works​, which were established since nineteen twenty-one...and was still working.

****

The ​acrid smell of black fog descended on New York. Trish and I saw what was going on. Mayor Hal Kendall, Jr., was choking on the smell; I could smell the filthy city, as I glanced at several homeless people underneath the sewers eating disused food from trash bins to feed their growing hunger. Life, as we knew it, was falling apart; life was falling because society was becoming dangerously close to extinction like the dinosaurs. ​I vowed never to eat anything that was mouldy; I vowed never to eat mould because of the plague. Trish heard the sound of footsteps; she stared at me, as if footsteps were mine. We saw the rogues armed with machine guns in their grey, gloved, hands; we saw two radiation barrels marked with "X" on the middle of them; we decided not to see whether the radiation would cause sickness; we just ignored the barrels. Suddenly we saw three boys armed with rifles in their hands. They wore green masks on their mouths, just in case someone sneezed and spread the plague. "Rich, is that you? It's Stella Kincaid", I announced. "Stella, I thought you were dead", Rich stated. "No!​ But my family is; my family is dead​. I'm with Trish". She waved at Rich with her right hand. He nodded. "We're here because of the rogues. There's E-news about their whereabouts in New York". He watched us like he owned us. The fact was Rich wasn't my boyfriend; Rich wasn't my type. "Stella, come with us. Trish too. Ed and James are coming as well", he said. And we trudged up the gravelly road...and hoped to God we would live in the apocalyptic world on the new unknown route of the damned.

****

Ed ​Foster started to regain his lost composure. "It's horrible​", he said. His short, black hair gleamed; his hazel eyes focused on the sharp shards of tin that someone left behind in a hurry; James Grahame gazed at the foggy city. He shook his head. Everyone was wearing green clothes. "According to Reese Jim Marks, III, New York is a dust bowl; New York is dead​". I agreed with him. "The rogues are dangerous", I said. Trish agreed with me. I saw a old man holding up an old plaque in his left hand. It read: ​Jesus will come to take care of everything​. I wasn't religious; I was keeping my beliefs to myself. I saw a male rogue in his early twenties. He wore a new black gas mask on his face; he breathed in and out of it, as the other rogues were holding onto their .38 Smith & Wesson guns in their hands; the rogues walked towards us. "​State your names, please​", he said. "Stella Kincaid", I said. He scanned my face with a machine; he backed away. "You're new to our system". I shook my head. "My family is dead; my life is precious". I looked at him. The rogue was used to the Authority of New York; the rogue followed orders to a 'T'; the rogue scanned me until there was a '​ping​' sound. And, for me, the ordeal had ended. As my friends also went through the scanning techniques, I walked to the Radiation Zones. Grey fences were broken down; grey barrels spilled into the deep ditches to my left; to the right were grey soldiers who were watching us-I know the rogues would shoot first and ask questions later. If anyone survived that is​, I thought to myself. "Let us go, please", Trish told him. "Fine. But if you leave New York you're on your own". James and Ed shuddered with fear; I also shuddered until I ignored all reason and bypassed the barrels. Then I checked my I-phone. The time was Midday, and it was lunch time.

****

It ​became apparent that New York was alive with frustrated teenagers. Going to school was the last thing on my shattered mind; my mind, (as it was), became a sense of awful dread two years' ago when Mom forced me out of English class due to an 'F' for fail; I was upset. "​But I never fail, Mom; never. Tell Dad that​", I said. And she ignored me; she ignored my plea for help. At twelve years' old, (and up to thirteen), the rogues came. They stood by the Sanitation Patrol Unit Works Plant; they were cleaning up the trash with their E-scanners. I remembered mom and dad were scared of them; I remembered a lot of things that were forced upon us. And then the plague came...and everything changed for the worse...not the better.

****

​The ​rogues stopped us. "You're not to leave New York". Ed, Rich, James, and Trish, shook their heads. "I loathe the Government", I stated. And, after our minor ordeal, we walked towards the Diner. "We have to eat", I said. Trish nodded. James opened the front door. Rich followed behind us. Cars were parked in the carpark. Inside we heard the sound of voices. Ten people sat on black seats. The cable television was on. A middle-aged waitress smiled at us. "Help you, kids?", she asked us. "Yes, we'd like some hamburgers...and coffee, please", I answered; the waitress grinned. "Everyone is doomed", she said. "I blame the Government", I said to her. "​Everyone blames the Government; everyone does​", the waitress shook her head. Rich saw the news reporter speaking on TV. "​The plague has destroyed New York. Because of the upheaval, the rogues are manning all routes inside the Island...​". I shook my head; I wondered whether our lives, (as it was), had been causing us massive grief. We calmed down. We took off our gas masks; we breathed in the clean air. Or what was called 'clean air' in the musty air. We paid for our meals, and ate and drank our coffees thinking that a short break would calm our frayed nerves. "Esme, how are you doing?", Kendall Zachariah asked the waitress. "I'm fine. Just busy", Esme answered. She had short black hair, hazel eyes, and tall; she stared at Kendall who was eating a ham, cheese, and tomato toasted sandwich. She sipped her warm coffee, as the imminent dread of America became a new kind of warzone.

****

​By Midday our lunch ended. We paid the bill. I had fifty dollars left; my friends also paid their bills. As we waved at Esme and Kendall, I opened the front door. I put on my gas mask. Black, threatening, clouds hovered above our heads in the dangerous sky; black clothed rogues were armed with rifles in their right hands. They breathed air into their lungs; they were careful not to breath in the bad air which caused death. I walked towards barbed wires that had been flung around by people in  anger; I walked past the wires, careful not to cut myself. Trish, Rich, and James, bypassed the deadly wires. "Let's go!", Trish said. She looked at the Statue of Liberty; she watched the symbol of eternal freedom had a sad look on her face, as if World War III had taken its toll on her. We reached the crossroads. "We're are we going to go to now?", James asked us. "An air-raid shelter. We need to stock up on food and water", I said to him. "Firstly, let's go to the supermarket", Trish said. We headed left to Hal's Supermarket​; we saw some rogues armed with machine guns in their grey gloved hands. "Be quiet!​", Rich informed us. We waited for them to leave. Then we saw the front door glass were smashed; we saw the glass were on the black ground. "We're too late. Everyone went insane and got everything", Trish said dejectedly. I reached aisle 4. "Just grab stuff. Because of the apocalypse, the rogues won't care if we get cans of beans, fruit, and chicken...", I begun to say. "Fine, maybe the diner's the place to cook it...and have dinner", Rich said. Fifteen minutes passed. Then we left the supermarket with our supplies...and hoped that the war wasn't going to wreak havoc in the city that never sleeps.

****

​It ​was two o'clock PM when the wailing sirens of paramedics were heard in the dusty city. I gazed at them thinking that life was normal in the apocalypse; I gazed at the red sirens. Then, as we saw several teenagers staring at us, we knew that they wore tattered clothes because they were poor. Their parents weren't going to take care of them; they were the Abandoned Children of New York. "Would you like some apples?", I asked one girl who looked about seven. The girl smiled. "Thank you. I'm Cara", she answered me. "Where's your parents?", Rich enquired; "Gone...disappeared", Cara stated matter-of-factly. She shook her head. "Disappeared...how", James said worriedly. Cara sighed. "The rogues took father away for questioning. He wanted to bring New York back to the way it was before the war. He is dead. I know​ it", Cara started to cry. "You can come with me, Cara. I'm Stella". The other children gazed at the fruit. "Have some", James said. And, as they ate, it started to rain. We hurried away towards the war zones...and raced away from the older people in our lives.

****

​The pouring rain was causing accidents on the black, dusty, road. Cara held my left hand, as if she didn't want to leave me; she wasn't calling me 'Mom'; she wasn't my daughter. I wasn't dating anyone; I was too young to marry; I was...well...shut off emotionally from the war. In short, the rogues were away...for now. James saw several teenagers smoking. They had soulless eyes; they had dead eyes from the grimness of their ordeal. "Hey, what's wrong?", he asked them. "Nothing", a twelve year old boy answered him. He had brown, grimy hair. His green eyes illuminated in the darkness. "Nothing. I see. It looks like you're behaving like you don't give a damn about your life". The boy blinked his eyes. "Nothing happens around here, you know". The boy smiled. "New York is dead. There's no future; there's only death. I'm Todd". He gripped a sharp stone from the gravel...and threw it at a rotting black trash bin. The sound of a '​ding​' was heard from a mile away. "Jessup thought the rogues were here to maintain law and order. But, sometimes, we all fail; we all leave an imprint on society". And then I stopped hearing the story, and waited for us to find a place to live before we were all drenched.

****

​saw Cara smelling gas. "It's bad, Stella", she told me. I nodded. All of us stopped walking. "There's the Iron Work factory", Rich said. "Let's go there", James said. "No. It's a Restricted Zone", I added. We saw three jeeps. No rogues were there. It was as if they'd left in a hurry. I saw a battered gold padlock was near my boots; the padlock was scratched on the left side. Otherwise it was in a good condition. I opened the front door. Then, as we headed inside, the sound of thunder boomed loudly in the black sky.

****

We ​hated the Iron Works. When it was opened in the warm summer of 1925, it was seven years since the end of World War I; it was something that Jud Grey, the thirty year old owner, believed in its longevity. Sadly, as World War II happened in the late nineteen thirties to April of nineteen forty-five, everyone had left Europe thinking that the another war was imminent. Decades later nothing happened. And now, in 2010, World War III had begun. I remember the plague; I remember Selene Carson, my best friend, sneezing. And she died in her bed two hours before contracting the flu. Outside, (as I heard the story from Alice Klein), was that it wasn't the flu. It was the plague; it was, in effect, death. Seconds later we heard the bombs. I knew one thing was certain. We had to survive before disaster came.

****

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