Based on the popular song, Radioactive (By Imagine Dragons) The world goes into utter chaos and an apocalypse begins. A new power rises determined to take over the world and run things their way. A small band forms together to fight against them.


3. Existing

Jean stepped off of a traditional school bus (it even said so on the side)painted red  into a opening. The opening was small, dark, and gross. There were walls around the whole thing with guards standing on each corner. There was dying grass planted. It looked like someone sprayed hairspray all over it. There was a sad faded stone fountain in the middle, with a short stream going straight up. So this was her new life. Oddly enough, she wasn't in prison. She was getting off the bus from prison. This was the town she was sent to live in. All cities were surrounded by a wall and who and what went through those walls were closely monitored.

Jean had been in prison for 6 years. Jamie had vouched for her yet again so she go a reduced sentence. She, like all others from the fighters was supposed to be 13 years. Jamie had just said she was an alcoholic, therefor she couldn't be held totally responsible for her actions. Jean went along with the story, she wasn't a complete idiot. Though she felt guilty for getting out before anyone else. Even several toddlers who had no control over being part of the fighters were sentenced to 13 years in prison with no sympathy. The youngest convicted was 2. All he would ever remember was hate.

Jean had several changes through prison. 1st off, she learned it was eat or be eaten. You had to do what you had to do to survive. If you wanted something to change, you had to do it yourself, and the easiest way to change something was to get followers.

2nd off, she had gotten several tattoos and piercings, both were highly looked down upon in normal society. She got a tattoo on her shoulder blades that were wings that stretched out onto her arms. She also got a big blue and pink butterfly on her thigh. She was also forced to get a tattoo of a red hand. Something that all citizens had to get when they turned 9 that doubled as an information carrier, just scan it and it would have anything you needed to know about that person on it.  But what was different about hers, or for anyone who was in prison for that matter, theirs had a black band all the way around their forearms around the hand. That showed you were a con, and dangerous. This would make it increasingly difficult to hold down a job or a house. The only reason she knew all this was because everyday inmates were showed a video on how society would work. Everyone was required to watch it, even those convicted for life. 

She also got a nose, hip, eyebrow, and lip pierced, and gages along with some snake bites. By the time she had been captured, she just stopped caring.

Really the only freedom that was in prison was appearance, and even that wasn't supposed to be a freedom, no one just cared enough to do anything about it. As soon as the guards were done with needles, they would give them to the inmates, no one was worried about them being used as a weapon. They would just be tortured and their death would be slow and painful if they tried.

People would be provided ink by the guards as well so long as you did something for them. Most of the time it was sex, the Red Hand wouldn't supply any sort of birth control, and a person couldn't have a baby without their consent. If they did become pregnant, they wouldn't allow abortion, and when the baby was born, they would either kill it depending on the parents background, or turn around and give it to another family. So basically, guys didn't tend to get laid a lot. Jean had done it with several guards to get ink and other things inmates wanted. She wasn't really afraid, like said earlier, she didn't care. She figured, they really can't hurt me, cause this isn't living.

Materials for the piercings would be just small pieces of metal that were found anywhere. An ice cube would numb someone up, and would be pierced with a tattoo needle. Jeans gages were just nuts and bolts she would find around.

Jean walked across the courtyard to the metal gate at the other side. As she did the guards grabbed their guns a bit tighter. Her jaw stiffened, she just shook her head. She wasn't gonna try any funny business.

When she got to the gate, a guard stopped her and looked at her outfit. When anyone was let out of prison, they wouldn't give them normal clothes, you just had to walk around in a red jumpsuit until you could buy a normal outfit. Jean had ripped off the sleeves on the bus. The guard scanned her tattoo and just looked at her in disgust. He had obviously been for the red hand since it came and wasn't about to stab them in the back.

OK, Jean Carter Trytis you are sentenced to life in this city, you will not be allowed to leave the premises without a guard, you are not permitted to carry a firearm at any time and you cannot have a job that pays more than $15 an hour.

Jean knew all of this already, like said previously, a video was seen, they just made it all seem like it wasn't their fault that they were likely gonna die within the first week out on the streets. People were terrified to help others. Supplies were hard to come by and even if you had plenty, you weren't about to go and give them out to the less fortunate. You needed a lot of resources and money to get a glimpse of normal life.

The guard just looked at her and shoved her forward into a metal detector. They had been trained to skip piercings. Prisoners were the only ones who had piercings, and they had been scanned before they left.

She had nothing on her, and was shoved by a different guard to a the wall where he shoved her neck down to an eye scanner. This would be how they counted people as a citizen of that city. If you didn't scan every year, they would track you down. The only way out for any town was death or money.

She was shoved through the metal door, which was slammed on her butt.

Jean looked around. The Old brick walls only opening was the old metal door she had just emerged from that practically disappeared from view when closed. The whole city was surrounded by the same brick wall with guards in a red metal suit about every 50 feet or so.

The city was a sad one at that. There were tall crumbling buildings everywhere being held up by rotting wood poles. Most of them were apartments. There were more people than jobs. Most just had jobs trying to repair or build new buildings, with the consent of the Red Hand of course. An unknown number of people were walking back and forth through the mud and water in their tattered old clothes and jackets to the well in the small and only opening in the city. Every house had electricity, water and heating, but was so unbelievably expensive most people would just get water from the well, light candles, and make fires. As soon as she walked in, the people all stopped, looked at her, gasped and continued on their business noticeably faster. They didn't need another person to be using up their resources, and certainly not a con.

Jean just walked forward. She had planned on the bus to ask for directions to anywhere with a job and get a job and just start working as fast and hard as she could, she had nothing else better to do.

She began walking towards a man standing on the porch watching over his children. When he saw she was walking towards him, he ushered the children into the house and shut the door, Jean heard it lock.

With no questions asked she just walked to the right to a street. More like an allyway, all streets were allyways. Every time she tried to go to someone to ask for help she would just get the same response from every person and she would just walk away. As night fell, she didn't achieve what she had hoped. She knew is was likely going to fail. Everything failed. But she needed a place to sleep, somewhere somewhat safe. Jean could easily tell this was one of those cities that people would stay up until curfew. If you were up past 12 at night and not indoors, you would be shot on site. You couldn't even be out on a balcony. It was now 10, and she had no where to go.

She was just looking up at the 60 foot high buildings and considering taking a chance on the balconies when a group of guys came up to her, obviously high and looking for some action. Jean had seen several gangs and steered clear of them, she didn't want to have to kill anyone. There were about 7of them, all with a weapon of some sort, though no firearm, she liked those odds.

"Its a bit late for a little girl to be out wandering the streets don't you think?" The obvious leader of the gang said.

They were about the same age, but it didn't matter. She knew what they were looking for was underneath her clothes. Jean just looked at him with pity. She knew shit was gonna go down. "Little girls can still do damage."

"Well, little girl, how 'bout we give you place to stay for the night, but you will have to pay." His face seemed to get even more creepier.

Jean just smirked. "Well then, come and get me big boy!" Jean didn't even have to get into a ready stance. These guys were pushovers.

The guy pulled out a big chain and began running towards her with his chain in hand above his head. As he got nearer to her, he brought down the chain obviously meaning to hit her, but she just calmly moved to the side and grabbed his wrist. His legs went flying into the air, as he came down, his arm, elbow to the ground, came down on Jean's knee, breaking it like a twig. None of this was painful to Jean. She threw the chain on a balcony 3 stories above her. It wasn't fair for her to have an advantage. She was about to go into full rage mode. She kicked the guy over the edge of the ally way. The guys just stood there in awe, and finally they all screamed and began running at her with no weapons showing. Jean just smirked and took 2 steps to the right of her. Right before they reached her, she jumped straight up and pulled herself onto the balcony right above her.

They all just stopped and looked up at the balcony with curiosity. None of them could see Jean at this angle, and none of them really knew what to do.

Jean grabbed one of them by the shoulders and pulled his upper half to her, where she then grabbed his neck and snapped it. She could hear the gasps from his teammates when his body fell. As they were gasping, Jean swung down and kicked ne of them in the stomach, knocking the wind out of him completely. He fell to the ground bug-eyed trying to catch his breath. The other guys just started to circle he kind of slow like. This would make it easier for her, and more dangerous for them.

They all started to speed walk to her, she just jumped forward, landed on her hands and launched herself to the outside of the circle where she hit the guy nearest to her in the spine, she then grabbed his right arm and twisted it behind his back. The guy screamed.

Another guy ran at her to her right. She Pulled her living dummy to her left as she kicked the running guys hand where he was holding a rusty pipe. With the same kick she nailed him in the face. He fell with his legs open, where she kicked there as well. A pop was heard with a very loud, very high pitched noise was emitted from the man.

Another guy came at her from the same angle holding a knife. He was yelling with the knife up, meaning to stab her the second he got near enough. She pulled his immobile buddy in front of her and he was stabbed in the chest. She immediately dropped him; the guy who knifed him was in shock, and just sat there staring at him with a look of horror. Jean pulled his leg out from under him and he fell. As she kicked him the head to knock him out, which she succeeded at doing, she was pounced on from behind. He wrapped his arms around her neck, but his angle was all wrong.

Jean just pulled him to her left a bit and elbowed him in the face. The guy pulled off and held his hands up to his nose, which was bleeding so badly that there was blood streaming down through his fingers, and she hit him not 2 seconds ago. He stopped his yelling for a second to pull his hands to look at them. Jean just sat waiting for him to charge.

The guy who she knocked the wind out of regained his senses and was coming up to her back left. Jean knew he was there, and was just waiting for him to approach. Right before he did though he yelled, with his friends knife in his hands. Jean just did the same thing she did to the leader, move, grab his wrist, but instead of breaking his arm, she grabbed the knife and threw it at the other guy, where it embedded itself into his chest. She grabbed the struggling guy harder and threw him on the ground. The guy was terrified, and was begging for mercy. Jean just walked up to him and hit him in the temple.

Jean by this point had just abandoned all morals she had. She was no better than the Red Hand, and she knew it. She could hear the leader on the edge whimpering. She walked over to him and pulled off a necklace he had on with a key hanging from it. It was too late at night for them to be too far away from their apartment. She had to hurry though. She only had 2 hours to find the house. She walked over to 1 of the guys and pulled the knife out of his chest.

*          *          *

Jean found the apartment with time to spare. It was on the top floor(level 11) in the building 2 blocks over. When she unlocked the door, she was met with a once white wall but now pink from likely blood, the eye watering strong smell of iron, vomit, and beer, several mattresses with never washed blue knit blankets, and a window so dirty you couldn't see anything out of it. There were 2 doors to the right and left on the edge. The room itself was just 8 meters squared. The carpet color was unknown. It was covered in a layer of dirt, blood, and quite possibly and unsurprisingly shit. 

Jean was just standing in the doorway trying to muster up the courage to take on such a gross environment. She could smell it coming down the hall; she felt bad for the neighbors. She took a big breath and took a step into the room, the smell was deathly. She could deal with all the dirt and blood, it used to be her life, but she couldn't do the smell. It was overpowering. She was starting to feel lightheaded. 

She stumbled over to the small window and unlocked it, but when she tried to pull on it, it wouldn't budge. So she took the knife and ran it along the edge of the window, cutting the unnatural brown wax. After that the window seemed to want to be open. It was unbelievably easy. She stuck her head out the window and took deep breaths. The sour smell outside was far better than the one inside. 

After regaining thought Jean pulled her head back into the cramped area; the smell was still there, though not enough to make anyone faint. 

She opened the door to left, it was just a small closet covered in some orange shit with a cockroach nest in the corner. It wouldn't have been impractical if it was taken care of. There was oddly enough a single light bulb hanging from a chain from the ceiling. Jean knew she wasn't going to afford the bill. Almost all people couldn't afford any sort of bill. She pulled the chain to turn off the light.

She walked over to the other door where she suspected a bathroom was. She was right, though she wished she wasn't. That was obviously where most of the smell was coming from. As soon as she opened the door, she slammed it shut  again. All she got for a look was a toilet filled with every gross color known to man. And a sink with a layer of brown and green. There was no shower as far as she could see, though she only got a glimpse of the dark gross hole. She didn't dare open it up for another peek. She turned around and checked the bed for any bugs or chemicals, when she found neither she flopped down and just fell asleep.

*          *          *

It had been two days since she had fallen asleep on that dirty mattress, though she didn't sleep for two days straight. She was woken up at the crack of dawn by a canon blast meant to wake up the farmers to walk the four miles to the fields (which, for the record, was a very good job, almost $2 an hour). Jean wasn't expecting any different, and was actually very grateful for it because as soon as it had gone off, she got up and began cleaning the room. She managed to get it half clean in the first portion of the day with an exception for lunch when her neighbor brought her a sandwich because she knew Jean had gotten rid of those guys who were terrorizing most of the apartment complex. And anytime she needed food she could just knock. 

Jean had decided by mid-day the smell was coming from the bathroom, despite her cleaning out the closet, getting rid of the mattress and setting fire to a majority of the blankets except for the cleanest blanket. 

She had also pulled up the carpet to find 1/2 decent hardwood flooring underneath. 

She had yet to tackle the bathroom, so the apartment still smelled, and a lot though just bearable. Like walking into the locker rooms and getting nothing but B.O. except it smelled more like cigarette smoke and shit. Jean had just done what almost everyone had done, gone in a bucket and dumped it out the window.

There was always shit covering the street. It actually was a job to go through and clean it up. Not a bad job either. 

After two days of scrubbing she finally managed to get rid of the smell despite it looking clean after the first few hours. The bathroom itself wasn't terrible, but it was made with cheap materials, but it didn't matter because no one ever used the bathrooms, water was way too expensive. After cleaning for four days straight she finally got the small room clean enough for living. 

She stood in front of the door and looked around wondering what to do next. This was her plan for the next couple days, and she hadn't bothered to plan anything past that. Without thinking, she just walked out the door, down the hall, and outside. It wasn't until 2 blocks later she even realized she was outside. 

With no reason to turn around, she pressed on. 11 canon blasts went off, 11 o'clock. By now she was used to them, and was prepared for any sort of loud noise. Occasionally there would be a gunshot, a yell, and the sound of people running. The sound ricocheted off of the buildings well. Usually you would hear that at least once during the day, and on a good night, maybe three. 

As she was walking by she passed a huge garage with a huge opening. This garage didn't appear to be any different from the many large garages that usually occupied corners except that this one was surprisingly clean. Most buildings were covered in shit, dirt, graffiti, rust and lots of unrecognizable things; but not this one. It was shining a sort of faded silver; Jean walked around the corner, the whole thing. It was a marvel that it was so clean.

She peeked into the horizontal sliding door that was opened a crack. There were people putting tops on cans of red paint. That explained a lot. Very special areas were painted with red paint and if you messed with it you would be hunted down and never be seen again. People would go around the whole block to avoid the paint factories. It was such a big deal you had to pass a background check and get a special license you had to get renewed every month just to sell it. 

On the very corner there was a window with once white but now yellow blinds blocking view from inside, but there was a help wanted sign outside the blinds covered with dust. 

It didn't Jean too long to think about going inside and applying for a job. She walked back over to the doors and pulled it open to everyone not working and staring at her. There were a few wearing prison jumpsuits. 

A man wearing all black walked out the office and yelled at all of them to get back to work. The man immediately turned to Jean and said something that rather puzzled her.

"Jean, please come in, he has been waiting for you." 

Jean didn't even think to search for security cameras, and she didn't know anyone here except for her neighbor. Maybe her neighbor talked about her?

All this passed through her mind as she passed through the door to the same office with the help wanted sign. It was a well light but small area with a well maintained wooden desk and a small swivel chair; sitting in the chair was a man with his back to me and the guard with a familiar feel.

"She's here sir." The body guard says, making me jump. I turn around to see the guard half way out the door and his hand on the doorknob.

"Yes thank you Bill." The man behind the desk says.

I hear the door creak and quietly close. As soon as it does the chair and the man turn around to reveal a very familiar face, it was Jesse.

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