Chapter 1-1

Jody picked off of the dead body scattered inside the bank. There had been a robbery and everybody around the area had dispersed either in fear or was currently busy raiding some other valuable places. The vault was cleaned out, not a single bill was left. They didn’t bother to check the people they murdered. Why were these people here in the first place? Was it for the same thing the robbers had?

Unfortunately, money was still important in this world even after March 31st. The people inside the bank had a healthy amount of money on them. That was what Jody was here for. He needed the money for ammos and other supplies. Currently, he was alone, separated from his two mates. They were off in other locations, and would be reunited to their current hideout. Today was very active, many stores being looted and broken down. Most of the cops were killed and the ones still alive had given up.

After finishing checking all of sixteen people, Jody had gathered up around three hundred bucks. He stuffed it in his back pocket. It wasn’t much; but he could buy a week’s worth of food cans with this much money. The prices for bullets had skyrocketed, so that was out of the option. There were some blank shells around the dead bodies.

The bank was big, probably could hold up to at least five hundred people if there was ever a rush. The ceilings were pushed up high, at least ten feet away from Jody. Fancy lights that were hanging about were broken, but the sun gave a fair amount of lighting. It was once a great place to be in. This place was magnificent to visit. Now it was broken down, bullet holes everywhere, blood splattered on the walls and floors.

Outside was the same. Car alarms were wailing mercilessly down the road, smokes rising from inside the hood, and some of the cars crashed into the streetlights. A few knocked the fire hydrant over and water burst out, making a short-live fountain.

With nothing else to do here, Jody slowly crept out of the bank. On the right side of his hip was the holster holding his pistol. He had his hands close beside his gun, crouching and peeking outside. Most of the raiders were off of this street and on to another. He should still be careful; it was dangerous to stay on the main road. After the incident of March 31st, the gang called Temria had taken over this state. They preyed on the weak and made them work as slaves. They had only made it here in the city of Visalia.

Jody found this to be disgusting, knowing that this country could be invaded at any moment, and yet the only thing in these people’s heads was to rape and pillage. And here were the Americans, calling other countries barbaric when they were committing the exact same barbaric crimes. The location Jody was in wasn’t exactly the greatest place to current be in.

California, with over fifty percent of the population gone, was a battlefield with the Temria gang and the Native Americans, and then soon to be the Mexicans. Before the 31st, Temria was a small time gang in north California. Almost all of their competitors had disappeared with the rest of the world. Somehow, none of their members were miraculously taken away. The rival gangs were either wiped out or merged with the Temria.

Here they were, the most powerful gang in California.

Jody supposed they would be of some use. They were holding back the Indians, and would be on the defense when the Mexicans arrived after they finish taking over Arizona and New Mexico. Currently, Mexico’s goal was to take back the states that used to be theirs. Though it wouldn’t be long until China joined in.

He made a sharp turn on the first alleyway he encountered. In this city, everything was connected with each other. After months, he had finally remembered this city like it was the back of his hand. It wasn’t a satellite picture like his mate; he had only remembered the signs and symbols. Jody wasn’t exactly good with street names.

The current hideout was at a closed convenience store fused with a gas station, enveloped by wooden fences. There wasn’t any scrap left to be ransacked from here, probably due to the fact that there wasn’t any from the start. It wasn’t of any interest to anybody, and the building was boarded up. The doors and windows were closed with planks. When they turned up at the gas station after their last hideout was found, they removed the planks from both outside and inside the back door.

He was three blocks away from the gas station. He remembered it being near a restaurant. There were three signs he had to look for in order to get back: A store made especially for babies, a bookstore, and the thrift store. It was an easy walk back, taking him about thirty minutes.

This ended his hunt for today. He had to regroup and figure out the next steps. He was worried that the Temria might find the hideout. Last night, his friend had spotted one of the members outside of the gas station and silenced him. They didn’t know if it was a scout or not, and they disposed of the body.

Looking around his vicinity, searching for any followers, Jody carefully entered the temporary hideout. Inside sat one of his mates, Amelia. She was on the floor, encircled by a bunch of supplies of different kinds. Mostly irrelevant things like makeup.

“Amelia, you’re back already?”

“I only wanted to get the makeups from the mall.”

Out of the trio, she was the best at scavenging for food. Every night she would set off and would come back with a bag full of food supplies. She took breaks when they had too much. Even with the world in peril, she was still worried about her looks. She had the time to put on her makeup, had showers from the hotels that were still working, and had an entire wardrobe of clothes to choose from. It was as if it was a normal day for her.

Her hair was curled the first time he met her. They were wavy after a few days without her being able to straighten it out, and she didn’t like the look of it so she cut her hair short. Apparently, there wasn’t enough time to curl hairs. She had tawny hair and cobalt eyes with an iris in the color of green. The way she dressed, people would think she was an idiot. High heels, a cerulean short skirt, a matching tank top under a transparent, indigo shirt that wrapped around her shoulders. A purse was behind her, against the wall. It was what she used to keep supplies. Jody swore there was a black hole in that purse.

“Jody, do you know where Eddy went? He left early in the morning.”

“He said he was going to scout out the Temria base,” he replied. “It’s a new base the Temria had set up here.”

“Is he planning on raiding it by himself?” she joked.

“I don’t think it’s a very good idea to fight against them.”

She raised her hand, counting the numbers of time they met up with the Temria members. “We’ve killed five of them at the supermarket, another two at Andy’s Clothing Store, and at least a dozen at Westminister Mall. Oh, and one more last night—”

“Okay,” he interposed, “I get it, but I don’t want to them to put our name on their death list. They don’t know if who we are yet.”

“I think we’re already on the list, even if they don’t know who we are.” She giggled.

Her mood was so mellow that it worried Jody, even when he had gotten used to her tone. “Yeah, I supposed.”

The back door led to the section where the workers were, behind the counter. Amelia had the consumer grade walkie-talkie on the counter, just in case he or Edward reported anything back. This one was her’s, he had one on the back of his belt. It buzzed with statics. It cleared up after a minute or so, revealing Edward’s distress call. “This is Edward, can you hear me?”

Jody reached for his communicator and responded, “This is Jody, is there a problem?”

“There is, actually.” A short scream came after, and it wasn’t from Edward. Gunshots were heard. “The Indians attacked the base and now I’m stuck here. It appears that I made a bad decision trying to take some of their reserves.”

It wouldn’t be a surprised if he blended in with the Temria. He had a tattoo on the right side of his face like most members of the gang. He was a Caucasian male with an arrogant look, like most Temrias. The last one was a life; the Temrias were mostly Mexican Americans. The leaders of the gang were usually Caucasian males.

Technically, it would matter if he blended in or not, they would still capture him. This was a problem for Jody because Edward was a long time friend. He couldn’t let him die like this.

“Stay hidden as long as you can. I’ll see what I can do to help. You’re at the Arawak Base, right?”

“Yeah, I am. Also, you should hurry.”

He strapped the walkie-talkie back to his belt, saying to Amelia, “Let’s go.”

“Alright.”

Leaving their hideout, they marched onward to the Arawak Base. Though their safe journey was cut short. On the same road as the gas station was the restaurant Jody had mentioned of. He had no notice of the hooligans inside scouring the kitchen for food, while one of them was on scout duty. The watcher had spotted the two in a hurry, mostly the girl.

Calling out to his friends, and dashing out, all seven of them, they attacked the two. Circling them with knives and a single gun, Jody hastily pulled out his pistol while Amelia hid behind his back. She scanned the situation, whispering, “Your gun only holds eight bullets, unless you’re a really good shooter, it’s best to devise a distraction.”

The hooligans smirked, knowing of their advantage. One of them started, “Put down your gun, give us everything you have on you, and we won’t hurt you.”

He didn’t listen, his pistol pointing at the one holding the long-range weapon. “I can give you what I have, but I’m not putting down the gun.”

Jody told Amelia to grab the wad of cash out of his pocket and throw it to them. She did what he said. It landed on the ground, and they snatched it up. As he expected, they demanded more. “What have you got on you, girl?”

From their voices, they sound like high school kids. They weren’t part of the Temria, and Jody wasn’t surprised they had gone to this path after losing their parents. Most of the elderly had disappeared after March 31st, many adults, and barely any kids. It was terrible, to Jody, knowing that these kids were on their own. He kept his hands steady and at the boy with the gun, even with pity, he couldn’t let his guard down. The kids had hoodies on, their eyes on the prize. This wasn’t their first time.

Amelia had her purse with her, hoping to bring back a few things while saving Edward at the same time. There wasn’t anything inside. She held the purse upside down and shook it, showing that it was empty. “I got nothing.”

“If you don’t have anything to offer, then you’ll just have to pay with your body.”

Jody gulped, saying, “That three hundred bucks can feed all seven of you for a week. That’s enough. There’s a market nearby, the people inside are willing to give you food if you pay.”

The boy fired a bullet beside Jody’s foot. “The girl still has to pay up.”

She stared at these high school kids, sighing. Smiling, she parted from Jody. “You go ahead, Jody. I’ll stay behind for a bit. I’ll catch up with you later.”

“What?”

“You heard the lady,” said the boy holding the pistol.

“You have to get to Eddy,” she whispered, “I can handle them.”

Amelia had a point, he couldn’t stay here and waste any more seconds. Arawak Base was located at Cutler Park, and that was half an hour away. She appeared to be confident that she could escape these hooligans, not a single of fear in her. He gulped again, having a hard time replying, “Alright…”

They let Jody slip through as he continued on to his destination without Amelia. He growled in bitterness, vowing to rescue her after he brought Edward to safety.

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