A New

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A New

Post by Nathen Ashvalt on Wed Mar 25, 2015 3:07 am

Winter. Not just nuclear winter, but the season winter. The effort required to heave the bulkhead door open was made so much more by the foot of snow that layered itself onto the door. With a grunt of effort, Nathen heaved the heavy metal construct up and open. His first breath of fresh air since they took shelter was stained with the odour of sulphur and... something else. He couldn't pin it. He assumed it had to do with the greyish hue of the snow and the way it cragged and cracked where sunlight touched it.

    The next sensation that hit him was the cold. They were in too much of a hurry to get into shelter that they didn't bring the emergency kits of clothing. Only survival essentials, thinking to time it so it would be summer again. How unfortunate for the Last Ashvalt on Earth that he'd forgotten that plan. The skin of his arms lifted in goosebumps as a chill made itself known in his flesh. Nearby, he could see his house. It was scorched and eroded, but still standing... mostly. His first thought was that his clothing may still exist. His second was that it may have been looted, if he came out after the anarchy and destruction that likely followed the apocalypse. His third was that it may have been occupied, which would present a host of new problems. Then he remembered what he had to live for. Why he needed to go on; and in that moment, any dangers that what was once his home may have presented ceased to matter. All that mattered was preventing hypothermia and moving past the bunker.

    So he stood, and he went to his ex-home. His feet crunched in the snow. The surface was still fluffy, so he sunk straight in up past his ankles. The cold gripped him again and he gasped and shivered against the frigid air. The sun peeked out, but with that light came a wicked breeze that sought to penetrate his bones. Yards seemed like miles in this moment, and when he reached a hole in the wall where a window once stood, he ducked away from the wind with a sigh of relief. Then he froze, and he listened. Seconds passed. He fought against the urge to shiver. No sounds. His eyes scanned the scene before him. The ceiling had collapsed in several places, the floor was essentially gone, and the walls were disintegrating. The house was still standing, but it was barely standing. Appliances from upstairs had fallen through and dented into the ground below. The decayed kitchen floor gave view to the basement, where a pool of pungent greenish brownish fluid had built up.

    Nathen picked his way through the ruins of his house. He wasn't interested in rusted spoons or the somehow still-intact wood stove -- an antique from about two hundred years ago. He was interested in making his way to his room... which was up stairs. He reached the stairwell, and looked up them. Many stairs were missing, and the rest gave the impression that going upstairs was a fool's errand. He nearly turned away when another foul breeze renewed his chill. He gritted his teeth with both determination and a struggle against the cold. He took the first step.

Creak...

    The old wood groaned and cracked under his weight, but held. The next step faired similarly, but a crack along the wall widened and lengthened as he went, following his weight as it shifted the support structure for the first time since disaster. He gingerly held onto the rail as he went. There was a false sense of security in that rotted wooden railing that made him feel like the stairs weren't so bad. Then his foot fell through one. The wood splintered and pierced his leg, sending drops of crimson to the floor below. He winced and stifled a gasp as he pulled his leg back up and checked the damage. A few stab wounds and splinters, but he wouldn't die from the wound alone. That gave him enough confidence to at least keep going. He felt the next step wobble and give. He frowned. He wasn't going to make it up the stairs like this. He had to do something drastic. So he coiled himself and bounded up the stairs quickly. It wasn't careful, but he managed to keep his balance well enough to make it to the top... even as the stairs crumbled behind him. He took a moment to catch his breath and tend to the splinters still in his leg, then rounded the corner to his room.

    There was hardly a room left.

    A few fragments hugging the walls were all that remained of the floor. His bed had crashed down, then splayed in such a way that he hadn't realised it was below until just now. His furnishings shared a similar fate, but they likely shattered or fell through to the basement. Nathen leaned out to look to his closet. There were still clothes, but he would be hard pressed to reach them. Toward the back he could see a sweater and coat. He just needed to reach... He stretched out his arm and grasped desperately for the promised warmth of the clothing. He slipped too far forward and fell. With a desperate flail, he gripped onto the open door of the closet. It jerked violently and fell out of its bottom guide, but held onto its upper railing by whatever mounting hardware was remaining. He prayed that it would withstand his weight as he clambered up the piece of wood and gripped the rail that held hangers. It bent unnervingly, and Nathen decided he needed to act quickly before something happened. With a blind grasp, he grabbed at the fabric of something and yanked. That motion caused the metal pipe to buckle under his weight, pinch his hand, cause him to reflexively release, and he fell with that article of clothing in-hand.

    Per his uncanny luck, he landed on his mattress down below. It hurt, but he bounced and then fully landed on the cloth-bound padded springs. He let out a defeated groan and looked to what he had managed to grab onto and take with him. Chance would have it, he'd managed to take his two wool blazers down with him. The lightweight and heavy ones both had different qualities, but he didn't care right now. He threw them both on over his t-shirt and curled up in the snow. He felt his body heat warm the jackets and they slowly became like a cozy blanket that smelled unnatural. He didn't care what they smelled like right now, though. He was warm. He won over the cold. He wouldn't freeze to death.

    The first victory in a new hell.

Nathen Ashvalt

Posts : 8
Join date : 2015-03-24
Age : 23
Location : Earth

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Re: A New

Post by Nathen Ashvalt on Thu Mar 26, 2015 3:03 am

    The wind picked up, which drew Nathen out of his little mental celebration. He needed to find shelter again, but where... his thoughts played over the house he was in. His family had passed down a pistol for a few generations now. It was outdated, but it was a capable weapon. There was, in fact, quite a bit he could scavenge from this house to see if it still existed. He pulled his coats tighter to his body and stood up. His leg buckled and he winced, but the pain drove him onward. He picked his way through the debris to where the kitchen was. Surprisingly, it was the most intact of the rooms, but the ceiling caved in where heavier pieces of furniture in the master bedroom had fallen through.

        He fell to his knees and started shuffling through the objects splayed and scattered. It was a simple thing he was looking for. A hardened black box. He couldn't remember where exactly the box was kept, but it was fair enough to guess that it would be beneath the ruins of the room. Then his fingers touched textured plastic. He gripped that object and pulled it free of snow and bed fragments. This was it. The box he'd been searching for. He gripped it tightly and looked around. Clouds were rolling in. Whatever that meant, he didn't want to be caught in it. He made his way out of the house and through to his bunker shelter. As he opened the hatch again, he realised that the acrid stench of the chemicals he never fully got rid of was stronger than he thought. Fresh air would do that to you. With a sense of danger of what inhaling those fumes could, would, and may have already done to him, he turned away from the hatch and looked back toward the house. The structure behind it caught his attention. The barn, redone by one of his distant relatives a couple of decades ago, was still sturdy in its construction. It caved in a few places, but if he remembered right, there should have still been a room or two to hide out in. At the very least, the roof was almost all intact. So that's where he went.

        Driven to outrun the winter storm moving in, he loped through the snow and clambered over the decaying deck. Into the backyard, and into the barn. He didn't bother to close the door behind him, and skittered like a frightened mouse into the warmest, safest-feeling corner he could. He curled up and set the black box beside him, then used one hand to undo the latches. He closed his eyes and held a silent plea for the weapon to be in the box. He flipped the box open. It was there, but it didn't look so good. It looked like it had been crushed. Metal was mangled and pieces were broken off. Overall, he'd be more at risk trying to use it than trying to fight with his bare hands. He let out a frustrated sigh and kicked the useless firearm away.

        You win some, you lose some.

        As the clouds rolled in, he could hear the soft clicking of snowflakes falling on snowflakes. It was a peaceful sound that bore reminiscence to swaying leaves in the wind. Coupled with the darkness brought by such thick clouds, Nathen found himself succumbing to the exhaustions of stress and his existence since the global fallout struck. With little more than a passing thought of protest, he passed out cold in his corner.

    Nathen Ashvalt

    Posts : 8
    Join date : 2015-03-24
    Age : 23
    Location : Earth

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