I Survived 400 Days of Nuclear War (NOT Minecraft)
Days 301-304 We'd found safety. A place we could call home. We even fought and bled for it. But I had to leave. The town found out I'd been lying about who I was and, well, honesty was crucial in this new world we’ve found ourselves in.
So the town council asked me to leave, quietly. I never even told Alexis, Lilith, Annie, Meg, or Robby. I knew they would just try to come with me, and I needed them to be safe. Everything I'd done so far was to keep them safe. I'd gotten intelligence from one of the raiders that there was someone out there in the desert gathering an army. The old world had fallen, and now there were groups who wanted to carve a piece of the new world for themselves. With the US government fortified somewhere in the heartland,
retreating from the ever advancing exchange of nuclear weapons with our adversaries, most of the United States turned into a lawless wasteland of nuclear debris. My family wouldn't be safe until I found out more about this threat, so I followed the trail of the retreating raiders through the mountains, knowing they'd lead me to wherever this army was gathering. What I'd do when I got there, I didn't know. But information is power, and I needed to know what I'd be up against. Days 305-309 The going was tough through these mountains, even with the use of various service roads and highways that intersected them. The snow had fallen early and thick, along with a hefty amount of ash caught in the atmosphere. It was best to travel with breathing protection, the radioactive fallout wasn't dangerous unless it was against your bare skin, or if you breathed it in.
I was slowly gaining on my group of retreating raiders. These had been the guys who survived the attack on Big Bear plus the few guards they'd left behind to watch over their supplies. Upon getting news of the defeat they'd gotten the hell out of dodge as fast as they could, even leaving some of their people behind.
I was only a few days behind them now, being on my own I could move much quicker. Sadly, I found the remains of a campsite likely being used by survivors. In the snow was the corpse of a man, butchered as I'd seen the cannibals do before. From the looks of it,
two other people were with him- gone now. Part of the raider's 'livestock' no doubt. If I hurried I might be able to catch up to them and save them. Days 310-313 I could see their camp at night, miles away in the distance. They had no reason to believe they were in any danger, so they'd boldly set up fires that could be seen miles away. Each day I pushed myself
a little bit harder to close the distance between us. It'd do me no good to exhaust myself though, there would be a fight on my hands. Last I remember there were about five or six raiders left behind at the main camp, plus whatever buddies they had picked up on the way out.
With that many people on hand I worried about the captives they took. The one they killed and butchered wouldn't last them very long. Days 314-315 I moved at night, approaching the raider's camp through the cover of darkness. As expected, they
had left out two guards on night watch. There were two women tied up to a tree- one older, in her forties I'd guess, and one younger in her teens. The corpse I found must have been the father. There were seven raiders in the camp. Five slept while two stayed up to watch the captives and supplies. They didn’t take their job seriously though, not expecting that anyone from Big Bear had followed them- yet I had caught up with them. I couldn't ambush the entire camp at once, so I would bleed them a bit before I struck.
The cold chilled me to the bone, but I waited patiently. Then I was rewarded- one of the guards rubbed his stomach and made a joke about dropping a deuce. As he walked out of camp I followed, waiting until he was squatting behind a bush. He never heard the end coming as my knife found its mark in the dark.
I was tempted to lure the other guard out and finish him too, then untie the captives and take off- but I knew better. I couldn't trust two civilians to keep quiet in the dark, and the last thing I needed was to fend off an entire camp of angry raiders with civvies in tow. One was enough, I'd learned a lot about the camp and gotten the chance to remove one. Picking his body up, I walked off into the darkness with it. I didn't want them to be alerted, better he just mysteriously vanish.
On night two I made my move, confident that I knew how many I'd have to deal with. Approaching the camp was easy in the dark, and the snow helped muffle the sound of my footsteps. The two on guard were more alert than their counterparts last night- obviously spooked about having one of their own mysteriously vanish. Getting to within thirty feet of the tents, I raised my M4 and took aim. Four trigger pulls later, the guards were down. But the tents were coming alive with men and women scrambling for
weapons. That's when I took out a little treasure I'd found on one of the raiders back at Big Bear- a fragmentation grenade, the old pineapple style. Probably from Vietnam, which explains what it was doing in the national guard armory the cannibals had raided. I tossed it at the entrance to one of the tents just as it was getting ripped open. A second later the grenade went off,
it didn't kill everyone in that tent, but whoever survived wouldn't be in shape to fight. I switched my attention to the second tent, and with half their force neutralized the survivors were easy enough to pick off as they tried to make their way out of the tent. I was glad I'd traded my hunting rifle for the M4, the superior rate of fire made all the difference.
As the dust settled I made my way into the camp. The first tent was still alive with the sounds of the wounded. I brought my knife out but then caught the eye of the older woman, still tied up to a tree. I turned from the tent and cut their ropes away, telling them to follow me into the darkness. I didn't like leaving loose ends like this,
but I knew those raiders would die from their wounds during the night. Days 316-320 The woman's name was Clara, and her daughter was Alana. I'd guessed correctly- the corpse the cannibals had butchered and left in the snow had been the husband.
I was torn about what to do with the two. They would slow me down too much in my original mission, and I thought about sending them back towards Big Bear, but they were far too scared to travel on their own anymore. That left me with only one option, so I turned from my objective and headed west, back to the desert. I just so happened to know of a small community that would gladly take them in, and keep them safe.
Using my map I was able to find a road that could take us out of the mountains and to the desert, but with no snowplows to clear the path anymore, it was going to be a hell of a hike to say the least. Days 321-324 Clara and Alana had fled from north of Los Angeles after the bombs fell. Like many communities in SoCal, they were also dependent on electricity to pump water to them. Once the power grid went out, so did the water, prompting survivors to migrate by the hundreds. Many had gone north, hoping to escape the bombs in more rural northern California. Some had gone east
towards the heartland. Others, like Clara and her daughter, had gone south like we originally did in the hope that the military bases in San Diego had survived the attacks. It'd almost been a year since the world went upside down, and anyone left alive after that time was suffering from serious PTSD. The three of us tried to talk about our past in that funny way that people with trauma will do, where they dance around the painful bits. We didn't mention the old world or our previous lives, consolidating it to “I used to do this...” or “I used to do that...”. And we didn't talk about the people we'd lost since then. It was an unspoken agreement between all survivors I'd come across so far.
One thing we did discuss was the state of human affairs in the new world. How quickly people had turned on each other, becoming predators. I told Clara and Alana about a quote I'd heard once, something about how civilization only survives for minutes after the power goes out. Whoever had said it had been dead right. Here we were, three hundred and twenty something days after the end of the world and I was chasing leads on some army gathering to carve out a slice of Southern California for itself. Utterly unthinkable a year ago.
Days 325-329 Alana twisted her ankle, and ended up with a bad limp. I could see the horror in her eyes as she realized how much she'd slow us down. The part that upset me the most was that it was aimed at me, and I realized that she was thinking I would end up leaving her and her mother behind. The thought gave me a cold chill, was this what the world had come to? Clara wrapped Alana's ankle and helped her isolate it as I whittled a crutch for her from branches and reassured them both that I wasn't leaving them in the wilderness alone. Clara didn't quite believe me I think, because she kept highlighting her skills as a former nurse- skills that are extremely valuable in this new world.
I pulled Clara aside at night and explained that her and her daughter were safe. I wasn't going anywhere and I wasn't leaving them behind. She didn't have to prove she was valuable to me. I'd made a promise to get them to safety and I'd die trying. Clara collapsed into tears as she gave me a hug. I held her for a bit, feeling that she'd been holding in those painful, wracking sobs for a long time. When we made our
way back into the light of our fire she'd dried her eyes, putting a brave face on for Alana. Days 330-333 The trek down the mountains was tough, made worse by the mix of snow and ash that clogged the roads. We were good on supplies thanks to stuff we scavenged from the raiders- well, non-human food anyways- but Alana was slowing us down significantly thanks to her injury. After a week of travel we spotted the tell-tale puff of smoke from a fire down a dirt road. I told
the girls to hide and made my way to the source of the smoke, looking to scout it out and make sure we weren't traveling near any danger. The trail led me to what looked like a small cabin, the puff of smoke coming from a chimney. I manuevered around to try to get a look inside the windows from the treeline when I heard the click of a safety being flicked off and a deep, grumbling voice like gravel saying, “Freeze right where you're at.” I slowly turned and came face to face with the business end of a shotgun. Wielding it was an older man, the rough and tumble type who spend their entire lives on the edge of civilization. For him the end of the world had probably slipped by with little change.
“Who are you, how many with you?” I answered him truthfully, told him it was just me and two survivors I was escorting to safety. His steel gray eyes narrowed suspiciously, charity was not a common feature of this brave new world. I told him the truth while he kept that shotgun leveled at my chest. I could tell he had no part with the cannibals prowling the mountains, for one there was freshly skinned game drying on a tanning rack which meant he ate animals not people. He listened quietly without interjecting as I told him about our escape from the city, the community at the Salton Sea, even the attack on Big Bear. Then he surprised me with an unexpected question. “How many people have you killed?” I told him the truth. “As many as I had to to keep my people safe.”
He nodded and the shotgun dipped slightly. Then he told me to follow him. He'd disarmed me so I didn't have much choice. We went to his cabin briefly, long enough to pick up a pair of crutches, then he turned to me as we headed out the door. “If you're lying, you're as good as dead.” I appreciated his honesty.
With him behind me and shotgun at my back, I took him to the girls. At first they were alarmed, then upon seeing the terror in their eyes he dropped the shotgun almost apologetically, a look almost like shame in his eyes. “Now, now, I'm sorry ladies, didn't mean to scare you none.” He introduced himself as Watson and handed over the crutches so Alana could walk more easily, then invited us to come stay the night at his cabin. Days 334-339 We ended up staying at Watson's cabin for a few days as Alana's sprain healed, at his insistence no less. I learned quickly that he was a rather hard-baked man, but with a surprisingly kind interior. In his world though, even before civilization collapsed,
it didn't pay to wear your kindness on your sleeve. Alexis would have disagreed- that thought triggered a deep pain in my heart which I quickly buried. I asked Watson if he was concerned about raiders and scavengers moving through the mountains. He'd also tracked groups of them moving through what he called 'his land', and discouraged any that got too close. I believed him entirely,
I thought I could move silently but Watson had snuck up on me like an absolute ghost. It was good to eat real meat, though he lamented the fact that game was becoming scarcer and scarcer up here. I told him that Big Bear was having the same problem. We both hoped it was just a temporary readjustment to this new world. That's when Alana surprised me by blurting out an invitation that he join us. “You can't stay up in these mountains with game running out, you should come with us.” He got that hard look in his eyes again, this was a man used to living alone and I could tell the thought of a group made him very uncomfortable. “We... could really use your help.”
Then I saw Watson melt and go flush with color. The hard-edged mountain man had a real soft spot and Alana had apparently nailed it. I couldn't help but wonder if maybe he had a daughter once too. Maybe she was out there in the real world- or had been before the bombs fell. I had my suspicions based off his tender behavior towards Alana during our stay,
but I knew well enough not to probe. Watson seemed like a man that enjoyed his privacy. Days 340-345 When Alana was finally able to put weight on her foot, we set out once more. I was anxious- every day on the road was one day more that the threat to Big Bear might grow. I had to find out more about this gathering army, how big it was, who was leading it, what its plans were. Would they attack Big Bear again, this time with far greater numbers,
or would they head elsewhere? What would I even do if they did plan on attacking Big Bear? Lots of questions with no answers, and I was anxious to start finding some- but first I had a promise to keep to Alana and her mother. To my surprise, Watson agreed to accompany us. The way he looked at Alana only confirmed my suspicions- he once had a daughter, or someone like her at some point in his life. Personally, I was glad he decided to join us; he was clearly a very experienced tracker and woodsman, and skills like his could come in handy. We moved much faster now with Alana's healed ankle and Watson to show us faster routes, and soon we were out of the mountains and entering the desert. Our destination was
just south west of us, only a few days by foot now that the snow was behind us. Days 346-350 We took the long way around, skirting the lake by its western shore in order to avoid coming close to Slab City. Before the war it had been a lawless community of drifters and outcasts, after the war we'd been warned that it had become a growing hub for raiders and worse. At night we were able to camp inside the abandoned buildings that dotted the edge of the old communities that once ringed the Salton Sea, and it was nice to have shelter overhead again. Felt more secure in case of raider attack as well. Until we were near the safety of the farms though, we lit no fires and ate our food cold. Watson slinked off one night, muttering something about a 'feeling' he had. The man disappeared
into the desert as silent as a panther, and just as deadly. An hour before sunrise he returned, dragging with him a man dressed in worn traveling gear and with hands bound in front of him. Throwing him to the floor of our shelter, Watson spit on the ground next to him. “Scout. Had a feeling we were being watched last night. I was right.” The man spit out a steady stream of profanities, and Watson smacked him with the butt of his shotgun, warning him not to do it again in front of the women. When Watson turned the double barrels around to face him, the man quickly complied. We questioned him thoroughly and were chilled at the news. He was indeed a
scout for a smaller force prowling the Salton basin area, looking for survivors to scoop up. That force had clocked in on the farms and was planning a visit soon. The thought of what they might do if the community found itself unprepared chilled me to the bone. When we were done Clara asked what we were going to do with the scout. Watson volunteered
to 'handle' the situation and catch up with us as we set off. There was a familiar look in his eyes, and I shook my head. “No, where we're going there's law and order. We'll turn him in there so he can receive a fair punishment.” The group nodded in agreement. Internally, I agreed with Watson. But maybe, just maybe, the world needed a little less savagery if it was going to be re-civilized. Days 351-355 I was surprised when I finally laid eyes on the farms again after half a year. Things had changed.
Ruslana had been an effective governor since our little group had left to go up to Big Bear. The entire area had a crude fence that you could tell was still a work in progress. Some parts were more complete than others, and even incorporated concrete barriers. They must have found some way of moving the heavy blocks which meant they might’ve found a fuel depot and plenty of fuel stabilizer. Without it gasoline goes bad within months, which is why most of the world could no longer drive despite there being billions of gallons of old gasoline just laying around. There were even guard towers being erected every few hundred meters, and we got spotted long before making it to the front gates. A delegation of riflemen came out to meet
us- it was obvious the farms have been having issues with raiders and other bad characters. Luckily several of the patrol that met us recognized me, and I was greeted with lots of back slapping and questions about how everyone was doing. I waited until they brought me into the camp so I could catch everyone up at once. They had radioed ahead and Ruslana was there to greet me, we both embraced warmly upon seeing each other, then she looked worried as she asked about the girls and Robby. I told them about Big Bear and the attack, and everything I'd learned since then. Ruslana's face went serious, I wasn't telling her any news- her and
her people had been hearing the rumors of a gathering army for months now. Plus they kept having trouble with raiders from Slab City, hence the fences and guard towers. But what we could do about any of it, I didn't know. I was hoping Ruslana would help me figure that part out. Days 356-360 It was nice to be able to relax for a change, and the farms even had water heaters set up so you could take a warm shower. It felt like heaven on earth, specially after the weeks and weeks of trudging through the mountains. I missed
Alexis and the rest fiercely, but I drove those thoughts away anytime they invaded. Ruslana and I deliberated on what we could do. She had been growing the community slowly but surely, accepting survivors from the cities as they found them. The place had a name now too, it was officially Farmbridge. A curious name, but she explained it had won by majority vote. Farm for obvious reasons, and the bridge part because everyone hoped the settlement would serve as a bridge to a better future.
One thing was clear, Farmbridge was some of the most valuable real estate in SoCal right now, and raiders had taken notice. They'd fended off two attacks from Slab City before they gave up, but caught scouts in the hills on a regular basis. Then we got word that a convoy bringing in survivors and supplies from the ruins of the city had been attacked by Slab City raiders. Two
survivors had made the marathon run to get to us and try to raise help. Ruslana and I grabbed our gear as she delegated orders to her lieutenants. She grabbed four of her most experienced shooters and headed for the gates. Watson picked up on the commotion and was quickly beside me as we marched to join them. Once we got there,
Ruslana held up a hand- I didn't have to come, this wasn't really my fight. Ruslana was a veteran of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but she wasn't a tracker. Watson and I could both do the tracking necessary to find out how many had attacked the convoy and which direction they had traveled. Ruslana reluctantly agreed, she didnt' like putting others in danger. Days 361-365 It took a few days to reach the site of the attack, though we moved as quickly as we could. The raiders had stripped everything from the makeshift wagons,
rough constructions that had been built on top of an old car chassis by Farmbridge's engineers. We were having to remake the world with technology not very well suited for it. There were several corpses in the desert, some were survivors and others raiders. At least Slab City raiders- or Slabbers- weren't cannibals, they hadn't butchered the bodies. But the survivors would be taken as slaves, and potentially sold to cannibals. We had to move fast. Days 366-368 The tracks led north along the coast of the sea, almost mirroring the route we had taken on our way south. The Slabbers were steering clear of Farmbridge and going the long way around the massive inland lake. Once we got to the northern tip our suspicions were
confirmed- the tracks now turned south and east, in the direction of Slab City. Days 369-372 Salvation Mountain was visible in the distance, a massive artificial hill created by an artist and painted in brightly colored paints. It was a famous landmark and a real gem of the desert- a huge splash of color amongst the dusty decay of the Salton basin area. But without someone to look after it, the bright colors had long ago faded. This was technically the outer perimeter of Slab City, and we moved only at night now. We had too few numbers for an all-out assault, and Ruslana didn't want to risk war between Farmbridge and Slab City, though looking in her eyes she knew it was inevitable. My hope was that when it came, Slab City didn't have the backing of this mysterious warlord gathering an army somewhere east.
Luckily for us, Slabbers were still largely disorganized, it was an every-man-for-himself settlement that rarely ever cooperated on anything except an existential threat to its existence. This gave us the advantage of teamwork. Watson and I scouted the settlement together at night, me wrapping around to the north and him to the south. There wasn't one main holding area for captives, rather it seemed as if the Slabbers were organized in small groups and each group had its own pens. This was good news for us, maybe we could get in there and make it look like a prison break.
It was important the Slabbers didn't find out it was an organized rescue by Farmbridge. If they did the entire settlement would then have vendetta against Farmbridge, and though they didn't cooperate well together, they had numbers on their side. Our people were on the northern outskirts of Slab City, which played to our favor.
We should be able to get in and out, hopefully without causing much of a ruckus. And if we did, other Slabbers would be too far away to get there in time as long as we were fast. Days 373-375 The desert was wide open here, only a few wadis to hide in. That meant we couldn't sneak up close the way we'd like to. We'd have to hit them hard and fast. Two of Ruslana's shooters stationed themselves several hundred meters out in the desert on small rises. The rest of us crawled along a wadi until we were as close as we could get, still leaving about a hundred meters between us and the structures housing about a dozen slabbers. The next nearest group was half a mile away, we'd have to move fast.
Ruslana spoke a single word into her radio and the shooters got to work. Almost simultaneously the sound of two rifles firing split the nighttime silence. We were already up and running as two Slabber corpses hit the ground. But there was a third we hadn't seen, he must have been napping outside or something, because he immediately poked up from behind a stack of tires and brought his rifle to bear. One of Ruslana's men was shot before we mowed him down with return fire. There was no time for grieving or first aid, more than one life was at stake here. I still had a few grenades left, so I tossed one in the direction of one of the structures as Ruslana went to work on the lock to the captive pen. A slabber happened to run out just a second
before the grenade went off, cutting him down with shrapnel. The rest huddled by the doorway, peering out to fire at us, fearful to run out into another tossed grenade. That was perfect, the fear kept the slabbers holed up as Ruslana finally blasted the lock off the gate in frustration, freeing the captives. One of Ruslana's shooters on the
high ground had a night vision scope for his rifle and dropped a Slabber none of us had seen as he snuck up on us. Probably saved all our lives. The other rifleman kept up steady, accurate fire on the doorways to force the Slabbers to stay inside. We retreated in pairs, two of us laying down fire for the rest to rush back, then alternating. We couldnt' win in a standup fight, so our goal was to keep them inside their shacks until we could get away into the desert. With the blood pumping in my ears, I grabbed the hand of one of the survivors and rushed back into the wadi we had taken on the way in, it gave us just enough cover to remain out of line of sight of the slabbers behind us.
Watson jumped in behind us, carrying the wounded squad member over his shoulders. His face was red with exertion, but he refused to leave the man behind. Under the cover of our two riflemen on high ground, we hightailed it into the night.
Days 376-380 We moved as fast as we could, putting distance between us and Slab City- but to our surprise there was no pursuit. Maybe we had killed that group's leader, or maybe the slabbers had simply cut their losses. It didnt' seem right to me, and one look at Watson's face told me it didn't sit right with him either. Something was going on.
We made it to the north side of the Salton Sea, far enough away that we felt safe from any slabber patrols or scavenger teams. When we finally had a chance to take a breather, one of the captives told us rather disturbing news. The slabbers had started to organize themselves into a bigger entity. Some guy who's name they hadn't caught was apparently putting the law down- by force if necessary. Some slabbers were resisting, and ending up in shootouts that weren't in their favor. It made sense now, the slabbers we rescued the captives from were probably more concerned with holding on to what property and power they had than chasing down some escaped slaves.
But the slabbers wouldn't be opposing each other forever, because this mystery man was winning the struggle to unite Slab City. Soon they would be a unified force, and a serious threat to Farmbridge. Perhaps most disturbing though was that the slabbers had already sent a team of representatives to meet with this growing horde out east. They were looking to join up. If we were going to survive what came next, we needed information- now more than ever. Ruslana decided to use boats to cross the Salton sea and get to Farmbridge faster, but Watson and I had a different plan. We were headed east. We'd pretend to be raiders or scavengers looking to join up for a bigger score, and find out what we could.
Ruslana tried to talk us out of it, but our minds were set. Then she hugged me goodbye once more, assuring me she would do everything she could to prepare her people for the coming war. To Watson, she gave a kiss on the cheek as thank you for saving her man. Watson turned a bright red and for a moment the two lingered near each other. Watson was probably in his late fifties and Ruslana was only fifteen or so years behind him. In the old world, maybe people would've
batted an eye at the pairing, but in this new world you took love where you could find it. The thought made my heart hurt again as I thought about Alexis. Once more, I buried the thought. There was work to do. Days 381-385 We only had a general location and rumors to go off, but we knew one thing for sure- wherever this horde was gathering, it was somewhere east. It would also have to be near highways and a former
town or city to support that many people in one location. That narrowed things down considerably. Lake Havasu was the obvious choice in my opinion, plenty of fresh water and a highway ran through it. Watson agreed, and we went north from Salton up the 111 until we got to the ten interstate. We'd follow that east until it intersected with the 95 and then take that north to Havasu. With just two of us on solid pavement, we could make good time. As we made camp I did some rough calculations and was surprised to discover it had been just over a year now since the world ended. It was hard to tell from the passing of
the seasons because SoCal didnt' really have them- and now with global cooling from all the dust in the atmosphere, it was generally cool and cloudy every day. I couldn't believe how far and how fast humanity had fallen in just one year. Days 386-389 We spotted the checkpoint from a distance, recon'ed it out at night. Fifteen or so raiders manning a rough barricade at the junction of the 10 and the 95. They were very well armed,
this wasn't desert trash. This had to be a part of the main group we'd heard so much about. I wanted to go around them, but Watson disagreed. This was an outpost, controlling traffic through the two highways. He thought we should present ourselves as hopeful recruits, and told me to trust him- he knew a thing or two about dealing with people like this from his old life. We approached the outpost in broad daylight, rifles slung over our shoulders. Watson told me to let him do the talking as a few of them approached us, rifles leveled in our direction. “We're looking for opportunity,
tired of scabbing off the ruins or whoever happens to come along. Heard there was a boss out here, planning to make big moves. Figured he could use two more good guns.” The raiders laughed, but their leader seemed to take in Watson's words. He nodded his approval. We had heard right, but it wasn't up to him if we could join or not- that would be up to the bosses in Havasu. His job was to monitor traffic and collect taxes from anyone using the roads. I was surprised, turns out they were taxing people using the roads for trade. I guess
it made sense- you couldn't enslave or kill everyone you came across if you were trying to build something. There was plenty of that, we were assured, but mostly from communities that resisted. Plus the boss granted each of the major groups the right to go on 'hunting trips' outside of the territory once in a while. We asked for his name and were corrected, “Not his name, her name.” General Latray she called herself. Her followers called her the Iron Lady.
Where she'd come from or who she had been in the old world nobody here knew. Their gang was one of the many picked up and absorbed into the fold. We were given directions and told to behave ourselves in the Iron Lady's territory. There
was no looting, stealing, or fighting without permission from the Iron Lady or her bosses. Then, they gave us directions to Havasu- but not before we paid our toll. With money being worthless, we handed over some of our foodstuffs and ammo- the currency of the new world. Days 390-394 I was surprised to see semi-regular foot traffic on the road up to Havasu. There were groups of raiders using the road on their way to god knows where, but also civilians- even some trade caravans. The civilians all had the same haunted look in their eyes from living under an oppressive dictatorship, and the trade caravans included many slaves. I couldn't
help but wonder if this wasn't what one of the ancient empires of the world may have looked like. There was civilization here if you can call it that. An oppressive regime of the Iron Lady's own making that endorsed slavery, sanctioned murder, and violence to keep everyone in line- but it was undeniable that this was in fact a growing civilization. Havasu had attracted thousands of survivors it seems, and when the Iron Lady showed up she'd wrangled all the survivors under her iron thumb to build a world in her image. Watson had lived most of his life in the mountains, with no boss in his life save himself.
The steady streams of caravans and civilians being bullied by raiders bothered him to the point I caught his finger straying near the trigger of his rifle on more than one occasion. I had to remind him that we were here to gather information. We couldn't do anything for these people, not yet. With a weary sigh he agreed, and we continued our journey to Havasu. Days 395-399 We had been told to report to a specific building on the outskirts of Havasu Springs Resort. The former resort community served as a southern base of operations, with Havasu city, north and on the other side of the lake, being the Iron lady's seat of power. I let Watson do the talking again, following his lead. The raiders respected strength,
so when our would-be recruiter tried to intimidate us we both responded with veiled threats. That seemed to please him, and he welcomed us into the ranks. Unfortunately, things were hectic at the moment, so we'd have to cool our heels for a few days until we could get sorted out. The raiders clearly had some military veterans in their ranks, because they were working to unify the various gangs and raider enclaves together into some semblance of organization. No easy task given that all of these people were naturally extremely selfish and prone to looking out for number one first. We'd be assigned to one of the gangs soon, until then we were given directions to makeshift barracks where we could hole up. Until then we were in quarantine, we could leave the
barracks and have a look around, but were limited in where we could go for the time being. This made gathering intelligence difficult, and I was growing increasingly frustrated by the day. Day 400 I had questions I couldn't find answers to cooped up in the barracks waiting for our assignment. Who was the Iron Lady? What were here plans? How many people did she have under her command? Did she have enemies we could potentially contact for help? Each day that I went without finding answers was another day that my friends were in danger.
I left the barracks and Watson reminded me not to test the boundaries of where we had been allowed to wander- clearly he could also feel my growing frustration. There was a recreation area which the raiders were making full use of, with a tennis and basketball court. Tourists once flocked to this beautiful resort, now it was home to a base of men and women who had chosen to survive the end of the world by killing, enslaving, and exploiting their fellow man. It was sickening, and I almost wished
a nuke would fall here right now- if the war was even still going on. Maybe it had finally ended, with no more cities left to vaporize and the survivors tearing each other apart for the scraps. I turned away from the courts in disgust and nearly ran straight into a young brunette carrying a load of laundry. It spilled everywhere, and I almost helped her pick it up until I saw the slave collar on her neck and remembered the role I was playing. “Watch where the hell you're going, you idiot.” I grumbled out. I had to be committed to my role.
The girl looked up as she scooped up the laundry, “I'm so sorry, I didn't expect you to...” But her voice trailed off as we locked eyes and I felt my face go white as a ghost as my knees turned to jello. “Chris- Christina?” I barely managed to mumble out. But
there was no mistaking her. Same pretty, almost almond-shaped eyes, and small scar on her left cheek from when she fell off a scooter as a kid. It was her. My ex-fiance who had broken up with me just three months before the world ended. Now go see how this story all started with I Survived 100 Days of Nuclear War, or click this other video instead!