In fear of annihilation, we built bunkers deep below the ground to ensure the survival of humankind. It’s been five years, 40 weeks, and three days since Earth was destroyed. I guess it’s true what they say, only the dead see the end of war.
The majority of us who survived were wiped out by radiation and starvation. We, who are alive, now etch out a living on a devastated, barren planet. Over the years we’ve built an underground society and only a select few are allowed to leave. Searchers. That’s what we call them. They leave at dawn and come back at dusk. No one really knows what they do when they leave, that is, except for the Governess and her council. I have heard stories of a ghostly landscape, deserted, dry, skeletal trees. Some say that left-over human remains lie scattered across our now ashy wasteland. They say the air has become so toxic that just one breath of it without a specialized gas mask will take a life.
Most people don’t want to see this for themselves, not after the stories the searchers have told us about the creatures that lurk on our planet; animals turned to mutants after being assailed by the radiation. Blood curdling, corpse eating, vicious monsters.
But, they haven’t seen what I’ve seen; they don’t know what I know. I’ve seen the cracks in our so-called ‘safe haven’. The odd scratch marks along the walls of the East wing. You know that moment when something feels off? It usually is and like my father used to tell me, ‘trust your gut’. Things aren’t always what they seem.
Fear felt like a thousand needles pricked my skin and grew like an expanding balloon within my chest, but I carried on. The large steel door creaked as I forced it open, giving me uninvited access to the South Wing’s interior. Gently running my fingers over the ghost-cold iron gates, the metal seeped deeply into my bones.
This was my one chance. My one chance of escape.