Author: jaybeeuk PM
Looking for fame, a group of young adults leave their sanctuary. Over a backdrop of war and horror, an unlikely love triangle forms between three young adults. When the violence begins to escalate, who will be left to tell their story?Rated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy/Romance - Chapters: 5 - Words: 7,213 - Reviews: 8 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 06-02-12 - Published: 05-17-12 - id: 3023341
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Synopsis: In an effort to preserve the human race, Compounds were created, where the people inside could live in relative safety. Looking for fame and fortune, a group of young adults leave the compound. Hazel knows the dangers, but must join them, for her chance at freedom for both herself and her childhood sweetheart, Gabriel. Yet when she meets the dark and mysterious Kai, and over a backdrop of war and horror, their strictly professional relationship blossoms into something more, she begins to wonder if she will ever go back. But before long, it becomes obvious fate has something else in store for them.
How many will return? And what horrors await them beyond the Fence?
(Please Read and Review, I will do the same back.)
They poured in, one after the other, in an endless torrent of beast and brute. This would be a war of attrition – we had the weapons, but they had the numbers. Unimaginable numbers.
We stood strong, capes billowing behind us, sunlight glinting on the tips of our spears like a thousand tiny stars. The Mutants were writhing towards us, some on two legs, others on four. Their almost human faces had no capacity for mercy or compassion. It was us against them. And they had the least to lose.
I had thought they were safe. I had sacrificed myself for this asylum, but now the battle had been brought to its very doors.
A drum beat began, somewhere far above me an order had been given. We would march out to meet them.
This was my moment.
It was an odd late spring day. The air hung heavy, the oppressive heat bearing down on the two of us as we watched the ewe wrestling the endless struggle between death and new life. Her labour had already been a difficult one; her little lamb did not want to come into this world wrecked by war and famine.
The ewe licked Gabriel's hand, looking for comfort. He ran his hand over her curly nose; whispered to her, "You're OK, sweetheart."
The day passed by, chronically slow, each hour a step closer to a death. The ewe stamped and pawed the ground, looking to see if her efforts had come to fruition.
Then, in the final hour, I saw a little head poke out, two tiny feet tucked under a delicate chin. The rest of the lamb slid out and the mother turned around and began to lick the baby clean.
Gabriel sat next to me on the hay of the barn, and I leant into him as we watched the lamb begin to bleat.
"It must be easy," he said into my hair, "to be a sheep. To be able to have and keep your own children."
I knew what he meant. Ours was a warrior society, only the best were able to marry and breed. The General, the old man who ruled over this compound, had over ten wives, and each had bore him a child. You were taken as a wife, or you were taken as little more than a slave. Those women who did have children outside of marriage were forced to give them up, and they would be reared by the Mothers until they came of age, trained as slaves from a young age.
But if you proved yourself, ran out to meet the terrors in the forest and returned with a few Mutant heads to show your valour, then you would become a demigod, be given land to govern and take any hand you wished.
When we were younger, Gabriel had promised himself to me.
"Hazel," he had said, "One day, I will ride out and fight, then I will come back and marry you."
But as we grew up, it became apparent this would not be so. Gabriel, although big and strong, had a soft heart, and was more at home delivering a lamb than wielding an axe, even though this meant he would never have his own child.
So it was left to me.
Compound Deva had been built at the beginning of the war as an effort to protect the remainder of humanity from the most long-lasting of the war's products: the Mutants, born of biological warfare that must have seemed an ingenious method of warfare- on paper.
It was built around the ruins of an ancient castle, which sat atop a hill which rose steeply out of the landscape, one side a sloping ascent, the other a blunt cliff. This was surrounded by two fences. The majority of the several thousand residents of the Compound lived and worked within the inner wall, a brick built affair, with regular patrols, but the farms occupied a ring around this, stretching out to as close to the Outer Fence as the habitants could brave.
It was my grandmother, Elsie, who had told me of the building of Deva. She told of how the line of refugees had stretched for miles, the queue carefully controlled by the police and army. They began a slow shuffle forward, each person carrying what was most important to them. At this point, Elsie would always laugh, remembering the strange things people believed would be important on the other side of this apocalypse: mobile phones; laptop computers, gaming devices – never considering that electricity would vanish. Many had brought cars, but only the military's were allowed to approach the Compound, believing, and rightfully so, that the vehicles would become obstacles in the future when the petrol ran out. Her own family's choices had been more considered, taking it in turns to push a trolley filled with canned goods, rice and bottled water. On approaching the front of the queue, it was possible to see that many people were being turned from the gates, the military escorting large groups of them away from the multitude of people.
After a few hours, Elsie and her family had reached the front of the queue. There were a number of military personnel seated at small desks, and her family were directed to a free one.
"How many?" asked the middle aged man sat behind the desk, looking over the top of his glasses and surveying the family.
"Seven," said Elsie's father, in his deep, assertive voice, "My mother, my wife, my sister and her husband, and my two daughters."
"Occupations?" said the interviewer, jotting down his answers on a survey form.
Her father began to list: "Myself and my wife own a shop, my mother is retired but used to be a nurse, my sister is a fire fighter and her husband a chef."
The interview continued in this way, questioning her family's health and background. From her view point, Elsie could see that the interviewer was rating each answer with a score out of ten. When this interview had finished he began to make an average of these scores. He then wrote them on stickers and gave them to the correct people.
Elsie's auntie's fire fighting experience and fitness level had scored her an eight, her inability to have children lowering her score. Her own grandmother had also scored a surprising eight, on the provision that she would return to her work as a nurse. Her uncle had scored a five as owned a small farm where he grew produce for his restaurant. Elsie herself had not been scored and had a green sticker, but both her parents had scored twos. Her sister had a sticker which was simply red.
"You have been rated depending on how essential you are to the survival effort. Anyone scoring six or above, or any children bearing a green sticker, may now enter the Compound. Anyone with a lower score must leave with a member of security personnel, where you will be held in a separate facility for consideration if there are any openings in the Compound."
"What about my daughter?" exclaimed her father. Her mother began to weep.
"Your child bearing the green sticker will be admitted. I am afraid that due to her health problems, your other child will not be allowed to enter the Compound."
Elsie's sister had a rare immune system disorder, and was as a result a very sickly child.
"So you're going to let her die? Those monsters will come; she will be dead within a fortnight."
"I am afraid there is nothing I can do. However," he said, looking at her uncle, "I see you have brought a fair amount of food, give it to the military and I will increase your score by a point."
Elsie is not sure what happened with the food at this point, her uncle entered the Compound so must have struck some sort of bargain. She was entirely consumed with her goodbyes. Hugging and kissing her sister and parents, a part of her infant mind understanding that this would be the last time she saw them. And it was.
Sometimes, I would think about life with Gabriel. We would live like everyone else in Deva, living in a state of starvation from harvest to harvest. If I was one of the lucky women who didn't die during child birth, I would give birth to a child who would share the same burdens and shackles as me. In another generation, the already unbearable overcrowding would reach a critical level, and what will they do with the surplus? Then the whole time there would be the rattling of the Fence, reminding us of the alternative.
It was a big decision for a seventeen year old to make, but the only logical one I could see. I would become a legionnaire, the name we gave to the soldiers who protected us from the horrors beyond the Fence. Not for the fame, nor the fortune, not even so I could marry Gabriel (although this was a deciding factor), just so I could feel like change was possible. The hell for me was not out there, with the Mutants, it was in here, trapped on all sides by the overpowering fences.