Part 1 : The trick is to keep breathing

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Rated: R

For: Sexual themes, Violence, Language

Genre: Sci-fi/Romance/Horror

Note: All the chapters are named after Garbage songs. From the albums, B-sides, or songs by Angelfish. (Shirley's band before Garbage) Just a little running theme for fun.

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It was raining. Cold, freezing rain that could almost be snow, but it was beautiful to watch anyway. Everyone was wet and cold, including me, but none of us cared. That wasn't what was on our mind. 17 years. This was the hardest day of the year for all of us... That one day. February 9th.

We were all toddlers when it happened. None of us remember very much, other than watching everybody else in our family die. It came so suddenly on just another day. Feburary 9th - The day I turned two. Happy fucking Birthday, little girl. This is what the real world is about and this is the rest of your life. None of us really know how or why we made it out. We were so young, so fragile to death. And we were the ones that lived - Us and a few middle-aged men and a 30-something woman who cared for us. They raised us until we hit our preteens. None of us know where they left for - but they weren't comning back anytime soon.

There were bombs everywhere. But we weren't under attack. It was a rain of meoters - They were hitting everything. And they weren't just hitting Denver. They were hitting our entire planet - or at least knocking them enough from elsewhere to cause a global catastrophe.

Phone lines were down - All the connections were gone. No one's even gotten them back up yet... but it doesn't matter. The world is such a differnt place now.

We still run into other people a lot. More survived than we originally thought... turns out a big city was the worst place we could have been. There were buildings everywhere and they fell onto the masses.

"Amber," The voice was familar and I didn't bother to turn and look. I knew it was Darrick. "We'd better get a move on Darlin'. It's getting dark."

I hated it when he called me that. "Darlin'." He never called any of the other girls that. It always made me feel so disrepected. There was certianly nothing between us and no reason for him to call me "Darlin'." It wasn't like it was in his nature or dialect, It was only to me.

I nodded. Everyone else was waiting for me. We traveled at night becuase that's how we'd always done it. Nobody questioned the tradition, we just went along with it. We always walked because there was no other transportation. There were plently of cars left - but no gas.

We'd never had anywhere in particular to go. But we couldn't stay in one place.There was nowhere worth staying as well as nowhere worth going.

Derrick always told us that we'd be the ones to rebuild society. To make the world function again. He assumed the role of leader without ever being given it. It came naturally to him and no one was there to stand up against him. Most of the time what he said went.

There were eleven of us. There was Derick - the leader - and me. Then there was Tess and Karen - who were identical twins. It's quite a wonder that they both survived. They're in charge of feeding the rest of us. They find food and water, wherever we go. There was Brian, who was handy when it came to fixing things. He'd got watches working without batteries and all that. Jeremy and Zinny worked together to scam people in deals. It was a cheap way to work - but it got us a lot of good shit. Next there was Frances, Shelly, and Maizon. They contirubated verious things to us - From helping us get over a barb-wire fence to teaching us to walk over leaves and yet make no sound. There there's Nikole - who we all know is only with us becuase she gives blows jobs to anything that walks without an once of alcohol in her and Derrick insists we bring her along.

Talk about shallow. An extra mouth to feed just becuase the little slut likes to give him "favors."

My input to our little group was a little less direct than everyone elses. I was the unspoken 2nd in command. When Derrick wasn't around or didn't know what to do, all eyes kind of went to me. Besides that, I braided everybody's hair every three weeks. The little braids that you don't take out for a while. There had to be over 100 of them on each of us. I made the black makeup too. We looked kind of savage, but it felt only right. After all, that's all that was left of Earth - A savage place filled with savage people. We wore the makeup under our eyes, like camo war paint. We were the perfect image from a post-apcolypic story that people in the old world made have invented.

We started walked. Wandering, moreso. Derrick claimed we were working to rebuild the world. All our names were going to be remembered forever. That's what he told us anyway. But we never worked to rebuild anything - We wandered and wandered just keeping ourseves alive.

Life. It was almost as beautiful as the rain. I pulled my hood up over my messy bleahed blonde and braided hair to protect my head from the rain. Derrick and I walked ahead of everyone else. I hated being around him. He wasn't the kind of person I would have ever chosen to associate myself with.

"It rains a lot more than it used to." Derrick always tried to make conversation.

Today I felt like responding. I usually just nodded or grunted. I avoided talking to him about anything but "reviving" the world and where to go and such. "It's becuase we're in a differnt part of the world than we used to be in. We're always wandering."

"Maybe." Derrick shrugged. "Everything is so differnt. We're all getting older. Speaking of that, Happy Birthday Darlin'."

I looked up at the sky as I walked, but I answered in a weak voice, if not a whisper. "I haven't had a happy birthday in 18 years."

"That's really sad. The memory of that day lives everyday. Today is only a number and you should enjoy your birthday."

I snorted. "Like you know about such things. You're our leader but you are not my shrink."

"Only trying to help." He sensed the tention, and I'm not sure what it is in men's genes but something tells them tension can be fixed with flirting. "You have beautiful eyes."

"Shut up." I snapped.

"I'm serious. And the war paint really brings them out." That was such a weird thing to hear. The war paint? They try way to hard.

"We're stopinng for now!" Derrick shouted. We hadn't even gone a mile. No one complained or questioned, and we stopped to rest. "I want to talk to you. Away from everyone."

Oh wow, can you say obvious 10 times fast?

We wanded away and it wasn't long before he was coming onto me again. Derrick touched my hair and told me what a perfect colour it was right before attempting to kiss me.

I yanked right away from him. My first instict was to slap him hard, but I didn't "What the hell do you think you're doing?"

"Come on - I'm kissing you! You've been begging me all night! Like I can't sense a horny 19-year-old virgin when I see one."

Each word that would shock anyone who didn't know Derrick just made me laugh. How typical. "Yeah, I've been begging you all night to leave me alone!" I spit the words right at him as I wandered back to the group and told them we were heading out again.

Derrick gave me a look of confussion as soon as we started walking and I glared at him and spoke. "I'm not being anybody's sex toy. You've Nikole for that."

"I can watch you fall, Amber. Everybody here follows my command and I can sit back and watch as they break your legs. Remember that next time Darlin', and everything will be just fine."