Chris Valarida Mrs.

Reid Writing 121 20 November 2008 Aftermath Desolation engulfs the landscape for miles around. A pallor of bleached brown dust is the sole survivor of the catastrophe that befell this place. Once a thriving metropolis, only ruin stands now in its wake. No natural disaster could so devastate such a founded city, built to withstand any force of nature, but the city is in ruin all the same. Breaking the stillness of the desolate vista, a muted gray, metal hatch swings lazily open in the hot sun, and a lone boy emerges. He has seen no more than eight summers, but his pale skin shows that none of them have been above ground. Judging by the ribs poking out of his side, he has been driven out of his lair by hunger. His green and blue striped shirt falls capaciously about his frame, and the yellow letters A-D-A-M on his back are faded almost to illegibility. The dirty jean shorts he wears are in no better condition, bearing many holes. So this is what it's like? thinks Adam as he surveys the bleak surroundings. He is about a half-mile from where the ruined city originally stood, but the rubble now reaches well beyond the hatch. Broken jags of concrete are strewn about haphazardly for a mile in any direction and the air feels stale—dead. Everything is stagnant as cistern water. He had heard of the outside world, to be certain, but to actually view it with his own eyes is a truly spectacular thing; the devastation let loose by the atomic bombs so many years ago is nothing less than horrendous. So much devastation because of Operation Formicide, but was it worth it? All his life, he had only read of it—nobody actually said it aloud, but it was the reason he had lived under the ground his entire life. The menace is certainly no more, but what cost! Adam wishes, suddenly, that he had not stepped out of the safely sealed vault and begins

Struggling upright and crawling to the window. it bites him in the foot—the one that still has a shoe. The cardboard is torn. slamming the cover on the paw of the oncoming dog. but before he reaches it. Upon reaching the ruin. As he kicks the right dog. It is apparent to Adam that this man has had many such encounters. the rest being torn away. His eyes are red-rimmed with madness as he snarls at the dog and kicks sideways viciously. making quick work of it. he falls often. unkempt madman leaps from the debris and snatches up the box. as his tired business suit is now riddled with holes. a clatter sounds to his left behind a defunct reception counter. to continue the path he started. but resigns after a moment's struggle. horrified. but the right side runs down to only mid-calf. breaking the dog's neck. his pants are the same. Five buildings down. Stumbling along the road leading to the city. A colorful. at any rate) to search out any remaining food. the hound leaves the man for easier meat--it retreats to the dead dog and quickly begins to devour the carcass. for there is nothing left in the bunker but gray walls and dead bones. but the man bolts down a nearby manhole. A wiry. but continues plodding towards possible turn back. yet faded toucan stares eerily at him as he makes his way to it. Adam watches the man as he beats down the pair of mad dogs he just agitated with his antics. he begins his trek toward sustenance. breaking it. Barren aisles stare back at him. . he finally happens upon a box of old Fruit Loops lying in a pile of rubble. Now tripedal. Limping as quickly as he can over to the box. he enters the first building (what might be considered a store —what is left of it. he will join them. and an hour later. The other moves in carefully. Adam bends down to pick up the precious package. Then. but not enough to get the bag out. Adam watched as the man lifted the cover and proceeded to gnaw off the broken paw of the squealing dog. Closing the hatch to his past behind him. knocking Adam on his back and the wind from his lungs. If he does not eat anything in a few days. The madman then careens off a broken chair and sprints out the exit.

revealing the word "Desolate. and all Adam can do is retch. Valarida 4 "What's wrong with you?" asks Adam. Adam decides there is still enough meat left on the bones to satiate his hunger for a while. but once again collapses. you nee' ta leaf. "It gets t'ya after a while. as he does it. the bones cleaned. coughing. I done this. however." the man responds. he begins the trek back to his home. he ventures to the side of the city opposite his entrance--a journey he has yet to make. picking his way carefully through the rubble. but nothing happens. Adam finds. entire shelved walls teeming with victuals. so he can make only one trip instead of several. why he still bothers). sickened. horrified. reluctant to disturb anything. but breaks down in a horrendous coughing fit. Darkness' cloak enwraps the land before his journey through the maze of wreckage is complete. Ten minutes later. Adam heads for his cot in room 235U. exposing himself to as little radiation as possible. spitting out blood." Hunting for food in the next few days proves almost fruitless. only stirring it to a gory mess. At sun's zenith. stuffs his holed pockets. but Adam manages to survive--his frame even begins to thicken as he recovers from his atrophy. "Ya don' belong here. The sky is turning crimson as the boy finishes his grotesque task. as the man vomits the meager contents of his . ready to finish the day." rasps a dusty voice from behind. Once back in the bleak bunker. and dives face first into the animal. Before tasting his nightly slice of death. in a building that still has all its walls and most of a ceiling. he flips his "Word of the Day" calendar (and wonders. He approaches cautiously. so he turns the dead dog over and breaks off a few ribs.After the dog finishes its meal. He hopes to find enough food to last him several days this time. It lasts for minutes. On the third expedition out of the bunker. he wipes his bloodied face with an arm. boy. The ape-man who stole the box of Fruit Loops slunk into the room as Adam was salivating over his discovery.

vomiting a red river. "Dunno." . "Gets everone. and he joins the man on the ground. "You too?" asks the man in dying lucidity. dunnit?" "Why would anyone do this?" asks Adam as he continues to vomit crimson.stomach. Adam's stomach grows stale. but a bloody cough racks the man's frame. "Dun--" He tries to speak. ending in a scarlet splash.