David and Mary quietly sifted through the last of the food items left on the Supermarket shelves. They were not alone. There were several others nearby doing the same thing. At the other end of the store there was a lot of yelling and shots being fired.
Mary found a few packets of chips and a can of corn and quickly put them in her rucksack, hoping nobody had seen her.
They had already seen an older couple get shot this morning, just because they had a few tins of food.
David nodded to her that it was time to get out of there, as it was getting too dangerous. They warily made their way, as quietly as possible, to the exit, slipped through the door and raced across the road and into the trees. They hid behind a large tree for a few moments to make sure nobody had followed. Mary started to shake violently, from fear. David put his arms around her, and told her quietly. “Calm down, everything will be okay!”
It had been another brutal day of scavenging for food and clothes, and seeing what the worst of humanity could do to one another.
The day before they had found an empty cottage, very unassuming and rundown, not something robbers would be looking at. They headed back there now, avoiding being out in the open as much as possible. “What is going to happen to us, David?” Mary asked as they walked. “I’m afraid at the moment I can’t answer that.” David replied. “I guess, life as it was a month ago, is gone forever, and now we just have to try to survive.” They reached the small cottage, went around to the back door, and waited to make sure nobody was around.
David checked the piece of cardboard he had stuck in the door. It was still there, so nobody had tried to open the door.
After going inside David securely latched the door from inside, then made sure the front door was still secure.
They emptied out the few items of food and stacked most of them in a secret cache, in one of the walls. They sat down on the couch with a can of cola and a packet of chips to share.
They dared not put the television or the radio on, for fear of someone hearing them, and they left the lights off after dark. There was just enough moonlight coming through the curtains to be able to see.
David thought about all that had happened over the last few months.
When Nth. Korea had their elections, they had voted in a dictator, who they found out too late, was crazy. By the time they realised he was out of his mind, it was already too late to stop him. He had done the one thing most of humanity had been dreading for many years. He had pushed the button, sending death and destruction to most of the Western World.
Of course they had retaliated, sending their own, to completely wipe out the Nth. Korean nation and many surrounding nations as well. There weren’t too many left that hadn’t been devastated.
Fresh food and water were a thing of the past, money was no good to anyone and everyone was out to look after themselves.
The worst of humanity had risen it’s head, roaming the streets, violently killing anyone who got in their way.
After dark David and Mary sat near the window, where they could see through the curtains, by the moonlight. They watched in silence, as the gangs roamed the streets with guns and fire torches, shooting anyone they happened to come across.
David had found an old rifle in the house, but had not had to use it so far. He only found half a dozen bullets, so he had to be sure if he was going to fire it. “If it comes to them or us, I will shoot them!” He told Mary.
Mary was devastated, she had not seen or heard from any of her or David’s families, for months, and she feared the worst. “If only I knew that they were okay.” She kept telling David. He had no answers. He was thinking the same, but didn’t want to dwell on what might be.
Tonight the sounds of gunfire were very close. David held the rifle, ready to take on anyone who tried to break in.
The night went smoothly, but David was woken up early, by Mary urgently nudging him. “David wake up!” she whispered in his ear. “Someone is trying to open the front door!”
David sprang to his feet, grabbed the rifle, and held it up facing the front door. In the dim morning light he watched with wide eyes as someone unlocked the door and walked in.
“Stay where you are!” he said under his breath.
As his sight adjusted to the dim light, he saw an elderly man and woman, in dirty clothes, and covered in cuts and bruises.
“Who are you?” the old man asked. “This is our house, what are you doing here?” “We’re pensioners, we have nothing of value for you to steal.”
Keeping the gun trained on them, David walked over behind them, then closed and relocked the front door, after making sure they hadn’t been followed.
“Sit down.” He said. “I’ll explain what this is all about.”
David stood beside the window, watching for anyone lurking nearby, as he explained to the old couple how he had found the cottage empty and they had nowhere else to go.
The elderly man looked at his wife. “Okay, I believe you, you’re safe here, and we can do with some company.” He said. “We were at the shopping centre searching for some food, when the whole building started to collapse.” “We ran for our lives and only just got out with a few cuts and bruises.” “We have been slowly making our way back here, trying to avoid the gangs and shooting.” “We saw so many dead and injured people, but we couldn’t stop or we would have become one of the victims.” “It was horrible to watch, as people were shot down, for no reason, other than a coat or a packet of chips.” “One thing I did overhear though.” The old man said. “I overheard someone saying the Army was headed this way, ready to take on any, and all rioters.”
“Anyone holding a gun in the street, will be shot on sight.”
David’s eyes lit up and a smile cracked his lips. Mary jumped up and gave him a hug. “That’s the best news I’ve heard for weeks!” he said, then laughed. “Actually it’s the only news I’ve heard for weeks!”
The old couple had found some fresh oranges and a couple of bottles of water. They added the water to the cache and shared the fruit with David and Mary.
The next few weeks went quietly, without incident. A few gangs passed by, but weren’t interested in a dishevelled, run-down cottage. They were headed for the wealthy homes at the top of the bluff.
David had sneaked out a few times and came back with some cans of beans and tomatoes, but their small cache of food was almost gone.
One night as David sat beside the window, he heard the gangs headed towards them. He held the rifle up ready to shoot, then he realised they were running away, and the Army was after them!
The next day a soldier knocked on the door. David opened the door just an inch. “Sergeant Leo here!” “How many in the house please?” “Four.” David replied. “Do you have enough food?” “No, we are just about out.” David said. “If you would all like to come with me, we’ll take you to the shelter, where you can pick up enough food for a week, and anything else you need.”
The shelter was a very large distribution shed, with thousands of food packages, hundreds of soldiers and hundreds of people with nowhere to go.
After picking up enough food parcels for a week and some clean clothes, they got a lift back to the cottage.
The elderly couple were very glad to have some help and some company.
It took many months but eventually David and Mary found most of their close family. Sadly, a few had unfortunately lost their lives, and they attended several funerals.
They stayed at the cottage, as their own home had been obliterated. David helped clean-up the outside, and eventually repainted the cottage. Mary redecorated inside the cottage, making it more light and airy, and she also did the cooking.
They had sadly lost a few family members, but David and Mary had found, in the ashes of the desolation, a new family to cherish for the future.