February 15, 2011

Safe Haven - Sunset

[...posted by Ted H]

As promised, some motha fucking backstory.
A bit awkward, but once all the introductions are out of the way, it should all run smoother...


[Safe Haven - Sunset]

Cayra’s pace quickened as she made for the edge of the city. It was getting closer to curfew but she wanted to watch the sun set. She reached the last tall building before the walls and made her way inside. Before everything had gone to hell, this was an office building where unimportant people made money off the hard work of slightly less important people. No one knew what company the offices were for, everything had since been obliterated beyond recognition. No one would care either way if the building was in pristine condition because the building was too close to the edge of the city. No one bothered taking up residence inside for fear of being too close to where the zombies were. There were also some nights where you couldn’t get to sleep the moaning of the undead would get so loud.

Cayra entered and made her way up the main staircase all the way to the roof. There the high walls still towered overhead, but she could watch the sun set longer than any other person could. She found a nice place to sit and watched. It always felt tranquil, knowing that even though the apocalypse had seemingly swept across the world, life still went on. The sun still rose in the morning and set in the evening. Life went on, even if most humans on earth were dead. It also suggested that if somehow humanity were to overcome the undead, then it could also rebuild. As long as the sun kept rising, then there was still hope.

The sun began to creep behind the wall now. The giant walls surrounding the city are what make the last refuge of humanity, Safe Haven, so safe. They keep the undead out, and humanity in. Cayra often felt overwhelmed at the tremendous effort and cost it took her just to reach this place. She also felt selfish that despite the amount of people who died, she was among the fraction of the world that managed to survive. But above all else, she felt amazement that she could even feel so overwhelmed and selfish after 13 years.

13 years. It may have been that long, but Cayra always felt like it all happened recently. The initial infection, how so many people mysteriously died at random. There was no rhyme or reason to the infection. No trend, no common cause, nothing. Just one day, people started dying, then they would get up and start eating others. Then she remembered holding up in a small 2 bedroom apartment with well over a dozen people. It was there she had first heard about this place.

A place called Safe Haven, billed as the last refuge of humanity, had been erected in California and was welcoming as many living people as it could hold. Government protocols, barricaded houses and attempts to escape for the ocean were all shoddy if not doomed endeavors, but this Safe Haven offered what nowhere else could: unquestioned safety and a large and diverse amount of humanity to rebuild with.

There was no need for discussion, they needed to get there somehow. The only disagreement was over how soon. Some wanted to leave immediately, while the rest felt they needed to plan and prepare for the trip. Cayra was part of the group that wanted to wait, and it proved to be a smart choice. Of those people that left immediately, Cayra never saw any of them again. When her group finally made the trip, it was a race against time. Safe Haven was safe for entry at the time because of a small army holding off the dead while survivors flocked. To attempt entry after the men with guns retreated would’ve been suicide.

The journey to Safe Haven was a long and dangerous trip that Cayra doesn’t like to recall. Still, despite the cost and sacrifice, she had made the trip across the country to where Safe Haven was. Now 13 years later, while it’s still as safe as day one, it’s also a living hell. Because nowadays safety from the undead comes at the cost of humanity itself.

There are no weapons allowed in Safe Haven. Since there were no zombie to fight inside, the people in charge, the ones who funded and build the walls, deemed it unnecessary to own a weapon and banned them out of fear that people would use them against each other. Drugs and alcohol are also banned so that when humanity emerges from the apocalypse, they would be more perfect and vice free, or that was the idea at least.

People in the city are expected to stay in line. Early on, if someone caused too much trouble, the police force would toss them out into the wasteland. Now if someone becomes too unruley, it's easier to just deal with them in a more direct fashion, usually resulting with that person being shot. The police force are known as the Residential Enforcers, or “ResEs” and are the only people allowed to carry weapons. They were originally the remnants of the army that fought off the undead while Safe Haven was constructed. In order to swell the numbers of enforcers needed, non-military personnel were chosen to join. Eventually, the ResEs became deluded, no longer reflecting what they originally were. And when it was obvious that their superiors would turn a blind eye to their actions, the abuse of power was the next logical step.

There were two things to always be mindful of in Safe Haven: the potential for zombies, and how long you have until curfew. The purpose of a curfew was originally so the ResEs could more easily sweep through and deal with any undead that may have found a way in, or if any survivors were infected and managed to slip through early detection. Now the only thing to fear after dark are the ResEs themselves. If caught in the night by one, there was no telling what they might do with you. Rape, rifle target practice, beatings, or maybe they would “volunteer” you to be a guinea pig for the science team who were constantly trying new things to find a cure, or more effective way to combat the dead. Either way, few survive getting caught after curfew, and they usually wish they didn’t.

Cayra pushed these thoughts aside as the sun continued to creep further behind the wall. She got up and dusted herself off. “Another day and we’re still alive,” she said as she made for the stairs. It was time to get going, curfew was about to take over.

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