Angelica Boone was standing and staring at what seemed to be an empty sidewalk square in what used to be Sacramento, California but was now a desolate beach area with nobody around.
When the Bombs had hit both coastlines of the US simultaneously seven years ago, they had set off a series of major earthquakes in Cali and forever transformed the west coastline. So Sacramento was now a beach, but with most of humanity eradicated during the war, it really didn’t even appeal. Most of the citizens of the US were rebuilding the East Coast for some reason. The west had been completely abandoned and forgotten.
Angel knew she shouldn’t be there because there were groups of people trying to run from the new US leadership, and she could be caught. It was more a dictatorship with William Cannel controlling everyone and everything. Three months after the bombs hit, there were EMPs, that had been strategically placed all over the US, that went off, again simultaneously; pretty much leaving America in the dark ages with no electronics.
Everything had been fried, rendering back-up generators useless. No need for gas because nothing with an electrical system - cars, boats, planes - worked anymore.
At this point, guns and ammo were the currency. Angel had never really heard for sure, with there being no TV or paper press anymore, but she had heard rumors that America was down to a population of 350,000 people. Total. And not even a quarter of that was women. A woman was now a possession or commodity to be bought and sold. Women had no rights anymore. If a man caught a woman, she belonged to him, no matter what she wanted, but he had to have weapons at the ready because the law was pretty much that if it was in your hands, it was yours, but it didn’t matter how it came to you. Someone could kill you just to take your shirt if he liked it.
The law was that pretty much there wasn’t law. Let the best man win was the new philosophy.
Cannel was leader because he was more ruthless and owned more guns and ammo than anyone else. He rigged the presidential elections by killing off his opponents. The US Military was pretty much made up of his goons.
They killed, stole, raped, or anything else they wanted to do as long as it did not interfere with Cannel sitting on his ‘throne’. He got a percentage of all agriculture. Of course all food was grown, but along with that marijuana and tobacco were a major trade.
Cannel got a big chunk of all of that, and if you didn’t pay up it was automatic death penalty. All stores were owned by him. If you needed something, you had to find something he wanted and trade for it.
Angel thought back to before it all happened. She was happy as Angel Moore a famous actress and model.
Producers had been knocking on her door constantly to get her to star in their movie or make an appearance on their sitcom; or it was designers wanting her to model their new line. She was surprised when her modeling career had taken off. Models were usually tall and slender, without excessive equipment, but Angel was the complete opposite. She was considered tiny at four foot eleven. She had a very firm but padded butt and ample breasts from dancing and all of the different activities she’d been doing since she was five. She had black hair with blue eyes so light they’d been compared to a husky, and had been in show business since she was seven years old and joined the Mickey Mouse Club. Disney had put her in every type of show she could be in. Since she was so petite, she’d been dubbed the girl who never grew up.
That changed when she married at age nineteen to her childhood sweetheart Seth Boone, a pop star and another Mousekateer. They had only ever dated each other and were each other’s first in everything. A year after they had married, they had a son they named Michael and called Mickey in honor of the club that jumped started both of their careers and brought them together. But then two years later the Attack happened. All of the survivors called it World War Three, but in actuality it was just all of the powers finally playing their hands.
Everyone sent their bombs to the others. It was sad how everyone destroyed everyone else. No one knows who was responsible for the EMPs though. Angel had always theorized that it was Cannel, but would never say it to anyone. Not that she ever spoke to anyone. She knew better. She knew firsthand what happened to a captured woman; she wouldn’t risk that again.
As she stood there, in the spot where her heart had last been, she wondered again for the millionth time why she bothered to go on. She had nothing; no one. Everyone important in her life had either died or been taken from her. She was alone, but she couldn’t do that to their memory; thinking about not going on. She and Seth had had faith, and if she killed herself, she’d never be able to be with people that had been the world to her when her time did come. God must have had a plan for her; she’d just have to wait to see what it was. Angel thought she was on the right track. She’d do whatever she needed to, to be able to make it to her loved ones in the afterlife.
Angel turned and walked away, constantly scanning the area to make sure there was no one around. Though the city seemed barren, she had overheard other travelers speaking of the rebellion movement that wanted to re-settle the west. That had been a year ago, and on her way to Sacramento from her home in Sugar City, Colorado, she’d seen five different groups of males traveling west. She would follow them for a couple of days, traveling in the trees as was her specialty now, to figure out their route, and then change her path to cut the possibility of being caught.
She had gotten very good at stealth and had weapons just in case. She would travel in the trees, literally, when possible, and when it wasn’t, Angel would travel at night. She always had at least five knives on her at all times, and she carried a cross bow that she had gotten so good at shooting, she never missed her target. She had had to kill before in this kill or be raped world she lived in and she had learned to live with it. She could make her own arrows if needed, but usually she would recover the ones used and just clean them.
Angel turned back one more time before that spot on the sidewalk disappeared from view. “I’ll talk to you two next year. Love ya.” She said as a tear rolled down her cheek. Her one a year visit to Sacramento during the beginning of spring, the anniversary of their death, was the only time she allowed herself to cry all year. It was the only time she allowed herself to feel at all. She had had to harden herself to be able to make it for all of this time.
Once she got over her own pity party, she realized that she did have purpose now, and it was time she got back and took care of her responsibilities.
Ron Peterson was exhausted out of his mind. He and his three teammates had been traveling nonstop for three weeks. They would stop at sundown, take shifts at lookout two at a time, letting the other two sleep and then halfway through the night they’d switch out. He had been running on fumes for a few days and decided that they needed to take a break and gather their strength before heading west again.
“Halt!” He said loudly as they always traveled at a spread formation so they could detect any dangers more easily. “Muster!”
Ron had been the captain of this team since basic training right after the Attack, so he was used to issuing the orders even though they had all gone AWOL a month ago. Not that there was a real military anymore.
It was more a group of mercenaries and assassins now.
He and his men had been helping form and work with the Rebellion. The Rebellion was made up of all of those that hated the new ‘government’. It was a joke. Cannel had killed all who had opposed him taking leadership. His money was of no use anymore, but he had been a gun runner long before the attacks on America. A lot of people speculated that, with how prepared he seemed to be afterwards, he had foreknowledge of the Attack.
In conversations that had been overheard by some of the leaders of the Rebellion, it was now known that Cannel had provided the EMPs that the terrorists used on America. At least then, the Americans had been able to strike back. Country had gone after country with bombs and nukes so as everywhere you looked were demolished buildings and homes and too many dead to be counted.
All of the government bases and headquarters, starting with the white house, had been hit first. It was pure speculation, again because that’s all they had, that when America was hit with the EMPs, the other major powers of the world had been hit also. That would be the only explanation for no planes or boats coming to check or attack on America in our weakened state, but none had come in the seven years since it all happened.
In all that time, and in everything that happened, Cannel gained more power over the people. Ron’s unit had stayed and acted their part in being in his ‘military’ to help gather important info for the Rebellion. But things had happened and none of these four men could take it anymore.
“I don’t know about y’all,” He said after the men gathered around him. Just as he was used to issuing the orders, they were used to following him without question. “But I’m burned out. I say we scout the area around the next town and see if there’s anyone around and then set up camp for a couple of days to rest.”
“What town are we comin’ to?” Clint Redmond asked. He was the second in command now since they had lost the rest of the team in the last bombing. How anyone made a home-made bomb these days, even he didn’t know, but it took out a whole building housing top members of the Rebellion.
Joseph ‘Jo’ Masters came forward with his map. He had been put in charge of routes to take keeping up with location since he was the team’s best tracker. “We’re right here.” He said getting to one knee, spreading the map and pointing to a location in central Utah.
“There’s a little town called Ferron coming up that has a good sized lake, so we can replenish our water supplies. Stayin’ a couple of days will allow us to boil the water and let it cool before headin’ out again. We’ll just have to raid a house, but there might be one on the lake we can crash in. It sure would be nice to have a good mattress for a change.” He said wistfully, sounding like a kid wishing for a drum set.
“If ya want me to,” Peter Morris added. “I can check the local grocer; see if there are any canned foods we can try, or any supplies we could use. If the town’s small enough, it might not have been raided during the migration. Hope fully there won’t be anyone here to shoot at us for a can of peaches this time.”
Ron thought about it for a minute. He didn’t want to lose anyone else on his team if he could help it. They were all family now, and David, one of his team-mates had been shot and killed for a can of fruit he had found and started eating not long after they had set out on this trip. The man who had shot him hadn’t seen the others and was trying to steal David’s find, when Ron and his friends retaliated. It had been too late to save David though.
“Let’s see what we find when we get to town. If we don’t any sign of movement, then you can go with Clint and raid the store while me and Joseph look for a sporting goods store.”
The four men headed back out trying to push through to at least make town before nightfall, if not have time for the raids and finding a house to crash in.