The Wat the World Changed: Volume 1
How the World Changed
The world was at peace for the longest time in, well ever. Wemade peace treaties, everyone was happy and content, or so we thought. It turnsout that some little country in the, well let’s just say a little country. Thelittle country wasn’t as happy as we thought. The country launched atomic bombs;almost all humankind was wiped out. It was strange, humans were almost extinct,but the animals survived, and even thrived. The animals were slightly changed,they were much better at adapting than humans. Some of the most dangerous orbothersome animals became worse after the explosion and the gentle, peacefulanimals became even more gentle and peaceful. The few unintelligent remaininghumans would go above ground and none returned, well without dying at least. Ibelieve Billy, an adorable, sweet nine-year old was ripped apart by ahorse-sized tiger with fangs when he went above ground on a dare. A woman bythe name of Susan went above ground; she stumbled back down, muttering about askunk and painful, poisonous gas from it. No one below ground knew what all ofthe changes were in the animals and what the adaptations were, a scientist bythe name of Gregory and his daughter went above ground. Gregory being ascientist wanted to see the changes in all the animals, tame and gentle to wildand violent.
Gregory wasn’t disappointed, there werecow-sized scorpions, two-foot tall falling giraffes, some horses were enhancedwith wings, and horns, basically making them impure unicorns. Gregory observedthe animals and his daughter Jennabelle recorded all of his observations.Gregory and Jennabelle had many close calls, but none compared to when a lizardthat had grown to dinosaur proportions that could breathe fire trapped her in adeep, poisonous fungus-filled ravine. She tied some cloth over her face, butshe knew that it wasn’t completely blocking out the poison. There was smokestarting to curl out of its nostrils, so Jennabelle knew that it was gettingready to breathe fire, which would make the fungus more deadly once it caughtfire. She tried to restrain her fear so that it wouldn’t cloud her judgment,despite her best efforts; she failed and felt her fear overwhelm her. Shebecame paralyzed with her fear and knew that she was going to get burned by thelizard, but at the last moment, something grabbed her, and they swung out ofthe ravine. When they landed, Jennabelle turned around and saw a boy, perhaps acouple years older than her. He was about a head taller than her with deep,dark brown eyes, and silky black hair that just brushed his eyelids. He wasslender, but well muscled and he was wearing a tight white tank top and camouflagejeans with black combat boots. As Jennabelle studied the boy, he studied her. Shehad long, tangled brown curls, large hazel eyes, a small straight nose, she wasslender and petite, but there was a strong look to her. She had on dirty khakicapris and an olive form-fitting t-shirt with black converse chucks. The twoacknowledged their study of each other as being strong and the boy walked withJennabelle back to where her camp was. Gregory was surprised to see hisdaughter return after so many hours with a boy of maybe eighteen walking withher. Jennabelle sat the boy down with her father and left to start preparingtheir dinner. There was silence during the meal, but the three finally startedtalking afterwards around the campfire. The boy told Gregory and Jennabelle howhe survived so long above ground, during the bombing and afterwards. He toldthem his name was Caleb and that he was eighteen, and that he was staying witha group of people, sixty miles away and that they were caring for survivors.The father/daughter duo explained that they went into an underground facilityduring the bombing and that they wanted to observe the changes animals due tothe bombs. After hearing their explanation, Caleb told them how he and thepeople he was with were affected by the atomic radiation. They were fifteentime stronger than before, they’re twenty times faster than the normal human.Gregory is fascinated with Caleb’s story and insists that Jennabelle takesnotes as he studies Caleb. As the research continues, Gregory is looking atCaleb with more and more awe and wonder, Jennabelle however looks at Caleb thesame and for some reason that makes him happy, because all the normal people hehas met since the bombing, look at him in horror and fear, or like Gregorylooks at him. She makes Caleb feel normal and slightly curious…
Eventually the three falls asleepfor the night so they will be prepared to leave for Caleb’s group the next day.Caleb awoke, with a small hand covering his mouth, and he can’t tell who thehand belongs to because it’s too dark, all he knows is the hand tastes slightlylike dirt. He calms down though when he hears a voice whisper “Caleb, it’s me,I’m going to need you to stay as quiet as possible. Something is in the camp.”Caleb tapped her hand to let her know he understood, and he squinted in thedirection Jennabelle had said the creature was. Since Caleb couldn’t see, hisother senses were heightened even more. Caleb could smell rotting meat, and amusky smell, he could also hear it sniffing and rummaging through the camp. Thetwo picked up some pipes they found and slowly crept towards the mysteriouscreature. Caleb could hear the general direction of the animal and of coursesmell it, but he still couldn’t see it. Jennabelle grabbed Caleb’s arm and ledhim towards the animal, and stopped at a seemingly safe distance, as if shecould actually see it in the darkness. Jennabelle released his arm, whisperedin his ear “it’s about four feet in front of us, get ready to hit as hard asyou can.” She grabbed Caleb’s hand and they continued creeping forward andsuddenly the creature’s noises stopped. The duo halted and Jennabelle yankedhim to the ground as the smell of the animal passed over them. They turnedaround, walked forward again, and swung their bars together as hard aspossible, and heard the creature scream and flee the camp. Caleb turned toJennabelle and opened his mouth to ask her how she had been able to see thecreature in the dark, but stopped when she shook her head and hissed “Later”.Caleb cocked his head in confusion, but understood when he heard Gregoryfumbling around and asked “What on Earth was that ungodly noise?” Jennabellepulled her hand out of Caleb’s and walked back to her father, saying in a fakesleepy tone “I don’t know Gregory; I think that whoever or whatever hurt thatcreature saved our lives though.” Gregory agreed eagerly and started rambling onand on about what it could have been and about looking at the place the screamhad come from in the morning. Caleb waited until he heard Gregory start snoringand sat up, turning to Jennabelle, questions on his curious lips. Jennabellesighed but told him to come closer to make sure Gregory wouldn’t hear what shewas about to say. He did and she whispered “I was never close to Gregory; Ihadn’t seen him for a good five years. I was with my mom and then suddenly outof the blue Gregory called. He was talking crazy, said he was working on asecret project for that dang country, and he knew what part he was doing forthem, and he wanted us to come to him because he knew of a bunker we could stayin. my mother still loved him, so she was willing to come fly to him, but Irefused. She insisted and we argued about it, and when the time came shedragged me kicking and screaming to the private jet he had sent. We saw Gregoryand he told us that the bombs would be launched in a matter of days and that hewould be waiting in our bunker for us. The day the bombs launched, I jumped outof the car and I ran shouting through town, warning everyone, but none of themspoke English. I heard the people start screaming and knew that it was becausethe bombs were dropping. I hid in a cellar for four days, I came out and theair was still screwed up, but I walked in it anyway. I heard people moaningfrom the slow death of being poisoned by the air, and I came across this womanwho looked familiar. The woman was covered in wounds; self-inflicted andotherwise. I rolled over her prostrate form and to my horror I saw that it wasmy mother. She must have waited and looked for me instead of joining Gregory inthe bunker, and because of me she died. The people who had been outside the wholetime were going crazy and I was attacked numerous times, it was a bit too easyto overpower them. Eventually I decided to head for the bunker, I managed tosneak in, take a shower, steal new clothes, and find Gregory. The bunker washuge , it was like a city underground, so Gregory just thought that I hadgotten lost among the crowds, he believed me when I told him I’d gotten in, inthe nick of time and just now found him. After his initial joy of seeing mestarted fading he asked about my mother. I told him that I ran inside thebunker and had thought she was right behind me, but when I turned around, I sawsome guys shutting the door right in her face as a bomb appeared in the sky. Itold him I screamed and hit, demanding they let her in and they finally knockedme out, and that’s where I was for four days. Gregory was really upset about mymother, but he believed every word I told him. I had thought it sort of strangethat he believed me so readily, but I didn’t know I’d been changed yet. Thatnight I woke up and discovered I could see in the dark, I was curious and Iadmit a bit like Gregory, so I experimented in secret and figured out what Icould do and drew the conclusion that it was because I’d been above groundduring the bombing, so I changed, but also indoors, so I didn’t get poisonedlike other people. I kept quiet about what I could do and waited in boredom fora year until Gregory decided it was safe enough to go outside and time for himto observe the changes in animals, so he could write new textbooks, I think.Since I was changed I could handle the new animals better than Gregory, but Inever let him see that I was helping him from the animals. Most of the time thereally dangerous animals came at night which was kind of strange since beforethe bombing not all of them were nocturnal. Anyway the really bad ones came atnight and I had to stay awake to protect us, but I couldn’t sleep during theday because Gregory wanted to keep travelling. I was on my ninth day withoutsleep when I got trapped in that dang valley with that dragon that you saved mefrom.” After Jennabelle’s story, Calebsat there in a bit of a stunned, shocked silence, until Jennabelle nudged himand said “Come on Caleb, I didn’t do this when you told Gregory you were changed.Say something.” Caleb blinked,apologized and said “Your father caused all of this?!?” Jennabelle’s facehardened as she said “You can’t choose who your parents are, or what they do.Why don’t you tell me more about why you and the people you were with wereabove ground and how you survived?” Caleb shot Jennabelle an apologetic lookand started explaining, saying “The group of people is my whole crazy, huge,chaotic, and conspiracy theory spouting family members. My family had suspectedthat we would be bombed by that country for years, so we had some…wellinteresting theories and set-ups for our house, and what would work to keep usunaffected. Obviously those theories didn’t work out completely, we all didsurvive, but we were changed. It was a typical day for us, doing army obstaclescourses, loading, cleaning and firing all our guns, and practicing our attackstations. We noticed things being dropped from planes, heard the screams, andran inside to grab our oxygen tanks. We figured if we bundled ourselves up andbreathed through our oxygen masks, we’d be okay. What we hadn’t thought of wasour tanks were the ones that used the air around you and concentrated it, so wefelt some ill effects, but didn’t think anything was wrong. All of us ended upgetting very sick, so we all locked ourselves in our bunker, and to try to getover whatever was making all of us sick. It was a good thing we went into thebunker because soon after a bomb was released and our whole house got blown up.We discovered we were changed because we all developed some pretty intensecabin fever; needless to say a lot of things got broken down there. We hadintended on waiting until it was all clean above ground, but since a bomb hadgone off right above us, it was taking a while. Finally we all just decided togo up anyway, we had already been exposed and since we were changed we might beable to handle the exposure better.” Caleb stopped talking; he looked atJennabelle with a hesitant look and continued after some persuasion from her tofinish the story. “We came out and everything was different. The area aroundwhere we lived had been beautiful, green, and very fertile, but afterwards wasdry, desolate, and ugly. We were so distracted by the changes in the scenery;we didn’t even see the beasts come. Well this is going to sound pathetic, butthey were bunnies. In our defense it was a HUGE pack of rabid bunnies and theyhad been changed in their size, which was well over five feet standing, andwere equipped with antlers that would shame any buck or elk. They were fastsuckers! They all started coming at us from every direction, we were all alittle frozen at seeing such odd, dangerous creatures coming at us, but wesnapped back into our senses, dodging them, and shooting our guns, or swingingour knives. They were fast, but we were much faster, they had no chance againstus. The skirmish ended quickly and strangely enough, none of us were winded inthe slightest...” Caleb’s story was interrupted by Gregory grabbingJennabelle’s hair and yanking her to him and said coldly “I thought that therewas something off about your story of how you got lost, my lovely daughter.Also did you really think I didn’t notice that you were sick for a while, orthat you were handling all of the really bad animals when you thought that Iwas asleep? What do you take me for Jennabelle, an idiot?” Jennabelle squirmedin her father’s tight, aggressive grip, but said nothing. He shook her hardmaking her yelp. Caleb started forward, but stopped when Gregory pulled out ahuge knife, held it to his daughter’s neck while saying “I don’t think you wantto do that Boy. This doesn’t concern you; this is between me and mine.” Hepressed the knife harder to his daughter’s throat and said “Come on now Jenny,answer my question. Do.You.Think.I’m. An. Idiot.?” Jennabelle swallowed slowly,arranged her face in a bored expression and said monotonously “Well yeah, youkind of are an idiot.” Gregory pressed the knife harder and blood welled up,and he hissed in Jennabelle’s ear, demanding to know why she thought that.Jennabelle obstinately remained silent and when Gregory pulled her head backagain, she didn’t even fight it, and she slammed her head into his face. Herhead shattered Gregory’s nose and the pain made him lose his grip on hisdaughter. Caleb saw the opening and helped Jennabelle knock out Gregory. Calebcrouched down to pick up the knife and search the unconscious man for any othertype of weapon. He looked up at Jennabelle and saw her looking at her fatherwith a look that was blank on the surface, but underneath was barely concealedconfusion and the tiniest bit hurt. He stood up, gently laid a hand on herelbow, and said “Jennabelle, he doesn’t deserve your guilt, he would havekilled you. Remember in this new world it’s survival of the fittest. Also wedidn’t actually hurt him, he’s still breathing normally.” She studied Caleb’sface for a few moments, slowly nodded and murmured “We should probably getgoing to reach your family.” Caleb opened his mouth, but ended up just nodding.For the most part the beginning of the journey to Caleb’s was pretty quiet, hewould try to talk to Jennabelle, but she would just shut him out. There was onenotable occurrence three days after they had left Gregory. Jennabelle and Calebreached a deserted town and wandered around, looking for supplies when thewolves attacked. They were in the kitchen of the fifth house they checked, whenthey heard some sniffing and then a loud howl, followed by howls from the otherwolves. Jennabelle cocked her head, listened to the howls, and said “There’ssix from the sound of the howl’s and also sounds deeper, and I dunno bigger.”There was some scuffling outside and the windows and doors were creaking.Jennabelle grabbed a knife, handed another to Caleb, and warned him to beprepared, right as the glass shattered and the doors exploded.
To Be Continued…