Page 5 of Warzone (The End 3)

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The dog wasted no time in obeying him.

Chapter Two

“Shh, boy. Kill!”

16th November, 20217:42 am

Columbus, Ohio. USA.

Stephen walked down the highway. Though he was still in Columbus, he was far from the Italian Village. He had walked all day long the previous day because no car he had seen was able to function. An EMP had hit. He was sure of that. Back at the Academy, he’d been taught about devices that were able to produce such consequences; however, he had never seen one large enough to affect such a vast area.

Unless it was a nuclear bomb that struck.

Still, if it were a nuclear bomb, they should have seen a sign.

Whatever the case was, he’d had to trek the distance from Columbus to wherever he was in one day just to escape from the people who wanted him dead. The previous night, he doubted he’d slept for three hours before he’d gotten up again to continue the journey with his dog.

The highway stretched endlessly before him and left him dejected. To his left and right, there were woods. He needed to find a town. He needed to get supplies. Unfortunately, he didn’t know exactly where he was. Since he hadn’t used a means of public transport, he had no means of telling his location. He hadn’t seen one of those signs showing how many kilometers away the next town was. He bent over and tussled Tanner’s hair.

“Attaboy. Do you have any idea where we are? You seem hungry. Maybe we should stop and go hunting a bit, eh?” the dog barked, and Stephen smiled. “Come on. Let’s hope there’s a wolf that’s hunting in daylight.”

The dog barked and wagged its tail excitedly at the sound of the word "wolf". Stephen laughed.

“Isn’t it weird that your favorite meat is that of your own brothers? Come on, let’s go,” he said as he headed out towards the forest to his left. They hadn’t gotten too far when they heard the sound of a boy shouting for someone else to let him go. Stephen grinned.

“Isn’t that one stubborn boy? Causing his mama trouble,” he said as he walked on. Suddenly, there was the sound of a loud slap. Then silence reigned. The situation disturbed Stephen. Something was wrong. He motioned for Tanner to be quiet.

“Shh, boy. Wait here,” he said as he moved in the direction, he had heard the sound from. It came from the forest. Stealthily, he made his way into the forest. As he moved, he noticed multiple footprints in the dark soil. The majority of the prints seemed to be from young people. Then there were a few adult prints. He frowned. What was happening?

He stood behind a tree in the forest and peered into the distance. There were two men. One was dark with blond hair. The other was white and bald. There were three children with them. Two were standing. The other lay on the ground, unconscious. He guessed it was the one that had been slapped. The children who were standing cried.

“Look what you’ve done,” the light-skinned man said to the dark-skinned one who held one of his wrists in the other hand. “How could you have slapped him so hard? His face will swell, and he won’t be accepted.”

“Well, he should have thought of that before acting all stubborn on me. Who does he think he is to insult me?” the dark-skinned man said.

Stephen raised a brow at the dark-skinned man’s statement. The first sentence didn’t make a lot of sense. Apart from that, the man acted effeminate.

Who were these men and where were they taking those kids?

He decided to find out. He stepped out from behind the tree.

“Hey, what’s going on here? What are you doing with these kids?” he asked boldly.

The men were startled by his sudden appearance. The dark one reached to the back of his pants and pulled out a gun.

“What’s your damn business?” he said as he shot at Stephen. Stephen quickly ducked behind a tree and reached to his waist to pull out his pistol. He cocked it and aimed at them. The two men had taken the children as shields. He couldn’t shoot at them.

"I knew this stupid boy would be the reason we got caught. I'm gonna kill him, I promise," the dark-skinned guy said.

The white-skinned one slowly backed away.

“Hey, Mister. How about you come out and let’s finish this once and for all. We really don’t have the time to waste,” he said, pulling out his gun and pointing towards the tree that Stephen hid behind.

The dark-skinned one walked towards Stephen with his gun stretched out. Stephen shot once in his direction to make it clear that he was armed, and the dark-skinned man halted, apparently taking caution.

Something came behind Stephen, startling him so that he almost shot it when he turned to look at it. He sighed in relief when he saw it was Tanner. His dog had followed him with the stealth of a predator: just as he had taught it. He smiled. Pointing at the light-skinned man, Stephen whispered,

“Shh, boy. Kill!”

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