Page 6 of Warzone (The End 3)

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The dog bowed his head before running off in another direction. Stephen needed to cause a distraction for the dog. Holding his backpack in front of him as a shield, he ran out from where he hid, shouting and shooting at trees as though he shot at them. The dark-skinned one didn’t waste the opportunity. He shot back. Luckily for Stephen, he was able to get behind another tree without getting shot. He looked at his bag. There were numerous bullet holes in it. The clothes and metal kit in the bag had blocked the bullets from getting to him.

He smiled as he heard the shouts of the white-skinned man. Tanner was on him. Knowing that the dark-skinned one would turn to shoot at the dog, he dived out of his hiding place. Just as he had imagined, the dark-skinned man’s back was turned to him. Stephen shot twice at him and the man dropped to the ground. Getting up from where he had fallen, he ran to where the white-skinned man was struggling with Tanner. Obviously, the man was afraid of dogs. Stephen pointed his gun at the man.

“Stay, Tanner,” he said to the dog and the dog held back.

“Who are you? Why are you kidnapping these kids? Answer me now or I’ll kill you here,” he said.

The man laughed. “You’ve got no idea, do you? Kill me already. I won’t say a word,” the man said.

Stephen’s nerves were already grated.

“Have it your way,” he said as he shot the man in the head. It was when he heard the gasp of the children that he remembered he was not alone. He turned to them, putting his gun back in safety mode and tucking it under his shirt. “Hey, kids. Does anyone of you know who these men were?” he asked.

The fear in the eyes of the children was unmistakable. He raised his hands up.

“Relax, kids. I’m not going to hurt you. See? I’m with you.” The children slowly warmed up to him. “Do you know these people?” he asked again.

One of the children, a little girl, shook her head no. “I was playing outside last night when they came up to me and carried me away,” she said. The other girl nodded her head in agreement. Stephen sighed. Dismissing the men as kidnappers who were making the most of the power outage, he went to the boy who still lay in the dust, weak and in pain. He suspected the boy was no more than ten. Placing a hand on the boy’s body, he said:

“Hey boy, wanna go home?” The boy nodded ever so slowly.

Stephen looked at the girls.

“So y’all have been walking all night, huh?” he asked, and they nodded. “Does anyone of you know the way home?”

The elder one raised her hand excitedly.

“I remember some of it,” she said.

“Great,” Stephen said, beaming brightly. “Then we’ll figure out whatever part is left. Let’s go,” he said as he lifted the little boy and stood up straight.

16th November, 2021.12:54 pm.

Columbus, Ohio. USA.

As they entered the town, they found that the place was deserted. Even the children began to get worried. They walked a bit further in search of people before they saw a crowd gathered in front of a school, listening to someone. The sight became particularly interesting to Stephen when he noticed the two Air Force men standing behind the crowd.

&nbs

p; He realized he recognized one of them. It had been a long time since he’d seen him. He couldn’t resist the urge to go to him.

“Hey, kids. Go find your parents. I’m sure they’re worried sick over you,” he said as he moved the boy down. He had learned that the boy's name was Toby. "Sophie, Nicolette, help Toby," he said to the elder and younger girl, respectively, as he walked off the direction of the soldiers.

“Morn, sir!” he saluted the moment he stood right behind the Air Force men. They turned back at the sound of his voice. Bucky Malroose, one of the men, recognized Stephen and put his hands to his mouth.

“I must be seeing things,” he said. The other soldier, not knowing who Stephen was, turned away after nodding his head in acknowledgment.

“No, you’re not, man,” Stephen said, opening his arms for a hug. “Bring it in.”

Bucky went for it. As they pulled away, Bucky asked,

“Oh my! Where have you been, man? After you left the military, you suddenly disappeared.”

“It’s a long story, man. Believe me, you don’t want to hear it,” Stephen said. “Hey, do you know what’s going on? I mean, all the lights just went off suddenly. It’s weird.”

Bucky sighed before responding.

“From what we heard, three nuclear bombs exploded over the nation, wiping out every source of power. It’s not just here, bro. It’s everywhere.”


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