12 Mar Miracle City III: The Doomed Journey
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"Miracle City III: The Doomed Journey"Written by
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Estimated reading time — 26 minutes
This is Reagan Myers again, I realize that this update is very late, and I apologize for that. At this very moment, I’m sitting in a dark bunker with a few others, and I wouldn’t dare venture outside, not after what I’ve just been through. In some ways, I wish I’d never left my own basement as my situation is now a lot more terrifying and hopeless than when I made my first entry. I feel that the only way to hang onto my sanity is to focus on getting this story out there for anyone who still has internet access, and I hope my family members are amongst those that will read this. In honor of those who were lost during my recent journey through Hell, I will try and record these events as accurately as possible while they’re still fresh in my mind.
As you’ll remember from my last entry, I was hiding in my dark basement from these beings that traveled from another dimension to wipe us out. I’ve studied reports from people around the world, and still there has been no mention of what this deadly race is called. Survivors can only describe them as “shape-shifters”, as they have the ability to change their appearances endless times at will, and they only take the forms of people you recognize. Hopefully there’s someone out there who knows what they really look like. What’s even more fucked up about them is they have a strange energy inside of them that they use to disintegrate their victims, so you can’t risk getting too close.
My house overlooked the city of Los Angeles, which the shape-shifters attacked, and then armies of them marched into the surrounding areas and killed anyone who was fooled into thinking they were regular people. If you’re hit by a beam of energy, there’s nothing left of you, so when their armies clear out an area, no bodies are left behind, only burning wreckage. Los Angeles was hit very hard, and only a few buildings remain standing after days of devastation. Witnesses say a large portal opened up on the night of the invasion, unleashing thousands of shape-shifters, but now that portal is closed and our “uninvited guests” are here to stay. Once most of them finally left the city, survivors who fled their neighborhoods began taking shelter in the buildings that looked to be abandoned, and I was in that very situation with some courageous people who helped me survive for as long as I have.
One morning, after several days of hiding, I crammed one backpack full of everything that it could hold, but now I realize I should’ve packed more food. I had enough food and water in my home already, and it would’ve been best to stay put for a few more days, but I couldn’t stay because I needed to find my girlfriend, Samantha Jones. For some lonely nights I waited for messages from both sets of parents in Washington, my aunts, uncles and cousins from Oregon and Idaho, even my grandparents from Florida, and the only message I found was one that I had missed which read, “Happy 23rd Birthday from your one- and-only! I completed my finals early and I’m flying out to see you tonight. Surprise!! See you in a few hours!” from my beautiful Samantha. Her absence was no surprise to me, and the realization that she could be dead was very clear, but my love for her was the reason why she came back to a doomed city, and I had to try and find a way to reach her. She was attending med school at NYU, and wasn’t supposed to visit me until at least another week, but she just happened to choose the worst day in history to return to California.
After reading Samantha’s message, I tried her cell phone hundreds of times, and only once did I hear her voice, but there was a lot of interference, and she said something that I couldn’t possibly make out before the signal was lost, but her voice definitely sounded panicked. I knew I had to seek her out, she’s the one who still gives me hope that a brighter day is on the horizon. She’s two years younger than me with brown, wavy hair, green eyes, and the nicest smile I’ve ever seen. I’ve known her since high school, and I knew she had to still be alive, as she has great survival skills. She’s told me a story about when she got lost deep in the wilderness for two days, and how her resourcefulness kept her alive and brought her back to civilization.
With the hope that Samantha and I would unite again, I went against my better judgement, ascended the staircase and took a peek outside. My house was one of the few that hadn’t been completely destroyed. Fires burned constantly, and a crashed helicopter was off in the distance, as well as many cars that had been damaged beyond repair. A battle had clearly been fought right in my own neighborhood while I was boarded up, and it was unclear who had won. The only good sign was that no shifters could be seen anywhere, and that was all the reason I needed to make the journey into the city.
I slowly opened the door, and then I heard a voice coming from my kitchen that said, “Reagan! I’m so relieved you’re still alive! Come to me!” The voice was of my mom, but it couldn’t have been her, so without turning around I bolted out the door and far away from my house. I hid behind the house from across the street, then looked back to see if the horrible thing was following me. I could see a shadow moving around from the kitchen window, but luckily no one came running out of the house, so I figured the killer being from another dimension decided to be lazy, and moved onward. I walked through my once peaceful neighborhood that would soon be wiped out by fires in a few hours.
My car had a ton of bullet-holes in it from recent battles, and there wasn’t a single car around that looked drivable, so I decided to take a stroll all the way down to the city. Before heading down, I walked around my street searching for any sign of life, but I didn’t find a single person. I knew I couldn’t stay in the area for too long as some of the invaders had obviously stayed behind, and that’s when my walk to the city started. I passed a few vehicles along the way that were in fine condition, but there were no keys to be found, so I kept moving. I had to cross a highway during my journey, a highway that was deserted instead of busy, and it felt so strange to walk across it because that wouldn’t have been possible any other time.
As I crossed the highway, I got this feeling that I should stop and wait for a car to come my way, so I did just that. There I was, sitting cross-legged in the middle of an empty highway and hoping for a savior to pick me up, but of course no one came, and as I watched the sun slowly begin to set, I got back on my feet and continued on my way. The eeriness about the absence of people was overwhelming, but I wasn’t about to give up. I walked along a bridge leading into the city, and I eventually felt the urge to start jogging as the sun was setting faster. I ran into the city going very fast, and then stopped dead in my tracks when I heard an explosion, followed soon after by a voice that said in a sharp whisper, “Hey kid! Get up here fast! Move it!”
I looked up to my right to see a soldier calling to me from the top of a small grocery store, and he quickly set a ladder down, which I didn’t hesitate to climb up. He was “armed to the teeth” as they say, with a sniper-rifle, two machine-guns, and a handgun in a holster. He also had binoculars with many features including night-vision, which he was using to spy on a squad of shifters that just started to march down the street. We both lied on the rooftop and remained very still to avoid detection, and this man asked me if I knew how to fire a gun, which, at the time, I did not. We covered our ears tight when several shifters made a screeching noise, then they slowly began to move away from our area, making it safer to talk again.
This soldier introduced himself as Tobey Gearhart, a Special Forces member who actually fought against these things when they invaded L.A. He’s a complete badass, but he’s also filled with a lot of regret as he abandoned his own team in the middle of the battle, and the reason he did so was because the invaders used their abilities to make him see only his loved ones. After he left his men behind, the guilt was too much for him to take, and he couldn’t return to his base a coward and a traitor. He decided his only chance at redemption was to help survivors who had been left behind during the evacuation of the city. A couple blocks away was a warehouse with six other survivors that he said he would take me to.
“Los Angeles was a complete warzone just a few nights ago. An entire army was sent in after my squad became outnumbered, and the only good they did was cause a distraction while others fled. The army didn’t stand a chance because firepower doesn’t kill these maniacs. We can all agree they’re not from our world, and to take them down for good will require a new kind of weapon.” Tobey said, never taking his eyes away from the binoculars. “They’re always marching in groups, and some of them can now drive. Lucky for us, there aren’t that many around here anymore. They have a bigger agenda than just targeting one city.” he informed me. “Have you heard of any safe places that survivors may be fleeing to?” I asked, thinking of my family. “It seems this invasion is global, however, I’ve heard rumors from some people I helped of an island in an undisclosed location. Messages over the internet stated there’s a safe haven on this unknown island in the tropics, but I don’t know what to believe anymore.” With that bit of hope in my mind, Tobey checked to make sure the coast was clear, then he guided me through the empty streets towards the warehouse where some other interesting characters were hiding out.
The warehouse was dark and the windows were all boarded up with no visible light shining out. The building itself looked like it had been scorched, and there were holes in the walls made by the invaders. The six survivors were gathered in the far left corner of the building, surrounded by boxes of supplies, mattresses and sleeping bags. They came from all walks of life, and were found wandering the streets in search of rescue vehicles when they met Tobey, who led them to a temporary sanctuary. Any vehicle that didn’t escape the city had been decimated during the intense fighting, and these people were left without hope until Tobey showed up.
The first of the survivors I met was Vic Straker, the lead singer of a punk/metal band who was in the middle of doing a live show when the chaos from the shape-shifters erupted, and everyone, even his own band members, ran out of the venue and left him for dead. His band, Sonicburner, had been touring across the U.S. from Australia, and their timing couldn’t have been worse. I’ll remember Vic for his mohawk, and when I met him he was clutching a shotgun that he recovered from a wrecked police car. I figured from his attitude that he’s no stranger to combat, and I knew he could be a valuable asset. The next person I’ll mention is a director by the name of Wes Barker, who you may have heard of if you’re a fan of the horror genre, which I no longer am.
Wes Barker was an aging, frustrated man who wouldn’t stop complaining about his recent experiences during an important shoot of his latest horror/action thriller. He was almost finished directing a scene that took place in the middle of the city when his cast and crew suddenly started dying from energy beams. After the movie set was attacked, the only other person to make it to safety besides Wes was a struggling actress named Lisa Wydell, a blonde woman only a few years older than myself who would barely talk to us or make a sound. Wes and Lisa didn’t have the best relationship, as he disapproved of her acting style and regretted casting her in his film, although now his film would never be finished. “Of all the people to survive, it had to be you.” Wes would say to her in front of all of us, crushing her spirits.
Celeste Thompson is the next person I should talk about, as she was the only other badass besides Tobey and Vic who was prepared to survive an apocalypse. She was a red-headed beauty about the same age as Vic who recently finished a tour of duty in the army, and was ready to jump into action when needed. She had been working as a bartender for extra money when L.A. fell under attack, and took advantage of a fallout shelter that the bar’s owner had secretly installed. Someone the group is nervous about is Ray Cunningham, a man who, according to Tobey, claims to hear voices and have hallucinations, even though he’s seemingly normal for the most part. He apparently was spending time in a mental ward, and the panic from the invaders was enough of a distraction for him to get past the guards and somehow find his way to the warehouse, which was originally his private hiding place.
Last but not least was none other than Ross Cooper, the news anchor who reported on the false miracle happening in L.A., and that report saved my life. Ross was always the calm and professional one on television, but since that life is over for him and he’s lost everything, now he’s a depressed alcoholic who just made a liquor store run. He was slumped in a corner with a whiskey bottle, crying one second and laughing the next about his rotten luck. During the time in the warehouse, he wouldn’t stop bringing up his co-anchor Melinda Grant, and he was starting to seem more mentally unstable than the guy from the mental ward. “Melinda was the only reason I had for living. I wanted her more than my own wife.” he groaned while the rest of us just let him be, not wanting to converse with him for fear he might start yelling and give away our position.
A television was on with the volume very low, and Vic was scanning for more news reports when he came across the face of Ross Cooper saying, “Do not be afraid of these visitors. Return to your homes, because the worst is now behind us. The visitors came to this world for peace, and they urge you to not flee in terror, but to accept their arrival. Please, don’t run away. There will be no more violence.” The message was live, and we weren’t about to fall for it since the real Ross Cooper was sitting right in front of us completely hammered. I hate to admit it, but I thought it was clever how the shape-shifters were already starting to mimic friendly faces on television. Ross’s mannerisms were imitated just like I remembered them, and I wondered how many people watching actually believed it was him. “Shut up, you fucking imposter!” Ross shouted at the TV screen before taking a shot of vodka and angrily muttering to himself.
I convinced the group to keep the TV off after I recalled my Youtube experience where a few shifters were able to turn themselves into my relatives over a video. I still don’t know for certain if they can see us through television screens, but maybe that’s best for my sanity. The night was quiet and eerie as I ate canned food next to the motley crew of survivors, and Tobey was constantly coming in and out of the place with more supplies to last us for a week or two. Others helped him as needed, but he preferred to go on solo missions as he was trained in stealth. Vic flirted with Celeste, Ross let Wes and Ray have a drink with him while sharing past stories, and Lisa sat alone with her thoughts while I desperately tried to contact Samantha while my cell phone’s battery power was still decent.
After many unsuccessful attempts at reaching my girlfriend, I decided to talk to Lisa who was in a far more miserable state, and I learned a lot about her past like where she was from originally, and the movies she had acted in. “I signed up to make a horror film, now I’m living one. Wes is right, you know, I shouldn’t have been the one to make it out when our set got attacked. I messed up my lines several times during the shoot, and Wes kept ordering more takes. It’s because of me that all those good people were still out on the street when the attackers arrived, don’t you see?” Lisa was a tough one to calm down as she was overwhelmed with survivor’s guilt, but sharing all this with me was therapeutic enough for her to feel better. It was at that point that Celeste, fed up with Vic’s affection toward her, walked over to me and Lisa and placed a machine-gun at our feet. “You’re going to have to learn to fire one of these eventually. Bullets can’t kill those bastards, but they do have an effect on them, so we still have a chance to fight back. Who wants to try first?” she asked us.
Lisa would have nothing to do with a firearm, but I was willing to see how it worked, so Celeste properly trained me, which I will forever be grateful for. Sometime after the training session, I remember having a very interesting conversation with Ray Cunningham, who doesn’t seem so crazy after all that’s gone down. “I would always see people that doctors told me were imaginary. Usually I would see them either when I was about to fall asleep or when I was just waking up, but on the night of the disaster, I saw those people walking around while I was fully conscience. They spoke to me in the same voices that had been ordering me around since I was a teenager, then a beam of light nearly hit me. The light was beautiful, but I knew of it was dangerous so I ran far away. Now, upon retrospect, I wonder if my hallucinations were visions of this horrible future, and if I missed the chance to warn the world about what was coming.” he said with a long sigh. We all listened to Ray’s story, and who knows, maybe he could indeed see into the future. Since alternate dimensions clearly exist, anything, no matter how insane, now seems possible.
Suddenly, I heard the distant rumble of a bus, and then Tobey appeared and called me and Vic out to his lookout spot. When the three of us had a good view of the street, Tobey had me look through his binoculars at the bus that was slowly making its way to us. “That bus comes by this place a few hours at a time. I spied on it earlier, and the driver is one of those freaks, and there are a couple others as passengers. They drive around the city looking for weary survivors who think it’s a welcoming party that’s come to save them. It’s an extermination squad on wheels, and I’ve seen too many people who fell for their tricks. I don’t think many people know these things can operate vehicles now.” Tobey said, making me even more enraged at these terrifying beings. “Want to know the part that gets to me most of all?” Vic asked me, “Of all the buses in the city that they could’ve done this with, they chose my fucking tour bus. The name of my band is now a sign of death, it’s insulting.” Another group of survivors that had been hiding a few blocks up made their presence known by shouting to the bus driver, and when the bus pulled over to them and opened its doors, the five of them were vaporized in moments with their screams of pain and terror echoing down the street.
That night was even scarier than the previous nights hiding in my basement, as one stupid move from any member of the group could get us all killed. None of us slept well except for Ross who had passed out from his drinking, while the rest of us lied awake listening to the distant screeches of our enemies, and we would take turns peering out through the boarded windows at the dark city to see if anyone was sneaking up on us. Just as I had managed to get to sleep, I was quickly awakened by the noise coming from the bus passing by our location, and I just froze and hoped that we wouldn’t be discovered by those things. None of us traveled anywhere the next day as we had enough to live off of, and that evening I finally got what I had been waiting for: a call from Samantha. I was relieved that she was finally in an area where she could reach me.
“Reagan! I was beginning to lose hope that anyone was still out there! I want to let you know that I’m not in any danger. Those… aliens began attacking the airport just as I left the plane, and I hid with a few others until help finally arrived. These soldiers showed up and transported us to a bunker located in The Hollywood Hills. It’s safe up here, Reagan, I promise.” she said to me. I told her about all I had been through up to that point, and she made the bunker sound like the safest place in the L.A. area, so I guaranteed her I would find a way to get everyone over there. “The sooner you get here, the better. I’ve been told we’re going to be moved soon, but we don’t know where yet. Hurry, Reagan, I love you.” Those words inspired me to cook up a plan, and I knew I needed Tobey’s assistance. After convincing Tobey that the bunker was our salvation, he and I, along with Vic and Celeste, talked for hours in private about the best way to get the group away from the city, keeping in mind that our options for transportation were very limited.
After going through a couple ideas, we realized what we had to do: steal the bus. Since the bus’s riders were currently the deadliest creatures known to man, the plan would have to be both complicated and suicidal, and would take a miracle to pull off, but we had to try or we would just be sitting around waiting to be found by the shape-shifters. The plan took a while to perfect, and would be tough to break to the others, so Tobey offered to explain it. We gathered around to discuss a most unusual plan.
“Okay, guys, here’s the deal. There’s a bunker on Hollywood Hills that will give us protection. There are troops there who will do everything to ensure our safety. Since most of the vehicles around this area were lost in the big battle, we figure our best shot of pulling this off is to take that bus that keeps patrolling around, and drive it as far as it can go till it runs out of gas. As you all are aware, you can’t get too close to these things, so we’ll have to be really clever about this.” Tobey explained, holding everyone’s attention. “Now I’ve done some spying missions, and I’ve observed their tactics. The way their system works is, when the driver sees people by the road, he immediately kills them, and anyone who manages to get away is hunted down by his minions. It’s very important that we get all of them off the bus, so Reagan here has volunteered himself as bait. He’ll stand in front of the building directly across from us, wait for the bus to see him, and then get the minions to chase after him. As for the driver, he’s all mine. My sniper-rifle is very high-powered, and one shot should knock him right out of his seat. Once that happens, Vic will be standing close by to take control of the bus. When Vic revs up the engine, the rest of you make a run for that bus, and don’t stop for anything. No one gets left behind, and make sure to only take supplies that won’t slow you down. Come morning, we’re leaving this place behind for good, all of us, so rest while you can.” Tobey concluded. “So much for me being the insane one.” Ray said. Lisa looked over at me and said, “I also volunteer to be the bait.” to which Wes responded, “For crying out loud, Lisa, don’t do it. The whole thing’s a suicide mission.” Lisa glared at her director and snapped back, “Oh now you decide to show some compassion? It’s too late, Wes, I’m done listening to you.”
So with that, the plan was a go, and Tobey went on one last solo mission, returning with three grenades and another machine-gun that he recovered for the remains of a struggle. Lisa finally let Celeste teach her how to use a firearm, Ross finished up the bottles of liquor that were too bulky to carry, and the rest of us fought to get sleep as we would need every second of it. When the morning came, I found Tobey back on top of the building cleaning his sniper-rifle, and he gave me the signal that the bus was coming our way, so I woke Lisa up and we ran outside and got into our positions. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, the sun was baking us, and our transport was approaching from the distance. We were to appear as two weary, clueless travelers, and the realization of how stupid I was for volunteering was killing me.
Lisa turned and gave me a nod, ensuring me she was ready, and then the two of us started waving wildly into the air. The bus increased its speed, and Lisa gripped my hand tight as it was about to pull up in front of us. When it came to a halt, and the doors swung open, Lisa and I ran in different directions into the abandoned building behind us, which was a city library that had been condemned shortly before the invasion. The library was big enough with plenty of spots to hide, but three shifter minions were hot on our trails, taking the guises of police officers. I couldn’t see Lisa at all in the dark library, and as I hid behind a large, wide bookshelf, I heard one of the shifters say, “There’s no need to hide, just come on out now. We’re here to help you.”
From where I was sitting, I could see Tobey on top of the warehouse with Celeste by his side, taking careful aim at the driver. The doors of the bus were still wide open, and with one shot, he went flying out of his seat just as planned, and Vic popped out from a dumpster and pumped three rounds into him from his shotgun to keep him on the ground while he took back the bus that was rightfully his. When I heard Vic start the bus up, I wanted to run for my life, but I had to find Lisa first, so I very quietly snuck around the large room, and the light shining in put the silhouettes of the minions in my viewpoint. When the minions realized what was going on outside, two of the three ran out of the library, only to be fired upon by Tobey and Celeste. I used the light from my cell phone to make my way through the library, quickly scanning all over until I found her hiding behind a checkout counter, and I pulled her up and escorted her out of the building.
As we were near the exit, a shifter appeared right in front of us and spoke using the voice of Samantha, who said, “Why would you run away, Reagan? Aren’t I your one-and-only?” I shoved Lisa away from me and prepared for the shifter to unleash its energy, when Celeste and Ray entered the room, both armed, and I made my escape along with Lisa as the two of them shot the alien far back away from us before leaving as well. Everyone else was already onboard as we climbed in… except for Tobey who was still at his vantage point shooting the enemies. We all watched him, hoping he would run down soon and join us, and even though he kept giving us signals to leave without him, we simply couldn’t. Another problem was headed our way, as it seemed all of our shooting had attracted a whole army of those things, and that’s why Tobey wanted us to leave so bad.
He stopped to quickly reload his sniper-rifle, but just as he did so, several beams were fired at the rooftop, and the next thing we saw was him falling through a large hole that the blasts made, and our hearts sank. “He’s dead, I know it.” Ross said sorrowfully, but Wes disagreed, saying, “I’m going back in there, he’s too valuable to us! Everyone wait here, and I’ll be right back!” Some of us protested, but Wes pushed the backdoors open and ran into the warehouse to get Tobey out, assuming he was still alive. It was a nail-biting situation, as our group was very vulnerable as the shifter army was getting closer every second. Vic in particular was getting overly anxious waiting for Wes, and he was about to drive off when we finally saw Wes come back out of the warehouse, dragging an injured Tobey with him.
Tobey’s sniper-rifle and machine-gun were strapped to his left shoulder, and he was too weak to stand as, apparently, he had been impaled through the right side of his abdomen by a pipe, which thankfully missed his vital organs but was making him bleed out fast. Wes was using all of his strength to help him along, and Ray jumped out to assist and lift the injured warrior inside the bus. Before Vic could speed away, a beam of energy struck Wes, and he was split right down the middle with only half of his body burning away. Lisa screamed the loudest as the body of Wes Barker hit the ground with guts spilling out and the remaining eye staring back at us. Celeste and I slammed the doors, and Vic gunned his tour bus to its top speed as we escaped from the beings that had just started closing in.
It was an incredible getaway, but Tobey still needed saving, so Lisa helped him put pressure on his wound while a few of us used our own clothing to wrap up the wound tightly. Vic asked if he was going to make it, and Tobey gave a thumbs-up sign which made us all relieved. The group had brought along all the weapons including the grenades plus extra ammo clips, and there were a couple plastic bags stuffed with as many canned goods as they could fit. The ride was very bumpy as we were going over a lot of wreckage in the road ahead, but Vic kept us on the path and kept the speed the same level as he showed his excellence in driving. Shook up by the sight of blood and the death of Wes, no one spoke as we saw that we would be at The Hollywood Hills in no time.
After a few nerve-racking minutes, we were nearly away from the city when another alien army was seen marching directly at us, and Vic swerved to the left. Some of their blasts hit us, and the bus shook violently, then we noticed our bus was on fire. The fire was slowly spreading from the back to the front, and a few more blasts made the fire start to engulf the entire vehicle. Vic still had his foot on the gas, and Lisa shouted, “Stop! We have to get off this thing!” to which Vic shouted back, “I can’t do that yet! I have to get us out of their range first!” Vic continued driving the burning transport with the rest of us urging him to stop, then he slammed on the breaks and we grabbed what we could and exited before the whole thing exploded into a giant inferno.
Although we had survived the explosion, every shifter was aware that humans were still in the city, and there was an uproar of menacing noises as we moved onward. We didn’t know how long we had before they would catch up to us, but we had no choice, we had to walk the rest of the way, and Tobey wasn’t in the greatest position to make the journey. He had gained some of his strength back, but was in too much pain to keep up the pace with us as he pressed tightly against his wound. He called us all over to deliver the bad news, and handed his sniper-rifle over to Vic. “I’m afraid I’m not going to be able to travel with you guys. I’m hurt too bad, and I’d only slow you down so those things can find us easier, and then we’re all dead. Give me the grenades, and I’ll hold them off while you make a run for the hills.” Tobey said.
He kept his machine-gun, and would lead the shifters away, so we each thanked him for helping us make it through the disaster, then we watched as he split from the group for good. Before he parted ways with us, he asked Ross for his steel alcohol container that had just been refilled, which he tossed over to him, and in return, he gave Ross a handgun. Tobey gulped down the liquor, enjoying one last positive sensation, then went on his way as we ran in the opposite direction. While keeping up with the group, I was the only one to look back and see him go out like the hero he was, alerting the shifters to his position by using the grenades, then charging at them and firing wildly. He didn’t even flee when dozens of beams were fired at him, and just like that, Tobey Gearhart was gone in a blaze of glory, and I will make sure that he is never forgotten.
The trek up to The Hollywood Hills took longer than we imagined, and the heat didn’t exactly make things easier, nor did the lack of water as most of it had been lost in the explosion. Some of the food and ammo was also lost, but we planned to conserve what we had, and we were a tight unit by that point so we knew we could trust each other. I couldn’t get Samantha or anyone to contact me on my cell phone, which was nearly out of power, so we had to simply guess where the bunker was, and look for structures that were still standing. The journey was very tiring, as we all looked very weary after too long. Celeste led the group, and let me hold her weapon, which she was tired of carrying for so long.
After passing by many destroyed buildings, we noticed one not too far away from us where people could be seen. Suddenly, Celeste dropped to the ground, and it took us a few moments to realize that she had been shot through the heart, and died instantly. Saddened but ready for a confrontation, Vic told us all to get behind cover and wait to fire back which we did without hesitation. Vic gave Lisa his shotgun so we would all be armed, and used his rifle’s scope to watch for activity from the base while the rest of us hid behind wrecked cars and houses, preparing to act like a bunch of commandos. “What do you see over there?” Ray asked Vic, who replied, “Looks like they’re sending someone out to meet with us. It’s just one guy, and I don’t recognize his face, so he’s definitely human. Whether they meant to start a fight or not, they’re going to get one.” he said with his trigger-finger ready.
The unidentified man wore a black suit, looked very professional, and had his arms raised, as he made his way over to us. Guns were pointed at him from all directions as he prepared to introduce himself. “Don’t shoot, I’m unarmed. I’m Agent Matthews, and I run the place that you see before you. I give you all my sincerest apologies for the loss of your friend. Our sniper was certain she was one of those creatures, and going against my orders, he regrettably open-fired. I assure you that he is being dealt with as we speak. You have to understand that we are all on very high-alert as just one of those things could ruin our entire operation.” the man said, calmly. “She was innocent, and your man gunned her down in the blink of an eye. You picked the wrong time for a peace talk, my friend.” Vic responded. “Look, I completely understand what you’re all feeling, and I know it doesn’t seem right to trust me or my squad right now, but I offer you food, water, a nice place to sleep and the best security I know. Survivors around here haven’t been seen for days, but we are prepared to help the entire community, and my organization was responsible for getting a large percentage of people away from the city. You’ll spend one night here, two at the most, and then we’ll get air support and you’ll be off to a better life.” Matthews explained.
We knew it was crazy to trust people who had just killed one of our own, but what other choice did we have? Before we followed the agent inside, I asked him if there were any civilians in the base, and he confirmed that there were, which made me the only one eager to enter the facility. We all felt sick leaving Celeste’s body to rot, but at least she didn’t suffer like the victims of the shifters. When we got closer to the base that had the appearance of a rusty old building, Matthews gave a signal to his guards, and rusted metal doors opened up to reveal a place that looked brand new on the inside, with many troopers and staff members with lab coats. The troopers wore metallic, black armor, and they made us give up our weapons and patted us down before we could enter.
Their main base of operations was conducted underground, which we were directed to, and entrance to that area was protected by bulletproof doors. The downstairs was massive and filled with computers and lab equipment, and a majority of it was off-limits to us, so Matthews led us to the guest quarters of the bunker, and that’s when I saw her. We immediately embraced each other, as both of us thought there was no hope left in this world. Samantha looked like she hadn’t slept or taken care of herself in days, and couldn’t hold back the flow of tears, which was something I couldn’t resist either. While she and I had our moment, the others were shown to the cafeteria and the sleeping quarters.
“Reagan, I thought I’d never see you again! These people saved me, and I owe them my life. Impressive operation they’ve got here, don’t you think? It makes you wonder how long they’ve had this up and running.” Samantha said. I asked her who else had been with her, and she introduced me to Max and Sandra Smithie, a newlywed couple that was with Samantha during the assault on the L.A. airport. It’s interesting, yet unfortunate to note that Max Smithie had recently been offered a job at the studio Wes Barker owned, and I didn’t have the heart to bring up Wes’s story. “Agent Matthews is a nice man, he gets me whatever I ask for, but he never answers any of my questions. Being the daughter of a marine, I know more about the military than you’d think, and the troops working for him are wearing uniforms I’ve never seen before. There’s a huge secret going on. I overheard two scientists talking about a company-run island that survivors are going to.” Samantha told me, and I replied that I’d heard the same thing. “I haven’t been able to get in touch with any of my family, and I think they’re on that island. Maybe that’s where we’re going tomorrow.” she said in a hopeful tone.
After more talk of the mysterious island, I was very intrigued, but Matthews was the only one who ever cared to speak to us, and most of the time he was on his cell phone talking to who knows who. I made sure to introduce my love to the others, and everyone was polite to her except for Ross, who was getting antisocial as he was sobering up. To our surprise, after a long chat with some of the guards, Vic had been able to talk them into letting him have his shotgun back, which he said he would sleep with until the worst was over. Lisa was more than eager to tell her story to Samantha, and the two bonded very well. It didn’t take us long to make the secret bunker our temporary home… at least I hope it will be temporary.
It was much easier to fall asleep that night, unfortunately our peaceful rest didn’t last long as we were woken up by alarms, and we soon figured out that the base was under attack. When we ran out into the lab area, we were shocked to find that a majority of the equipment had already been packed up, and most of the staff had been evacuated. There were only a few scientists left, frantically grabbing what they could and rushing upstairs, and we followed close behind, making sure we were all together. When we got upstairs, most of the building was missing from energy blasts, and helicopters were starting to take off with the remainder of us screaming at them to wait up. They didn’t wait for us, taking off with all the troopers instead and leaving us to die.
Before the helicopters left, I saw the face of Agent Matthews look back at me from one of the cockpits, and I was filled with so much rage, but that feeling left when energy blasts vaporized a few of the scientists in front of my eyes. Luckily, everyone from my group was still alive, and we ran back down to the basement and slammed the doors shut. The last glimpse I saw of the outside world was Max and Sandra burning up into nothingness. The power in what was left of the facility didn’t last long, but we found a couple flashlights, and a few computers were left behind. We figured the shifters would try and blast their way through the basement doors, but they never did, probably opting to chase after the scientists who managed to run away from the bunker instead.
So that’s my update for now, and I’m sorry it didn’t have the ending you may have wanted to read. I am in a far worse situation than my last report detailed, as there aren’t enough supplies to last us for even a week, and our enemies could easily decide to search the place again, and that would seal our doom. We’re all very silent now, and Vic has the only firearm, which he’s been pointing at the door all night. I’m quite sure this will be my final report, but I know there’s a chance that those people will come back for us. To anyone who gets this, don’t forget to spread the word about six brave souls trapped somewhere in The Hollywood Hills.
Credit To – J. Stan Shocker
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