Tales from the Apocalypse: The Commander

Posted on January 14, 2013

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Clouds of dust, smoke, and a face I can’t make out. Hands grab my arms, pull me up. I can see the face more clearly now. Brown eyes, black hair, gash above the right eye. Something shiny on his chest catches my gaze. I look down; a badge. A cop. He’s saying things I don’t understand. The ringing in my ears drowns everything out. He shakes me a little. Then he looks off to his right, and there’s another cloud of debris rushing at us. It consumes us before we can do anything. I’m on the ground again, and my head hurts; something warm flows from above my left ear. I don’t see the cop anymore. I reach out for him, but feel only rubble. My vision starts to go dark. I pray the cop is okay.

 

I awoke with a splash. I gasp for air and slowly sit up. My head is ringing. I look up, and staring back down at me is a man with an empty bucket. He smirks, and says something I barely make out. I still can’t hear well. He drops the bucket and picks me up roughly.

“Didn’t you hear me?!”

I heard him now. “N-no, please. I can’t..”

“Shut up!” I did so. “Now I’ll ask you again. Where does your allegiance lie?”

“With…with…” What was the right answer? I didn’t know who these people were or who they represented. “The United States of America.”

“Obviously.” He’s annoyed. “With the government, or the people?”

I’m confused. I don’t know what to say. “Both.” He backhanded me with all his strength. I fell back to the ground. He grabbed me by my hair, and I slapped him. “Bitch!” He backhanded me again. Blood trickled from my nose, and he grabbed me by the hair again. “The government and the people are not synonymous anymore! You pick a side! Now!”

I went with the most sensible option. “The people.” He smiled and let go of my hair. Now he helped me up gently, and walked me over to a truck filled with others like me. I sat down next to a man who was bleeding from the head and trembling.

“Ready!” I looked over to a row of armed men. Their weapons were pointed at a row of kneeling men and women. Among them was the cop. I was almost out of my seat when they closed the truck bed. I closed my eyes when I heard “Fire!” and wept silently. Somehow I felt responsible. If he hadn’t stopped to try to help me…maybe…

The truck started up, and we were off.

 

We sat in the various chairs assembled before the Capitol Building. There were hundreds of us. Standing all around us were armed guards. We sat quietly and looked forward to the stage obediently. Center stage was a podium, and at either corner were flag poles. On the left, the American flag hung. On the right, the flag of The People.

When we were all settled in, the Commander took the stage. He was a tall, skinny, balding man with glasses. He wore a white t-shirt, blue and red armbands and khaki pants. When he spoke, there was a surprising intensity to his voice that demanded everyone’s attention.

“My fellow people. Today you have been liberated. And not just from the threat that previously occupied the building behind me, but from the threat of the infected. All thanks to the efforts of The People. Now you may be wondering exactly who we are. Well, we are as we call ourselves. The People. We were the people left behind by the government for the infected. We come from every city, every state. We come to save our fellow countrymen from the infection, and to form a new United States of America. We wish to create a more independent, perfect American citizen. A citizen with no need for government protection. As such, with every citizen capable of protecting themselves, we hope to avoid another disaster that destroyed this once powerful nation. Today, you all have made the choice to become the perfect American citizen. You will undergo training, and reeducation, and within a few weeks, you will be as strong and intelligent as those standing guard around you. You will be one of The People.”

After his speech, the Commander stepped down. We were all made to stand, and separated into small groups. It was back to the trucks, and off to training. 

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