Chapter 1 Davy Mayce
DAY ZERO 12:40
“It’s coming down, run!” someone cries from the far end of Paradise’s courtyard. The man is running away from the administrative wing of Paradise prison which is under attack from several commandeered Coalition fighters that are screaming overhead.
“Get back inside!” Davy Mayce orders several people who are standing in a daze as they stare up at the massive freighter overhead.
The freighter was filled to the brim with a select group of prisoners that were lucky enough to be in on the escape attempt. Those that were left out of the loop, like Davy, were left to fend for themselves and fight for the scraps they left behind. Fortunately, there were a lot of scraps to be had, including quite a few vehicles, loads of weapons, and several tons of supplies.
“They really are just leaving us here…” one of the men in front of Davy whimpers as he continues staring.
“They’ll be back!” a woman named Nelly Wilkinson quickly reminds the man. Nelly took it upon herself to call all the shots ever since Davy had arrived in the massive garage he is standing inside of. There were several other people who felt like they were in charge as well, but Nelly seemed to be the primary leader here.
“Get inside now!” Davy shouts angrily to those who are still standing outside as the administration wing finally seems to give in to the assault it had been subjugated to.
The commandeered fighters open fire once more on the heavily damaged building and they let fire what had to of been their last missiles at it. The missiles, alongside countless rounds from their machineguns, meet their target in a fiery blast. The now-decrepit structure admits defeat as it collapses in on itself in a huge cloud of smoke and dust. The cloud glows red as fires rage on and it quickly starts engulfing the immediate area as the administrative wing falls with a thunderous crash that reverberates through the ground beneath Davy.
The screams from those who had wandered too close to the building rise over the sound of the building’s collapse. Davy can’t help but shudder slightly as the final cries of an untold amount of people reaches his ears. The hairs on the back of Davy’s neck stand on end as he cringes, knowing that many, if not all, of the people caught in the cloud were now dead.
The fighters streak toward the wall in front of Davy and open fire once more. The roar of their weapons fire and engines is so loud that Davy covers his ears, fearing that he may lose his hearing otherwise. In the matter of a few seconds the proud walls of Paradise fall, opening up the prison for the first time in several generations.
There’s no going back now, Davy thinks to himself as he pushes down an impending sense of doom. Paradise’s walls stood not just to keep the prisoners in, but also to keep out the beasts in the forests beyond the walls. He shivers in fear knowing that the beasts he would soon be facing were vicious. He hadn’t heard too much about them, but if the Coalition went as far as to build towering walls around Paradise, they had to be quite fearsome.
“That’s it, they’re through!” Nelly calls out to everyone in the hangar, “Let’s go!”
Davy turns and is about to make for a nearby armored truck when an an-too-familiar voice menacingly orders over the prison’s PA system, “Return to your cells now and we can protect you.”
“Jenniston is alive?” someone asks in dismay, “That devil just won’t die!”
“The guards are coming!” another voice warns from one of the entrances into the massive garage where all the vehicles are situated.
An uneasy hush falls over the two thousand or so ex-inmates who are all gathered in the large room as the news sets in. If the guards arrived while they were still here, then that could be the end of their little rebellion. Although the guards were severely outnumbered, they knew the ins and outs of the prison.
Jenniston and her guards had already slaughtered well over a thousand people since the breakout started not even a day ago. Jenniston was feared before the breakout but now her mere existence seemed to terrify even the bravest of souls.
“Run!” Nelly shouts as she climbs on top of a nearby armored truck. She slaps the truck’s roof and the driver starts nosing the truck through the crowd toward the garage’s exit.
“Is it too late for us to go back?” someone whines needlessly as they start pressing their way back toward the prison.
“Don’t do it, it’s a trap!” a voice warns.
“People!” a man shouts from the massive armored transport that is called a Helix. He waits, watching everyone as he hangs out from one of the countless empty gunner doors on the massive transport. When the frightened discussions die down slightly, the man continues, “My name is Juan Alverez, and I’m friends with the man who commandeered that freighter. My friends and the others will return to us in exactly six months. All we have to do between now and then is stay alive and get to the rendezvous point!”
“Where is that?” someone demands.
“You’ll just have to follow us,” Juan readily replies as he slips back inside of his vehicle.
Seemingly oblivious to the fact that Juan had climbed back into the Helix, a freighted woman inquires, “How do we know that they’ll actually come back?”
“We don’t, but we do know that we’ll die if we stay here!” Nelly warns.
“Shut those vehicles down or we’ll fire!” Captain Copen warns from a doorway on the far side of the garage. Several guards emerge from behind him and ready their weapons.
Countless cries of terror rise from those immediately around Copen and his guards. For the most part, everyone starts fleeing toward the exit and away from Copen and his team, however, quite a few people flock toward them with their arms raised in surrender.
Copen shouts something else, but Davy can’t hear it over the countless cries of everyone as they start stampeding toward the garage’s exit. In the moments before the crowd reaches him, Davy sees Copen and his men open fire, mowing down those closest to them first.
“Now or never, move it!” Davy shouts over all the screaming and the roar of the dozens of vehicles’ engines.
Before he even starts moving, the wall next to Davy’s head explodes as a large caliber round crashes into the brittle concrete. Davy squints as the grit smashes into the side of his face before he ducks down and charges toward the breach in Paradise’s exterior wall. Behind him, Davy hears countless cries as people are mowed down as they flee for their lives, but he does his best to block all that out. There’s nothing he can do for anyone if he dies with them.
“Run!” Davy hears someone shout from an armored truck as it races by him. He watches it longingly as it makes for the breach in the wall when it is suddenly consumed in a massive explosion.
Overhead the deafening roar of the gunships drives Davy to an even lower crouch as the massive ships’ powerful turbines buffet the ground in powerful winds. Countless people all around Davy lose their footing and stumble to the ground as the combined wind from the two gunships hits them with their full force.
Knowing that slowing down was one step away from dying, Davy continues running for all he’s worth. No amount of wind, bullets, or death was going to stop him. All around Davy explosions start going off as everyone charges through what seems to be a minefield. As he runs through the storm of explosions, Davy offers up a quick prayer, Please, just let me get out of this alive…
As Davy prays his quick prayer, the man next to him is shot and blood erupts from his jugular. Said blood sprays all over Davy, but he does his best to ignore it, just like all of the cries behind him.
“Help me!” someone pleads as Davy rushes past them.
Just stay alive… Davy tells himself as several bullets whiz through the air so close that one even gently clips his ear.
Still running, Davy takes a deep breath before shouting with all he had, “Don’t stop running!”
Davy reaches the base of the mountain of rubble that stands between him and his freedom. Finding a larger piece of rubble nearby, Davy dives for cover and allows himself to catch his breath for a few seconds. For the moment, he is out of the line of fire and is safer than he had been since he had first arrived in Paradise.
After a few seconds, Davy risks it and he glances over his meager cover to see how far he had come. The sight that he is greeted with instantly triggers his gag reflex and he spits chucks all over his wall of safety.
Bodies are strewn about the four hundred meters between the garage and where Davy is hiding. As far as Davy can tell, there are at least five hundred people lying on the ground at various stages of death. Some appear as if they died before they hit the ground, others appear to have suffered for a few moments before death took them. The most gruesome sight of all, however, are the bodies that are squirming around on the ground. It is as if the soul had left and the broken body wasn’t sure what to do with itself.
However, there is some hope. All across the bloodied courtyard there are a handful of people tending to the wounded. The bullets have stopped flying, if only momentarily, and the cries of pain from those who have been hit are slowly dying down as they are tended to.
Davy quickly realizes that he had made it the furthest of everyone. Those who had started through the minefield have since stopped and many of them are cowering on the ground where they are likely trying to not get shot. Everyone else is standing at the edge of where the minefield appears to begin. Many of them are peering into some of the craters nearest them where the oversized explosions had gone off just moments before.
“Clear the way, we’re going through!” Juan orders with a shout from his Helix. People immediately start moving out of the Helix’s path as the massive machine starts slowly working toward Davy.
“Hey, that guy made it through!” someone calls as they point toward Davy who is now sitting up in a bit of a daze.
“Then there is a way through!” another person declares as they hesitantly start walking toward Davy.
As if the floodgates had been lifted once again, at least two hundred people start shuffling toward the breach in the wall once more. A dozen trucks begin navigating their way around bodies and the deep craters as well as they also try to get through the minefield.
Davy’s voice gets caught in his throat as he tries to beg everyone to stop moving. He didn’t think he could bear to watch someone else die today. By the time he finally found his voice, the first mine went off, taking a truck and at least a dozen people with it. Another truck which is a lot closer to Davy also sets off a landmine and the blast knocks Davy all the way to the ground.
Smashing his head against a rock, Davy looks down and sees that he is laying in a small puddle of blood. He starts to pick himself off the ground when he realizes that his ears are ringing and that he is quite dizzy. His world spins and he drops back to the ground, hoping that everything would slow down if he rested for a moment.
Davy coughs and realizes that most of the blood seems to be coming out of his mouth. He blinks several times before he studies the pool of blood. Lying amidst the matted grass and bloody mud are what appears to be several fragments of teeth. Curious, Davy reaches into his mouth and discovers that several of his molars on the right side of his mouth are either gone, or severely damaged.
Worried about his teeth, Davy finally picks himself up and he looks over to everyone else, hoping that someone could help him with his teeth. However, what he sees worries him greatly. Several craters mark where trucks and people had been just a few moments before. Davy’s eyes eventually rest on one truck that is being consumed in a massive fire. Several flaming bodies roll around, trying to save themselves. One of the unfortunate souls rolls a little too far and sets off another mine which immediately ends his suffering.
Horrified and still in a bit of a daze, Davy gathers up the fragments of his teeth and he starts staggering over the rubble mountain. He physically couldn’t watch any more people die.
Doing his best to crest the loose gravel with just one hand, Davy clenches his teeth with his other. He holds them so tight that the sharp edges from the broken teeth bite into his skin and draw even more blood, but he didn’t care. He had to get out of here. He eventually navigates his way to the top of the pile of debris and he then charges down the other side.
Once at the bottom, Davy frantically looks around at the forest that he is about to go into. As far as he knew, no one had ever survived out there. He is about to reconsider when several explosions sound behind him as someone else tries to follow him. The blasts overcome his hesitations about going into the forest and he starts blindly running.
It didn’t matter where he went, he just had to get away from here.