This story is fiction. Any similarity to any persons living or dead is merely a coincidence. They are also the sole creation of the author. If you would like to use them, please contact me first and get my permission. Any unwanted use will be considered theft. If you are not allowed by law to view this material, please do not do so. If you are under 18 years of age, please leave now. This is a love story between two barely under the age of 18 year old boys. If that offends you, I apologize and ask that you not read any further. Otherwise, enjoy.
*Author Note This is my first attempt at a story. I welcome all constructive criticism. Please let me know what you think.
After the Apocalypse - The Empire and The
---------------------------------------Last in After the Apocalypse----------------------------------------
Something that hadn't happened in a long time finally happened; Michael had pushed my emotions over the edge and my brain couldn't handle it anymore. At first I felt a ripple inside my body, starting in my chest and moving towards my brain. When it got there, an enormous feeling of euphoria came over me. Don't ask me why, but I went from the worst moment of my life to my eyes being opened wide with pleasure. And then everything faded to black.
The first sensation Cody felt was his hair falling back onto his forehead, almost as if a breeze had tousled it gently. Very cautiously he opened his eyes and looked around the room. For a moment, he thought he must be suffering from the normal confusion that came after a blackout, but realized that that thought alone meant he was in full possession of his faculties. Still, the room looked extremely different and he couldn't figure out why. There was a thick layer of dust that lay over everything in sight; the floor, the rack, the stairs. Not a single footprint marred the floor or stairs, nor fingerprint on the walls, rack, nor any other pieces of furniture.
He looked around, eyes opened wide in pure shock. After a few minutes of taking everything in, he turned and headed over to the stairs hoping that once he got out of the basement, things would make a little more sense. As he glanced at the stairs, he noticed places where mold had clearly set in, as well as holes over an inch in diameter. Part of him was scared to even try the stairs; a fear of them collapsing under his small weight, but he knew perfectly well that there was no other way out of the basement. The lowest window sat a good ten feet above the floor and had always been bolted shut. So without waiting any longer, not allowing the fear of the stairs collapsing under him, he started to head up towards the door.
Half way up the steps, one gave way underneath him. This, of course, caused him to lurch forwards and land heavily on the next step, which very loudly groaned and started to crack. He grabbed the banister tightly, hoping that if the step gave out, it would support his weight. However, as soon as his fingers closed on it, he realized that it too had been affected by whatever was causing the stairs to give way beneath him. It crumbled in his hand, causing him to lose some of his balance. When he placed the rest of his weight on the step it groaned louder but didn't give way any more. Breathing heavily, he decided speed would be his best chance of getting out of this room in one piece. Focusing on getting out the door, he ran up the top half of the steps, many dropping from under him as soon as his foot left them. Just as he thought he wouldn't make it, he slammed into the door, shoulder first. The door came off the hinges in an instant, and Cody lay on top of the crumbling door on the ground level of Michael's house.
Cody looked up, tossing his head from side to side to shake the cobwebs. The room he was now laying in didn't look anything like he remembered it. About the only thing that looked right was the general shape and size of the room. The ceiling had holes in it, and through the holes he could see a vast leafy canopy. All the furniture that had been in the room seemed to be missing, and the carpet felt more like moss. It was with a sudden recognition that it occurred to him that it was moss. He felt dizzy lying on the door, but tried to stand anyways. As soon as he finished standing, his legs buckled and he passed out from exhaustion on the floor.
When he awoke he assumed it was daytime as there was a soft green glow to the room, presumably from the holes in the ceiling. He moved over towards a wall, before attempting to stand again. He assumed he had fainted, because the last thing he remembered was standing up and his legs shaking. Closing his eyes, he felt his head throb and figured he probably hit it when he blacked out. Oddly, that pleasure from before his blackout was still there, a small echo of what it had been. Deciding he needed food first, he slowly moved towards where he remembered the kitchen being. He was very disappointed to see that the kitchen lay in much the same state as the living room. The only thing still standing, filthy as it was, was the refrigerator. As soon as he touched the door, it fell completely off. Inside was absolutely nothing, almost as if something had scrubbed it down thoroughly.
Figuring that he wasn't going to have much more chance of finding anything useful inside the house, he slowly headed to the front door. However, upon closer inspection, Cody noticed that the door was no longer there. Where there had once been an oak door with a small window, was now the trunk of a very large, old, tree. Something dawned on him at that moment. How long had he been out of it? He knew there was no way this could have happened over night. The tree appeared to be, at least, over fifty years old. He stopped and looked around the room, not finding a sign of any of the old furniture. The closer he looked, the more he realized that the house was, literally, only a shell; a shelter to keep the elements at bay. The only thing he knew at this point, was that he needed to get out and find out what was going on, and where he was.
He walked to the edge of the room, looking for any place where he could exit the building. Finally, after fifteen minutes of examining the room, he saw some green light filtering through one of the windows on the front wall. Approaching it slowly, he noticed the glass was still intact and seemed extremely filthy. Taking the cloth of his shirt in one hand he reached out to touch the window. As soon as the cloth made contact the glass crumbled and fell onto the moss carpet, the fragments so fine they looked like sand. He shrugged, figuring at least he now had a way out of the house. He glanced outside and finally decided that it couldn't be any safer inside than it would be outside.
The first thing he noticed was that it looked like some kind of wild forest he had seen on the nature channel. He slowly turned around, performing a complete three hundred sixty degree turn, before trying to remember what direction the main street was in. Shrugging, he picked a direction and started walking. After an hour of walking through this unknown and mysterious forest, he was forced to stop by a loud grumble resonating from his stomach. Looking around he noticed a few bushes covered in berries. Not knowing whether they were poisonous or not, he decided to pick them and take his chances. After all, what was the worst that could happen?
Cody wasn't sure where he should be heading. It appeared that everything he once knew was gone. That was when it hit him. He sat down abruptly, and very hard, on the ground. Tears began to pour from his eyes as he realized that he would never get to see Teddy or his parents again. The last image he would ever have of Teddy would be Michael raping him in the basement. He screamed out as loudly as possible, letting all the pent up frustration, at his own situation, boil out of him.
After several minutes, his throat was sore and he doubted he would be able to talk again, properly, anytime soon. He wondered what he was going to do. He knew he couldn't just sit there, and he doubted that he could find what used to be Michael's house again if he wanted to. Slowly, he stood back up and kept walking in the same direction he had already been heading.
The soldier ran down the hall at top speed, trying not to bump into any of the people heading the opposite way. His uniform hung on his frame perfectly; the black fabric stiff with starch and the imperial symbol, the infinite sign, emblazoned on both his collar and sleeve. Finally he reached the room, knocked once on the door and waited for an answer.
"Come in," came the crisp reply from the other side.
Without waiting for any further response, the soldier opened the door, stepped inside, and closed it behind him. The man on the other side was slightly taller and wore a similar uniform. The only clear difference between their uniforms was the shoulder pads. The taller man's were a dark blue, while the soldier's were black like his uniform.
"Sir, one of the Augurs picked up a signature west of the border."
"Your point, private? The Augurs pick up power signatures outside the safety borders almost once a week. Do I need to remind you of what happens for wasting my time?" The lieutenant glared down at the younger soldier.
"No sir, you don't. Only, this signature showed up in the exact spot we were told it would. Sir, this is the one that was foretold to appear." His eyes pleaded with his superior, begging him to listen.
"And you are sure about this? If we wake the Lord early and are wrong, he will have both of our hides. You won't remember how many toes and fingers you have by the time he finishes with you. I will not wake him without more proof. You remember what happened to General Trema, don't you?"
"Yes sir, I remember. Sir, what would you have me do then?"
"You will go down to level 4 and send a tracker out on the next roller. Once we can get some kind of confirmation, then I will wake our lord. No sooner. You have your orders. Go now."
Dismissed, the private turned and headed for the first stairway he could find. He understood why his superior was scared of waking their lord early. It was common knowledge that General Trema had woken the Imperial Lord early and been tossed out of the borders for it. No one ever saw or heard from the man again. Slowly he opened the door and started down the stairs.
Cody had been hiking for days now. It wasn't something that he had ever done as a child, and he didn't have the right clothes or shoes to be doing it now. His stomach gurgled loudly in protest, not having eaten since he had woken in the basement. For the last hour or so, he had been hiking through a small canyon. It reminded him of one that used to have a freeway running through it, heading towards a large valley. He couldn't be sure, but the way it winded looked about very familiar.
Very slowly, he eased back to his feet, having grown sore from the constant walking. His clothes had grown filthy by the end of the first day, torn in several places from where they had snagged on branches and rocks. He slowly resumed his stumbling march towards where he hoped to find some kind of civilization.
About an hour later, he stepped out onto a small cliff, only 50 feet from a slope leading into what must've once been the valley he remembered. Now, it was covered in what could be considered overgrown farmland and orchards. Still, it was better than nothing as far as he was concerned. An orange was at least better than small berries he wasn't even sure were poisonous or not.
Quickly he dropped down to the slope, sliding down the small cliff. He was already filthy, so he didn't really care whether he got dirtier. Soon, he was standing in a small orange grove grabbing as many of the fruits as he could carry. After that, he figured he would find someplace to hide away for the night. His plan quickly fell apart, however, when he heard a sharp twang from behind him.
Without thinking, he spun out of the way, moving away from where he had been standing and running behind a near by tree. The person who had shot the arrow could only stare as Cody became a blur and disappeared. He shook his head slightly as he started to look for where the boy might have gone.
Cody stood behind another tree in the drove, breathing heavily, his head swimming slightly. He felt his hair fall back down to his head, almost as if a breeze had blown by him, though he had felt none. He hadn't even tried to do anything, but when he glanced around the tree he knew something weird had happened. The pile of oranges sat on the ground nearly three hundred feet away, a distance he had covered in several seconds. He leaned heavily, trying to catch his bearings. He heard footsteps getting closer, the snap of a twig coming from another direction.
He shrugged, knowing that he was going to get caught no matter what he did, and thought they, whoever they might be, would go more lenient on him if he turned himself in. After all, he was the thief, stealing from these people's orchard. Raising both hands above his head, he left the protective cover of his tree. "Don't shoot. Please, I give up." As soon as the words left his mouth, he collapsed in a heap, unconscious from exhaustion.
Jacob looked down at Cody on the ground, looking up as Jason came out of the bushes on the other side of the tree Cody had been hiding behind. "What are we going to do with him now? We can't take him back to base, I mean...he's gotta be one of the Empire's slaves that escaped. They'll come looking for him."
Jason nodded his head and shrugged. "Yeah, but that's not our choice. Besides, he's unmarked." He pointed at Cody's unblemished neck.
Jacob sighed, "Yeah, alright, I'll carry him back to base, you keep an eye out and send the flare up if you see anything." Knowing that Jason would do exactly as asked, he bent down and scooped up Cody's smaller frame. He knew that all people with powers were slaves to the Empire. How one had escaped and made it to Freedom, he had no idea. But he was only there to protect the grove, not make these kind of decisions.
After walking about an hour he made it back to the smaller outpost camp that oversaw the valley. From there he gathered a horse and continued onwards towards the main camp, just outside the valley to the southeast. Half way there, Cody came to, his body being supported by Jacob in front of the saddle.
Cody fidgeted at first, trying to get free. "Calm down son. You were caught stealing. We aren't going to hurt you but you did something back there that we really aren't too comfortable with. I'm taking you to the main camp so we can figure out what to do with you. My name is Jacob."
Hearing this, Cody calmed himself. It made sense, and since he wasn't too sure what he had done back there himself, he figured that maybe these people could help. After a few minutes had passes in silence he decided to find out what he could from this man. "I'm Cody. Where...where are we?"
"Where? Where else, this is Freedom." His statement was so matter of fact that he made it seem like it should be obvious.
"Freedom? Never heard of it."
"Never heard of it? Where did you think you had come? You must've traveled nearly close to two thousand miles to get here from the edge of The Empire." He looked down at the boy incredulously.
No idea what you are talking about. I
woke up a few days ago out here. Last thing I remember was being in
Jacob's eyes bugged out of his head. He didn't know much about history, but he could recall that this area had been known by that name five hundred years ago, before the war. He shook his head, at a loss for words, and wanted to get this kid to the council to figure out what to do.
They traveled in silence the rest of the day. It had been late afternoon when they had found him, and almost early evening when they had finally gotten the horse. Now that late night was setting in, he knew it wasn't going to be safe to travel. Jacob quickly turned the horse off the path that he had been following and found a small cave. Once inside, he started a small fire and handed Cody something to eat, before unsaddling the horse.
When he turned around, the food was already gone, and Cody sat there looking up at him hopefully. "Boy, you were hungry, weren't you?" Jacob chuckled softly.
Cody smiled sheepishly, liking Jacob for some reason, feeling like he could trust him.
"Was? I still am. I've been living off of berries for the last three days since I woke up."
Jacob nodded as he reached into his pack and pulled out some dried meat and fruit, a block of cheese and some trail bread. He cut off a piece of the cheese and broke the bread in half before handing it over to Cody. Cody nodded his head in thanks as he quickly set himself to devouring all that was offered.
Jacob laughed to himself as he figured it was going to be a long night if the silence kept up. "So, what else do you remember from before you blacked out?"
Cody eyed the man nervously as he flashed back on the image of Teddy being raped.
He shuddered as he thought about how to answer. "Well, a friend was being hurt by someone else I knew. We were in the man's basement, and then everything went black. When I woke up, I was in the same basement, only it was different."
"Different? If it was the same basement, how was it different?"
"Well...for one it was covered in dust. Also, when I tried to go up the stairs, they were rotted away, like termites or something had gotten to them. And all these trees, this forest. None of it was here before I blacked out." He shrugged, not really knowing how to explain what this place should have looked like if it was where he thought he was.
nodded. From what he had noticed,
something weird was definitely happening. The clothes were like nothing he had
ever seen before, especially the shoes.
Not to mention that Cody had described the way things had occurred too
easily, like he had been remembering it, not making it up.
No one with powers had been found in Freedom
since Tanis Trema.
Silence reigned over the small camp while the two finished their meals. When Jacob looked back up, he smiled, seeing Cody fast asleep, his head resting on the saddle. Silently, Jacob walked over to the saddle blanket and placed it over him. Then he lowered himself down to the ground and rested his head on his arm, falling into a light sleep, his face towards the entrance in case something decided to try and seek refuge in the same place. Luckily, the first thing that woke Jacob was a few stray rays of sun hitting him in the face.
I would like to thank all those who have sent me e-mails so far to let me know that they have enjoyed the little I have written. I would like to put in a special thank you to dsc110875, author of Quarterback with the Emerald Eyes, for taking the time away from his own story to proofread mine. Hopefully as the story continues it will attract more readers. If you have any questions for me, about the story or anything else, please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Also for anyone who didn't know or was confused, augur is another term for psychic. Just to make sure no one is confused.