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Jarrod Whitley Jarrod Whitley
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The End (The Event) Part 1

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She had a friend.

(This is only an excerpt. The entire story is viewable on my website.)

      “Alright. Let’s be out of here in five minutes.” I headed to my bedroom. Jake grunted a reply and began to pack the backpack I left with him. I took the paracord from the side pocket of the pack and lashed a couple of machetes onto the pack, along with a camp hatchet.

       I looked to the corner of the room, where my shotgun lay propped up against the bed. I slid it into its hard case. I opened my dresser drawer where I had a box of buck shot and a box of game load. I gritted my teeth in frustration that I didn’t have more ammo on me.

       But how could I have known? I stuffed what ammunition I had in my pack.

       My takedown bow was already folded up in its case under the bed. I wasn’t that good with it, but I had no idea where we were going or how we would get food. A weapon with reusable ammo was a good thing.

       I hopped over the bed and took the Ruger 9mm from Lily’s nightstand drawer. I left it with her for nights when I worked late or out of town, so that she’d feel safer. Plus, she was a crack shot. Anyone who tried to break in would have found that situation ending poorly for them. Unfortunately, I only had one clip of ammo for the handgun –– just 13 rounds.

       I didn’t have a holster for it, so I just stuffed it the back of my pants under my shirt tail. It felt incredibly awkward back there. I’d seen it done in the movies, but I wondered if anyone stowed their pistol like this in reality. Either way, it was the only holster I had.

       At that point, I had everything that I could think to get. I felt like I was forgetting something. I hurried back into the living room and asked Jake, “Are you ready?”

       “Almost,” Jake said. “Did you grab any medicine?”

       “Dangit. No. Sorry, I’ll grab what I can now.” I ran back into the bathroom and stuffed everything I could in the remaining space of the bag.

       I slung the backpack over my back as I headed back into the living room. Jake was standing there, rocking back and forth on the balls of his feet. “Let’s go,” Jake said, as he wrung his hands restlessly.

       “I remember!” I dropped my pack and ran back into the bathroom.

       “What are you doing?” Jake called. “We should have left ten minutes ago.” I came running back into the
living room with rolls of toilet paper in hand. I stuffed them into the outer pockets of my pack.

       “Our wives will thank us later.” We both darted out of the apartment. I couldn’t help but lock the door, even though I felt like it was pointless. Jake and I sprinted around the apartment building to my SUV. We tossed our gear into the back and slammed the door shut. As I looked around the apartment, I noticed that        it was almost completely empty.

       Everyone else is already gone.

       Even the soldiers had left. Trash was scattered all over the parking lot. It looked like someone had tipped over all the dumpsters and scattered it around. I guessed that people had run to their cars. If they dropped anything, they didn’t stop to pick it up. I wondered if they knew something that we didn’t.
We started to get into the car, when Jake said, “Hold up Nate.”

       I peaked over the hood at him from the driver’s side. “What? We need to go.” I motioned toward the road.

       “Take a look.” He handed me a pair of binoculars from Lily’s pack and pointed toward the highway.
I leveled the binoculars in the direction that he was pointing. All I could see for miles was gridlocked causeways. A few people had gotten the bright idea to try to drive through the median, where they were, of course, stuck.

       “Where are we going to drive?” Jake asked. “The main roads are gridlocked right now and that includes the road that we need to take to get to Tipsters. Tipsters is only three miles that way. I think we’re better off jogging there to get the girls. Maybe once we get them, we’ll have an idea of how to get out of here.”

       “Three miles...,” I repeated. I could run that in, what? I don’t know, 30 minutes? Did we have that kind of time? It was impossible to know for sure, but it was currently our only option.

       "What about our stuff? Looters could knock out our windows and take everything," I said,

       "It will only slow us down. Our priority is to get to the girls," Jake replied.

       "But what if we can't get back for some reason? Plus, we're trying to get out of the city. Getting the girls will be on the way in."

       Jake's mouth tightened as he considered the situation. "You're right. Let’s grab our bags and go, but we have to hurry. We can't risk them leaving before we get there. It would be impossible to find them then."

       “Right, let’s get going then.” I turned to open the door on the SUV.

       Just then something caught the corner of my eye; an incredibly bright flash of light filled the western sky. As I turned my head to see what it was, I heard a dull thud in the distance. It was a sound that I'd hoped to never hear, not in real life, at least.  
       Then I saw it.

       The great glowing dome of a mushroom cloud sprouted up over the horizon, flickering with a malevolent light so bright that I had to look away. A mighty roar of sound rose in fury, along with the smoke, getting louder and louder.

       "," was all I could say.

       "We're dead," Jake said hoarsely.

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