Prologue: None of the Fifty knew what was to come.
It started with Fifty. After everything that had happened to the world, the true threat, the true danger, started with the Fifty.
Nobody realized at the time what would possibly happen. They were nothing more than survivors of what they called simply as The Fall. No one could really tell what The Fall was exactly, but considering the result, it didn’t seem all that important. Maybe after everything was normal, after things settled down, they would begin to try to piece together what The Fall was. And who caused it.
What mattered now was survival. The Fifty were all over the country, not knowing that others existed. For all they knew, the scattered groups were the only survivors.
None of the Fifty knew what was to come. Except for one. The girl. Danielle.
PART ONE: AWAKENING
CHAPTER ONE: What he needed to do was find someone alive.
Three things were brought to Jeff Westerfeld’s attention when he walked into his apartment: It was silent inside. He remembered leaving the radio on that morning (a feeble attempt to keep possible thieves at bay). The second being that his bedroom door was locked even though it was wide open. The third being, the date was three days off.
This last was the most interesting. According to the medical record he found on his bed in the hospital, he had been in a coma for those three days.
Hmph, he thought, go to sleep for three days, wake up to find no one alive. Or any bodies for that matter, but he refused to let that get into his head. If he did, it would tear him apart. What he needed to do was try to find someone alive. He couldn’t be the only one in the whole city…right?
Jeff glanced down the hall. Did he hear a scream? That had to be one. He wasn’t alone! Jeff darted down the hall toward where he thought the scream had come from.
“Hello?!” He called out. Hoping to hear something, anything, in return. A beat. Another. He started to give up hope when he heard the scream again. Then another. Outside!
Jeff practically leaped down the stairwell (a full three floors) and ran into the street. He looked around. He couldn’t see anything but cars and trash. He could’ve sworn he had heard the yelling.
“Help!” Jeff’s head whipped to the left. Just down the street, about 2 blocks away, a girl! She was running toward Jeff, full tilt, short blonde hair flying behind her.
What could be making her run like that? As she got closer, Jeff suddenly realized that he recognized the girl. Her name was Kristin something…Harris? No, Hannigan. He nodded to himself, that was her name, Kristin Hannigan.
“Come-quick-now,” she said between deep breaths. “He needs help.”
“Doesn’t matter. Shouldn’t matter, should it? He needs help, and I can’t do it alone,” she grabbed Jeff’s wrist and began to run back the way she came.
“Whoa. Wait. What’s going on?”
She turned to face him. Doesn’t it matter right now? No. Right now, we need to save him. If we don’t he will die. Got it?”
“…Okay. I’ll come. Just…can you tell me where everyone is?”
She stared at him, complete shock and confusion on her face.
“You don’t know?”
“Kristin, does it look like I know?”
“How do you…?”
“You were the new girl. Conflagration? The club? I kinda co-own it,” he explained.
“Oh. Oh man. Now you definitely need to come help,” she started to run down the street again. Jeff sighed and ran after her.
When Jeff caught up to Kristin, he saw the reason why she was so desperate for help.
“Pete! Hold on!” Jeff yelled down the hole to the man hanging on to a scrap of metal.
“Hey, Jeff! Nice of you to wake up! Bad timing though,” Pete called up to Jeff. Pete and Jeff were the co-owners of the just opened club, Conflagration. The name seemed appropriate to them, considering their pasts. Too many fights, too much booze, just a fiery blur.
“No kidding,” Jeff laughed. He turned to Kristin. “Any rope?”
“I checked. The only thing I could find was some wiring from a hardware store, not strong enough.”
Jeff looked around. Okay, no rope. Wait!
“The Courthouse!” Jeff exclaimed.
Pete groaned from the hole beneath them, “Do you really think now’s the time to go talk ourselves outta that mandatory interrogation?”
“No, there’s a flagpole outside of it. Flagpole means rope,” Jeff glanced around trying to remember where the courthouse was in relation to where they now stood.
“North,” Kristin supplied the direction. When Jeff stared at her, she explained, “I’ve had to go there a few times recently.”
“Okay, well, stay with Pete while I go and get the flag down. I won’t be long.”
“Not going anywhere.”
“Neither am I,” Pete called from inside the hole.