Authors: Anthony Wade
Tags: #apocalypse apocalyptic fiction end of the world end times world war iii conspiracy theory secret societies ufo, #ya books, #dystopian climate change romance genetic manipulation speculative post apocalyptic, #books like the hunger games, #ya suspense, #dystopian adventure, #postapocalypse novel, #twist at the end, #dystopian action thriller, #ya dystopian fiction
As we walked down the
hall, the floors began to look cleaner. I didn’t see mold or rust
anywhere. It even started to smell fresher. We turned yet another
corner, entering another hall. This one was much different than the
others. There was a line of torches on each wall lighting the way.
Belladonna turned the flashlight off.
Up ahead I saw two people
walking in the same direction as us. They stopped at a door, opened
it, and disappeared. “That’s where you’ll go to eat,” Belladonna
“How do you get food down
here?” I asked. What I wanted to know was whether or not they had
to carry everything down that ladder.
“That’s something Edgar
figured out. Usually, when we need something, Edgar will make the
purchases from a friend of his. They’ll park a truck on an old dirt
road nearby and we’ll get everybody down here to run out and help
carry it in.
“But how do they get it
“Oh,” Belladonna said.
“There’s another entrance leading straight to our dining
“No ladder?” I asked. I
mean, how else were they going to get underground?
No ladder,” she
Hmm. That was odd. I
guessed I would learn soon enough.
“I’m sorry to say that the
food’s not that great…especially with the whole food shortage
everyone seems to be ignoring. But it’ll get us through until
things get worked out.”
I thought back to the food
at the orphanage. We ate mostly sandwiches and cheap frozen foods.
They hardly ever cooked for us. Even if Edgar could only get food
like that, I would’ve been happier – because I wasn’t at the
“Here’s your room,”
Belladonna said, stopping in front of an old door. She opened it
for me. I walked into a small room with a twin-sized bed in one
corner, a small dresser beside it, an old chair in one corner, a
clock above the bed, and a small closet.
“I’m sorry it’s not much,”
“It’s great,” I said,
smiling and truly meaning it. At the orphanage, I slept in a room
three times that size, and
the guys had to sleep in that same room, each of
us sharing a bunk bed with somebody. Having my own room was so
surreal to me. Nobody watching me, nobody snoring, nobody crying,
no worrying about bullies harassing or waking me up . . . it was
perfect. For once in my life, I was going to have privacy. This was
turning out to be a great idea. All I had to do was ignore these
“I suppose it’s better
than the orphanage,” Belladonna said, reading my
Oh, definitely,” I told
her. “It really is.”
“We’ll see what kind of
clothes we can find you later. Dinner is always at six for
everybody. I’m sure Edgar will stop by to get you for
“Him?” I groaned, not
Belladonna chuckled. “He
can be different. He’s helping me a whole lot, so I’ve learned to
“I suppose,” I said, not
looking forward to seeing the lunatic so soon. Perhaps, now that I
had my own room, I would lock the door and just not answer it when
Apparently, they had a
bunch of clothes stored. So, Belladonna asked me for my pant and
shirt size. She left, and I closed the door, turning around to look
at my room.
room. Now that was something I could get used to.
The first thing I did was
throw myself onto the bed. Any other may have found it too rough,
but it was perfect for me. I cuddled under the blanket that was
actually big enough for me. Then, I kind of ruined the moment by
thinking about everything I’d been told. I still thought these were
some pretty crazy people. I was pretty sure they were wrong about
everything. And I didn’t know where they were getting the
information about “Grandfather” knowing who I was. But then again,
Edgar knew my name. Were they right? Gosh, I didn’t know what to
think. My mind was starting to feel a little stretched. But I
guessed nothing mattered as long as they were making me happy with
my own room. It definitely didn’t matter if staying would keep me
off of the streets.
heard a loud bang. At first, I thought I was dreaming. I then
realized it was the door. I opened my eyes, knowing exactly who it
was. Belladonna had warned me. “Open this damn door,” Edgar yelled
from behind it. “Or no food.”
Great. Edgar was back to
his usual self.
It was dinner time. I
actually contemplated staying in bed and ignoring him. That
would’ve made him angry. But I had to admit that I was pretty
hungry. If not now, I wouldn’t be able to eat until morning, so I
forced myself out of bed and dragged myself to the door.
Okay,” I said as soon as I
opened the door.
About damn time,” Edgar
said. “Don’t want ya to go hungry. Let’s go.”
Edgar led me down the
hall. There were others leaving their rooms, probably headed for
the dining hall as well. I watched them as Edgar talked about where
the restrooms were and how most of the doors were rooms just like
mine. He also mentioned that I’d soon be given some
These other people I saw
looked rather average with their plain clothing. They didn’t look
like they belonged within the wall
outside. More importantly, they
looked happy, unlike the people I was used to seeing around the
orphanage. Why were they so happy? I mean, they lived under the
Edgar led me through some
double doors at the end of the hall, and we entered a large room
where there were about thirty old, round wooden tables, each
accompanied by six chairs, also made out of old wood. Splinters
poked out everywhere, so I had to be careful.
On the other end of the
room was a small line of people, which started at a long table. Two
ladies and two guys helped prepare sandwiches for people. Beside
the long table was a large bucket of water. I watched as an older
lady dipped her cup inside and take a sip. This was definitely no
luxury dining experience. In fact, I wouldn’t have been surprised
if the food was worse than the orphanage’s. But hey, I was still
Not much,” Edgar
commented, leading me toward the table. “But it gets us
Edgar led me past those
waiting in line and straight to the table where the food was being
served. “Wouldn’t do this normally, Linda,” Edgar told one of the
older ladies serving the people. She had a lot of wrinkles and
short silver hair. I’d say she was about sixty. She wore a white
sweater and jeans. She looked average, just like everybody else.
And she even seemed pretty happy.
Oh, Edgar,” Linda said,
handing us a ham sandwich and an apple on an old plastic tray.
“You’re the one who gets us all of this.”
Ah,” Edgar said, dipping a
cup in the water bowl.
I did the same thing. I
wondered if it was sanitary. No. There was just no way. Hopefully
it wouldn’t make me sick.
That may be, Linda, but I
won’t take advantage of that.”
why we love you,” Linda flirted. Again, I was in disbelief. She
seemed to actually
Edgar. What did she see in him? He even
at her. It was as
if he was a completely different person. I supposed he just didn’t
care for me too much. Oh well.
Yeah, yeah,” Edgar said.
“I’ll see ya around, I’m sure.” Linda nodded as she helped the next
person in line. Edgar walked slowly, inspecting every table. Nearly
every one of them was occupied. But a few were empty. “There she
is,” I heard him whisper. I followed him to a table where a lady in
her forties sat. Beside her was a girl around my age. They both had
long, wavy brunette hair and blue eyes. The older lady was dressed
in a bright yellow short-sleeve shirt and jeans. She was pretty,
but I had to admit that she was nowhere as pretty as Belladonna.
The younger girl wore jeans also. It seemed to be pretty common
underground. Her shirt was maroon. Both of them had fair skin. They
were both attractive.
Who is that?” I asked
Edgar quietly, but he ignored me, leading me all the way to
How ya doing, Mae,” Edgar
asked when we reached the table.
Mae looked up and grinned,
revealing her dimples. “Oh, good, Edgar,” she said in an extremely
cheerful tone. “Just been helping out Dr. Mac as usual,” she told
him. When her eyes landed on me, that smile grew even wider. I
honestly didn’t think that was possible “Well, you must be Carsyn,”
she said. Once again, some random person knew my name.
Yeah,” Edgar said. “But
watch out. He’s got a lot of questions and he’ll give you one hell
of a time.”
Mae snickered. “I’m
Maebelle, but everybody calls me Mae.” She then pointed at the girl
sitting next to her. “This is my daughter, Marley.” Marley looked
at me, her mouth wide open. She couldn’t take her eyes off me. It
was actually really awkward.
Hi,” Marley said slowly.
Mae nudged her in the arm. Marley quickly closed her mouth and
smiled, revealing dimples just like her mother’s. They were both
way too happy-looking. Something told me that was going to get
Hi,” I said quietly. I
honestly didn’t have much more to say.
Edgar sat down, so I did
too. We ate as he and Mae talked about the Dr. Mac guy Mae had
mentioned. He was apparently the only doctor in the underground
facility. He, like Edgar, was pretty rich, and Mae made him out to
be one of the greatest doctors out there. I, of course, didn’t know
if that was true. “He’s gone to get more medicine,” Mae told Edgar.
“Left this morning. Roselyn still has the flu, but she’ll be
Marley focused primarily
on her food, not saying a word. I guess I couldn’t really judge
since I kept quiet too. I tuned out of Edgar’s and Mae’s
conversation to focus on my sandwich and the other people eating
around me. The sandwich actually wasn’t that bad. I wondered if it
was because I was just so hungry. And the water . . . it didn’t
taste bad. I figured it was safe, or at least I hoped
Watching the people was
interesting. They talked and laughed with one other. Actually, that
was really all you could hear in the room: talking and laughter.
They really seemed to like it there. They were so . . .
normal-looking! I wondered who they were before discovering the
underground community. Were they poor, or were they rich like
I tuned back to the
goings-on of my own table to see that Edgar and Mae had stood up.
Leaving their unfinished food on the table, and without saying
anything, they left. What were they doing? Edgar was just going to
leave me there alone. I sure did wish I’d been paying attention
rather than looking at everybody else. Was I supposed to go with
They’ll be back,” Marley
said, responding to my looks of confusion. “They’re just going to
ask Andria how Roselyn’s doing.” I followed Marley’s finger to a
table occupied by several ladies, all laughing with one another.
Edgar and Mae went to one woman in particular. I assumed that was
Andria. I was too far away to hear what they were saying, but they
didn’t seem too worried.
Andria looked like she was
Mae’s age. And not to be mean or anything, but she didn’t look
nearly as good as Mae. But she did look happy like everybody
Oh,” I said, twisting my
body back around.
Yeah,” Marley said. A few
awkward seconds of silence passed. “You like it here so
I waited to swallow the
last of my sandwich before answering. “I’ve not been here
You’ll love it,” she said
There was another pause of
How old are you?” she
Sixteen,” I replied,
taking my apple from the tray.
Marley took a sip of
water. “I just turned sixteen,” she said. “And Ashton is your age,
I think she was waiting
for me to ask who Ashton was. I nodded, pretending to be
interested. I honestly just wanted her to leave me alone. I wasn’t
sure if Edgar needed me for anything else that night. If I knew he
didn’t, then I would’ve left to take another nap.
“Me, you and Ashton are
the only teenagers in here,” Marley said once it was obvious that I
wasn’t going to say anything to keep the conversation going. “Then
there’s four other kids, all under ten. One of them is just a
toddler. He’s so cute.”
I could feel Marley’s eyes
watching me. She probably thought I was kind of rude, but I didn’t
care. “You don’t talk much, do you?” she finally asked.
“Not really,” I
She didn’t say anything
else. I was thankful. There was nothing wrong with her. I just
wanted to be left alone.