Scattered rays of light reflected off the corpses of machinery. The twinkling metal lit a path from the depths of the destruction away from the setting sun. While the smoke gave the illusion of cloud cover, the desert was as relentless as ever.
Lucas Warrington emerged from the smoky darkness; his head held high and his pace steady. He pushed on, a true soldier, leaving the graveyard behind him.
A tall stranger fell in step with Lucas and asked, “May I walk with you?”
“What was that back there?”
“That… was a truce”
“A truce? Does that mean the war is over?”
“Do you think there are survivors?”
“Sure, I do. There were millions of people living on Earth. I have a few theories.”
“I mean, the scientists, they are the smartest, right? They are practically modern-day fortunetellers; they had to know this was coming. I see them planning… carefully planning this for years; maybe in caves or underground somewhere.
“Then there are those political types... probably hidden in some old nuclear fallout shelters from the 1960s… feasting on spam and pork-n-beans, reading charts on when it will be safe to surface again.” Lucas glanced at the stranger out of the corner of his eye, trying to see if he was still following.
“I can even see people being totally oblivious to what is going on… on some island; some native just fishing off the coast like he always does… clueless.” Lucas smiled at that thought.
“You’re just being optimistic…”
“Well,” Lucas said, “there weren’t too many large scale nuclear drop sites.”
“Still there’s radiation in the atmosphere…”
“There’s always been radiation in the atmosphere.”
“You’ve got blisters all over your face and arms”
“I’ve been walking in the desert for THREE fucking days!”
Several moments of weary footsteps passed before the tall man spoke, “So this truce?”
“We were the last pilots left on our sides. We decided we should stop fighting before we destroy everything… ”
“So what happened?”
“He went one way, and I went the other.”
“Why not stay together, if you’re the last?”
“I have been training to fight this guy since I was eleven. His family killed my family… his friends killed my friends. He better hope I never see him again,” Lucas said through gritted teeth.
“So where are you headed now?”
They stopped and Lucas surveyed the land ahead; he breathed in a deep breath and answered “Not sure. I guess I will just keep walking until I find survivors.”
“If there ARE any survivors” The tall man reached his dark hand toward a tree and melted into its shadow. “Good luck with that,” he whispered as he vanished.
The first few stars began to twinkle on the horizon, but Lucas walked on.