lunes, 30 de agosto de 2010


So, where have I been? Perhaps the best place to have landed in a post-apocalyptic city: A history museum based on a prison. I'll give you later a bit of the basics of this place, which so far is my favorite shelter.

La Joya is a rich neighborhood built on a hilltop, and even surrounded by even bigger hills from the north, it has only one entrance and, last I knew, it was well-guarded, so it makes it a natural choice to fortify and use as a hideout. Even a better choice if you have a good number of thugs under your command.

There's two ways to go anywhere near la Joya: One is going over the main street, but on plain view of anyone looking from above. The other is via another neighborhood on the other side of the road, right infront of la Jolla, problem is, I've been seeing people patrolling that area. Fortunatelly, there's plenty of wrecked cars, debris, houses and trees to use them as cover. Before getting any closer, I left my dogs in my home's shelter. I figured they'd be safer there than anywhere else. My dogs whimpered as I climbed out, and one let out a lamenting howl; it brought a few tears in my eyes, because I well knew this would kill me. I moved silently, trying to avoid looters and rogue soldiers. I heard the odd gunfight here and there, and kept myself quiet.

After a few hours, I finally found myself in the street. The name is Pitic, and is another rich district (most of the affluential people lived near the hotel section, this being the presentation of the nicest parts of the city, if you came form the northern highway that led to the border), I moved slowly, hoping no one would notice me. That is when I heard the barking of dogs, big ones.

I looked back and I saw a pack of two rottweilers, a german shepperd and a boxer, all running towards me, barking menacely.

I wasn't gonna waste my bullets on them, so I ran, there was several tall trees, and I figure I could climb one and leap from there to an nearby house. I climbed a very tall, but dead tree. The dogs were barking mad, the german sheppered near tore my leg, but only managed to rip my jeans slightly. I climbed quickly, and I found myself on the roof of a house, with a very nice view of La Joya. The bad thing is, the noise will most likely attract people, so I had to move quickly. I jumped from rooftop to rooftop, until I ran out of houses.

I set up the Xiuhcoatl, and looked around the area, just to make sure.

sábado, 28 de agosto de 2010


What the old man told me, gave me a lot of hindsight of what was I gonna face from here on, at least in the city.

I do remember the first days the Fires struck, though. There was no electricity, save in hospitals, government buildings and the odd home that had a diesel generator or two. Gas soon became a commodity, and food prices started to skyrocket. My dad got out of retirement, and started to work as a private doctor, just to get enough food. Classes were 'canceled until further notice', but some of my professors still gave them on the field. A few days later, the riots started.

It started, at least here, when medical supplies were given not to a government hospital, but a private one that was surrounded by armed goons, hired by the most affluent members of the city. They were overwhelmed, however, and that gave origin to a riot on a supermarket, then another on city hall, several angry mobs of people raided the rich district and the hotel district, a military outpost was taken over, the soldiers dead and their guns distributed amongst the rioters. Chaos everywhere.

That was when my story closes and the old man's begins. He told me that, right after that, several soldiers broke rank and joined the rioters, many of them were already on the payroll of the drug dealers. As the days went on, the started to carve a feudal system of sorts, with several people moving out of town, to work in the fields for the dealers, whether for food or for supplies, most of them did so willingly, but they started rounding up people for slave labor. The most rich people spared their lives helping the cartels attacking other families, or giving up their servants, sons and daughters, wives, husbands or siblings. This was his case, that in an act of fear, he gave his own grand-daughter to the cartels.

She was only twelve.

Out of self-loathing and pity, he tried to join his other family members into committing suicide, but again, fear got the best of him, and vomited most of the pills, but some did took effect. He told me he wanted to die, but he could not do it.

I got up, served myself another glass of water, and quietly drew my pistol. I asked him if he knew where they had taken his grand-daughter. He told me that somewhere in La Jolla, a wealthy neighborhood but, rumor had it, was a den of drug lords.

I gave him the beretta, and told him that, if he had the courage, he knew what needed to be done.

The storm had already passed when I got out. I saw my dogs walking alongside me, their little faces fixed on the house, I just told them to follow me, and I kept walking when I heard the gunshot, coming from inside the house.

If there is a God out there, and I hope there is, He will judge this old man with justice, and will have mercy on the child he so willingly gave away to the monster that can be the human being.

jueves, 26 de agosto de 2010


I've talked much on how about the city: On what it has become, the damage, and the struggles within; but I've not talked about the weather.

Supposedly, this is the rainy season, but it has been rather dry and hot this time around. However, the wind has blown quite a lot, and I have seen rain-heavy clouds just above the horizon.
One thing is to protect from the elements when there's power, civilization, order; a different thing is when there's no such thing: A heavy storm brings out lots of dust that will cover your visibility and will hamper your mobility. Thunderstorms will -a small chance, but it is quite real- knock you out permanently with lightning. Soaked in rain will bring a cold, and weaken you. You have to read the patterns, see the environment. Your knowledge is your most important weapon.

Here, the sound of cicadas are the prelude for rain, there's the excessive heat that is a dead giveaway that a huge storm is brewing, stuff like that.

Indeed, a few hours after I buried my parents, the clouds were gathering. I needed shelter quickly. So I moved fast as I could. However, I needed to move away from where I was, the zone was heavy with looters days before, it was not gonna be different now. Me and my dogs kept moving in the shadows, and ran when we could. The sound of the wind howling in the rubble and the wreckage of cars was eerie, but it was more worrisome was the sound of the odd distant car, blistering narco-corridos (music of Mexican bandas that praised the drug dealers) and one of two gunshots. Looks like the drug lords were not messing around with their little idea of making a stronghold here.

When the first drops of rain started to pour, I got into the old money neighborhood of the city. I was expecting wrecked cars, destroyed homes, fire... But there was nothing of that.

The houses, perhaps not as big was other 'Old Money' districts were intact. There was the odd car stalled in the middle of the road, but other than that, it seeemed that nothing happened here, as if civilization still was intact.

The wind was starting to get violent, and the rain was getting heavier and heavier. My dogs were nervous, and so was I. I quickly climbed the wrought iron fence of the nearest house, shouted to see if there was anyone there a few times, and when I heard no answer, I broke the lock with a couple of shots of my gun, and let the dogs in. As we got closer to the main entrance, the first lightning was seen. I knew nothing of lock-picking, so I used the same tactic with the door, using my gun to bust open.

The sound of the dark interior was thick, only the sound of the howling wind, the dogs sniffing around, and my steps, were the only things that interrupted that solemn silence. I kept calling for anyone, but as I went down the dark hallway, my steps started to falter.

For the first time in a while, my fear of the dark kicked in. I felt the urge to run away from the house, venture into the storm, I didn't care, my steps were less sure, and my neck felt stiff. Still, I needed to go on, I needed shelter.

My dogs were sniffing around, seeing them near me was comforting enough, but, I let out a scream when I opened a door. A dead body came falling down, making a powerful thumping noise that resounded in the house. I was an old man, tall and thin. His eyes slightly swollen, and cold as dead can be.

I turned on the flashlight, and lit up the room. It semeed the occupants of the house commited suicide, as there were more bodies here, all calm and in different beds in the bedrooms. I saw pill containers, and saw that these were powerful sleeping pills. All empty, the place did no reek of death. They must've died recently.

Once the rain was less violent as it was, I grabbed the bodies, one by one, and went out to the garden. I picked a shovel from a shed in the garden, and proceeded to dig, to give them proper burial.

That's one of them, the old man, suddenly grabbed my arm. It completely freaked me out, but it seeemed he did not took the full dose. He begged me not to kill him, to bring him water. I asked him where was the kitchen. I took off and gave him a glass from water that I found in several gallons, well hidden from prying eyes.

As he drank, he told me everything he knew of what happened right after the Fires started.

miércoles, 25 de agosto de 2010


No words of wisdom, no ostentatious tombstone, no parade of black cars; just me, my dogs, and the unmarked grave of my parents, that was the way I buried them.

I thought of the moments we had, the lessons my dad and mom taught me, what I truly learned from them, and remembered the love they had for me, and I for them. I left that grave, and took a last look at my house.

There was nothing left, whatever was not bolted on the floor was gone, and even then. All, except a few pieces of personal documents (birth certificate, passport and laser visa), as well as some books, too heavy for me to move. So I only took a few, and was on my way. We lived right in front of a supermarket, but raiding that was asking for trouble, who knows how many looters were holed up in there, or worse. Still, I was short on supplies, and I needed some extra things, so I ventured there.

I readied my beretta, and my dogs were very alert. Whoever said beagles were useless in a survival scenario, they were wrong, beagles are very good trackers. With their nose, I was able to find some food, as well as water and batteries along the way. A bottle of good wine that was miraculously intact, and a can of powered milk. It was a good day. I took a copy of Don Quijote, as well as cooking book for outdoors, as well a set of small pans. The whole bulk of resources was slightly heavy, but nothing that I couldn't do without at this rate.

The question was: Where to, next? The city was gonna be a battleground, and I honeslty had no wish to stay because of it. I had to move north, the weather's cooler, there's rivers, game, a new chance to live.

On the other hand, I knew everyone would probably move north as well, so I'd perhaps find more of the same, but it was still worth a shot.

Need some sleep. Will continue on later.

martes, 24 de agosto de 2010


Sorry about the blackout. Had to relocate from the mayor's house due to looters. The problem with being a long gunman is the fact that you don't have a lot of backup. Too bad I had to leave the generator, but I am still alive and the computer still has some battery left, and I was able to rig up an antenna (the techie died in the firefight, rest in peace Mike).

I remember Alex well. Before the fires, I had a bit of crush on her. But, she was the kind of a girl that was born with a boyfriend in her hand, along with two replacements. I tried to date her with no avail, and so I preferred anonymity, living my life and trying to finish my career.

And here she was, sleeping besides me; I can't say I wasn't tempted, but I chose instead to doing guard and take a look at the rifle I took from the soldier, instead. I had no idea where to start, but I first started with getting familiar with the basic functions: Where the safety function was, how to remove the magazine, that kind of stuff.
I got a bit away from her, as not to wake her up with the noise, but close enough to keep an eye on her and the supplies. I heard the noises of the soldiers looking for us, but we were safe enough. I saw one of my dogs cuddling with Alex, while the other, slightly older, walked near me and slumped beside me, giving out a tiresome nose exhalation, the dog's version of a sigh.

The next morning, we took a light breakfast: Fruit salad and tuna. Three cans less, and two cans left. I was seriously thinking on what to do next. As the day went on, I gave Alex a quick guide on how to shoot, but I made a suppressor with some junk I found. It wasn't much, and it took several hours (five, to be honest) and several try-outs, but I did it. It wasn't going to last much, but it was better than anything. I placed it on Alex's gun, and we headed out to look for the other girls.

The trail was easy to find, unfortunately. I did see the soldier's footprints as well, so we moved quickly, but trying to keep to the shadows. We moved north, away from the main boulevard, but close to another major street, from what used to be the restaurants, bars, and a night club or two. We stopped quickly in a drug store, and took what we could: Some bandages, a bottle of antibiotics, and several bottles of Mebendazole (sold by the name of Vermox in Mexico), I also took a book that had the name of the active ingredients in medicines as well as most commercial names both here in the US (this would prove useful later on, not only when scavenging pharmacies and hospitals, but for anyone who's a chemist with extensive knowledge in pharmaceuticals will thank you). Then, we finally saw a group of dead soldiers; I did recognize some of them, the others must've been in the compound, I also found Kathy, with a rather nasty gunshot wound in her back. Who shot the soldiers, though? We were gonna find out soon.

Right where used to be a public hospital, there was several makeshift shacks, as well as concrete barricades and military cars. Not this shit again.

This time, however, were not welcomed at gun point, at least not as aggresively. These were not soldiers from the outside the country, forced to serve in a desertic area, these were home-grown men and women who knew the place and the people. However, I hid the Xiuhcoatl, as I know how soldiers are with their equipment. We found the rest of the girls, along with several more people, including a doctor that was friends with my dad. I talked with him for a while, and I told him what happened to my parents.

I stayed in the night there. For the first time I slept in a bed, with both my dogs with me. I did not had to worry where my next meal was gonna go, and for a moment, I felt like I was back in civilization.

Next morning, I spoke with several soldiers. The concensus was clear: They were gonna relocate, too many criminals and rogue soldiers were starting to get in the city, trying to carve a turf for their own, especially in the areas that used to be for rich people, while the grunts occupied the rest.

I felt that it wasn't a good idea, but I wasn't gonna go bitching about it. I asked the doctor for a few basic med supplies, and some water and food. I said goodbye to the girls, and was on my way back to my house, to bury my parents.

domingo, 22 de agosto de 2010


The old wound is aching again, so this time I'll be a little brief, if you excuse me.

The soldiers had us surrounded, I guess it's better to keep the stock and take the poor bastard's stuff, right? They were heavily armed, and well trained. It wasn't like the looters in my house, any move I did would result in all of us getting killed.

There were at least seven of them, most of them armed with the typical assault rifles of the mexican army (what we used to call H&K G3), and only whom he seemed the superior carried a fancy Xiuhcoatl assault rifle, battered up but still usable, from the looks of it. They all shouted that I raised my hands, and I complied.

The girls started to cry, or at least whimper a bit, as one of the soldiers approached. I quickly grabbed him and used him as a shield. Didn't matter much to the soldiers, as they still fired away, killing him. I fired a couple of shots with my beretta while the girls ran. Two soldiers went after them, but I killed one with a shot to the neck, and injured the other in his knee. I still had to deal with five pissed off soldiers, so I took cover quickly. Now instead of couting five, I saw two, not good. I looked back, only to find a soldier about to stab me in the neck with his knife. I shot him three times before he fell to the ground, his blood in my face. I ran to look for better cover, as bullets flew over my head. I took the other beretta and, with some cover, shot back. I would've busted his head wide open, but I only managed to make the soldier's helmet fly. Then, a soldier tried to sneak through me with his Xiuhcoatl, using his rifle butt to hit me. We strugled for a minuted, but I managed to take his rifle and shoot him a couple of times with the beretta.

Three down, four more to go.

I looked over again, and the other three soldiers were, from the looks of it, returning to campus. I could not let that fly.

The rifle felt smoothly as I fired it, but I had a problem with the recoil. I managed to hit two soldiers, one in the back, the other in the neck. The third one was hit, but not by me, but shrapnel. That one, I'd take down with my knife, at close distance.

Didn't took much, but there's a difference between killing a man with a gun, and killing him with a knife. Much more visceral, more primal. Not a very enoyable thing to do. I hid quickly, and tried to look for my friends. I saw the blood of the soldier I shot in the knee, only to find him in a house, hitting poor Alex. He overcame her.

I grabbed him from the back and slit his throat, looking at him as he tried to gasp for air. Alex thanked me and hugged me. I dropped the knife for a moment and held her tight. We looked for the others, but with no luck, they splitted. She told me we needed to find them, but I knew it was not gonna be an option, not while there's still looters around. But I told her I'd try, that I needed to go back to look for the rest of my things.

We came back, my dogs we slightly happy, wagging their tails and doing little whimpers, as if I was gone for years. Alex was drawn to them, and my dogs like to meet new people. The sniffed her around and welcomed her to the pack (which I was graceful enough to belong to, heheh), I told her we needed to rest a bit, but she was still worried.

That would be my first experience with settlements, and more importantly, answers to what happened the days I was in the panic room.

sábado, 21 de agosto de 2010


Damn rats, you have to keep them away from the cables, otherwise they'll chew them off.

Where was I? Oh, yes, the city. I wanted nothing to do with the blow I found with the looters, but I knew it might give me an edge for barter. I took the pickup, it was the first time I drove one. It was difficult to move between the wreckage of the cars, so after half an hour of driving pretty much to nowhere, I decided that we needed to walk. I traveled light, and my dogs kept their eyes and ears well on the spot. Dodged a few more looters, most of them carried pipes, knives, maybe a gun or two, but I was outnumbered. I have never seen my dogs more quiet as I did those days. Maybe the felt that 'nothing was right' ever since the Fires started. Maybe it was their survival instinct.

I needed to get away from the city as fast as I could, but I was, honestly, afraid. We had to move slowly, block by block, avoid the big streets and keep to allies and already looted houses. The point was to keep moving and keep hiding. Maybe even scavenge what I could find. A little bit of water here, a bit of medicines over there; also, the leg wound from the past firefight was aching, but it was nothing more than shrapnel, and I had to remove it during the night. All it took was a bit of wood to chew, some rubbing alcohol to clean the wound, hot tweezers, and lots of booze. It hurt like hell, and I drew a bit more blood, but I was able to make it. Bandaging the wound with part of my clothes (soaked with what was left of the alcohol), I made sure the wound was clean. I didn't slept well that night, not because of the wounds, but because of what I heard.

Screams. Women's screams. Apparently they were taking them... Somewhere. I did not know where back then. But I was scared shitless. I heard several men, and lots of machinery. Cars? No, it was heavier. Tanks? Could be.

Morning came, and it was time to keep moving. Keep pushing forward. I ventured a bit in the less wrecked streets, and thankfully, there was no one. I set up shop in an abandoned bus and made breakfast there. At that point, I've never thought Spam would taste so good, but it did. One can less, and I knew me and my dogs might be able to survive a day or two on the food and water we had, but I had no idea what I'd do after that. Keep scavenging, I guess. Or maybe start hunting.

This was gonna be a month of firsts, I thought.

After an hour or two, I got closer to my college campus. I remembered there were oranges there. Sweet ones and plenty of them. I hoped that no one figured that out. But as I got closer, I could see soldiers, holed up in the campus buildings. I kept hiding, and looking... And there they were.

A few friends of mine, some of them I thought they were hot. Captured, and tied together with rope. There was a line of men, about four of them, standing in line looking at them. They'd pick one and the soldiers would untie them, and they'd go inside to one of the buildings.

... Their look on the girl's faces... It is a look that will always haunt me. It boiled my blood just looking at it.

I looked for a safe place to keep my dogs hidden. I tied them down, and told them I'd come back. They just wiggled their little tails and sniffed my face. Bless the dogs. Even at the bleakest of days, you can always count on their loyalty and love. I left the books and part of the food, and most of the water. I only took with me two berettas, an AK-47, a bit of food and the cocaine.

The guns were loaded.

As I moved closer, the soldiers pointed their guns at me, screaming. I just showed them the blow and told them I wanted to do business. They complied, and one got close to me.

They told me, since their captain was dead, they pretty much survived on what they could: Prostitution of any girl unlucky enough to be on their way, or slavery. I pointed at the girls: Fionna, Alex, Nadia, and Kathy. He said that the cocain could only get me two. We bartered for a bit, and with an extra of the food, and the AK, I took the four. Their look still haunts my dreams, but when they saw me, I think something in them grew back, like if they were trapped in darkness for a time, and now they finally saw the light of day after a while.

However, the soldiers did not needed to know I knew them. I yelled at them, ordered them to move. The look on my friend's faces was of confusion and horror, some even really thought this was true and pulled the noose of the ropes I was holding, as if they thought the soldiers treated them any better. I kept the act, but when we were at a safe distance, I told them what was going on. Kathy, who was more scared, didn't believe me; the others didn't seem to care, as if they were now used to this 'life'. Only Alex, her brown eyes staring at mine, asked me to how did I survived. I assured them all I was on their side, but I did not said anything of what happened on the house, or the panic room. I removed the ropes from them, and they all cried. Kathy hugged me and thanked me. It's funny, months before most of them didn't either cared much about me, but now... Now I needed to know how I was gonna feed five people and two dogs. And no way I was kill the dogs.

That was going on when the soldiers came, and tried to ambush me.

I need to take care of a few things. I'll leave this for later.

viernes, 20 de agosto de 2010

Getting out

It seems that every time I connect this computer to the generator, it glitches and dies off. Poor thing, most of the pieces I cobbled up together were slightly damaged from the Fires.

So, how did my scrawny ass survived the pillaging of the first days? The panic room, along with the supplies, was more than enough for me and my two dogs to survive a little more than two weeks. When food and water ran scarce, and the bathroom was pretty much smelling, we emerged. The house has torn to pieces, and pretty much everything was ransacked over and over: Food, water, knives, any electronics, clothes, you name it.

I had the gun with me, and it felt heavy. I've only used a gun once or twice during Military service, but that was, maybe a few years back. I had to teach myself how to use a gun, and how to defend myself. I knew a bit of hand to hand combat, but honestly, I didn't felt any safer knowing that. My dogs were a bit nervous, and howling. We ran back to the shelter, but before I closed the lid, I heard a car parking infront of a car, and several people, possibly armed.

The panic room (more like a shelter, if you ask me) was a simple thing: It was made below the backyard, the lid entrance covered by a patch of grass (the one you used to see rolled up), wich you had to climb down, and the room was perhaps not bigger than my old room (which was 16x19 feet), save it had a bathroom, a diesel engine, lots of cans of food and bottled water (now eaten and drank), as well as a few amenities that kept me sane.

Where was I? Oh, yes, the men. I closed the lid (and obviously placed the patch above it before) and loaded the gun. My dogs weren't barking, but their ears and eyes well placed on the lid.

There were sounds of more ransacking, muffled voices, very angry, trying to look for anything. I heard steps above me, and one of my dogs (the female) lifted her front paw. I just held the gun with both hands, eyes covered in tears and hoping that they would not find me. The lid opened.

I swear I still don't remember what happened afterwards. I do remember shooting, I remember a man falling, I remember picking his rifle quickly, an AK 47 I think. I remember getting out, and gunshots. I screamed, I think. My dogs were barking.

After that, I remember all the blood. Mine, the five guys, and my house covered in bullets. I cried for a few minutes, and saw my parents' corpses, rotting away. I could not do anything else. I brought my dogs from the shelter, one by one, and took what these men had: Ammo, their guns (not just the AKs, but also an AR-15, a couple of berettas (one of them painted in gold), and several bottles of water, canned goods and what I think it was cocaine, all that stuff in their trunk of the pick up.

I took what I could find from the house: A set of very heavy medicine books (my dad was a doctor), a blanket, and a few set of wires and cables.

The sight of the street was horrifying: There were cars crashed everywhere, I saw smoke coming from several buildings in the horizon. The houses were torned up, mostly by other cars, and several doors were smashed on the street. I think I heard a helicopter in the distance, but I didn't want to venture on that.

I needed to move out, seek food and water. I needed to make a choise.

I'll leave this for the moment. Heard some noises outside.

jueves, 19 de agosto de 2010


Finally, I was able to rig this up. It might take a while, possibly even months, maybe years at worst, but I was able to rig up the generator. Befriending the techies was well worth it.

My name is Diego, and I'm writing this from what it used to be the Mayor's home in Hermosillo, a city of what it used to be the country I knew as a kid as Mexico. The year? Twenty, possibly even thirty years after the Fires. The moment the sun decided to give Earth a gigantic solar storm, even more powerful than most scientists predicted.

I don't know about the rest of the world, but it seems that pretty much the North American countries (Mexico, Canada, and the US) have been hit hard. Days after the Fires, I remember the riots started. The pillaging, the raping, the raiding, my parents died when a car crashed in our house. We just moved, since the previous owner died of age. I hid in the backyard along with my dogs, two beagles. I noticed that there was something below the yard, a secret room, a panic room of sorts. I got in, and the looters took what they wanted and left.

From what I remember, pretty much every electronic device was fried, except those that were well-protected. This means most government equipment, and private equipment as well (private as in corporate and very rich people). There was little noise from outside, and the place was well-stocked: Canned goods that weren't expired, bottled water, a flashlight and plenty of batteries, even a gun: A small beretta, with plenty of ammo.

I didn't realized it then, but I realize it now: We're never going back to the way things were.

For now, this is it. This computer is glitching again, might need to use a little elbow grease to fix it again.