After a shockingly long break (7ish years?) part two of the Last World War is so close to being done. So, as I finish the last two chapters and take one more editing pass here is Chapter 1 from the upcoming book.
Book 1 is currently on Amazon and can be found on this website on the Books page.
As Matt pulled up in front of Shelly’s house, he couldn’t get over the fact that it had been a year since they’d gotten serious about their relationship. They had known each other for years, growing up in a relatively small town made that just a natural part of life, but they had started dating at the end of their junior year of high school. As graduation approached it was hard to believe all that had happened in that relatively short period of time, and how it had forever altered their lives.
They watched together as the most recent in a long list of wars unfolded on television. It was a driving factor in the series of events that made them grow emotionally closer more quickly and deeply than either of them had anticipated. Even though multiple nuclear weapons had been detonated on American soil the bulk of the fighting had taken place overseas. Yes, the nuclear attack was inside the U.S., but those bombs had hit far from their small town, making it abstract, in some ways, but hit home in others. They had personally felt safe, but it was strange to watch. At times it had seemed like it was a work of fiction.
Wars were things that happened elsewhere in the world. They didn’t result in the complete devastation of American cities. That was the way it had been for so long that almost nothing but black and white photos existed of the last military attack to cause any damage on American soil. Those ancient events served to pull the United States into World War 2. It was considered unthinkable for any military to be able to hit the American Homeland given the achievement in technology the United States had developed since that ancient attack in Hawaii.
That was, until these recent attacks, but at least there had been no follow-on invasion of troops. Everyone had feared that was inevitable at the time.
Most people could remember the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington DC that marked the start of an active war on terror, but this had been different. Those attacks had tragically destroyed some massive office buildings and killed more than twenty-five hundred people, but that was small-time by comparison to this new insanity.
Nukes going off on U.S. soil had always been a threat, many petty dictators loved to make public claims that they would one day do such a thing, but the threat had always seemed empty. It was they kind of thing they used to fill airtime on a slow news day. Petty dictators were known to say they were going to do something like that when trying to get attention, but it was never supposed happened. No rational person even considered it a real possibility since the issue involving Cuba way back in the 1960s.
Watching the news coverage of the attacks, with all the dead and injured civilians had changed their young world forever. It made it all that much worse considering Matt had lost his brother in one of those hellish fireballs. At first it was abstract, like his brother was away on vacation, or on a semester abroad. It took a little bit of time, but reality finally set in.
It had made him angry in ways he had never experienced, and even angrier that his brother had insisted on a University so far from home. If he had stayed closer, like Matt had wanted him to do, he would most likely still be alive.
Now it was Matt’s turn to get ready to go to college. Shelly and he were going to attend the same University. The idea came about because of all they had watched unfold, after all that the world had been through they were sure that this love they shared was the one and only love they needed for the rest of their lives, and they didn’t want to be apart for four years. That would seem like an eternity. They intended to use this past year of loss, danger, and recovery as the basis for a lifetime they intended to spend together. That long-term plan was their secret for the moment, because they knew their parents, and even their friends would be against it. They would all say they were too young.
Matt felt he owed Shelly his life. She had saved him.
After the loss of Matt’s brother, Chad, in the attack on Detroit Shelly had helped him as he mourned the loss. That support meant a lot to him. He would miss his brother for the rest of his life, but the thought of Shelly in his life made it easier to cope with the loss. Matt had been on the verge of trying some very foolish things to dull the pain when she came along and stopped him.
Despite the challenges, the United States had fought back and quickly won the War. The other side had suffered staggering military losses. Unlike the sneak attacking assholes, the US military made every attempt to spare their civilian populations any hardship whenever possible. Ultimately the enemy had unconditionally surrendered.
Matt had thrown a party to celebrate the victory. With that victory it was like he could claim his brother had died for a reason. Now, perhaps, there could be decades of peace in the world, and terrorist attacks as well as the resulting wars could become a subject for historians to ponder.
That promise of long-term peace was what all the politicians had said was what the future would hold once the international peace agreements had been signed.
Matt got out of the car and headed for the door. Shelly came bounding out of the house before he was halfway up the walkway.
She threw her arms around his neck, “A year, can you believe it?” she asked, with here eyes closed and a huge smile.
Matt took a step back to look at the young woman he loved. Her blonde hair was shining in the evening light, her athletic build, and tonight of all nights, wearing her “comfy jeans” as she always called her favorite pair of threadbare cutoffs. They were accompanied by a bare midriff t-shirt that may as well have been custom designed to shift his teenage hormones into overdrive.
“So much has happened. I feel like I have known you my whole life. You somehow managed to keep me sane through it all. I have a special surprise planned to celebrate our anniversary. You ready to go?” he asked with a devilish grin.
“Oh, I like surprises,” she said with a flirtatious smile, and a wiggle of her eyebrows.
While hiking with some friends Matt found an excellent spot where they could park, take a walk in the woods and watch the airplanes take off out of Bangor airport on their way to someplace better than the middle of nowhere Maine. Seasonal tourists might love this place for the scenery, and the two of them enjoyed that as much as anyone but growing up here made it not seem all that special. However, all of the leaf covered scenery would offer some privacy for a romantic night, and that was what they both really wanted.
Matt always loved it when his dad let him borrow the convertible. There weren’t a lot of months that option was useful in Maine, but he enjoyed it given the rare opportunity. With the top down Shelly’s long hair was blowing in the wind. It made her look even sexier than normal.
Once they made it to the surprise destination, they parked the car and headed into the woods for their walk, hand in hand.
Matt had managed to time things perfectly. Just as they were finishing their walk, the sun was just starting to disappear over the horizon.
They got into the backseat. They were sitting side by side talking about graduation while doing nothing more than holding hands.
Slowly their talking stopped, and the kissing began. Matt didn’t know when, and didn’t really care how, but Shelly wound up straddling his waist and he felt like he was about to explode. The hormones were raging, and he wasn’t sure he could keep his bodily functions under control long enough to get to the finish line he hoped they were both thinking about.
Shelly abruptly stopped. Matt was confused.
She eagerly looked down at him, knowing this break in activity was a total tease, and slowly removed her shirt, then her bra, exposing herself. The sight of her in this position, and in a state of undress was what he had been looking forward to all day.
Matt had been so distracted by the sight of her bare breasts that he failed to notice the man in jeans and a black t-shirt with military gear strapped to his body coming out of the tree line.
The bastard grabbed Shelly by the hair and dragged her from the car as she screamed wildly, as much from pain as surprise, shock and fear.
Matt watched in disbelief as the man threw her to the ground and kicked her in the stomach as he shouted in guttural tones.
Matt launched himself at the man.
“Who the fuck are you?” he shouted and got no answer he could understand.
The man had two partners who grabbed Matt by the arms and brutally dragged him down onto the dirt road. He landed hard on his back with a huge rock digging into his spine as the three men started to kick him in the face, back, chest, in any exposed area until his head was spinning from pain.
He felt as some bones cracked in his chest. The favorite target of their savage assaults.
It was all Matt could do to get out a few words between blows, “Shelly, RUN!”
Matt was on the ground half naked and bleeding from more places than he could count. Blood had run into his eyes and mouth. Finally, the kicks stopped. Every time he tried to move there was a searing pain in his chest, left arm and right leg.
He made a huge mistake by looking at his arm, then realized it probably would have been better to not know. It looked like a white stick was poking out of his forearm. Blood was streaming down his arm to finally fall to the ground when it got to his fingertips. It took a minute for him to realize that the “stick” was his own bone coming through the skin. At first, he couldn’t believe it, and then he panicked and was certain he was going to die…then he thought of Shelly and regained focus.
He watched helplessly as the largest of them stalked back to where Shelly was trying to crawl away, screaming hysterically. The men laughed as one of them grabbed a handful of her hair and pulled her head back as the young woman kicked and screamed. The man started working her around to the front of the car.
The largest of the assholes picked her up and threw her onto the hood of the car hard enough to dent the thing into a rumpled outline of her body. Another one of them pulled a huge knife that had been dangling from his belt and cut her pants until he could easily rip them off, throwing them to the side. Shelly kept screaming, “Help! Help!”
The shouts grew louder and more desperate as the cold metallic blade slid along the skin of her legs and stomach.
Matt wanted to help, but every time he tried to move his vision got fuzzy and it felt like he was going to lose consciousness.
The largest of them unbuckled his pants as the other two moved to the sides of the car to hold her down on the hood. Knowing what was about to happen, Shelly bucked wildly trying to break free from their vice-like grips. She did not want him to put that thing sticking out from the massive mound of bushy black hair into her, at least not without a struggle.
They were too strong for her. She was quickly becoming exhausted by the struggle, but she continued to kick, getting weaker and weaker with each attempt at striking or breaking free from her attackers. With a little luck, she managed to get an arm free and connect with some soft part of one of the men. He let out a surprised howl. She had no idea where she hit him, but the yelp of pain gave her some semblance of hope.
She redoubled her efforts, lashing out even more furiously, with renewed energy. The injured man stumbled back and fell to the ground. One of the others laughed and grabbed a handful of her hair, then beat her head against the hood of the car a few times until blood ran from multiple cuts to the back of her head and she stopped struggling.
They shoved her to the center of the car hood. Two of the men took up proper position and held her left arm straight out. The third asshole, who had finally recovered from the lucky shot, kicked the elbow, causing bones to shatter and the joint to dislocate. In the process he rendered her arm completely useless as a weapon.
The man who had fallen to the ground after Shelly kicked him picked up a large rock and returned to the struggling young woman. He bashed her in the leg with the rock making her leg emit a snapping sound as the knee bent backward, becoming dislocated, likely breaking ligaments free from where they were once connected.
Shelly lay, barely conscious across the hood of the car.
They kept shouting in a language Matt didn’t understand. He vowed to someday learn what they were saying and find a way to make them pay for what they were doing, if he lived through this.
Their words, in whatever language it was, would be burned into his brain forever. Death would be too easy for them. He wanted them to suffer.
The largest of the attackers flipped Shelly over, so she was face down. With no consideration, he pulled his dick out and shoved it into a body part that was designed for an entirely different purpose.
Shelly could no longer offer resistance. She could barely manage painful groans as she tried to cling to consciousness. From what Matt could see from his vantage point it seemed like every inch of her body was bruised or bleeding. Blood seeped out of cuts as she silently cried as the brutalization continued. She finally managed to turn her head to look at Matt and could see that even with his leg bent the wrong way and his arm obviously broken, he was trying to make his way to her.
She saw him stop crawling, vomit blood, and collapse to the ground. It was impossible to tell if he was alive or dead, it could have gone either way.
It was at that moment she began to realize she may die. She also knew she didn’t want to go down without a fight.
The largest of the attackers picked her up and flipped her over again. He shoved her down on her back, denting hood of the car further.
She let out a primal scream.
With the little strength she had left she spat blood into his eye and yelled, “Fuck you, you goddamn pig!”
He reached down to the ground to pick something up.
In a fit of violent lust he forced his dick into her, then bashed her face in with a rock so large that took two hands to lift. All three men laughed as her skull splintered, and dark, thick fluid came oozing out in every direction. Strange pieces of shredded tissue littered the windshield as her body went into death spasms.
Matt was in and out of consciousness, and could only watch in horror as this unfolded, not exactly understanding or believing what he was seeing.
Through his blurred vision Matt saw what he thought were grains of rice on the ground, but then realized it was her teeth, making him even angrier and more scared than he had been before.
He vomited more blood. Matt could barely move, there was just too much pain. He had to lay there and watch as all three of them ravaged her lifeless body. She was dead and would feel no pain, but Matt’s rage boiled. He was twenty feet away and could do nothing. He had done effectively nothing as the love of his life was killed. His ribs sent lightning bolts of pain through his chest every time he moved.
The men, having finished with the girl, walked back towards Matt’s prone body. One last blow to the head was in order, and everything turned black.
Matt faded in and out. He was only half aware he was being sodomized. His mind was still trying to process everything.
He slowly became aware of the sounds of multiple large truck engines starting. He heard a large group of people moving around somewhere down the hill. Apparently, this was not a couple of random guys wandering through the woods. Through the fog Matt’s brain guessed that the war wasn’t as over as people thought.
Matt wasn’t sure of the exact time he passed out, or what time it was when he woke up, but he knew that he had to stand up, had to move, and above all, he had to find some help. He looked around the area, and realized his dad’s car was gone. He was on his own, with a broken body and no transportation in an isolated area. The grand slam of trouble.
Slowly the memory of what happened came back, bit by horrifying bit. He searched the area for Shelly, hoping it had all been a dream. He found where her body had been. The outline in the dirt was unmistakable. There were some large paw prints and a blood trail. Some animal must of have taken her body off into the woods as a meal.
Matt couldn’t believe any of this had happened.
Was he dreaming?
No, this was real.
Was the love of his life really being digested by some furry woodland creature at this very moment?
It was too much to think about. Hopefully he was wrong, and she was alive someplace. Hopefully she had crawled away and found help. He knew that was not likely, but he needed to believe in something. He needed a reason to endure the suffering that moving down the path on his quest for help would cause. Walking caused more pain than he ever thought he possible to endure, and he knew he had at least a mile to go.
He moved his feet, slowly, carefully. He had to get out of the area. He had to let someone know what happened. He needed someone to help look for her.
Who would believe him? Who would believe it wasn’t just some delusional rambling of an injured kid?
This sort of thing just didn’t happen here, not in the United States, and certainly not in Maine. This was where people went on vacation, there was nothing of strategic military importance here, or anywhere within a hundred miles.
Three guys, come out of nowhere and brutally attack two teenagers, probably killing one and leaving the other for dead?
It just wasn’t something that happened, it shouldn’t happen.
How could this happen?
Why did this happen?
Why did it happen to them?
Matt started moving as fast as he could which was a slow shuffle but at least he was on his feet and moving forward. He was making his way back to the road by remote control. Making matters worse, his shoes were missing. He was still bleeding from multiple wounds but had to find someone and tell them what happened. He had to convince people, no matter what. The alarm had to go out.
No matter how much he wanted to lay down on the ground and sleep, Matt knew he could not. His injuries could wait. Someone had to know what was going on out here before someone else suffered like Shelly.
Someone had to help find her. She had to still be alive out there somewhere in the woods, just unconscious and in desperate need of help.
Barefoot and bleeding, with stunted unsteady steps, he kept making his way down the dirt road. He took no notice of the sharp pricks of the rocks and broken glass cutting into his abused feet. He was beyond feeling pain.
An hour later Matt was slowly limping his way up a country road. He was near exhaustion. He hoped someone would come along and stop. Then he hoped when it happened that it was the right person. There was no way he could survive another attack.
Sgt. Greg Spoker and Sgt. Aaron Little had received the call to mount up into an armored Hummer and head off to a remote part of the countryside. Once there they were to patrol and report any unusual activity. As they drove along the country road, they talked about how they were glad that at least it was not another trip to Afghanistan or Iraq. Both had done several tours over there and did not relish the idea of going back.
Little had just popped open a soda can and was about to light up a smoke when something moving on the side of the road caught his attention.
“Hey, Sergeant Spoker,” Little said, “slow down and load up. I see something up ahead about five hundred yards up on the right.”
The Sergeant slowed the vehicle to a crawl two hundred and fifty yards out from what looked like a zombie slowly shuffling along the road. Both men raised their weapons to the ready with their fingers off the trigger, but not far away resting on the trigger guard. As they scanned for threats they sarcastically hoped the zombie wasn’t a real one.
They figured the whole thing had to be part of a training exercise, and this was one of the participants playing a role of some kind. It was the kind of thing that happened when you were trying to prep for a type of attack that only exists in the mind of some Army training “expert.”
As they neared the person, zombie, or whatever it was, the one arm of the zombie-person began to weakly wave them down. The other arm did not look right from a distance, but it looked different from the other.
“Stop where you are,” Little shouted at the whatever it was, wondering what the hell was going on.
Sergeant Spokers got on the radio to call in the “unusual activity.”
Sergeant Little looked through his rifle scope as he worked his way in closer to the potential threat and saw the frightening image of Matt, “GET THE MED KIT, AND CALL A DAMN AMBULANCE!” he screamed.
“Aaron,” Greg said, “What the fuck is it?”
“It’s some kid. He is seriously messed up. Someone worked him over just like the Iraqis used to do to uncooperative local prisoners.”
Sergeant Little grabbed the medical kit and ran to Matt. Sergeant Spoker was frantically talking on the radio looking for help, “Headhunter Base, this is Ghostrider three Alpha, Over.”
“Ghostrider three Alpha, this is Headhunter Base, go ahead, over.”
“Base, three Alpha, we need casualty evac at,” looking over at the GPS on the dash he read the coordinates.
“Casualty is a teenage male, severe blunt trauma, broken bones and bleeding. First Aid initiated, but he will need higher care before we move him, over.”
“Three Alpha, this is Headhunter six, say again your last. Do I understand you have a casualty, over?” Came the confused reply.
“Six, this is three Alpha. Roger on last. One civilian casualty, priority evacuation is needed. First aid is started, but the kid has massive blunt force trauma, open fractures, and looks like he may lose a leg if you don’t get that evac, preferably air evac, here right now, over.”
There was a short pause before the reply.
“Air evac is on the way. Secure the area, treat casualty to the best of your ability. Keep whoever it is alive, we need to know what the hell is going on. Intelligence reports coming our way from all over are confused at best, and contradictory at worst, over.”
“Six, Three, roger, out.”
Sergeant Little slid to a stop as he ripped open a medical kit. Sergeant Spoker was moving the truck forward to shine more light on the scene so they could work on the injuries more easily.
“Shit, where the fuck is Doc when you need him? This kid is messed up. I can stop most of the bleeding, and he has so many broken bones I don’t know where to start,” Little said to no one in particular. He had already bandaged some of the head wounds and was working his way down the body trying to prioritize the worst injuries first. Looking at the open fracture, he just immobilized the arm as much as possible and moved on. Matt was such a mess it was hard to tell active bleeders from injuries that had managed to clot and still had blood flowing across them from elsewhere.
Sergeant Spoker was moving around, sweeping the area with his weapon at the ready, looking for any source of potential trouble when he saw the dragged footmarks Matt had left on the side of the road. Kneeling down, he flipped on his tactical light and discovered the trail of blood.
“Aaron,” he called out, “check the kid’s feet and see if they are bleeding.”
Little moved to Matt’s feet and recoiled in horror. He had seen people, friends as well as enemies blown up. Never in his life had he seen as much damage done to a human body part still attached to someone that had just been moving under their own power. The only thing his mind could think of was how much they resembled ground beef. The same kind of stuff he had made into burgers on the weekend countless times.
There were bits of twigs sticking out of Matt’s feet. His heels were down to the bone in multiple places. There was torn flesh just dangling off in all directions. One toe was missing from what appeared to be the result of Matt dragging that foot behind him, like it had been sandpapered off.
He put tight bandages over both feet as fast as he could and said, “Just save your energy man, stop trying to talk. We have more help on the way. You are massively dehydrated on top of everything else. I am going to start an IV drip and try to get your fluid levels back up.”
Sergeant Spoker kept patrolling the area while Sergeant Little worked on Matt. They could hear sirens in the distance, and a large helicopter thumping its way towards their position.
“I think we can say this isn’t a training exercise,” the Sgt Little said, vocalizing for the first time what they both knew.
What the hell had happened?
The War was supposed to be over.
AP NEWS FLASH: There are unconfirmed reports of a foreign military invasion in the state of Maine. These reports are scattered and varied. There is no video, photographic, or audio evidence of these claims. The Governor of Maine has activated the National Guard, who are currently patrolling the regions of these reports looking for unusual activity. Residents in that part of the country are instructed to call local authorities if they see anything suspicious, but for their own safety they are urged to let first responders or National Guard deal with any threats.
AP ECONOMIC NEWS FLASH: Upon initial, unconfirmed reports of an military invasion in the United States prices for oil and other commodities were driven much higher. Given that this event occurred on Saturday afternoon, and the US markets are closed, it is expected these rumors can be put to rest before the markets open on Monday and will have little to no impact on the overall market averages.