Smoke curls out from under the rubble. A soot-stained sky blanketed over the crimson glow of a burning city frames a lone man standing, rifle in hand. His tattered clothes flutter in the hazy breeze and he inhales deeply. The smell of gunpowder all but ingrained in the consciousness of the few survivors of this once great nation. He reaches up and brushes the ash out his light brown hair and as he retracts his hand he stares at it. Dirt that would come free from his hands, but never from his soul.
It had only been one week since the bombs dropped but it had felt like years. The hardships he had to face, the decisions he had to make, a sound night's sleep was forever lost to him. Total war had erupted and the everything he had known was torn away from him. No one actually knew why it happened, just that the US fired first and after that nothing was the same.
China erupted into nuclear hellfire two weeks ago. An entire culture gone in a few hours. After that it was hard to keep track, no one knows who bombed the US, and to be frank it doesn't matter. Why the US wasn't hit with nukes was anyone's guess. John certainly didn't care anymore, all he could do was keep moving and try to survive, his time in the military certainly did not prepare him for this.
John hurriedly shoves a piece of paper that was in his hand into his pocket and turns to a noise approaching from behind. Four men eclipse the pile of rubble. They are wearing all black but a blazing red swastika shone in the center of their chests. Their filthy faces shine as they approach him, blunt weapons of various kinds are clutched in their gnarled fists. One of the men strides forward and places the tip of his baseball bat under John's chin and pushes his head up.
"What do we have here fellas? Looks like someone got a little lost," the man chuckles and his cronies follow suit.
"I would say you're lucky to even be alive, but everyone's luck has to run out sometime," a toothy grin takes up his face, "Now give me the gun like a good boy."
John looks up, defiance in his eyes. "No, it's mine. Fuck off."
The man laughs like it was the funniest thing he ever heard and clutches his side as he staggers off to the left a little.
"Did you hear that fellas?," he wipes fake tears from his eyes and suddenly gets serious and stares John down, "This nigger thinks he can talk like that. To us?!"
The three other men move towards John, weapons in hand.
"We took our country back, nigger, now do as you're told!" The man reaches towards the gun and John's mind is made up in an instant. He must act.
John swings the rifle upwards into the man's jaw knocking him down with a satisfying thunk. The other three men are closing in and John flips the rifle into a firing position and fires off one round into the center man approaching him. A crimson spray erupts from his chest as he crumples to the ground. The leftmost man is now upon him and swings his lead pipe at John's head. John ducks underneath and swiftly slams the butt of the gun into the man's crotch. He screams and collapses, cradling his crotch.
The fourth man is a little worried now. He's circling John with his bat outstretched, staying close enough that if John raises the rifle he'd have an easy opening but not close enough to engage in melee combat with John immediately. John uses this lull to quickly let loose a shot from the hip at the man he just felled and the crack silences the man's groans. The fourth man uses this as an opportunity to swing and knocks the rifle out of John's hands and then comes around for another swing. John raises up his left arm and catches the bat with the side of his arm, a crack fills the air as pain flairs in his arm. He then steps forward planting his right leg behind the man's left leg and throws his right elbow into the man's face. The man's nose crunches and blood spurts onto John's face. The scarlet blood matching the fury in his eyes. He stumbles over John's foot and crashes down and John is quick to leap on him and cave his face in with his bare fists.
John begins to stand, relief and exhaustion beginning to come over him when he feels a sharp cold sting in his back. He spins around, more slowly than before and his back screams. The first man stands triumphantly in front of him, blood running down his jaw and onto his chest.
"I fucking got ya! How's the knife feel nigger?!
John can feel the knife deep in his back and his strength is quickly leaving him. He falls to his knees and he can feel that he's wet but he's also numb. The man walks forward, "Imma beat you like the dog you are bitch." He's within striking distance and with the last of his energy John reaches around and rips the knife out of his back and lunges at his throat. The man is obviously startled and the knife easily finds its mark, sinking to the handle in the man's neck and then becoming obscured by crimson.
The man's body falls forward and knocks John to the side. John is laying on his back, blood now seeping into the rubble beneath him. He slowly reaches down and pulls out the piece of paper in his pocket and unfolds it to reveal a picture of a young Hispanic woman.
"Maybe getting sent away actually saved you," he tries to chuckle weakly to himself but is interrupted by a bloody cough. John presses the picture to his lips and closes his eyes, welcoming the darkness.