They thought electricity would save the world, they were wrong.
Rosie and her friends have survived the Void, but that’s not all. They have lost everything there is to lose, and now they’re fighting for the survival of the human race.
Click here for more information about our age ratings and content.
The grass was soft beneath Rosie’s feet, she realised how much everything had changed. The only beautiful thing in her life was the grass beneath her tired feet. She could see an orange haze above the horizon, indicating that soon the morning will come once again. She’s been walking all night, never stopping. It was as if she was detached from her body, seeing everything from outside. Two months, not seeing another human being apart from the people she called her friends.
Every night the girl who was no more than 16 lay down and thought the question, What if. What if this hadn’t happened, what if her family was still alive? She still recalled the first day of the storms. Coming home from school on the tube, thinking about things which she knows are as important as dust now. The prom was that night and she was meeting with her friends. Then the ground shook and the light became blue and sparkling. The last thing she saw before everything went pitch black was the eyes of a tiny child holding on to his mum.
Ten people, the ten who were on the tube with her, they survived and as far as they know no one else did. Walking, still walking head hung down staring at the grass. Charlie who was only seven years old suddenly started shouting, at first it was inaudible, but then he formed two words “Big house”, There in front of their eyes was a huge palatial building. It was made of glass and it was the cleanest thing she’d seen since the void had occurred. The sight was so unbelievable and heavenly that Rosie and her gang didn’t notice the hundred sniper guns aimed at their heads’.
A crackly voice sounded over a megaphone, Rosie didn’t think those things existed any more.
“Drop all your weapons now, or your time in this freak life is over!” The voice sounded young and apprehensive, Not that scary at all especially after all the little group had been through. They still dropped all their weapons as they did have deadly guns armed with men who wouldn’t think twice about shooting aimed at their foreheads. The barbed wire fence opened slowly, surprisingly slowly, as it looked so slick and powerful.
A vehicle that she remembered as a car pulled up and the door opened. All ten of them could fit. Charlie and his mum Samantha; the old man whose name was Lieutenant Jake; an old woman who was still fighting; The young couple who would never separate; The 12 year old identical twins Callum and Jack; then Carl and Rosie (they existed for each other).
A white, snake like, mist poured as quickly and as silently as water into the metal box. Charlie was the first to go, his head dropped and he started snuffling, the way he does when he’s asleep. Eventually they all let their heads drop and started sleeping unbelievably peacefully.
Rosie’s vision was blurry; as her sight focused she saw the shadowy shapes of her friends. Suddenly there was blinding light, her pupils contracted and a voice sounded from circles on the roof.
“Travellers, you are under lockdown, you may have been exposed.” Exposed to what, Rosie thought, millions of horrible images spiralled through her head. The voice continued.
“This is no disease, it will not hurt you, you have 1 hour to get clean and to change clothes. We will explain.”
Rosie saw red,
“They kidnapped and drugged us and they expect us to trust them, idiots, they haven’t survived in the wild for six months only eating berries and some random mutated animal meat.”
She was fuming, breathing heavily after her burst of speech.
“Wow, slow down” it was Lieutenant Jake, he was laughing.
“This isn’t funny Jake!” Rosie was lost, how could an old man who’s witnessed so much death laugh about this.
“No it’s certainly not funny, but we weren’t eating mutated animal, it was something called squirrel, I keep forgetting you’re a city girl.”
A high pitched tinkling laugh sounded from Charlie, a huge smile was plastered on his face and suddenly the whole room was filled with laughter, something that no one had heard since the void.
After everyone was clean and showered the door hissed and slid to the left.
A man with a chiselled face appeared and gestured with his petite, clean hand. The now clean group followed the young man. Something about him seemed wrong Rosie thought suddenly. She whispered to Carl.
“He’s not right no one in the void has hands and clothes like that, it’s unnatural.”
Carls face showed that he agreed with Rosie, but the man was looking with black empty eyes that bored into Rosie’s body.
“We’re nearly there; hurry the leader of SVD has no space for lagers.” The man’s voice was jarring to the ears and Rosie cringed.
“And he speaks,” Carl smiled as he said the words. Making Rosie want to laugh so bad that she stuffed her now clean fist into her mouth. They turned the corner and all laughter she had been containing drained away.
“Take a seat.” The same voice from the megaphones sounded. A man sat at a desk surrounded by blinking lights. Workers scurried around, reminding Rosie of ants. Rosie realised that everyone, including Lieutenant Jake, was staring in awe at the technology. They hadn’t seen it for the last six months.
“This is a first, we haven’t have company for, well I can’t remember.” Something about this careless comment seemed sinister to Rosie, she could see Jake thinking the same thing.
The man saw the small group of outcasts had nothing to say so decided to explain why they were here and what had happened,
“I suppose that you’ll want to know what ruined your life, and for many ended it” The man chuckled in a psychopathic manner that disturbed her and her friends.
“Well yes that would be helpful young man.” It was Betty, she really needed a walking stick, and she was using the computer to stand.
“Yes old lady, I shall tell you, we don’t want any rebellious experiments”, again everything about this man gave Rosie the creeps
“The Void, That’s what they called it, the disaster that ended civilisation. At first it was storms, as you’ll remember they were storms of unimaginable power. Electricity and fire; crazing those who were still alive with grief and fear. And then, what they thought was just another storm; turned out to be an electrical impulse that shut down bodily functions of most humans. The only ones who survived were the ones in the underground system of a city they called New York; I’m guessing that’s where you were. Satellites orbiting the now desolated planet cut out and dropped at thousands of miles an hour towards the rocky surface of the depressing sphere that people called home. We are now in the countryside near Hollywood; it seems that you have walked across America!” The man said this last bit with a smile.
Rosie open and closed her eyes, wishing that this was all a dream and that soon she would wake up to the sound of her mum and dad or to the sound of her dog Bruno barking. She realised that this was reality and there was no escape from the disaster called life. The man continued,
“I understand that you’ll be confused, but if you don’t mind I’ll be the one asking the questions.”
Rosie glanced over to Carl and saw him fuming, clearly despising the little man although they’d only just met.
“No objections, OK. Firstly how on earth, wait let me re-phrase that, how on THIS earth did you survive?”
“If you don’t mind, we’d prefer to keep that information confidential.” It was Carl, Rosie new that he had just worsened their situation tenfold.
“Ah, what’s your name, little rebel?” The man said it in a jokey way, but his eyes portrayed a totally different story.
“My name is Carl; this is Rosie, Charlie, Lieutenant Jake, Callum, Jack, Samantha, Erin, Fraser and Betty.”
“Well Carl, nice for one of you to speak I suppose. I’ll make a compromise if I answer your questions, you answer mine.”
This was not a question, this was an order. Carl nodded. Rosie spoke quickly, thinking the longer she thought the less question time they had.
“What were we contaminated with, sir” Rosie was at a loss of what to call the man. A chuckle showed that he was most certainly not a sir.
“A type of lice, not normal, carries electromagnetic signals that shut down computers like the ones you see before me.”
That was it, not some life threatening disease that shut down your ability to speak or something like that. They didn’t care for the outcasts; they only cared for their whirring, buzzing computers that supposedly held the answer to life, the universe and everything.
“So the pulse did mutate things” Rosie glanced back at Jake in an accusatory manner.
“Yes, they did. What’s your name?”
“We’re are not contaminated SIR even if we were would you care more for the computers than us?” It was Carl.
Rosie looked at Carl in an accusative manner; wandering what had made him burst so suddenly. Normally he was so calm and collected, she realised why, this man was treating the ten humans like inferior. He had no right to do this; he obviously didn’t have to fight to for his every single night against dangers as small as poisonous mushrooms all the way to mutated dangerous animals!
The little man started to talk again, his voice was boring into her skull. She hasn’t realised how tired she was until now. She put up her hand shyly, only then realising that she was interrupting Carl being chided and shunned. The man’s black eyes turned slowly and deliberately towards their next victim.
“Yes miss… Rosie. It seems that you have interrupted me in the middle of explaining the hierarchy at SVD”
“Richard, call me Richard.”
“Yes, Richard. I was wondering if we could all listen to your interesting words after we’ve had a little sleep. I know that I won’t be the only one who won’t remember your words.”
You could see the cogs of his mind turning slowly, it was nerve wracking, and her outburst could either save them… or kill them.
“Well you’ll be more help to us fully aware, so yes, I will let you overrule me just this once. If this EVER happens again; I’m afraid that there will have been no point winning against the Void.”
His last comment troubled Rosie, but she was tired now and she would worry about that in the morning. That would be if there was one. No one in this foreign place could be trusted; even for simple things like a glass of water. Her legs were heavy and the long winding corridors made her think that she was in a maze. How a building of such magnitude could be built here in the desolate plains of Hollywood.
Charlie was beginning to weaken, his shrimp legs couldn’t take one more step, he was being carried by his mother, and she could barely stand. Jake was about to step in and help the struggling pair, but the clone (that’s what Rosie called the perfect man) said in his chirpy voice,
“Your ‘rooms’ are here”
Rosie looked with a confused look at the clone, why had he said ‘room’ so sarcastically; it didn’t look like anything abnormal. But as she climbed into her bed, forgetting all troubling thoughts and tried to fall asleep.
She tried to fall asleep. No matter what she’d tried she couldn’t get to sleep. Lastly she thought of a sleeping technique her mum had taught her; It involved touring around the school. It worked until she heard the familiar buzz if the lightning storms in her mind; she saw four year olds cowering in the corner. This was fine; there were teachers to help them… until. Rosie saw what looked like a bluish transparent wave; she hadn’t been there for the actual atrocity, so this was mainly in her imagination. The four year olds keeled over, somewhat peacefully. She felt her eyelids get heavier; what sadistic world did she live in if four year olds dying were peaceful.
She woke up, a red light was flashing and a siren was wailing, she remembered the clone saying ‘room’ this obviously wasn’t a room; it was a death trap.
Betty was screaming, she had noticed that the walls were slowly contracting. Panic gripped Rosie’s stomach; they’d survived the Void for what, some psychopath and his cronies to squish them. That’s when she spotted the air vent, big enough for all of them to fit in. She screamed for silence, and the din stopped; expectant eyes looked up to her, some filled with tears.
“There’s an air vent, follow me”
To demonstrate her point, she jumped on the bed; walls getting closer every second; and she climbed into the metal tube. She was followed by Lieutenant Jake; Samantha; Carl and Fraser. That’s when the floor fell away and half the group dropped into darkness.
The room was still echoing with the creams of the five people they had just lost. Samantha and Fraser were crying uncontrollably: they had just lost a son and a fiancé.
Eventually it was the rough voice of Jake that broke the silence hanging over them like a blanket of death.
“We ought to get going, nothing aint gonna happen if we stay here and weep; were gonna safe them, and were gonna kill these idiots at SVD.”
Rosie managed to put each knee one in front of the other, the metal box was tight, and it was hard to breath.