Father and I have thirty-seven rehearsed contingency plans, everything ranging from wild dog attacks to flash floods to the (extremely) unlikely event that some psycho somewhere found out how to launch and detonate a nuclear missile. Noise outside the RV is something we've had to deal with before; nine times out of ten it's animals sniffing around, but once in a while it's a human, and they're unpredictable at the best of times.
Our movements are fluid and practiced as we get into position. Father glides silently up the top-hatch ladder, holding his rifle by the stock. I get the shotgun from under the bed and press myself flat against the wall next to the door.
Father's custom 'periscope' allows him to monitor the outside from just below the hatch. His cameras feed into a screen he has jury-rigged to the ladder.
One man, he signals. Armed. Wait.
Father opens the hatch painstakingly slowly. He greases it regularly but it still groans once in a while. Thankfully, it does not this time. He lifts himself out of the hatch, preparing to get the jump on the man and force him to throw down his weapon.
Except the latch in front of me turns and suddenly the door is swinging outward. I make a clicking sound, slightly masked by the creaking door, but Father doesn't seem to hear it. I freeze in place, gripping my gun tightly and holding my breath.
A boot enters first: black, worn, work-boot style, caked with mud and dirt. The man that follows is younger than I expect, probably no older than twenty. His muss of sandy-blonde hair is mostly hidden under a dark toque and his cheeks and chin have a dusting of pale stubble. He's startlingly good-looking, in fact, and as I try to remain invisible against the wall I find myself hoping we don't have to kill him. I'm betting his Winchester is loaded.
"The fuck is all this?" he whispers as he gazes around at our abode. His accent is funny and I have to stifle a giggle.
Focus, Regan¸ I think. Check his gear.
He's surprisingly bundled up, given the mild weather. I see no signs of Kevlar or other armour, but he does have a backpack and a large hunting knife at his belt.
He walks right by me, straight for the CDs I left on my bed.
"Hey!" I blurt out. Shit. As he wheels around I panic, dropping to the floor and kicking his legs out from under him. He falls softly upon the mattress, but I cringe as I hear an unwelcomed crunch of plastic from beneath him. He's startled, either by the sound or from me tripping him, and his gun goes off.
Whoops, I think. I check my vitals. No holes. It looks like he poked a hole in the ceiling.
"Dad?" I shout as I kick the rifle out of the man's hands. "Don't fucking move!" I bark, aiming my shotgun barrel at his midsection. "And get off my CDs!"
"Which one?" he asks urgently. "Don't move or get off your CDs?"
"Ugh, just get on the floor and put your hands behind your head."
"Oh fuck, don't kill me," he pleads as he follows my instructions. He begins to sob and I suddenly find him less attractive.
"Regan?" Father comes down the ladder to discover that I already have the situation in hand. "Are you ok?"
"I've got this, dad."
YOU ARE READING
Doom's DaughterScience Fiction
Seventeen years ago, The Doom spread across the globe, destroying civilization. Humanity survives now in isolated groups, trying to rebuild what was lost. Regan and her father are scavengers, salvaging technology and knowledge from forgotten cities...