Chapter Two

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My name is April. I live in a bunker, somewhat hidden in the sparse forests surrounding what is left of Las Vegas, Nevada. I wish I could say that the nights would bring bright lights, slot machines ringing and an endless party, but that would not be so. The valley is a graveyard, black as pitch at night and a ghost city in the day. All that is left of a city that never sleeps.

My mother Helen and my younger brother Jeremy live with me in this makeshift home buried in the side of the mountains. It's pretty cool considering we could be out in the open where the vampires roamed at night. It was simple; we had found a door in a mountain cabin to what would've been part of a basement that led down a long hallway and into a cemented-in bunker. Located deep inside the bowels of the forest near Mt Charleston, this had become our home. It was ventilated somehow, had stores and stores of non-perishable food lining shelves and storage areas in a separate room.

Gallons of water sat in drums as big as me and a filtration system was set up for recycling the water that we did use. The place was wired with solar energy and generators if needed. The sleeping quarters were in a corner of the first room and consisted of three beds lined up next to one another. My mother and I took turns keeping watch during the night while Jeremy got to sleep the whole night. It wasn't much, but it was home.

The luck we had felt when we found this place was overwhelming. It was more than we could have hoped for. By chance we had searched the plain log cabin that sat atop the bunker and discovered this entombed sanctuary. Whoever had built it had had some money to burn and probably had been some sort of apocalypse-paranoid survivalist. It didn't matter in the end; it had not helped them any more than any money could've have helped in the end of times. The owners hadn't made it back here and it had remained untouched until we'd found it. I often wondered who they had been. It wasn't like they had lived here much, there had been no family photographs displayed across the walls or sitting on the coffee table. Nothing to mark it as lived in at all, like an abandoned and forgotten place, a just-in-case sort of place.

We still had to run down to the city for supplies. My mother did not like using up the stores in the bunker; she said she'd rather use what was widely available now in the abandoned stores and shops in the city than use what we had. It made sense; the city's abundance was for now, the bunker supplies for later. That didn't mean I didn't hate going down there. The city was crawling with vampires. They lurked in shadows of the evenings and stared hungrily at you as you walked about. A thousand eyes watching and sizing you up, it was the most uncomfortable feeling ever. As long as you didn't stay out too late, you wouldn't see them as much in the morning and afternoon hours. Dark buildings were an absolute no go. They holed themselves in the guts of structures until nightfall, when the burn of the sun no longer seared their ashen skin.

I hadn't always been so physical, but since I'd had it out with a vampire or two already, I had insisted on watching tape after tape of martial arts and weapons training after those near-fatal attacks on me and my family. My mother participated in these training sessions with me, too. Our slender muscles proved our dedication. We were femme fatales. I liked it that way. Delicate flowers were for the dogs.

The days went by slowly. Some weeks we didn't venture out at all, some weeks we explored the city every day. My mother really didn't want to go all vigilante and kill the hives of vampires we tended to find. I had killed some smaller ones, but my thirst to extinguish them grew with every kill. I spent my days sharpening my knives and arrows. I'd spend hours in the hunting stores, running my hands over the variety of weapons, guns, crossbows, all sorts of contraptions. I would settle on some shorter swords, machetes, daggers and crossbows. I had guns of course, but they were loud and tended to awaken the hives around us, getting them stirring earlier than we like.

This was the reason we were running that day. I had gotten in a bind and had to shoot a large hive of about 6 vampires that I'd come upon in small grocery store. I had cursed myself for letting them surprise me. I should have noticed their putrid smell before coming near them. But for some reason I had been distracted and hadn't been at my most-alert that day. Mom had been pissed. She'd had to join me to extinguish them, leaving my brother outside in the open daylight. This was a definite taboo. He was defenseless, and at six years old, his haunted eyes made him older than he should've been. He couldn't handle a gun, let alone a sword or crossbow. He always had a knife which we had taught him how to use, but with his scrawny body, he was sure to not last long in a world of death all by himself.

After getting an earful that day, Mom had banned us from going to the city for at least a week. I hated being cooped up in the cabin and bunker. I had spent my time hunting animals for fresh meat, but it being the end of summer and the beginnings of fall, the animals were not so frequently available. Occasionally I would track a deer, but jackrabbits were more common. Coming across any kind of beef would be nice, but the vampires had ravaged the few farms around the north end of town ages ago. This had left us with little options in the meat department. Ever since the electricity had shut down in the city, the freezers stank of the rot of death in every market. Beef jerky was all we could really find to enjoy any kind of red meat.

So here I was, stuck on the mountain, staring down at the city that used to be our home. Watching the evening sun sink over the crests of barren rock near Mt. Charleston, at least the vampires didn't venture up here. Their inherent fear of being out in the open when the sun rose kept them near the buildings of downtown and the strip. They were such territorial creatures; they liked to group together in small hives. We thought it curious that we didn't find them in the outskirts of town, proving our theory that they preferred the clusters of buildings in the center of town. Still, the Strip was rich with food stocks that were nearly impossible for us to reach. It would mean treading into those bowels of darkness and silence, the remnants of the previously bright, noisy casinos. It was a darkness infested with death.

I tore myself away from my thoughts. Night was approaching. As the shadows fell across the cabin, we locked the huge, heavy metal door that was the entrance to the bunker and flipped the lights on inside to illuminate the concrete sanctuary of our isolated home.

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